Hi folks! Still scanning the Jones field notes with little
new to report, so I’m going to take a bit of a detour and talk about book
Back when Jones was creating these notes, his writing would occasionally
drift achingly close to the bound edge of the book page, or its gutter.
Which was all well and good for Jones in 1915, back when he could open and
close his notes willy-nilly without a care in the world about damaging them. But
a hundred-plus years of aging have rendered the paper and binding brittle, and
thus difficult to fully open. And so a number or letter carelessly left at the precipice
of the gutter can easily be obscured from the otherwise eagle-like gaze of the
Which, fine. Given enough time, effort, and paperclips (don’t
ask), a book can eventually be propped up and properly scanned.
But what if?
What if Jones became too careless, if he wrote too greedily
toward the guttery abyss without moving on to the next line? And what if that
particular book became too fragile to fully open and recover the wayward
symbol, thwarting even our greatest library and archival technologies of the
present (including paperclips)?
What if that letter
or number was really important? Perhaps some researcher of the future will one
day write her entire dissertation on Jones and his many field notes, and she
will puzzle over this slightly obscured letter. Assuming it is a letter. Maybe
it’s a number? She can’t be sure. She tries to enlarge the image, but to no
avail, the screen mocking her with pixelated mystery. Perhaps she will contact
Special Collections to see the field notes in person, as any tenacious
researcher would, only to learn that the original was lost in the Great Silverfish
Infestation of 2095 or whatever. For all perishes eventually, even field notes.
I forgot where I was going with this. Something about
gutters? At any rate, that’s about all the time I have this week. See you next
time, and stay out of the gutter!
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