The joys of analog research

December 11th, 2013, 9pm

It was 10°C. The breeze was gentle.

It’s probably the geeky history major in me, but I love researching in the library. The tedious process of going up to outdated computers (well, in this case they were shiny macs, so maybe the outdated library systems on the shiny macs) and typing in book titles or author names or subject titles. Then, a flood (if you’re lucky) of call numbers and titles.

That’s my favorite part: finding the general shelf area. Say, if my call number were Z 124 J88, I’d scribble down Z 124 and head to the shelves and let them surprise me, because at least, I know, the Z’s have what I need.

Then, the joy of discovery!

Finding titles you didn’t think of looking up or, even better, finding your book at first skim. Checking out a shelf and letting one book lead you to another. It’s the original “You may also like…” link at the end of online articles. Down the rabbit hole we go. I usually find my best sources this way. Or should I say, they find me?

Then sometimes, when I’m feeling brave, I wander past my shelf. What’s on the other side? I wonder. Tonight, while looking for type history books, I wandered over and ended up in the fashion section. The Esquire Black book on a library shelf! Interesting, but think I’ll stick with type.

A funny memory of my grumpy old design history professor from semesters ago. “Oh, you people. Go to the library,” he said, after a long spiel about online sources. “If you need to research, go and download it… from the shelf.”


But really, aren’t libraries the best?

Louie, Penelope, Emanuel, RYAN and 17 others said thanks.

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Christine Herrin

Designer. History major. Memory keeper, paper hoarder, frequent flyer.

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