Subjective Organization and Serendipity

I was barely listening to the radio just now; I was mostly just putting away my laundry and thinking about what an amazing week it’s been and what’s going to happen tomorrow when my brother-in-law and my nephew come to pick me up for the holiday. But there is a fellow talking on the radio, and my ears picked up when I heard this:

“One day the books will all be arranged based on mathematics,” he said. “Another day, it will be based on current events.”

Not knowing what this show was actually about, I immediately thought of a library, about Dewey and the Library of Congress. Can you imagine if we could rearrange our collections with the snap of a finger, and did so regularly based on particular themes? No more objective classification scheme; a different order every week. Imagine what sources would start rubbing shoulders if you could do something like that! What a unique perspective you would get every week! Imagine the serendipity; toss the disciplines up in the air and let the subjects define themselves in different ways, multiple ways. Human feeling encoded into the stacks; the multiplicity of opinions and possiblities all made flesh before our eyes, shifting and changing as they always must.

Turns out he was talking about a bookstore in Montreal with a great front window. Well, that’s okay. I got my piece of a dream out of it anyway.

2 thoughts on “Subjective Organization and Serendipity”

  1. Geeze. You mean it isn’t done that way now? I just go to the PRs and choose something at random. It is always different. What are the other letters for?

    Rochelle: This comment doesn’t go far enough into Jason’s thoughts on the issue, so I bring you this conversation that we had over IM directly afterwards:

    Rochelle: What was that comment about? Do you really want me to answer those questions?
    Jason: my point… well hidden, is serious
    Jason: pseudo-objectivity is just a socially laden fiction
    Jason: co-constructed subjectivity on the other hand at least situates it honestly
    Rochelle: yeah, that might make a better comment

  2. wow. you write good.
    i, uh, just happen to live in montreal, and, um, i was wonderin’ what bookstore they were talkin’ about. i mean, i haven’t been around long, but the bookstore window displays i’ve seen just don’t compare to bookstore windows elsewhere. like, oh, i don’t know, guelph.
    seriously, all the window displays i’ve seen are lame and come, pretty exclusively, it would seem, from whatever they were told to order 8 million copies of. i wonder if anyone reads here.
    i like the willy-nilly-approach, but man. helping customers would be a bitch.

    Rochelle: Yo, Katie! YOu’re missing the Bookshelf already, are you? It misses you! Max misses you! What are you up to? How’s Montreal?

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