So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Saturday, July 20, 2013
Not everything is digital
Not every book is in digital format and some of them most likely never will be. My own library has many old and rare books that have never been scanned. My lovely wife and I have always collected books. We went through a spell where we didn't read anything less than 100 years old. Read enough older books and you get a feel for times past. It used to amaze my English professors when my papers bibliography contained numerous rare books from my private library. Perhaps they were a bit jealous.
Back in '99 a good friend of mine passed away. I ended up with about a third of his extensive research library. Not only are few of those books available digitally, many are difficult to impossible to find anywhere. A number of them were printed in expensive limited runs for a small group of researchers. While the books are rare, the margin notes my friend left behind are priceless to me. The guy didn't publish as many papers as he should have. Pure research was more fun for him.
Then there's a friend of mine who's father used to have connections to the publishing industry. Browsing through he bookshelf one day, I found unpublished manuscripts. Two were from the Science Fiction writer Avram Davidson. There was also some unpublished poetry by Ezra Pound. Those one of a kind rare manuscripts are just one house fire away from being lost to the world forever.
While I worry about rare books disappearing, they may outlast many digital books. Think of all the electronic storage devices that are now obsolete and rare. Even NASA has digital records from the early days of space flight that they cannot read. A good CME from the sun and maybe all digital books are gone. Perhaps our paper books may be all that remains.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.