Marginalia in the Library of Babel by Mark C. Marino

C.K.'s' Bookmarks

The Library of Babel (start here)
   15 March 8:02 pm

The Library of Babel - Wikipedia entry
   15 March 11:58 The Library of Babel (Pocket Paragon edition)
   6 April 1:09 am

The Library of Babel Generator
   12 May 1:15

Diigo Launches: tools for annotaton by Brian Benzinger
   6 December 4:37

Borges and the Forseeable Future (NY Times)
   7 January 3:22

Tlön's Library of Babel Simulation by Todd O. Dampier, 1998
   2 June 4:58 am

Borges' “Library of Babel” on the Internet by Christopher Rollason
   2 May 2:25 am

I Stole the Cube
   6 April 11:58 pm

Regarding “forking paths” by Stuart Moulthrop
   12 June 11:49 pm - the book of sand… by Ariel Malka, 2004
   8 July 11:23 pm

Guardian Unlimited Borges page
   7 February 11:42 pm

The Library of Babel trans. J. E. I. with 3-D rendering
   7 February. 11:03 pm

Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote, Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986)
   9 July 12:12 am

Introduction to the Semantic Web by Suellen Stringer-Hye
   4 May 10:30 pm

The Secret Chiefs — a Borges Band
   17 August 12:21 am

It starts with Borges. It always starts with Borges, the god of our hyperlinked souls. I fight the solitude of the vertigo he has imagined for me, and yet I may have finally found a way out of the labyrinth.

At night, I search for Borges, alone, hunched in the solitary chamber of an internet browser. Searching for something original to say about his genius. If I were not seeking him, I would be seeking myself. And I already know where I am and the speck size of my shadow on the Web.

We search obsessively at night as we yield the time for interiority to a desperate exteriority that lacks the confining cowl of contemplation.

Every midnight, I pace the endless halls of the Library of Babel spreading infinitely within my office. For we have realized that library, have we not? This thing that captures all we (could) write, that can encircle the universe, that transcribes information from the air we breathe. We have encoded it. We have executed Borges' story, and here we are. The Internet. The Library. They are one. How the centigrade drops out when you realize you have been so utterly predicted.

But my machine is evolving the power of speech. It told me I was not alone, that I could leave a record of my footsteps, carve my marks upon the wall for those who discover my hexagonal cell. How can I not help but be gladdened by the possibility? Unless it is not a possibility. Unless I am as always no more than a trace imagined by these packet-switching machines and their omniscient fiber-optics.

Write in the margins, suggested my machine. Social annotation. It means that I exist or have existed. I no longer have to be an author or even an editor. My very reading practices anthologize.

With these tools, I am creating one of the possible combinations of slices of the web that spell out Borges highlighted in blue to show others, to share with others, like a hidden mark up in an underground railroad, like marks upon a wall. Consider this record, too, an homage of connections. As one man's travels through another man's influence. An assemblage that is also a desperate message. Desperate because the medium does not seem to be a product of our imagination. Though it does not exist at all as we imagine it, nor, by extension, do we.

It began when I read that story .

And it ends with me staring until I go blind, abandoned by all but my notes. My circular ruins. Notes that I cannot slip into my loved ones' pockets, I post for you.

Fellow traveler, tracking my steps, when you go to these places, you will see my annotations and follow them to other annotations or return here or leave your own annotations and share them with someone else, or return to reading books, yes those disconnected apparati, in which no one traces your steps but the librarian and the federal agents she whispers to every night under 3-D renderings of torn-sheets in that Second Life flophouse. That is the trick of it. They have stolen our lonely landings, our solitude. That enticing call to interconnection, to public introspection, leaves us without an offline self.

The notes will frequently offer the opportunity to return to the annotated text of the “The Library of Babel” as well as Home, here, the partial–yes, always partial–list of the annotations.


Back Home Library of Babel Text Next

A kind of map to my links. Let me share my bookmarks with you and my dog ears and my highlighting, my underlining, my frowns, my boxes around words, my question marks, my crossings out, my reading, my solitude, my mental state at the interface of the text. Of course, since this is my borrowing record from the Library, it is expanding and shifting even now.
--C.K. 27 August 1:12 am

Author's Note: This page offers a reproduction of an excerpt from the longer and ongoing work Marginalia in the Library of Babel. That longer narrative presents annotations via the social bookmarking and annotation plugin Diigo, using live web pages. For the sake of maintaining stability for publication, this version uses saved versions of those pages and a custom system for annotations developed by Keith Gustafson. All copyrights and permissions remain with the authors of the original pages, though these older saved pages may not match the current live versions. Changes were made to the original pages only when necessary to facilitate the annotation tools.