‘Miscellaneous’

I’m reading a fantasy novel, by an Irish archivist and records manager. There are references to archives, libraries and the necessity for good recordkeeping throughout, and on page 217 this:

Dr Boru took the file and, reading the name, said, ‘I can hardly believe Fen has a file called Miscellaneous.’

She could hardly bring herself to say the word which was absolutely forbidden as a name for any file.  If it is important enough to file, she always said, it is important enough to have a proper name. You can call your children and your pets anything you want, but name your records correctly.

Susan Maxwell, you are a genius. The same applies to ‘General’, and the principle can be extended to making notes on files. If it is important enough to note, then it is important enough to deserve real paper. You can put your dentist appointments, and shopping lists on post it notes, but use your records correctly.

Good Red Herring, Susan Maxwell (2014), Little Island Books.

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inthemailbox

Archivist, historian, avid reader

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