Thursday, July 5, 2012

Things I've Noticed: In praise of Scribbling

Next week I start the next course towards my Masters of Library and Information Studies, The History of the Book, and in preparation for the course Ive been reading a number of titles which relate to the topic, and one of them, David Pearson's Books as History: The Importance of books beyond their text may have totally changed how I think about books.

Although I grew up trying my best to ensure the pristine condition of my various books, staying away from highlighting, dog-earing, underlining or (god forbid) making notes in the margins, it is exactly those scribbles and scratchings which prove most useful to the future.

You see, from a historians point of view, everything from book plates (the small piece of paper stuck at the beginning of the book declaring "This Book Belongs to _____" to notes will allow future historians to put the book in an historical context, letting people know both who owned any particular book and also what they thought about it.

Strange to think, but all that stuff I avoid doing to my books over the years may have actually helped paint a better picture of the person I was.

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