Alright. Confess. Is there anyone who does NOT have a large pile of photocopies of articles, book excerpts, and even complete books, somewhere in their house or study area? No? I thought not. Dratted nuisance, aren’t they?
Years ago I used to file them, in hanging folders in filing cabinets. This week I have been emptying a drawer of such copies. Most of these were on A3 paper, so very hard to scan; but I simply drew a trimmer down the middle and scanned them in anyway. And then, most importantly, I threw away the paper. And the hangers.
At this moment I am going through a pile of off-prints, and guillotining the spines and shoving them through my document scanner. They scan beautifully. And … I am throwing the paper away. The PDFs that I get from the scanner I make searchable, and then, for once, I can use them.
It’s a bit nostalgic, in a way. I’m finding papers that I ordered in 2001, via my local library. This was before PDFs existed. The library charged a substantial sum per paper, and it arrived in weeks, not days. In those days it was the only available method to obtain a copy of anything. Now … we have electronic methods. It’s not so long ago, and yet it’s a different world.
Most of the papers relate to my interest in Tertullian. I’m scanning in a bunch of copies of the Chronica Tertullianea et Cyprianea as I type – the key bibliography for Latin ante-Nicene patristics. They will be far easier to search in PDF form!
Also found were a bunch of papers by Canadian academic James Carley, about the English antiquary John Leland. Leland lived in the times of Henry VIII, when the monasteries were being suppressed, and inspected their libraries. Many volumes from English monasteries went overseas; most were destroyed. A post on his work might not go amiss, perhaps.
Meanwhile, I need to scan some more stuff and declutter! It’s a good task for a rainy day.
Have you purged your filing cabinet lately?