help me manage a hybrid library?
May 11, 2013 9:35 AM   Subscribe

After years of academia & the endemic rootlessness that comes with it, I have finally gotten myself a Permanent Job (yay!!) which means, among many things, that I can finally consolidate my book diaspora into one place. I've a huge number of books which are both physical and digital. Here's the problem: I want my library space to reflect both. Any suggestions? Details below.

I think of books not just as repositories of information, but physical souvenirs of both the past and future: things I plan to or need to read, and things I have read. I'm planning to implement a full Library of Congress cataloguing system in my office/permanent home, and I want to have some kind of physical thing which can stand for a book which I own virtually. I love James Bridle's idea of the Bookcube, but it's too flimsy. The principle is the same though: I want a visual reminder of my virtual library that can be integrated with my physical library. The thing in question should be cheap, sturdy but light, hopefully not ugly. Maybe book-shaped, but not necessarily, and certainly should be much thinner than an actual book, for space purposes. I should be able to put a label on it, and perhaps a post-it note or two. And it should be something I can get hold of easily, or made of something very common, so that it's at least easily replicable. I would love any thoughts, any ideas about what thing I should use, any further suggestions about the whole system in general! Many thanks in advance.
posted by idlethink to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Ribba frames? (If you learn to put your own mats, you can do more images than what is shown, all of them portrait instead of mixed portrait and landscape.) Photo flip frames? Although I might actually re-purpose a round Rolodex. You can do neat things in terms of catalogued displays in them.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:50 AM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

hmm, I like the photoframe idea, though it might be too expensive on the whole! Just to clarify: I'm looking for a large number of discrete items each of which represents one virtual book, which can be shelved among physical books. And not something I can flip through which represents my virtual library. So if I went with the photoframe idea, for example, I'd want one photoframe per book, rather than a flip-frame, and my shelf might look like this:

[book] [book] [photoframe] [book] [photoframe]
posted by idlethink at 10:01 AM on May 11, 2013

How about pieces of wood? You could buy some nice-looking planks, of an appropriate thickness and width, and cut them into pieces that are as long as a typical book is tall.

How many virtual books do you want to represent in this way, and how much space is available for them?
posted by James Scott-Brown at 10:09 AM on May 11, 2013

Slimline CD Jewel cases? They're only 5mm thick, can be given a label, and will store small things such as notes inside (I understand that the disk insert can be usually taken out). They also only cost pennies each.
posted by Jehan at 10:09 AM on May 11, 2013

You can also buy slimline DVD cases which are far more bookshaped, though the insides most often cannot be outtaken.

Edit: 20c each:
posted by Jehan at 10:12 AM on May 11, 2013

oh. that is just brilliant. why didn't I think of that! that might be my MO. index cards will fit inside even if the DVD inset can't be taken out.

I like the planks of wood idea: on the whole they would be much more beautiful dispersed among my books. but in terms of practicality, 20 cent plastic, alas, wins. many thanks to everyone!
posted by idlethink at 10:21 AM on May 11, 2013

A friend of mine had the same idea, and used these clear slimline DVD cases. They have an outer sleeve will hold printed material and they also have a place inside for printed material that will show through the clear case (if you prefer). My friend designed his own printed cover pages using his own custom template that included the digital cover image as well as a title and author on the spine.
posted by RichardP at 10:22 AM on May 11, 2013

7mm DVD Cases, 15c each:
posted by rhizome at 10:55 AM on May 11, 2013

it would be interesting to print the paperback cover, and then glue to cardstock, folding twice to make spine the correct width. you could stack layers of foam core inside along the spine and in the corners to support the covers.

you would have an artifact that you could handle, with the original artwork, title, author. you could include personal information inside-- when you first read the book, how it impacted your life.

i'm not fond of DVD covers, and the brittle, flimsy feeling.
posted by ohshenandoah at 11:46 AM on May 11, 2013

I love your idea, and that gave me one. I would use these:Oldschool Church Fans.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 4:24 PM on May 11, 2013

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