Monday, July 15, 2013

The Strategic Studies Archive, Part 1

Over the years, I've repeatedly made electronic archives for one purpose or another. As an undergrad, I made an archive CD-ROM of ancient history resources that I then distributed to my friends and classmates. I've worked to expand it over the years, but it's always a work in progress - and quite prone to "mission creep" as I find additional resources I'd like to include. In recent years, I've assembled several archives and databases for various risk management disciplines, and one of my unfinished projects at present is an overall risk management archive. In the mean time, though, I've started work on a Strategic Studies archive - possibly for a CD-ROM, but probably big enough that it'll require distribution by flash drives - to use myself, and to distribute to my coursemates.

I organize everything in a semi-coherent fashion, as far as files and directories go. Navigation is by way of HTML menus that I code myself - they're simple, but effective. My past archives have followed a pretty specific format, including the following sections:

  • Main Menu: Pretty self-explanatory. There's no actual content on this page, just links to the other sections. On the main menu, I aim for simplicity.
  • Topical Index: I like to figure out various categories for the content in my archives, and then code a special index. This also allows for files in various categories to be listed together for easy access if they're related for one reason or another.
  • Documents and References: This is actually the majority of any given archive. The various files I've collected for one purpose or another are accessible through links that are divided into their major categories, either by location within the archive or by topic. It's similar to the topical index, but there's less or no cross-referencing of files or resources from multiple sections.
  • Additional Resources: In some of my archives, there have been other resources that didn't fit within the other sections for one reason or another. I'm not sure that I'll have anything with this particular archive.
  • Training Materials: On my prior archives, I've included either materials, or links to materials, that provided various training and certification options. That probably won't fit for this particular archive, either.
  • Links: Pretty self-explanatory. I've assembled a lot of links on a variety of topics that will be relevant to me and my colleagues for one purpose or another.
  • About: I also tend to include a short section about the archive that notes who designed and compiled it (me), and includes contact information.

    The immediate purpose of the archive is to provide a point of reference for me and my coursemates to use, both for drafting our dissertations over the summer and for future projects in which we may be involved once we rejoin the work force. Additionally, I'd like to streamline it for possible use as a marketable project at some point in the foreseeable future.

    Once I complete the archive, I'll post an update outlining the various sections, and I may include some of the links for everyone's situational awareness. I expect the project to be well worth the effort, even if I wind up being the only one to use it.
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