Some 12 years ago, I wrote a professional article that a lot of my colleagues ridiculed.
I was talking about email, then beginning to be hailed as a kind of perfect communication tool, both intimate and immediate.
"Mark my words," I wrote. "Coming tomorrow -- junk email."
OK, I got the name wrong. Today it's called "spam" (after the hilarious Monty Python sketch). But I nailed the idea.
I'm shocked when I visit the houses of some of the people I know. They are often exquisite housekeepers. They possess a flair for decoration that I can appreciate, but cannot match.
Often, too, they are more diligent, more industrious in the maintenance of their homes than I.
But they don't have any books!
I mean it. No favorite childhood books. No comic books. No reference shelves. No series -- and I don't care if it's the Hardy Boys, the Lord of the Rings, or "the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" -- ya gotta have series!
Between 1982 and 1991, there flowered a golden age of software. This software was called, variously, "outline processors," or "outline editors," or, more recently, just "outliners."
Such programs have always fascinated me. Recently, I spent some twenty hours or so seeing what was still out there, and writing up my thoughts about what I found.
I entered the library field just as computers were really taking off. It was exciting.
Before computers, staff used to spent a staggering number of hours each day filing. We typed and filed the patron cards. Every book had a card. When people checked them out, we filed the cards by date.
And then, when an item went overdue, we pulled the item card and the patron card, typed up an overdue notice, and sent it out.