No, you geeks, I don’t mean wiki confluence, though that works pretty well and I use it at work.

And I don’t mean the photo project, though I love the idea.

I’m just talking about my own little life.

I love it when a book or magazine article I’m reading refers to another book or magazine article I’ve already read. Slowly and unsteadily, I’m trying to make a sort of index of my own library, keeping track of each book that refers to another one that I own.

I use two databases for my library. One is Delicious Library. It’s very pretty and actually allows me to scan in the bar code of a book using a web cam. And it allows me to plug in my own data and search by it. So I’ve been trying to note when a book talks about another book (or mentions it in the index). Then, if I search for, “Darwin,” let’s say, the books he authored will pop up, but so will any books that refer to his work.

Maybe that’ll really annoy me at some point, but for now, I like it.

The other database I use is LibraryThing, which is not pretty at all and you can’t scan anything. But LibraryThing is kinda cool because you can view other people’s libraries (here’s mine), and see little reports on who shares the most books with you, which author or book is in the most libraries, how many people rated a given book, which tags are applied where, and lots of other folksonomy-type stuff. I haven’t even started tagging my stuff yet, though I have some ideas on what I’d like to do.

What got me writing this post today was an article in this month’s Wired supplement, “Geekipedia.” They do an A-Z of stuff that geeks need to know, and one of the entries is “String theory smackdown,” which displays the opposing viewpoints of a couple of physicists.

So, the two physicists are Brian Greene and Lee Smolin. What got me kind of warm and happy was knowing that I saw Greene speak at my local library a while back, and have two of his books on my shelf. (He was one of the best all-round speakers I’ve ever seen, by the way.)

And I have one book by Lee Smolin, but more to the point, I JUST mentioned his name in my little podcast ten days ago.

There’s something extremely gratifying about reading an article like that and saying, “hey, I know both of those guys.” Of course, by “know,” I mean “don’t know, but know who they are.” But that’s good enough for me.

One Response to Confluence

  1. Mom September 29, 2007 at 4:19 am #

    I really liked it when I sent you a random article that was sent to me and you had not only already read it, but had written the author and received a reply.
    I felt for a moment that we had really connected in some mysterious deeper way than normal. It was a “wow” moment for me. That was confluence for me.

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