Lori's Book Nook

Books (& bookmarks) as reference

Posted on: January 21, 2007

What is the quote I’m looking for? I’m looking for the one about the definition of knowledge is knowing where to find the information you need.

Just this morning, I bookmarked the International Music Score Library Project. Why? I’m not a musician, nor a musicologist, nor… I’m just fascinated that if I wanted a classical score, it’s available.

I also bookmarked Luminarium, an anthology of English literature, from Medieval times to the 18th Century. Again, why? It’s not like I’m ever going to read all of them (or any, even!).

My enormous bookmark list is a testament to my desire to be able to access the information I need, when I need it. [For those with the same mania, you might want to add Refdesk.com to your bookmarks, if you haven’t already. Good for the mundane stuff of life, like currency exchange, etc.]

My husband asked me the other day, “How far are you into your 5-foot shelf?” I didn’t answer, because he wouldn’t understand. I’m glad I have them, because who knows when I’ll feel the urge to browse through Darwin or Plutarch, or pick up Cervantes (I think I have that one)…Okay, I’ll admit, I’m reading the Dante right now (For those of you who are interested in reading Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, I found a brilliant website completely devoted to it — the Princeton Dante Project.) — at least it’s sharing space on my bedside table with a couple others, and gets picked up every 3rd night or so.

Deep down, this is my need to own books. It’s not a competition thing (“The person with the most books wins!”), it’s not a possession thing — it’s a stored knowledge thing. I like being able to refer to a book in my library for (almost any) answers.

I’m assuming I’m not alone in this?


5 Responses to "Books (& bookmarks) as reference"

It bloody well IS a competition thing. If you were a guy you’d totally own both a Hummer H2 and an elephant gun.

If the Jehovah’s witnesses ever arrive at our door (and may god defend us from that day!) I don’t think they’ll be allowed out until they’ve toured the library.

“it’s a stored knowledge thing” — exactly. I have a nice shelf of reference books, even though these days the information can all be found online — I love my enormous, hard-to-lift unabridged dictionary, New York Public Library Desk Reference, Oxford Companion to Philosophy, An Incomplete Education, and the 1957 Encyclopedia of Household Hints and Dollar Stretchers.

Metro, the JWs cross the street before they’ll walk in front of our house, ever since I told them I was disfellowshipped for Satanism. (You gotta use the right terminology so they believe you.)

It is not a competition thing! It is an insecurity thing. I may need to know that one day and if the power is off and I cannot get online – I NEED NEED NEED that info NOW!

My books of quotations are two thousand Km away – so I cannot help you, Lori. My version is “The purpose of education is to teach you where to look for the answers.”

Archie — I think you may be right…insecurity. PJ — I know you understand me, I only wish my husband did!


Husbands are not there to understand – they are there for – well, they are just THERE!

I know – they are there to open that glass jar with the frozen lid.

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