Recently I had to go through the process of making a will. It is a sobering task where you end up examining your life, your worldly possessions and the legacy you will leave behind. It got me thinking.
I’m not one for business buzzwords, but ‘Intellectual Capital’ is something I believe in strongly, particularly when it comes to the archives we all inevitably build up while researching unexplained aerial phenomena. Just consider all the information you end up keeping over the months and years:
- References to books and magazine articles
- Witness statements
- Audio files
- Video clips
- Team / Group minutes
The list goes on and on.
You have invested hundreds, if not thousands of hours of your life building up that archive and you would probably struggle to put a pound sterling value on it. Yet, whenever I hear of a UFO researcher dying, the first thing I ask, after thinking ‘what a shame’, is ‘I wonder what happened to their research archive?’
A shared interest?
Often, the people left behind did not share an interest in UFOs. I have heard on a number of occasions, ‘Oh, can you just get rid of all that rubbish?’ from people who failed to understand the value of things. It may not have been of any value to them, but nonetheless, whether it is a collection of trinkets, a book collection, or a full research archive there is enormous value to be gained by others from passing it on to someone who will value the gift.
Whilst many of us, myself included, avoid the subject of death and making wills for as long as we possibly can, leaving clear instructions as to what should happen to your research archive is incredibly important. Especially if other members of your family just regard your research as ‘a little bit of a hobby’ or ‘an obsession’. So even if you are not at the point in life where you want to make out a will, ensure your feelings are made clear in writing and known to those around you as to who all the contents of your archive should be passed on to. Unless he is a UFO researcher known to you, do not let it be the binman!