29 July 2017

it's on the shelf

I've blogged several times about LibraryThing but not recently. (see posts)  When I first started cataloging my library in LibraryThing, the closest libraries to mine (based on a weighted measure of common books and how many books altogether) were mostly architectural. Then I left New York City and started cataloging my books at the upstate family homestead. The closest libraries shifted to those with lots of gay titles or a mix of architecture and gay titles, and the amount of fiction climbed. I was delighted to notice today that the closest library is now HTCBooks which seems to be affiliated with the History, Theory and Criticism of architecture and art program at MIT, part of the Department of Architecture. Some of the tags look personal, such as SOA Home Guest Room Shelf 1. Maybe that's a good idea: you might be able to find a book when you want it. It might be especially good for the skinny little things without any spine presence. Still, it surprises me how many books are where I first look.

For example, I was indexing an article about a project by Wang Hui. There was an undifferentiated personal name record in LC/NAF for Wang Hui but none of them had any latin-script language titles so I couldn't tell if my guy was included or not. I thought I didn't have the Chinese character version of his name until I checked the firm website: Urbanus Architecture & Design. The projects there included Tulou affordable housing. Almost a decade ago, Tulou was included in a show at the Cooper-Hewitt and I had bought the catalog which was right there on that shelf downstairs with some other architecture titles. Wang Hui is in the colophon so I do have the Chinese character version of his name.

Sometimes I feel like my thousands of books are a burden. Too much stuff to just pick up and go live in Palermo for six months. I sometimes feel like I should give my architecture books to Alfred State which has a new B.Arch. program. On the other hand, it's nice to be able to have Tulou: affordable housing in China readily at hand.