Pages Of Pages

 Experiments in Online Bibliography

Chronology: what's new?    Send a message to

The most worthless book of a bygone day is a record worthy of preservation. Like a telescopic star, its obscurity may render in unavailable for most purposes; but it serves, in hands which know how to use it, to determine the places of more important bodies - De Morgan. represents a series of experiments with the creations of lists of books, of varying degree of complexity and in different types of groupings, for the purpose of seeing just how useful - or not - it may be to take advantage of the of capabilities of the internet to enrich a listing of books with aids for the reader, collector or researcher. When a bibliography is presented in traditional printed form it will be expected to be either comprehensive of its subject, or to be intelligently curated, and/or to be enriched with annotation1 and/or to have detailed descriptive information to aid in identification of, say, first printings. The bar to producing a printed bibliography is high due to both the knowledge and the time required to accumulate any of these types of bibliographies, and the difficulties and expense of printing and publication.

An online list of books, whether formal or informal, has no particular bar at all to publication. The good and the bad of that are now well known; the proliferation of so much digital wastepaper makes finding genuinely useful sources difficult. Never the less I believe real value can be provided by the capabilities of a web page. These include the following.

1. For example, World War One Memories An Annotated Bibliography of Personal Accounts Published in English Since 1919 by Edward Lengel is an example of a bibliography that is both comprehensive and well-annotated, providing real value to anyone interested in finding "what to read next" in its subject area.
2. Project Gutenberg is the only source used here where the original text of each book is actually present - as letters, words, paragraphs and so on - rather than as photographic reproductions of each page. This makes for a superior reading experience, but none of the online presentations match the experience of reading a physical book.

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