I visited the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME). I needed to
locate certain Environmental Management Programmes (EMPs) and extract
information from them. None of the EMPs are digitised.
They have a static self-organising filing system.
The “self-organising” bit means that the files are placed on the
shelves in random order, and one then waits for organisation to evolve
by itself. The “static” bit means that nothing changes.
Yes, a static self-organising system is oxymoronic.
I’m actually being unfair. The files aren’t on the shelf in random
order. Each file is actually numbered. It’s just that no-one working at
the DME could tell us how the file numbers linked up with any other
information regarding the mines we were interested in. Needless to say,
the newer files were not given any numbers.