Weeding, you see, is the process of cleaning out your information collection in the same way you would your garden. All at once, or periodically.
As usually happens in life, it turns out that a wave of subjects have me thinking about the same problem on several fronts. Several clients have been struggling with CMS migrations and while it used to be more about technical challenges, now it seems they are all battling the overwhelming level of ROT (redundant, outdated, trivial) content. It is not so much that ROT is a new issue; it is that we have worked so hard on the technical challenges that the remaining issues — like ROT — have become more visible.
It is fascinating that we are coming up with all together new terminology and methodologies for doing something that has been a tradition from the earliest of times. Libraries, or the “collection of useful material for common use”, date back to Ugarit, and progressed through the Hellenic world and Rome. And looking at how collections have evolved since circa1900 B.C., as well as how librarians deal with collections, should really teach us a thing or two about relevance of information, the unnecessary need for multiple copies of the same or similar thing, and keeping in circulation those things, which are useful to our site visitors.
Thus in the spirit of libraries, I spent several days in my local one, and observed differences since the last time I visited. There are fewer books, many more DVDs and CDs, a slew of computers with online reading resources, and most libraries assume that you will use your Kindle or another favorite tablet to borrow and read books. Evolution of this brick and mortar structure is taking place regularly and the librarians are readily ridding (or disposing) of items with marginal relevance to visitors, and updating shelves with things that are connected to our everyday needs. And with thousands upon thousands of items, one would think it is hard to clear and update the information collection, but the librarians assure me it is not. That is, as long as you apply the “weeding technique” and ensure you stay true to it.
Weeding, you see, is the process of cleaning out your information collection in the same way you would your garden. All at once, or periodically. Through special projects, or when a new mandate arises. It doesn’t really matter as long as you do it. Sound familiar? If you have dealt with ROT, or if you haven’t, learning to weed will solve many content challenges and set you up for success going forward. That way, you will maintain a useful collection of information, relevant to your audience, and join the ranks of history through a well-preserved collection.