A lot of paper…

(The following is the text of an email I received this afternoon from a friend of mine in the Bay Area. I thought it was great and so I am sharing it with you, with his permission. If you would like to help him “unload his burden”, please let me know and I can put you in touch).


Hi all,

Ok, so let me preface this by saying that I know I have a very deep and very hard to cope with, mental illness.  Somehow I feel that makes this more acceptable. As you may or may not know, we are moving.  I have decided that the boxes and boxes of IEEE and ACM journals will not be moving out of my storage and to our new home.  This is very hard for me.  It kills me to think about all the work and energy that went into fighting the universe’s entropy to come up with these things, and I CANNOT just take them to the dump (which I know is what I ought to do in a very real and cathartic sense.)

I know they are all available online and will forever be, at this point.  Years from now, I will not have the lone surviving issue of an incredibly important research paper otherwise to be lost to history.  I know that.  When I was younger, I had visions of one day having them all bound into annual editions and putting them in my library with oak or mahogany lined walls, overstuffed burgundy furniture, and a pool table with red felt in the middle of the room.  It’s time to put away my childish things and stop carrying this load.

As I said, it is very difficult for me.  What I would most like is to find a good home for them where they will be shelved, appreciated, and used.  The problem is that I think all the engineering libraries in the bay area all have as many (or even more) than they would like.  If any of you want to fill out a company library, I would be happy to give them to you.  I have about 25 years worth… the prized parts of the collection include IEEE Computer, IEEE Transactions on Computers, and IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence… amongst lots of others. It will be hard to dump the Computer issues back to 1985… that seemed to be a glorious time in computer architecture and design.  A bygone era.  

I hate reading these things online.  My first inclination when I see an article I want to read online is to print it.  I’d much rather have it on a shelf and look it up that way saving myself the time to print, but I know it’s crazy, and I can no longer afford to keep hauling around this paper.

I believe I am going to fail in finding a home for these things.  This is my last ditch effort to find someone to take them.  I suppose the next best thing to the dump is taking them to an actual paper recycling plant.  I suppose that is at least one step more green than doing the landfill thing, which I truly find distasteful.

I am open to any and all suggestions.  Sorry for this long e-mail.  I hope it was at least a little entertaining looking into another person’s deep dementia.  I know I have issues.  Over twenty-five years’ worth…


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