Post 561 by Gautam Shah



Traditional documents were once hand written compilations, and as a result the format of information presentation was so abridged and compact that made the interpretation of the text a complex issue. In traditional libraries every work of classical nature was accompanied by several ‘firsthand’ commentaries, interpretations and translations, and even larger number of corollary ‘studies’. The original work and its lineal volumes were connected by referencing the stanza or section identifiers. These methods remained workable within limits of a single author, subject, period of history or a locality, and in many instances the availability of all documents at a particular location.


Geet Govinda  Odisha, India early 18th C

Few of the accesses related problems to traditional documents were solved, when famous libraries began to hand-copy documents for their own access. But, now it is found that every writer (or rather the manuscript copier) copied it by minutely editing a spelling, phrases and expressions. This created variegated versions of original works, making it extremely difficult to determine which one is reliable-authentic one. Printing of documents and wide distribution solved the problems of individualized copying of books, but authenticity of the work remained questionable.



Compiled documents of the past have been fixed assets entities. The pages of manuscripts or bounded books were tied by a thread (French=fil), wire, or metal-rod as a folder to avoid disturbing the order of placement. Manuscripts and books were organized or compiled, where its subsections had some cohesion on two counts: sequential placement and page numbers. So once compiled, it was not easy to add upon it. In future when more information was generated, if small in size, it can be placed as an addendum or appendix, or as a sequential volume.


A book on astronomy and mathematics of 10th C Flickr image by shafraz.nasser  (


A Document was perceived to be unitized set of information, Documents such as: Books, manuscripts, articles, letters, reports, drawings, specifications, procedures, instructions, records, purchase orders, invoices, process control charts, graphs, pictures, movies, photograph albums and audio-video cassettes etc. holistically represent a concept or ideology. These are stored as whole entity in their order of arrival, subject matter, author, and format (paper, books, tapes) etc. and the individual content is also identified similarly.


Buddhist manuscript on metal plates


Storage modalities demand some consistency of size, shape and density for the documents, whereas access considerations for the document and its content, require some form of cataloguing. Natural sub-divisions like chapters, sections or parts and preset strategies like, keywords, summaries, content lists, indices, etc. are designed for sequential and restricted random access. Cataloguing for access has changed more over two millenniums, in comparison to very little improvisations in the storage modalities.


A catalogue is pre sorted listing. Such cataloguing was formed within the documents through projected tags, coloured edges, notched pages or insert floats. These methods were widely used for manually accessing sections of database documents such as account ledgers, address books, address registers etc. For very large databases such as police records, library records, census data, such manual access was unmanageable. Such documents first needed sorting to reduce the size of the search. For sorting and search operations, cards with projected tags, notched or marked corners or edges were used, first through manual and later mechanical processing.


Kardex index-card filing cabinet Wikipedia image by Pete Birkinshaw (

Mechanical punched card reader systems were the precursors of digital computing. Database documents gained a degree of transparency when formatted on marked or punched cards. These were used for sorting the information into known classes and search out anomalies of data. Many statistical tools were used for the purpose. Other written and printed documents in prosaic form, however, were too opaque for dissection and analysis. Such documents however, when considered as database with elemental units of letters, words and ‘constructions’, provide new insights into meaning, grammar and syntactical structures. This was the pioneering effort that was to become the word processing of digital technology.


Tabbed files Wikipedia image (cropped) by Pptudela at en.wikipedia

A document was perceived to be a lot of related knowledge which when referred to, provide the intended data. It was ‘a storable format of information’. Like other units of storage systems documents are modulated according to, what it is to contain, where and how it is placed, referred and retrieved. In modern information technology such modulated information lots or documents are called files.


Incoming books identifiers at Smithsonian Libraries Wikipedia image by Metta3001

‘Filed’ information carries several identifiers that help in storage, identification and access. The contents of filed information also carry internal and external attachments (links and references).


Identifiers for files

  • time (of origin)
  • size (of storage, transmission time & effort)
  • author, contributors
  • content (index, key words, summary)
  • place of origin
  • place of destination, identity recipient
  • authority to create, read, write, alter and delete the contents of a file
  • affiliations, linked documents, preceding and following documents
  • references
  • embedded codes
  • signs, symbols
  • language
  • style
  • mode of communication
  • limits and conditions of relevance.


Post 207 –by Gautam Shah



Like all human activities the act of storing is very purposive, so provides an impetus to some form of organization. Stored things are far more organized than a very vast left out things where the order is unknown and is beyond control. Storage organization is a very natural way of learning. It teaches us planning, forecasting and thrift in managing the resources. Storage technologies offer as much innovations as procurement (mining and agriculture) and production methods.


Modern Ware House with pallet rack system > Wikipedia image by Axisadman

Storing is an instinctive activity with many other types of beings. Things are stored with a clear concept that these will be useful in future. The future is lean season or time of crisis. Things are stored for food, proliferation, building a nest or habitat and defence.


There are many different types of storage units within our body, such as the kidneys, glands, levers, muscles, stomach, etc. Animals and insects store food for periods of hibernation and for their progeny. Other external storage systems include tanks, chemical vessels, balloons reservoirs, septic tanks, granaries or silos, settling ponds. Isolation units like jails, concentration camps, detention camps, animal yards are also storage entities. Atmosphere is a very vast and almost infinite storage unit of energy, dusts particles, radiation, moisture, gases etc. Solid walls and wool garments are capable of storing heat so function as storage unit. Most material objects store kinetic energy in proportion of their mass. Fusion energy within particle bonds is a storage system. Ships, Transport containers, Railway wagons, Submarines, Aeroplanes are transportable storage systems.


Storage Bins and Baskets > Flickr image by AngryJulieMonday

Human storage activities have turned from intuitive to intentional pursuit. We plan for things to be stored, their mode of retrieval and processes that may occur during the storage. Things are stored with perception that these are items of wealth and their value will be greater when retrieved. The increment in value may be due to sheer act of containment (locational massing), ageing (maturing, ripening), organization or orderliness induced through the act of storing, and art or technique of retrieval. Like all wealth, the value of stored things may appreciate or depreciate.


Traditional Rural Indian Dwelling Storage

Societies endow special importance to certain commodities, as worthy of possession and display. These could be, utensils, crockery, clothes, handicrafts, bags, containers, cabinets, gadgets, tools, armaments, trophies, prizes, certificates, photographs, paintings, sculptures, antiques, jewellery, stuffed animals, or live pets. Storing is also called archiving. In archives generally documents and antiques are stored, preserved, restored and retrieved.


Things need to be stored when we wish to condition their state. The method of storage and duration, both are conceived for controlled modifications. Stored things are affected by the bio-activities and the environment (atmosphere) but by gravity, magnetic and other energies. Stored things are affected by the containers’ material, shape, size, adjacent things and over-burden.


Storage Pantry > Wikipedia image by Downtowngal

Things are also stored to isolate them, because an encounter with them is likely to be hazardous or inclement to the well being of people or environment. Things are also stored or dumped when one does not know what to do with the items, or because economically it is not viable to ‘store’ (organize, rationalize) them. Dumped things have no perceptible value, but there is an expectation that dumped things will degenerate to nothingness, or a better technique or suitable opportunity of dealing with them may become available in future.