Justin Skolnick lives and works in Portland.


Originally posted to blockquote.org on in Chicago, Illinois

Now that books are finally entering the world of networked, digital text, they will undergo the same transformation that Web pages have experienced over the past 15 years. Blogs, remember, were once called “Web logs,” cultivated by early digital pioneers who kept a record of information they found online, quoting and annotating as they browsed.

With books becoming part of this universe, “booklogs” will prosper, with readers taking inspiring or infuriating passages out of books and commenting on them in public.

Moreover . . .

In this world, citation will become as powerful a sales engine as promotion is today.

Man, what a great idea. Like, if I was building a web site these days, I would totally build a citation engine into the admin system. Now, I’d have to think carefully about how that could work on the database level, to leave room for changing needs in document citation, and that would take some serious planning. Mindful of cultural tastes and values, I’d have to roll things out on the front end slowly, so that one day it just seemed natural to have citations on a blog post — natural, that is, outside the academy. And, most important, I’d have to give the site a clever but totally descriptive name, something memorable.

I sure wish I’d thought about that.