Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Browsing vs. Searching: An "analogue" analogue

From NPR's Eulogy for a Record Store, a great quote about the merits of record store browsing:

"Browsing is a form of learning that is intense but indirect," Wieseltier says. "It's learning by osmosis, by serendipity. It's being surprised because when you browse, you don't know what you're looking for. You're not indulging in 'search.' You're basically making a bet on the richness of the world and immersing yourself in it and coming away with something that you've discovered. ... Look, we grow by discoveries. We don't grow by what we already know. But for these interventions and revelations and illuminations, we would be only what we already are. Who wants to be that?"

Special thanks to http://www.hussalonia.com/ for pointing out this link!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


It seems I’m getting behind on my posts…. Or actually, it seems I was getting ahead of myself.

I want to talk about a concept I’ve been dabbling with for a couple of years. I call it “inliteration”. It’s a word I made up to capture the essence of what it means to make up a word. Inliteration is similar to “incarnation”, except instead of meaning to become “embodied” in a thing that is physical, it limited to taking form as words.

Here’s Merriam-Webster’s definition(s) of incarnation:


So to parallel those definitions, I propose:


1a (1): the embodiment of a deity or spirit in a word or group of words in human language (2): the union of concept with language analogous to the union of divinity with humanity in Christianity b: a quality or concept definable as a word or group of words

2: the act of inliterating: the state of being inliterated

3: language

This is a cut at a definition… enough, I think, to be able to refer to it for other discussions. I’ve found it a handy word to have in conversation with a small group of friends who talk about library science, indexing, and life philosophy in general.

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