Sunday, September 26, 2004

Pop quiz, hotshot!

"How many libraries does Harvard have?"

The short answer: we're not quite sure, but it's gotta be more than ninety.

The long answer can be found here.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Ready reference

I ran into this one in the comments section of a political blog - (Annenberg Political Fact Check):

"We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 'consumer advocate' for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

"The Annenberg Political Fact Check is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994 to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels.

"The APPC accepts NO funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. It is funded primarily by an endowment from the Annenberg Foundation."

Great stuff - it's like the Snopes of politics!

Ha ha ha... not!

"Is there any way I can make some copies from this book?"

"Of course, sir. You can add value to your I.D. at that station behind you."

"Ah. It doesn't take change?"

"No, sir. We do have coin-operated machines in the stacks, though."

"All I have is a ten dollar bill. Can you break that here?"

"Sorry. We don't make change anymore at the desk."

"I guess I'm out of luck, then."

"Sir, we have coin operated machines on the third floor of the stacks and B level."

"I suppose I could just rip out the pages I need."

"Umm. Sir? I wouldn't recommend that."

Jesus Christ - whatever happened to taking notes? Is there really no rational alternative to photocopying save the criminal mutilation of a library book? Even if the remark was made as a joke, it wasn't funny; unfortunately there is no shortage of people who come to this venerable institution and defile the collection by stealing books, hiding them from others, or excising from the texts the information they want either out of laziness or pure unadulterated malice. Suggesting that you'd go and do just that rather than take the Stacks elevator up or down two stories tells me that you are the kind of person who shouldn't be allowed into a library in the first place. I mean, what would happen if, tired of standing in line at Best Buy, you told the clerk that you suppose you could just walk out the door without purchasing that plasma screen T.V.? I'm sure they'd take it all in good humor there. Try it!