Re: Ageism; also, related card file behavior

Subject: Re: Ageism; also, related card file behavior
From: Peter Gold <pgold -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 1996 08:46:53 -0700

Looking for jobs is a learned skill, just as the skills one does in the
jobs one seeks. I attended a job-seeking skills program and learned this
there. One of the skills included the range of things we covered was
dealing well with age issues, not specifically because they exist for
those of us over "certain" age, but because by presenting oneself
properly to an employment opportunity on paper and/or in person, we can
be in control of the balance of "features" we offer. So, age may be one
of many elements, but need not be dominant unless we don't do our
homework properly, or if the particular employer/interviewer/hiring
manager is so strongly biased that is becomes dominant. If this is the
case, you *DON'T* want that job, so don't dwell on not getting it. Sue,
if you like, if your lawyer thinks there is a chance to recover anything.

*** stop reading if card files are not of interest ***

_The New Yorker_ magazine about a year or two back had an extensive
article on the demise of card files. They're being slaughtered by design,
like the rain forests and other resources so commonplace and valuable
they're invisible and treated as if they don't exist or don't have rights
to exist. The issue is that several large firms have most of the
contracts at large and small academic and research libraries to convert
the cards to computer, and their main methods of approach use many fewer
information fields to store "just the facts, ma'am." A basic set, but not
as informative a set as is found on many original cards. Information is
being lost, because after the entry is done and lightly verified, cards
are destroyed in various ways; some quietly shredded or recycled, some in
bonfires that celebrate "progress," and others. The cabinets are sold for
antiques or burnt.

Scholars are unable to see handwritten notes on cards that don't exist, etc.

So, the issue isn't simply nostalgia for the old ways, but unintelligent
embracing of the new ways. IOW, electronic or online catalogs, help, or
documentation are not bad technological tools, but poorly designed
information systems are bad no matter what they're "written" upon.

One hybrid approach in this case could be including a scan (or scan->.pdf)
of each card (both sides) in the process of converting to electronic
storage. Yes, the disk fills up, but disks are cheap now, and lost
information is expensive to recreate. Pay now or pay later.

My personal $0.02.

Peter Gold
pgold -at- netcom -dot- com

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