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Ben Ratliff

(b. 1968– )

U.S. music critic and author

“There are 15 floors of stacks with 64 rows of books per floor, running about 25 feet each; 6 or 7 shelves in each row. Can you actually browse there, find books on your own, faced with the dark phalanxes? You can, once you get subject areas in your head. Having made enough spot searches, you grasp the logic of each floor. There are no signs to help you, only diagrams with codes and numbers. You can also create luck in any given spot: You turn your head to the opposing row of books. A different subject area can arise, perhaps only partly to do with your areas of interest. This is non-link-based browsing. You can discover, instead of being endlessly sought.”

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source: “Grazing in the Stacks of Academe,” New York Times, June 26, 2012.

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medium: newspaper article

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