The algebra of cataloguing

July 14, 2006 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

For techies like myself, the booktrade can sometimes seem a weird and wonderful place. But today I read this little article on a mailing list and had to laugh. Booksellers often look at my code with complete incomprehension, or ask me to describe something and get all glassy eyed as soon as I mention words like ‘variable’ or ‘array’. But we are not so far apart, us technical folk and them bookdealer types. I guess its all a matter of jargon and shorthand and knowing your field. A book description that includes the following:

4o: π2 a-c4 d8 B-L4 M2, 2A2 B4 (±B1) C-L4 M4 (±M2.3) N-T4 V2, 3A2 B-G4 H4 (±H4) I-S4 T4 (T2+χ2) V2 X2 [$2 signed (+2M3, 3H3, 3H4; -a1, B1, 2B1, 3B1)]
somehow seems more complex than a bit of code that says:

for book in list_of_books:
print book

Amazing how the human mind can just focus in on whatever it wants to and then refuse to comprehend something else.

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Maggs deals Beckett A wonderful book collecting story

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