This afternoon will be spent preparing the office for next weeks move into the city. Anyone who has ever come by to visit my office could not help but notice the Airbag Published Materials Collection that started more than fifteen years ago. From time-to-time I have weeded the library of titles that either ended up being completely useless or I had somehow gained a duplicate copy. Samples from the collection include DHTML and CSS for the World Wide Web by Jason Cranford Teague, Hot Wired Style by Jeffrey Veen, and Lynda Weinman’s web designer staple Designing with Web Graphics.2 (I gave away the first one to a college who wanted to learn how to become a designer).
Years ago I had a discussion with a person who had a lot of passion for libraries and collections. She was very happy to know that I was hanging on to such tomes in hopes that one day it would be handed over to someone as a matter of keeping all of it for historical record. And so I have continued to provide care for these books in effort to help preserve them as close to the condition as they were when I bought them.
Books like those written by Weinman and Veen are definitely keepers because they were more than a vocational how-to and provided invaluable information and insight on how to be creative despite the constraints of the web at the time. It is these volumes which I believe will be valuable–not in the monetary way mind you–to future generations of researchers and hobbyist who are curious about the different phases in the our creative evolution. Those books get to stay and will be cared for until it is time to hand them off to a library or collection somewhere.
I’m not so certain that I should continue to provide care for books that provide how-to information for things like DHTML, Flash MX, or old versions, think very old, of Photoshop. I have brought them along with the assumption that they might have the same curiosity value as an old Chilton’s manual from decades ago but now I’m not so sure. Maybe it’s time to thin the heard and recycle these things into something more useful.
When I consulted the Rocket Scientist on his matter she made the Are You Kidding Me?™ face, waved her hand, and with a “Pfffft” to dismiss me and my First World quandary away. Perhaps deservingly so, but if you share the same passion for the web that I have then hopefully you’ll understand and provide more than one syllable suggestion.