ASCII by Jason Scott

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Wait, How Many Pounds? —

I got mail from someone who saw I took in all those other magazines and books.

“Hey, we’re getting rid of a bunch of magazines and books. Do you want them?”

“Sure,” I said, “I’ll take it. Without question. I’ll pay for postage.”

“Great.”

So a little while and hundreds of dollars in postage later, I can let you know that I have now taken in ANOTHER 1, 328 POUNDS OF MATERIAL.

Yes, that’s right, one thousand three hundred and twenty-eight pounds. That’s over half a ton.

I’d show pictures, but they’d just look a lot like this:

So yes, imagine that, but it’s almost all either IEEE magazines/proceedings, or it’s books about programming, error control or neural networks. Either the company this all came from did a lot of work with neural networks or somebody wasted a hell of a lot of money. So let’s assume the best of them, since one of their employees was kind enough to pack all of this stuff up and mail it to me.

The previous couple of shipments crossed this line, and now I am firmly in the territory of having to plan a long-term solution to this amount of paper. In just a few short months I’ve roughly doubled the size of my archive from the previous 20 years, because of this mass of magazine, journal and paper. No two ways about it. I am making a bunch of life changes right now and one of them is moving, and you can imagine what adding truckloads of paper has done to the process. I must stress, I AM ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED TO HAVE THIS PROBLEM so if you have similar collections of paper and magazines, please mail me. But it does mean I have to stop thinking about myself as just a guy with some stuff. I have a lot of stuff now. I have, literally, tons of stuff.

There’s several possibilities.

Perhaps I broker the stuff that’s appropriate to archives or places that could really use this material. Come on, you know me by now – wherever I did that to, it would be a place that wouldn’t turn around and destroy/discard the stuff. I’d ensure that.

Another possibility is I go the Prelinger route and co-open a space, perhaps in conjunction with a grant or donations or what have you. Basically, have a weekend-hours library or archive that people could visit, and otherwise hit me up to ask for scans of material or some such. Rick Prelinger and I haven’t met yet, but that shouldn’t surprise people that much – it’s a big world and I’m not everywhere. It was only last year that I finally met Michael Hart; and to some people they must think we all hang out in an awesome castle of cool filing cabinets reaching up to the 30-foot ceilings. I wish! That’d make a great sitcom.

And still another possibility is I simply store things, bide my time, and see how my new life with different job and career works out.

Either way, the stuff is safe. Please send more.

P.S. I can’t currently reach the downstairs bathroom. Send help.


Categorised as: computer history | housecleaning | jason his own self

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3 Comments

  1. Swagstaff says:

    “[You]‘ll pay for postage”?

    Wife’s been tossing my PC Magazines. I was thinking of you, but “Hell, I’m not gonna pay the postage.”

    You want what I have left? 1986-09-30/1987-08, 1991-05-28/1992-09-29, just 1.5 xerox paper boxes. (Hey, kids, in the past PCs and magazines were so popular, the rags were published more than often than monthly.) We’ll try not to shed any tears over what went to the recycle center.

  2. Jason —

    go for it! open up a corner at some kind of announced interval and see if they come. We didn’t anticipate this, but one of the most exciting consequences of opening a library has been the random, unpredictable and formative meetings that happen between us and our users, and between our users and each other. It’s caused us to realize that yes, the collection is important and serves 1000 people a year, but what’s perhaps even more interesting are the (non-money) transactions between people here. We describe this as the transition from repository to workshop, and we think that it may point towards one attribute of future libraries and archives.

  3. Ed says:

    These guys might be interested in receiving stuff that is gaming or gaming-culture related: especially original materials or the more obscure publications. I used to work with them: they are good and have the resources to keep materials.

    http://www.cah.utexas.edu/projects/videogamearchive/index.html