What’s on our Shelves: Index, a History of by Dennis Duncan // Audiobook bonus!

14th April 2023 | PTFS-Europe

I’m currently halfway through Index, A History of the. When it was gifted to me, my friend apologetically suggested it “might be really dull” – she couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s a book that will inform and entertain anyone interested in book publishing and the history of search. It traces the development of information locating innovations and systems that we take for granted -tables of content, alphabetical ordering, and page numbering. It’s also the story of people who believed such innovations would encourage laziness in readers and undermine scholarship – just as people hundreds of years later expressed concern that search engines would change the way people read and learn. The author’s passion for his topic, the breadth of his knowledge and his wonderful writing style make this book as much of a page turner as any detective story.

I also listen to audiobooks when I am on the move. The Cat Who Sang for the Birds (published in 1998) is one of many in a series featuring a journalist who has moved to a northern US town. He has a Siamese cat who helps him solve mysteries, and a partner who is the town librarian. I was listening yesterday when our protagonist sees smoke outside the public library. He finds a small group of disgruntled library patrons and volunteers who are denouncing the introduction of a computerised cataloguing system and burning their library cards in protest. Humans – worrying about information discovery innovations for centuries!


Val Skelton- Administrator PTFS Europe

Cat who sang for the birds book  cover


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