I was chatting with a good friend of mine, Don Fluckinger, about storage and retrieval of his various pieces of content all over the web and throughout print publications.
First up, a quick intro to Don: If you’re a member of the PDF world, you’d have definitely encountered his writings at PDFzone, and probably caught up with him personally at various PDF industry events.
He writes for a plethora of print publications, web sites and blogs professionally as well for his own collection of personal blogs and the like. And that’s lucky, I can back this up with real-life testimony – you don’t win too many brownie points on a blind date for being only a PDF aficionado. Yep, Don is involved in way more than just PDF.
Don generates content in many diverse subject areas to “stay sharp, creatively,” as he puts it. A group of readers completely separate from the PDF world know him for articles he writes for hospital trade publications in the realm of nutrition, clinical research, and respiratory care. He also writes for Antiques Roadshow Insider, a newsletter connected to the popular American television show, and covers the breath and depth of American baseball cards dating to the 1860s as the editor of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, the 1,800 page annual published by F+W’s magazine Sports Collectors Digest.
Then there is his not-so-serious alter ego Mojo Flucke, Ph.D., a self-proclaimed doctorate in gratuitous adjective-olgy, who writes CD reviews at Bullz-Eye. Mojo also extols the virtues of “lost” old tunes at PopDose, a blog gang-written by a clique of about 20 writers.
He’s again on staff manning up the Nib Noise newsletter for fountain pen collectors along with his father-in-law Richard Binder. You’ll find a complete list of his writings at Mashable.
I guess you can see where I’m going here: Don generates masses of content in many different formats, some of it “stored” on paper and other pieces in a variety of forms electronically from Microsoft Word to PDF to HTML to email to Google Docs–to name a few.
So what about backup? Don does store his data in triple on-site and off-site backups, so we’re not talking a second 1.44mb floppy disk under the bed – he’s got a pretty reasonable plan for protecting his data.
Problems come about when you ask yourself, is it the right copy – “Oh damn, I edited a copy via email at an internet cafe”, and how would you retrieve it in the future – “Where did I store that again?”
So what does that mean for Don (me and likely you as well) – we just don’t have a real-world, practical method for managing intellectual property, writings, files, documents, information, “knowledge” – whatever you want to call it. You know, stuff from the print world, your RSS feeds, blog posts, office documents.
What we’re aiming to do with our product Benubird is to give you a way to do that – feed the ‘bird’ a folder of your content, or perhaps a link to a page on the web. Maybe some print pages to OCR. In short, whatever you want to throw at it.
Don asked me will the ‘bird’ be able to assist in the process of bagging and tagging his articles for long-term storage, probably more importantly — allow for them to be easily retrieved at a later date, regardless of format. For all sorts of reuse- perhaps “Don on DVD,” including the good, the bad, and the ugly content he’s cranked out over the last quarter century.
It’s a challenge, but that’s what we’ve got on the horizon.