September 22, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
I've got quite a project ahead of me.

I've decided to type every hand-written entry in my journal and store it in an online database to have as an easy-to-access archive of my life. This is probably going to take me several months, since my journal goes as far back as 1993, and contains a couple thousand pages worth of writing.

My plan is to store all the data on the same server that houses this website, and to build a front-end for my site that lets me grab data by keyword search based on theme, person, date, etc., and basically run the database through a data analyzer to see what kind of patterns can be found in my life.

It's going to be quite an undertaking, and I'm still debating whether to make the database of my life viewable by the world or not. My initial instinct is to keep it all to myself, because... well, it contains a great deal of personal information, and some of that information involves people that I know, and some of those people probably read my blog periodically. That said, I don't know if I'm comfortable with everybody knowing every thought I've written about those people and the times I've spent with them... people are fickle, you know? And in 1993, when I first started writing the account of my life, I was... 15 years old, and the thoughts of a 15 year old are often inconsistent, incoherant, and generally stupid. As I read through it all, I realize how terrible I was back then, and I'm not sure that people can easily separate the thoughts of the 15-year old version of me from my current thoughts.

On the other hand, I think a lot of the content is terribly fascinating, and I'm a big fan of full disclosure of information, no matter how personal. Why shouldn't people know exactly what I thought of them five, or 10, or 15 years ago?

In any event, it's all going digital soon. I'm pretty excited about getting it all off paper and into a database, because I'm always a little concerned that the record of my life is going to either burn up in a house fire or something horrible, and if it's archived, I don't have to worry about that as much. I can also make multiple copies of the database and save the copies in separate locations, so I think I'll have it pretty well covered.

As a result, my posts here may become a little less frequent for the next few months. Like I said earlier, we're talking about a couple thousand pages...
np category: personal


Luke said:
If you intention is preservation why not buy a scanner on and just scan all the pages in image form so you can go back to them in an unedited fashion (from the original hand that wrote them)? Seems like it would be much faster and authentic as well... ::shrug:: ;)
September 22, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Preservation is one goal, and scanning would be a good solution for that. I'm considering scanning them in addition to typing it all out.

The other goal is to run a data analysis over all of my entries so I can look for trends... things like repeated emotional events that might revolve around specific dates. You can't really run a data analysis over scanned images of what I wrote unless you're trying to find patterns between emotional events and my handwriting style. I suppose that might be an interesting study, but I don't think I'm going to explore my mind that much. :)

September 22, 2006

Kendra said:
As someone going along and reading your 15 year old thoughts with you... I think that you should keep them to yourself. Some things are very funny and some things could be very hurtful to some people. It doesn't really matter what you wrote 13 years ago... it could still hurt. I know a few people in which wouldn't think some of the things you wrote about them would be found funny, but hurtful... your parents. I'm not sure I want to know what the girls are thinking about me at that age... I'll have a pretty good idea, without having to read it. It might bring up old issues. :: shrug :: Just my thought on it... as your wife and as a parent. :)

September 22, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Hrm... that's a very good point. I hadn't even considered my parents in all of this. After reading that first section with you, I guess there was a lot of anger towards my parents...

Good call.

September 22, 2006

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