Deposited Bottle No. 53

???????????????????????????????Yes, the picture means I have deposited another bottle in a library. I loved this library at first sight (and so maybe this will not even be the last bottle I’ll put there, who knows…). Most of the second floor was occupied by this card index. I just had to open a random drawer and snap a picture. I have spend so many hours during my time in university leafing through such indexes. We had a computer index in the central library, but only new acquisitions were listed; and in the theology library there was nothing but a card index which I used all the time. Oh, and the math library had not even a card index, there was just a thin booklet, aimed at first semester students, where you could look up certain key words and then be told in what branch of mathematics you might find something about it – everyone else was supposed to know where to look, and curiously that worked just fine most of the time.) Anyway…

My first impression when I looked around the library was a mixture of joy and nostalgia. A minute later I thought that maybe there could be a better use for the space… But this second thought did not dimish my first joy and I still feel elated now that I am back at my computer. Well, instead of much talk, here is a series of images… If you recognize the library, you are very welcome to go and hunt for the bottle 🙂

???????????????????????????????Yep, die beiden Bilder, die du hier schon gesehen hast, bedeuten dass ich mal wieder eine Flasche in einer Bibliothek abgesetzt habe. – Allerdings nicht im Zettelkatalog, vermutlich würde sie da nur von den Bibliothekaren gefunden, die den Katalog digitalisieren. Aber eines nach dem anderen.
Ich habe heute also mal wieder eine mit neue Bibliothek besucht, und das hier war Liebe auf den ersten Blick! Ich kam in den ersten Stock und dachte “Das hier ist eine richtige Bibliothek!” Natürlich ist es vor allem eine etwas altmodische Bibliothek und eben genau so wie die, die ich benutzt habe, als ich studiert habe. Der erste Stock ist vom Zettelkatalog beherrscht. Schon der Anblick alleine weckte nostalgische Gefühle, und ich musste einfach mal eine Schublade aufziehen und ein Foto machen. Im zweiten Moment dachte ich dann, man könnte diesen Platz bestimmt eigentlich besser nutzen. Es war nicht so, als ob der Katalog genutzt würde. Zu meinen Zeiten, habe ich manchmal Schlange gestanden, um in Ruhe am Katalog arbeiten zu können, und oft standen wir Schulter an Schulter davor. Das gilt jetzt ja wohl eher für die Computerarbeitsplätze, die ich allerdings, wenn ich ernsthaftwas in der Bilbliothek wollte (und nicht nur eine Flasche verstecken) auch lieber benutzen würde. Nun ja, Zettelkatalog hin oder her, die Bilbiothek ist einen Besuch wert. Statt vieler Worte, hier einfach ein paar Bilder:

??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????P.S.: Das Bild von dem Zettel im Zettelkatalog ist kein Hinweis – das war nur Zufall. Das Bild oben dagegen, ist wirklich wo die Flasche steht. Wie immer bin ich gespannt, wer sie findet und wann sie gefunden wird!

P.S.: The index card above is not a hint, just a random card that I happened to take a picture of. The last picture, however, is really the place where the bottle is. As always I am curious and excited to know who will find it and when!

8 thoughts on “Deposited Bottle No. 53

  1. I wish I could play too! What fun. I like the appropriate artwork on the bottle.

    A library that still has its card index does look like a nostalgic bit of paradise to me. Our university library, like so many, got rid of their card catalogues. After they dumped out the drawers, they simply used the cards for scratch paper until they were gone. (I confess, I used to go into the library wearing my jacket with big pockets… 😉

  2. All our local libraries (school, public, university) switched long ago from card files to computers. I really miss the card files! It was easier to find interesting things by accident. I prefer real bookstores to on-line ones for the same reason.

