I had hoped, with the most innocent optimism, to do a paperless PhD. I had visions of electronic copies of published monographs, PDF articles, and an Evernote full of my research ideas. But, reality has come crashing down on my head and brought me to the realization that a paperless PhD is not likely going to happen in my generation. Paper is a dinosaur. Not just cause it is ancient and outdated, but because it chases me around like a meat-eater and I just can’t escape it. So my pristine, uncluttered desk has succumbed to its destiny. The interloper, paper, has made its home here and as much as I might want to evict it, I can’t. There just isn’t a way to do it. With all of the copyright legislation, I will not accomplish my goal of the Paperless PhD. Instead, I will just have to get as close as I can and dream of better days where I am not fettered by the ignominy of being a [printed] book worm.
On the other hand, as I have watched my desk change over time (mostly due to the increase of printed materials), I realize that it would be cool to document its evolution. As my research interests and habits evolve, so will my study space. So, to begin, here is my desk during my first week as a PhD student:
And after six weeks of study, and losing the paperless battle, here is my desk as it looks today: