This recent NY Times article made me think of all of the books, videos, photos and other physical items that I have donated, recycled or tossed. Some of those items I wish I would have kept, though others I intentionally destroyed.
Many people and organizations go through this same scenario… “To keep or not to keep”. With physical items though, it simply much easier to get rid of them. As we are now in a digital age that encourages us to keep everything – all the versions, cuts, out-takes, photos of bad hair-styles, etc. – you never know when you might find these things useful. However, does being digital keep it safe from destruction? I think not. I know this first hand, as I have experienced “back-up” hard drives fail on me. Even worse, I can’t access my old ZIP and SCSI drives anymore…not that I even remember what is on them. If I had the capability I probably would have transferred the data or had a second copy but do I really need what is on those devices?
So the philosophical question you have to ask is whether or not something is really worth keeping. You need to ask, what does the content mean to you or your organization? The answer will determine whether you become a leader or a pack rats in the digital age.