Friday, May 25, 2007

Nerrr-dy alert

From Slate: a little essay (photo-essay?) about the ubiquitous font Helvetica. (Ironically, it seems that the font used for the essay itself is Verdana.) Now the subject, also, of a tell-all book (persumably from the series 12PT: Behind the Typeface) and a documentary film.

I don't want to judge said film and book without having seen/read them, but does it ever seem to anyone else that our society is becoming really fragmented in its attentions? I mean, people used to write these books that would be like, "a brief Euro-centric history of civilization, some amusing racist limericks, three recipes for tripe, a hand-drawn map of Asia, a mathematical proof, and some parenting advice" (these books were referred to, in brief, as "Almanacs") whereas now you can read a 600-page book that is, like, a detailed history of the paperclip or an incisive commentary on vinyl. I'm not saying this is bad necessarily; it's just interesting.

I do live chat reference now for a couple different places (one as part of my job, the other as a volunteer) so if you post a question to any Alberta chat reference service I would say there is about a 60% chance it is being answered by me. In case it isn't being answered by me though, don't post facetious questions about Joss Whedon or attempts to prepare butter chicken in the home (tip: it never works. Go to an Indian restaurant.)

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