Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Moving Office

Moving Office


Now that I'm moving office, I really want to work! Really! The review went over well. Well enough that I've been offered a choice of a couple of other books. Both by big names. One a translation (which would give me a chance to review some Latin-y stuff) and one that I actually know stuff about, since it's exactly the beginning of my period (kinda) and in German -- which would also be good for me. Plus I wouldn't feel so out of my depth. I have chosen not to commit till things are a bit more stable and I am making headway on the K'zoo paper.

But I now ask you ... what does your backlog of copies of the AHR and Speculum look like? How long does one keep moving them from place to place? And can I tell you how glad I am that Early Medieval Europe is both my favourite journal and small enough to carry around in my bag?

7 comments:

Rebecca said...

Hey there ADM, I keep my journals for five years or whatever the moving wall for a particular journal is. Once an issue is online, I recycle the paper copy. I get the William and Mary Quarterly, AHR, and the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. I only keep the VMHB since there is no digital version...

Marc said...

Thanks for bringing that up! My desk is officially reaching the Journal Clutter Stage, with issues of AHR, Speculum and The Historian all making neat but growing piles. I'm thinking of ripping out only pertinent (to my interests) pages and trashing the rest. Is this considered unseemly? ;) Besides, I'm not sure that I'll have access to the online versions because upon graduation I don't anticipate being academically affiliated. Independent scholar sounds nice to those outside of academia (I guess), but those inside know how limiting it can be. Access to online Journals is but one more thing. Of course, should Google's digitization project keep on, it may not be so bad for someone like me. But I digress....

Another Damned Medievalist said...

In most states, you can still access the online databases like JSTOR at public university libraries, even if you can't check anything out.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I must guiltily confess that in our last move, I pitched ALL my AHRs and Speculums. They are SO DAMN HEAVY, and I access everything online these days, too. JSTOR has Speculum (up to whatever date they cover) and my school has it on paper; we subscribe to something that has AHR. They're already piling up in my office.

Glad to hear about the reviews! You are probably right to pass on them, though; doing the conference paper will be more important right now. I was so excited when I first got the chance to review books that I agreed to do a bunch, and then I realized: wait a minute, these are NOT going count for tenure! (or not enough to make it worth taking time away from the book to write them.) So, I declared a moratorium on them for a couple of years! But it was certainly good experience to do them.

Jonathan Dresner said...

In the "you might be sorry you asked" category, I keep my journals, for the most part, in the bathroom. I don't read the articles there (I hardly ever read the articles in AHR or JAS) but it's a fantastic place to read book reviews....

When I'm done with them they go on a shelf in the student lounge, and if I move, they'll stay there. Unless there's an article which I really want to hold on to, then it goes on my shelf.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I am so chuckling as I imagine that, Jonathan!

NK -- glad you agree, and thanks again! I owe you a big drink at K'zoo. The nice thing about the books is that they are both more than tangentially related to what I do, and the one in German I absolutely should read. So I'm not as worried about getting them done. But I have to say that I feel a bit odd reviewing books by people who are Names. One of them, the one I am almost positive you know personally, has a slightly frightening rep. So I expect that, for a while, I will continue to be judicious!

Phlebas said...

ADM--thanks for the kind words on the earlier post. I have fond memories of those days. On the journal question, I'll admit to being something of a packrat. I'm still keeping some Viators and TRHS volumes I got when a certain famous scholar of heresy threw them out years ago, as well as my own Specula and Albions. Fortunately, the history house (yes, house) at Tiny Liberal Arts College has extra bookshelf space where I can store them. As a sidelight, the department keeps its copy of the AHR in the upstairs loo--Johnathan is right that it makes a good place to read reviews.

Given the ubiquity of online resources these days, it would probably make sense to junk old journals. But there are two cautions. First, small colleges (and, I'd guess, community colleges) often don't have the sort of access to online databases that people at R1 institutions take for granted. For instance, TLAC just got access to JSTOR, and only because a donor left a bequest for that purpose in her will. Of course, one can always drive to some neighboring institution with more resources--but in some parts of the country that can mean a trip of 2+ hours in each direction, as I found in South Carolina. Second, cash-strapped schools are increasingly dropping their paper subscriptions in favor of online access to journals. This is certainly true at TLAC, where I can access such basic things as EHR only in electronic form. This means that if money gets even tighter and the online subscription is dropped, too, then one is left with nothing--there is no way to consult the volumes of the journal that the institution didn't buy in paper. Again, this probably sounds bizarre to people at larger institutions, but it's a real worry to those of us at small, poor schools. So maybe it's worth holding onto those journals a bit longer.

The same is true, I think, for books. I'll confess to having a lot more volumes than you do, in part because I'm something of a bibliomaniac, but largely because I decided early on that I couldn't count on the institution's library to supply me with what I need. Frankly, I'm glad I did so, because when spouse and I finally settled at TLAC we found that our collection of medieval history tomes (particularly in our specialties) was considerably richer than the library's. This is again one of the strange inequalities of academic life: faculty at large research institutions, who tend to be better paid than the rest of us, have less need to spend any of their own salary on books, since their libraries are far more likely to supply them with what they need.