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Yes, I maintain the shelflist. Yes, I do it for the "security," but primarily I
keep it for the analog view of the collection it provides. It satisfies my need
for visualizing the whole.
    A clock with a dial face serves as a metaphor for time as a cyclic
experience, whereas a digital clock displays only one moment in time. The
shelflist represents the encyclopedic nature of knowledge contained in my
facility, while the digital display of the catalog represents only one "moment"
of this knowledge.
    Though the digital record (if it has been faithfully replicated from the
shelflist) might give me all the necessary information about the book, it cannot
show me all the fingerprints, the handwriting of the librarian who ordered it,
the crossouts of the multiple copies that were lost or withdrawn. This physical
data is revealing about the history of the book itself as well as the history of
the school, and its former scholarly needs.
    I don't know if I am expressing myself as acurately or as passionately as I
am able. Nicholson Baker, who knows a thing or two about writing, was able to
express his dismay at the demise of the of the card catalog in an essay written
several years ago for the New Yorker.

Sadie Longood, Librarian
Dallas (OR) High School

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