My chair, my shelf, my desk

Wed 21 Aug 2013 12:19 PM

I am becoming department chair presently, so the outgoing chair and I have been swapping offices for the past week. I had managed to accumulate a considerable amount of clutter in the years that I was in my old office.

The move gave me the opportunity to decrease the local information entropy. My books are now alphabetized by author, which replaces the clusters-by-topic approach that I had used ever since grad school. When I consulted books regularly, my memory could get me close enough that visual inspection would lead me the rest of the way. Now there are books that I haven't thought about in more than fifteen years, and the memory of them is less lively. The alphabet sorts everyone. The downside is that I no longer have historical figures arranged in any chronological or geographic patterns.

The move has also given me a chance to file some old papers and the nerve to throw away a lot others. For the first time, probably the first time ever, I don't have a stack of miscellaneous notes and ideas on my desk or on a shelf next to it.

I expect this pristine condition to last at least until tomorrow.