  3. Thanks guys, I am glad you enjoyed the photos of the card files, and share a love of libraries. – That doesn’t come as a total surprise, I must say 🙂

    While I love libraries, to study or just to browse shelves, I disagree with the argument against computer indicees and on-line book stores; at least in this generality:
    Whether and what kind of accidental finds can be made while visiting a library, bookstore, or online cataloge or -shop, depends, at least in my experience, on a certain set of mind, and about how it is organized. The central library in Göttingen while I was studying had several large so called reading rooms where books on shelves were organized by topic. You could for example find a shelf on German poems, or on algebraic geometry. Since it was a large library you might have to struggle a little to understand the systematic and the specific shelf, which meant you might look for some kind of signature, but you didn’t need to find a specific book. You could then browse the self, and maybe find a book on the topic you liked. Also if you knew which book you wanted, you could see books on the same topic on the left and right that also might be interesting.
    The same library also had a “free hand archive”. It was located in the basement, one large open room crammed with shelves. I loved sitting there on the floor and read, feeling the sheer mass of books and knowledge pressing around me. Books were not organized by topic there. I believe they just got added as they were acquired, but I am not sure. In any case you couldn’t find anything without looking up a specific book and knowing its signature. The book on poetry that you might be looking for could be standing between a book on nautical law and how to teach ethics, and the second volume might be in a completely different shelf behind and across floor and other shelves.
    And there was a large amount of books that was stored in archives outside the building and had to be ordered in. Save the last (which I only used once to have a look at an original manuscript I was writing an essay about) I made happy discoveries in all, i.e. both systems. I found myself lost in a book on primates that I randomly came across in the free hand archive while looking for a biography of a monk, or something else. Or enjoy browsing a shelf on mathematical games while I really should have picked up a different book that would have help me solve my homework.

    A large part of my phd thesis was written in a library in Berlin, where there were very, very few books freely accessible. Essentially you would talk to one of the many librarians and they brought (or picked) books for you. I never made random finds there, but I imagine that another type of finds would have been possible. There I actually could have told a librarian: I want everything written on this or that fancy topic, and in a couple of days, they would have loaded a cart with these books for me.

    All three methods allow for random finds as long as the reader got the time and willingness to look at books on the left and right.

    Computer searches can be all of this, a library organized by topic, by author, pubishing house or year, or whatever else keyword you enter while searching, and most online shops also have recommender systems. Again it is up to the user to indeed browse the selves and look at hits in your search beside the one right you were looking for, – just like when browsing real shelves.
    I enjoy computer searches and ordering books online. I used to be ashamed of the latter, since I also very much enjoy visiting brick and mortar book stores, and feel like I contribute to their decline by buying the bulk of my books online. But truth is, I like to shop online. Just like, or maybe even more than in a physical book shop, I end up with more than I had in mind and with some random finds.

    Sorry for the long ramble. It is a topic dear to my heart, and this argument in favour of browsing physical books in real shelves by touching the spines is being repeated so often. It is a different process, and one that I enjoy very much from time to time. But I don’t think it is better or results in more random finds than the other. And I am very grateful that I can be at home, and virtually in a library, and I can order books that arrive on my door the next day, that I can conduct a library search from home and it takes me a couple of minutes, not days… I think computerized indices are a very handy things.

    And I still feel nostalgic when seeing a card index. Finding it there in this library made me happy the whole day. Stupid heart 🙂

  4. I don’t object to computer searches or on-line bookstores. They are just different. Perhaps it is that I spent more than 50 years doing things the “old-fashioned” way, so the newer way still feels a little odd. ; ]

    • Yes, I see that you never said that it was impossible to make discoveries while searching at a computer. I was jumping on a keyword since I heard similar conjectures a lot in recent years.
      And generally I feel a praise of computers in libraries often is much more silent than the cry for the old ways. And after my nostalgic post I wanted to make sure I am not misunderstod: I praise computers in libraries, digitalisation projects and online journals in general 🙂
      A pro pos old technology and libraries. Micro-fiche… are there people who feel nostalgic for those? I certainly don’t – but that is maybe because it was outdated when I started to really use libaries.

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