Digital Changes & Maintaining a Portfolio

Well, dear Reader, I had to learn a hard lesson this weekend.  I was using some of my HTML lessons to spruce up my ‘Current Work’ tab.  The long bullet list of the 75 book reviews I’ve had published was getting changed into a nice, orderly little table like so:

It's hard work to be this pretty.
It’s hard work to be this pretty.

I wrote code for a few long hours until I gave myself a headache.  But I didn’t post the changes right away because I wanted to give it another look the next day.  I was convinced I had made some errors & wanted to give it one more look before it went live.  But, when I sat down at my computer the next day to start checking my work, I soon discovered that most of the links to the paper that I write for were utterly dead.  And not due to any mistake of mine.

My husband, who works for the same publication, had told me that they were getting ready to switch to a new digital platform, so I was not totally unaware of an upcoming change.  But I was not expecting just how far the effects would range.  Or how many hours of work they would reverse in a matter of minutes.  Not only had I linked to each of my book reviews, I had linked to my husband’s restaurants reviews that I had provided photos for over on my Flickr page, another long few days’ worth of compiling and linking.

All is not lost.  I’m in contact with my editor to see what the paper’s plan is for the older material.  And, I still have all the physical copies of everything that’s been published.  If worse comes to worse, I can spend a day or two at a Kinko’s, scanning every piece of paper into a PDF or JPEG.  But contemplating the amount of work to be done to reconstruct everything is tiring.

On one hand, this whole incident has made me think hard about the kind of portfolio I want to have going forward.  I know that the best practice is to have the newest stuff available for people to see & I’ve tried to do that over on my digital clippings.  But I had thought of my blog as a sort of personal archive of work.  I can still use it that way, I imagine, I’m just going to have to rethink how it will be structured and indexed.  Curating clearly isn’t for sissies.


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