Nancy likes library browsing and I like web surfing and Googling. Here is where Googling finds something the Nancy will like, an article on marginalia found in physical books and missing in e-texts.
The New Yorker magazine
December 15, 2014 Issue
By Lauren Collins
Some paragraphs from the article:
In recent years, the rise of the e-reader has created a wave of concern about the fate of marginalia, as well as attempts to preserve them. (A designer of the Amazon Kindle recently launched a marginalia Web site called the Pages Project.) In 2012, April Pierce, an Oxford graduate student, was sitting in the English Faculty Library, working on “some insufferable literary-critical dross.” Flipping through a reference book, she came across an interesting note. She typed it out—“Let us then suppose that we have recovered the poetic experience, of which the written text is merely a trace as the trace in a cloud-chamber shows where a proton has been”—posted it on Facebook, and the Oxford University Marginalia group was born. It now has two thousand five hundred and three members, making marginalia to Oxford something like what a cappella is to Princeton. “The Oxford libraries are still heavily used, and the curriculum remains relatively stable, so you have so many students reading the same texts,” Pierce said. “The books are thrashed, basically.”
The other afternoon, Pierce was at the London Library, examining a weathered edition of “Logische Untersuchungen,” by the philosopher Edmund Husserl. She opened to the title page and pointed out a faint, pencilled inscription: “T. S. Eliot, Marburg 1914.” “It’s his private copy,” she said. The volume, from the library’s special collection, contained some winning annotations: “What the devil does this mean?” “damn’d Locke,” “es sollte überhaupt Kuchen geben” (there should always be cake). Pierce was planning to cite a few of them in her thesis.
A thought occurred: Had Eliot actually meant “damn’d Locke” or, on the eve of war, had he written “damn’d boche,” a slur on his German hosts? A closer look at the Husserl proved inconclusive.
On the way out, she examined the comment book of the library’s members. “On July 9 I took out two books on James Clerk Maxwell,” a librarygoer had written. “One was full of pencil marks.”
Then: “I too seem to be following a pencil-wielding member of the LL. It is very distracting!”
The library’s response followed: “Thank you for alerting us to this specific instance which we can, and will, investigate.”