Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ephemera - word of the day

Update: Spelling corrected! "Aargh" (as the pirates cavorting in front of the local theater said, advertising Johnny Depp's new film)

Not at all sure of my audience here - unless it is primarily myself - who else would wait two weeks or more for the next installment? Many apologies. Anyway, I do have ideas and plans for thoughts to share, just no time to think.

But this morning, reading an article by John Lemuel called "Thanks for the Memory" from the Chronicle of Higher Education, I saw myself (or myself and my office) piled with papers. Lemuel's comments are apt:
At what point would she be forced to quit filing things or get a bigger office?

The fear of forgetting makes many academics file our memories in those ubiquitous metal boxes -- as well as in piles of papers stacked in front of, on top of, and all around the cabinets. The erudite term for such documentary accretions is "ephemera." But despite the fleeting, here-and-gone connotations of the term, those accumulations of memorabilia can have a considerable half-life.

But at least having the dignity of calling my assorted papers ephemera makes them sound much more worthy.
As anyone who has seen the piles of paper in my office can attest, I can relate to this dilemma. And after all, with a grandfather as an archivist at the Library of Congress, I may be destined to accumulate papers. Actually, today's new technology, especially databases such as tag clouds (see TagCrowd) make it easier to file (mentally?) and find information because I find it so limiting to have to pick a single category and later have trouble guessing which category I might have chosen. Which is why I don't file things.



Post a Comment

<< Home