Thursday, December 14, 2006

latest assault in my ongoing war on paper

journal (un)renewal
(asterisks old, checked boxes renewed)

I just renewed my membership in the American Sociological Association. I cut my number of journal subscriptions from five to two (American Sociological Review and, proud to say it, Contexts), which is the minimum needed to have immediate online access to the rest. Subscriptions to academic journals aren't cheap, but I'm fortunate presently to have a research account that I can use pay for my journal subscriptions. The bigger problem: I don't want them! I want the shelf space, and freedom from the weird mental obligation of maintaining a complete run of some journal on my shelf even though, when I do want to read an old article in a journal I own, I usually still just look it up online so I can print out an 8x11 copy and put it the appropriate project binder once I've marked it up. Indeed, most of my journals are back in Madison and I haven't missed them at all.

BTW, when I was in graduate school I snapped up a nearly complete 30+ year run of ASRs from a retiring professor. A few months later I thought: What the hell is the point of having these? and sent out an e-mail to the soc grad student listserv asking if anyone wanted them. Of course I got several immediate replies. The guy who took them who had spent several years in the past living under a false identity while wanted by the law under his real identity, and he was doing his dissertation on "false identity" by interviewing various folks who knew him back when he was someone else. Sociology. I don't know what happened to him.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could donate your subscriptions to a local public library or community college.

eszter said...

I agree, it's a bother to get hard copies of some things. Worse yet, they often come wrapped in plastic. That means you can't even just pitch them straight into the recycling bin. Rather, they require the action of tearing off the plastic, putting that in the trash and putting the paper in the recycling bin. One of the main reasons I ended my subscription to the Chronicle of Higher Education was this precise issue. The other was that they insisted on some obscure username and password for their site that I could never remember. But I digress...

tina said...

Jeremy, why don't you write up something for Contexts? Maybe for your non-short non-fiction class.

And while I'm on the topic, Eszter, why don't you as well? For example, that gender and tech skills piece is a good candidate.

jeremy said...

Tina: I have published in Contexts (link). I had a couple brief conversations with someone about the idea of submitting a proposal for the next editorship of Contexts, but, in addition to other reasons, we didn't think we could plausibly convince ASA to let us take it over.

Anon: I can't use grant money to buy things for the purpose of donating it somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

I met that guy my first week of grad school! I remember thinking that I needed to get a sexier backstory to make it in sociology...

http://mypage.iu.edu/~kdv/index.htm

eszter said...

Tina, I once pitched a story to Contexts and was told that they'd already published something about the Internet. There you have it, sociologists' refined approach to the topic. Come to think of it, I have pitched this twice now, both to the first editor and then to the subsequent team. I think I'm done pitching stories to Contexts, I clearly lack the skill!

There was something else I had meant to say on this thread: So Jeremy, you're one of those people who actually responds to those "renew now" emails and goes and renews immediately! You didn't strike me as the type who'd be that on top of things of this sort.;-)

tina said...

Brilliant piece, Jeremy. I must have missed that issue.

tina said...

Eszter, You were robbed. I think the public(ish) face of sociology should include it.

Anonymous said...

i seem to respond to those "renew now" notices when they come too - but because i am forgetful. If i don't do it now, i'll remember that i should have about July of next year when i am trying to register for ASA, or about the same time when i'm wondering why i can't remember anything that's been published in ASR for the past 6 months...

Anonymous said...

Random question re: your storing articles in binders... does that system work well for you? I just started grad school and am UTTERLY overwhelmed by paper. I do not yet have any good system for organizing all the paper accumulating from my various classes, plus academic reading and thinking about projects unrelated to class, and it's a big mess. Binders is an idea I hadn't considered.

jeremy said...

I think binders work very well for articles that are associated with individual projects and have little use outside that project, although I'm trying to move more to the analogous system with online PDFs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding!