Thursday, January 3, 2013

Paperclips and photocopies

I have a vast number of photocopies articles probably close to 3000. They have been accumulated over the years while I studied and researched and now seem to form an important and valuable resource. If I was to replace them at todays vastly over inflated prices (especially since most authors got nothing from their original publication) – working at $30.00 per article the value is c$90,000!

But they take up a lot of room, a whole four draw filing cabinet in fact. I have lugged the filing cabinet around with me since Mum bought it for me in 1976. There are also various boxes of notes and copies from my thesis in the garage.

Several months ago I decided to convert the copies into PDF’s. I either use my own scanner or the Libraries free scanner which has a document feeder and can be persuaded to email the PDF’s to my computer (although some emails disappear). On my computer they are saved to a temporary file. Using Lucion Technologies File Centre 7 (Nuances Paper Port was tried but the demonstration version crashed so many times I gave up) I am able to straighten rotate and OCR the files and save them into by folder for Photocopies.

From there Mendeley, which is a free bibliographic database, takes over. Mendeley views the new files and attempts to give them a preliminary record which I manually have to edit and add  details to. Mendeley’s speciality is searching and organising PDF’s which it does a reasonably good job of doing. It is not as sophisticated as End Note but its interface is so much better it’s really easy to add data and save it.

I have managed to clear a draw (the top one as I didn't want the cabinet to become unbalanced.

What is interesting to me the qualities of the paperclips I have used. There are two basic types the metal ones and the plastic coated metal ones. What was surprising is that copies from my thesis – say 12-15 years old, with the metal paperclips often exhibited signs of rust where as plastic coated paperclips are untouched and are being recycled.

I am not sure about the mechanism for corrosion as the copies seem to be dry and stored in a dry place. Could it be the coating on the metal paperclips?

Anyway one moral of this project is always use plastic coated metal paperclips.