Remove unnecessary files and organize data better on separate devices – Anu Lahtinen’s Data Cleaning Week challenge

University of Helsinki researcher and teacher Anu Lahtinen challenges all docents at the Faculty of Arts to organize their files and folders and remove unnecessary data during the Data Cleaning Week. UH Data Support’s Data Cleaning Week will be held from 16th to 20th December 2019.

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Anu Lahtinen (TUHAT, ORCID) is a University of Helsinki lecturer and researcher in history, especially in Nordic history of premodern era. She deals with both paper and digital data such as text files, photographs related to archived records, index files, and database software. A particular problem with her data management is the different versions of the same data – versions are created as the program versions become obsolete.

”My problems are probably familiar to many. When you have a laptop, a desktop computer and different versions of the data on a memory stick, sometimes you feel like there are a little too many different versions that might overlap”, Lahtinen says.

During Data Cleaning Week, Lahtinen challenges herself to organize data better on different devices. She challenges all docents at the Faculty of Arts to do the same.

”I have gone through my desktop computer and removed the irrelevant data. Now, I try to keep the folders of my email, PC and laptop in sync with same types of names and groupings. And my cleaning applies equally to paper material”, Lahtinen says and takes a stack of old exam results, waiting to be disposed, off the shelf.

Participate in Data Cleaning Week!

Take the challenge and participate in the Data Cleaning Week by posting a picture of your cleaning effort to Twitter by using the hashtag #5sdata. The picture can be about folder structure, new file naming system for your group, space created by cleaning – you name it! Remember to challenge your colleagues too!

You can also participate in Data Cleaning Week by sending an email to Data Support: We convey your message through the Think Open blog, Twitter and web site.