It was brought to my attention by a blog reader (What is it with you people this week? Nothing good on television? Is the Internet empty?) that “bookmark” has a 21st century meaning as well as the good old one about that pencil you left at page 34 of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. (I didn’t mention it, but PLEASE don’t leave pencils and pens in your books. The book never recovers.) In some computer worlds, you can “bookmark” a website, and thus go to it without having to search for it. (In other computer worlds, these wbsites are “Favorites”, which led to the now common verb “to favorite something”, meaning to add it to your list of favorites.)
So this person asked “What Websites has Uncle Blogsy bookmarked?”
Well you might ask (although some of them, like the one with all the lyrics to “Dominic the Donkey” are none of your business and, by the way, did you notice that adding a lot of remarks in parentheses makes it easier to fill space in a blog?) because there are some websites I use in the day-to-day struggle against book donors who are trying to stump me.
My basic reference sites are eBay and abebooks (though alibris, Amazon, and vialibri are handy as well.) I run to them for information on subjects about which I desire not only information about the history of an item but its marketability as well. I may have picked up more useful—and useless—information from eBay even than from Wikipedia. (which one of our volunteers once described as “the fount of all knowledge”. And she said it in a LIBRARY.)
There is a website called Author’s Signatures, which shows just that: signatures of authors. This is of great help in figuring out whether an autograph I have is genuine or just a scribble. The pictures on eBay are good for that, too. The best way to make sure of an autograph in your possession is to look at LOTS. If you look at a hundred presumed real Abraham Lincoln autographs and one uses a round capital A instead of a pointy one like the other ninety-nine, chances are pretty good yours better have a pointy A.
The Caxton Club’s website is bookmarked. Among other things, this 105 year-old book society posts its newsletter online, and this includes illustrated articles and sometimes thoroughly detailed bibliographies of individual authors. The index is a bit out of date, but it does include issues from before the earliest one posted online. You can order a back issue or you can come to the Newberry and read it here.
The Newberry Library is of course bookmarked, as I am sure it is on all well-adjusted computers. Book information is detailed and fairly authoritative in the online catalog. (By the way, I have—honest and for truly—had people look up books in the Newberry’s online catalog thinking that this is where I list books for sale. It’s that word “catalog”, you see.)
And, of course, I have the Book Fair blog bookmarked separately, so I can rush to it every morn and see what other remarks people have to make about bookmarks. (I can sell you some DVDs or CDs or even books, y’know, if you really have nothing better to do.)