In a few minutes, @APettegree & @A_der_Weduwen will be discussing their new book here:
The Library: A Fragile History | LIVE from NYPL via @YouTube
Jane Kamensky asks the authors about collaborating on books (they've done 3 together). @APettegree is a generous scholar He is surprised there are not more cowritten books in the humanities (as in science). His partnership with @A_der_Weduwen has produced such impressive work.
.@APettegree said his one rule working with @A_der_Weduwen is that each accepts the track-changes made by the other with "no sulking." That is checking one's ego at the keyboard.
BTW, @APettegree & @A_der_Weduwen also direct the Universal Short Title Catalog, an awesomely ambitious effort to catalog all known books from Gutenberg to the end of the 17th century. @universalstc
.@A_der_Weduwen says that in the COVID lockdown and libraries -- about which they were writing -- shut, he and @APettegree depended heavily on used bookshops. Oh, yes, has been invaluable to me.
"The greatest enemy of the public library is modernity," says @APettegree, for people want books of their time.
Fascinating point from the book: If the papyrus scrolls at the Library of Alexandria had not been copied every two centuries, they would have crumbled on their own. Scale was the Library's ambition and enemy.
Another neat bit from the book: When Nixon visited Alexandria, he asked to see the Library. But, of course, it was lost; it is not known even where it was. But that question spurred fund-raising to build a monument there.
So impressed with @APettegree's quest to catalog lost books, adding references to known books to the @universalstc -- from, e.g., old auction lists. I think I might find it too tragic.
I bought both the print and audiobook versions of The Library: A Fragile History.
.@APettegree says the modern library must be brave & invite readers back in to do things that might have little to do w/the book. We can say good-bye to the cathedral of silence instilled by Bodley without a great deal of sadness, he says. Yes, I love libraries as social spaces.
.@A_der_Weduwen says the modern library must emphasize browsing. I agree. We have lost browing with the fall of the bookstore; Amazon is not terribly good at it (surprising, for it could make good recommendations). So libraries need to be a means of discovery.
Always a joy when a moderator picks your question to ask. I asked one about lessons from the institutions made for curation and culling in print--editor, publisher, librarian--for handling the abundance of creation and speech the net gives us.
.@APettegree replies the @universalstc pays much attention to "ugly ducklings" that were not saved for posterity by authorities but that were important contemporaneously.
In my question, I quoted this wonderful line from Jean-Philippe de Tonnac: “Culture is made up of what remains after everything else has been forgotten.”

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More from @jeffjarvis

8 Dec
Morning Joe's constant beseeching of "whither conservatism," would be pathetic if it weren't so delusional. We know what happened to the right. It is purely authoritarian and racist. There is no reclaiming a conservative movement or Republican Party. Get over it.
Now David Brooks sees an apparently positive future for "a Republican party that serves people without college degrees across race." The party of the uneducated. That is to say: those who can be duped. Thus the right's war on science, intellectualism, and the academy.
What's pathetic is that the media keeps propping up Trump as a newsmaker when he says nothing and makes no news. If they ignored him, his stock would fall. He is a phantom, that is all.
Read 4 tweets
6 Dec
@APettegree is the dean of book historians; I've devoured all his books. He & @A_der_Weduwen just published The Library: A Fragile History in the US. This Wednesday they'll be talking with @LIVEfromNYPL. I highly recommend signing up. I'll be there:…
Here is the book: The Library: A Fragile History. I'm digging in now and loving it.…
.@APettegree & @A_der_Weduwen were to be on book tour in NYC this week. I was so looking forward to meeting them & thanking Andrew for all he taught me while I researched The Gutenberg Parenthesis. Damned COVID: the tour is postponed. But I will watch their talk Wednesday.
Read 4 tweets
30 Nov
I am SO confused. Does this mean that if I take a picture of, say, a concert in Central Park, I need the permission of everyone in it? We diminish the sense of the public to the detriment of the public.…
Would this policy, for example, require receiving the permission of George Floyd and the police who murdered him to post video of the crime? The policy seems quite unclear to me.
Since when did Twitter become a German company? Since yesterday?
Read 4 tweets
26 Nov
My heart breaks. Stephen Sondheim is dead at 91. I am so grateful for the joy, wisdom, art, and light he brought to American culture and my life.
Rest in eternal admiration, Stephen Sondheim.
Finishing the Hat.
Read 4 tweets
20 Nov
Ah, yes, remember when Tristan Harris said no one got upset over the bicycle? Here is Publishers Weekly in 1895 lamenting the state of bookselling and "the wheelman is blamed."
Note well that PW also fretted about magazines and newspapers (the line between them & books was not distinct), discounting department stores, and cheap books for the masses. Edison's audio inventions also worried them. See here podcasters circa 1894 via Scribner's:
In 1910 the Springfield Republican warned that cheap books would bring the culture what magazines had: "the peril of impermanence."
Read 6 tweets
20 Nov
WARNING to @verizonfios customers: If your system is working, do NOT update or upgrade anything. I made that mistake and now I'm stuck in HELL. 1/
The latest: One by one, over days, our TV One Mini set-top boxes are dying, unable to connect to the network, giving us NO TV. The were working fine, then they were not. Makes no sense. 2/
I tried everything: nothing. I then tried to set up the boxes with wifi, which is supposed to be possible. Impossible, it turns out. I found secret menus on the box and tried to set up my own SSID. Nope. Nothing. 3/
Read 14 tweets

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