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Records quotations

This section of the site contains a collection of records and information management related quotations from a variety of sources... we hope you enjoy them.  If you have any records management related quotations drop us an email.

[The Duke of Wellington describing his collection of 100,000 documents as]  "... a correspondence which I preserved at first solely as Memoranda and for Reference, and afterwards from idleness and the desire to avoid the trouble of looking over the papers to see which might be destroyed"

Quoted in OLNEY, R.J. 1983. 'The Wellington Papers 1790-1978', in Archives, vol. 16, No. 69. p.3.

Submitted by Stuart Orr

“I left a note for you at each of the Temple gates, on the chance.  Which gate did you come to?”

I told him.

“I’ll go round to the others in the course of the day and destroy the notes,” said Wemmick; “it’s a good rule never to leave documentary evidence if you can help it, because you don’t know when it may be put in…”

Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

“Over the months I had become really rather fond of my job.  There was a lot of routine work: cataloguing the thousands of aerial photographs received each week, filing surveyors’ monthly field diaries, supplying batches of survey data to the cartographers … Nothing, it seemed to me could be more satisfying than the moment when one finally finished compiling, grouping and indexing a hitherto random collection of field reports, old maps, government minutes, press cuttings, economic papers.  Order was wrought out of chaos – by reference to my index an item could be swiftly extracted, where previously a frustrating hour might have been spent sifting through the shapeless mound of documentation. And the whole file, newly created, would have a quiet beauty all of its own: a smooth, logical, dispassionate assessment of the case …”

Triangulation – Phil Whitaker

“All history, so far as it is not supported by contemporary evidence, is romance”

Dr Johnson

“‘They used to say that good filing was the key to a successful business,’ she said to Mma Ramotswe as she looked through a pile of old receipts.

‘Oh Yes,’ said Mma Ramotswe, not with great interest. She had heard Mma Makutsi on the subject of filing on a number of occasions before and she felt that there was very little more to be said on the subject.  The important, thing in her mind, was not the theory behind filing but the simple question of whether it worked or not.  A good filing system enabled one to retrieve a piece of paper; a bad filing system did not.”

Blue Shoes and Happiness (chapter 3) – Alexander McCall Smith, 2006

“‘Indeed!’ said Mr Pickwick; ‘I was not aware that [the Encyclopaedia Britannica] contained any information on Chinese metaphysics’

‘He read for metaphysics under the letter M, and for China under the letter C, and combined his information, sir’ ”

The Pickwick Papers (chapter LI) – Charles Dickens