Saturday, March 11, 2006

Scanning Books for Meaning

The process of entering book information into a database is almost hypnotic in the sense that memories surface and lead me down certain paths directly to activities that used to interest me or, at least, keep me sane.

One activity of which I speak would probably not be of interest to anyone.

While at university, I worked part-time at a large-ish, independent bookstore. I handled the processing of hundreds of books as they arrived (or returned to publishers). The store was unique in that it was the first that I knew of that actually used point-of-sale inventory. The ISBN of the book was used to store and retrieve information on a local area network. This sounds pretty commonplace but it wasn't in the very early nineties, at least not in my university city.

I constantly looked for patterns, meaning, in the ISBNs. I did this quietly while receiving books into the inventory and while scanning a purchase.

The memories of scanning, physically and mentally, for meaning/patterns in ISBNs are occurring to me this evening as I record book information.

I guess it was just a way to pass the time back then.

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