27 April 2008
I've been a member of the ACM for about 35 years. I have a collection of their publications to match. Should I keep them?
There's little doubt that the form factor is obsolescent at best, and probably obsolete. The ACM Digital Library has the "full text of every article ever published by ACM," so I don't really need all that hardcopy. What should I do with it?
The obvious answer is to send it to my neighborhood recycling center. The knowledge, after all, still exists. But there are lots of people who don't have access to the electronic form, especially outside the U.S. In fact, I'm told that the single biggest use of stolen Columbia University logins is to download papers via the university libraries' subscriptions to many electronic journals.
Should I donate my old journals? To whom? At whose expense? (Shipping around that much paper is expensive, both in dollars and in carbon consumption.) Is there a better solution? What have you done with your old journals?