Sunday, December 02, 2007

Calling Dave Lull ...

... library fragrance. (Hat tip, Laurie Mason.)


  1. Now that the cologne my daughter selected for me years ago has been discontinued, maybe I should ask her to look into this for me.

  2. Anonymous6:33 PM

    I know and love that smell, but I don't think I want to wear it. When I was writing my dissertation, I became very familiar with another old book smell: That of acid-eaten paper. My primary sources were mid-nineteenth-century British periodicals and they'd mostly been printed on cheap paper with, it turned out, a less-than-infinite lifetime. Probably most of those bound collections have completely consumed their own pages now, except for the ones librarians have managed to put through very expensive de-acidizing machines.

    Actually, Dave, I suppose now most of that stuff must be digitally available -- photographed and put on CDs. Is it so? And if it is so, I sure hope they kept the illustrations and the fascinating advertisements -- classified and otherwise -- interlarding the articles and stories. To my chagrin, when I went back to those sources some years ago and no longer had access to the original hard copies, I discovered many of the microfiche versions of Cornhill, Edinburgh Review, All the Year 'Round, etc., had omitted these very important aspects of the periodicals.

    Meaning, basically, that context is everything, and that you probably shouldn't wear old book cologne outside the library!

  3. "Actually, Dave, I suppose now most of that stuff must be digitally available -- photographed and put on CDs."

    At my library, we don't get back issues of periodicals on CD anymore. We get them via online databases. And many of the issues are available in .pdf format, which includes the illustrations.

    I don't know, but I suspect, that the same is happening in research libraries whose users want access to back issues of magazines like Cornhill, though an illustration-retaining format other than .pdf might be used.