Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I have two quotes printed out and hanging at my desk:

"When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong." --R. Buckminster Fuller

"God is in the details." --Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

I look at them every time I am exasperated, or bored, or feeling antsy. Cataloging is actually really taxing: it can be pedantic and uninspiring, which can lead to errors born of boredom or apathy. Even when we're working on something that should be "sooo interesting!" we can lose perspective. A fellow cataloger commented the other day (after spending way too long working with incunabula): “This week is dedicated to my appreciation of the invention of the goddamn title page.” Even the most rare and interesting works get tedious after awhile. 

So I keep these words in front of me all the time. The details are important; beauty and simplicity in our solutions is important. The basic tenets of cataloging.

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"Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness." —Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril.