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  • Writing in Library Books

    Like probably many members of this forum I borrow many military books from libraries. Sometimes I find books where earlier readers have added notes, usually corrections.

    I have often found these interesting and sometimes useful, but writing in a library book is something I didn’t think I’d ever do.

    However, I’m currently reading “Burma Road” by Donovan Webster and while discussing the attack on Pearl Harbor he adds:

    “Then just hours later, shortly after midnight on December 8 the Japanese began their pre-invasion bombing of British-held Malaya …”

    Mr Webster seems to think that the attack on Malaya started after the attack on Pearl Harbor. My sources claim it was the other way around and I suspect he has been tricked by the International Date Line.

    Assuming I’m correct. I’m tempted to add a note to that page in the book.

    So, how many of you would write in a library book to correct something the author wrote?
    22
    Yes
    13.64%
    3
    No
    86.36%
    19

  • #2
    I voted no. But on further thought I have done this.

    I study English part time. Our exams are often open book. You can bring in your primary sources, but not references. You need the books to reference properly in an exam. You are allowed marginalia. It makes the exams nasty. Much deeper analysis is expected.

    I often write in my margenalia things like, "but so and so said this," "the author condradicts himself in book x," "See book X," "The author is mistaken in their understanding of," "the author's view is coloured by the patriarchal and exclusive structure of the church at the time," "the heroic problem is influenced earlier by X and shows in this work," "this is a poor translation of the anglo saxon," etc...

    You will especially see corrections in analysis that rely on deconstructionism. This was in vogue a while ago. It's fallen out of favour now except as a tool for analysis, rather than an end in itself. So, a lot of books on literary criticisms and bibliographies have a great deal of margenalia.

    You can only bring in the actual works to exams. Not analysis, library resources etc... But the margenalia in library books helps in writing papers. I've done it in library books. Personally, I appreciate good notes in library books. It saves me a lot of time.
    Last edited by Duncan; 19 Aug 06, 02:38.
    AHIKS - Play by (E)mail board wargaming since 1965.
    The Blitz - Play by Email computer wargaming.

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    • #3
      I once read a history of the 10th Mountain Division. Before I had got to it, a veteran of another division in Italy got ahold of it! He wrote a bunch of stuff in it, usually in disagreement with the written word. It was very entertaining! I wish I could have got that book when they retired it!

      Pruitt
      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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      • #4
        I'd compromise and stick a Post-It note in there.

        Dr. S.
        Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

        www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

        www.tabletown.co.uk

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Doctor Sinister
          I'd compromise and stick a Post-It note in there.

          Dr. S.

          A very civilized alternative, Doctor!

          Better than the boring harangue I had prepared against such behaviour.
          BoRG

          You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by captainsennef
            A very civilized alternative, Doctor!

            Better than the boring harangue I had prepared against such behaviour.

            You and me both. My first reaction to this post was to and then my second reaction was to get really and . So rather than write some post that would make people reading it I just voted no.
            "The legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace." General William T. Sherman , 20 July 1865

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            • #7
              Hell no!

              I grew up spending many a day in a library, being raised to rever them and what they hold within. I'm a terrible stickler to anyone defacing library books, with even so much as a dog-ear. However, I would not hesitate to bang out a correcting e-mail to the author / publisher, along with factual backup info, if I ever found an error.

              Which brings up another question: Has anyone read any glaring errors in a military history tome, and what did you do, if anything?
              Stay Alert, Stay Alive!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jim H. Moreno
                Which brings up another question: Has anyone read any glaring errors in a military history tome, and what did you do, if anything?
                Not an error per say, but I did contact an author questioning the type of aircraft used for utility work on aircraft carriers in WWII. I got several answers from folks that didn't seem to fit make sense to me. He did respond and later I found a definitive answer and emailed him back with the the information and the book I saw it in.
                As lord and master of your grill, you will welcome any opportunity to display your grilling prowess.
                Mario Batali, 2006

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                • #9
                  I wouldn't do it.

                  "Advances in technology tend to overwhelm me."

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                  • #10
                    Nope, I would never write in a library book. I can't stand people who mark books up with pencils and highlighters.
                    There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full. -Henry Kissinger

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                    • #11
                      I voted no. Looking at it from a research point of view picture a student reading an important document may be influenced by what is written as marginalia but this cannot be referenced. also the information added may be incorrect or the writers opinion.

                      I have had cause to question information in a museum that was incorrect and had the correction made to the exhibit. This was in the Imperial War Museum(North) they had transposed the discriptions of two early ww1 radios describing the German as British and vice versa
                      Confucius he say, war not determine who's right. War determine who's left

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Doctor Sinister
                        I'd compromise and stick a Post-It note in there.

                        Dr. S.
                        Very clever.
                        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                        • #13
                          Right after raping my wife, or molesting my son, comes defacing my books.

                          Nope, might not be MY books, but books are special to me. Your comments might be accurate, but then again, YOU might be wrong too. Either way, I have strong feelings about people screwing around with books.

                          Copying them won't bug me at all, altering them will.
                          Life is change. Built models for decades.
                          Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                          I didn't for a long time either.

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                          • #14
                            I have been tempted more than a few times, especially by authors who seem...shall we say...a tad out of touch with reality? But like others here, I revere books and hate to see writing in them, (almost as much as I hate trurned down corners ) beyond which the unknown authors might themsleves be wrong.

                            I have often had the urge to correct improper English and then send the book back to the editor/publisher to remind him of what he gets paid for and isn't doing.

                            I like the Post-It suggestion, but perhaps there should be several blank sheets at the end of books to allow for commentary, and names, addresses and e-mail addresses should be mandatory.

                            I suspect that since the advent of Wikipedia, we will see a lot more of this.
                            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                            • #15
                              Sometimes the "wrongness" of books can be of historical value.

                              Sounds odd of course, but I have a coffeetable book called The Treasury of the Encyclopedia Britannica. It's a collection of material from the earliest incarnations of that work. It's hilarious to read it, and laugh at all the outrageous "facts".

                              One of the more quoted must reads from WW2 is a book called Company Commander, by Charles B MacDonald (think I have the name properly spelled).
                              While it is a great read, it has numerous factual errors in it, that might be obvious to us now, but, the errors are a window to the world and the time when the book was written.

                              Thus, while one of us smart ass scholars might be able to pen in corrections, and might even be correct too, it would be soiling a work of literature all the same.

                              The only way to know something completely, is to do your research. Just reading one book though, and declaring yourself informed, is naturally dumb.
                              Life is change. Built models for decades.
                              Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                              I didn't for a long time either.

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