Imagine a vast warehouse with thousands of boxes of paper stored within.
Now imagine you are searching for something in that warehouse – only none of the boxes are labelled.
You can’t possibly work through all the boxes – that would take years. So you need another way around the problem.
Maybe you think – they might have started filling the warehouse by initially putting the boxes nearest to the door. So you try that theory out by investigating some close-by boxes, but that doesn’t seem to reveal any results. Some documents are new, some very old. There’s no date sequence.
Next you try the reverse – assuming that they started filling boxes from the back, but that’s no help either.
After that you might take down one box at random and try working through that, but no – there seems to be no connection between all the things that are within each single box.
Just in case you have tried a box that is simply not helpful in forming links, or understanding the storage system, you walk further into the depositary and try another box. But the results persist. There seems to be no sense to the organisation at all.
Quite probably you will find this frustrating, annoying, exasperating, maddening, wearisome… and ultimately you will give up.
But don’t give up on me just yet, for there’s a point to all this. In fact there are two points.
The first point is that the Admiral storage facility is not filled with boxes set out randomly. Each of our customers has his/her own box, which can’t be accessed by anyone else, and the way in which matters are stored within that box is entirely up to you. So you can arrange the papers therein by date, alphabetically by subject, but customer name – anything.
The second point is that if you really want to see what randomness of storage really looks like you can now visit Yossarian Lives at http://www.yossarianlives.com/
It is a database – of sorts. In fact it is a database based on metaphor. (In case you are not 100% up on metaphors, let me throw one of the most famous metaphors in the language: All the world’s a stage”. Now you’ve got it.)
But Yossarian Lives doesn’t have words. It has pictures. And symbols. And no explanation on what on earth is going on.
If you try it and find out what’s what, do let me know because it baffles me. But if you prefer a simpler life and want to store some papers in your own area, which no one else can get at, do get in touch with Admiral. We make sense, even if no one else does.