When the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Amsterdam moved out from the ‘Spinhuis’, a characteristic old building in the centre of Amsterdam, to the large-scale ‘modern’ university campus ‘Roeterseiland’, the move was accompanied by ‘Operation PaperWeight’ to reduce the amount of books and paper documents (Opgeruimd naar het Roeterseiland). This was deemed necessary because the new building has limited storage space and is a digitized and partly ‘flex-working’ office.
Students and staff experience the move in different ways. Their responses range from sadness to criticism and from cooperation to protest. Clearing out one’s personal research archive evokes memories, uncertainty, and concerns over the consequences of paper destruction for academic research. Classes and graduations continue as everyone prepares for the inevitable farewell.