Category Archives: biblio

Library Thing

A few years ago (well, in September 2005, when I was newly retired and Library Thing was brand new) I discovered Library Thing, a service that allows you to catalog your library (entering books by ISBN, title, whatever)… says the Wikipedia entry, “a social cataloging web application for storing and sharing personal library catalogs and book lists.” I messed with it a bit and then got ummmm distracted by some other shiny thing. I happened to take a look again the other day, and discovered that they offer (for $15) a USB scanning device called CueCat. Plug it in and swipe it over an ISBN bar code and **PRESTO** the book is looked up (at Amazon or Library of Congress, your choice) and entered into your Library Thing database. In just a few minutes I scanned in a shelf of books, typing in the ISBN if there was no barcode, and searching by title if the book was too old to sport an ISBN. You can eyeball the current state of the project (200 books in, the very tip of the proverbial). Just what I’m going to DO with this is a bit less clear, but possibilities and uses will doubtless emerge to declare themselves.

Didja say where you got it? (a propos of Appropriation)

If I still had a classroom to work in, I’d devote several classes (hell, why not a whole course? …though under which rubrics I ain’t sure…) to the issues discussed in the Plagiarism episode of Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best of Our Knowledge, featuring interviews with Jonathan Lethem, DJ Spooky [That Subliminal Kid], Judge Richard Posner, and Malcolm Gladwell. The hour of talk and examples is absolute must listening for those whose lives are entangled with teaching-and-learning.

I’ll also remind you of a posting from almost a year ago, pointing to Christopher Lydon’s interview with Jonathan Lethem, and (if Harper’s will let non-subscribers see it) to Lethem’s article The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism (Harper’s, Feb 2007).

Just a few teasers from the WPR show:

“Art comes not out of the void, but out of chaos” (1:35)
Barthes to Twain to Emerson to Lethem (1:55)
“the software that we use to edit is just as much a part of the artwork, you know?” (1:00)
“it’s like playing with respect for the history of things” (0:55)