sig-o-matic I read I realized, "this would make a good .sig..."

Why?  |  Constraints (.sig a book yourself!)  |  Fair Use  



If you visit my library and open one of the books I've actually read (as opposed to the ones I've bought because I mean to master their subjects when I have some spare time), you may notice a discreet list of handwritten page numbers near the end of each book. Ever since I learned what a .sig file was, several decades ago now, I've found potential .sigs popping out at me from the books I read, and I've been unable to resist jotting them down to use them "someday". Which day has perhaps finally arrived.

I like to change my .sigs along with my mood -- so much cheaper than changing lipsticks or hats --

My first idea was to make it possible for me to grab my .sig archives for my own use, from anywhere. And then I realized: I haven't done a fun-but-almost-completely-pointless giving-something-back-to-the-web project yet, have I? And the sig-o-matic was born. (You can enter the URL with or without the hyphens.)

Reading: I do it obsessively, I study other people doing it (professionally), I've helped run more than one conference where readers can powwow (avocationally). Picking .sigs out of a book is yet another fun thing us readers can do when our feet are safely tucked under the end of the comforter and the bright light is falling on the pages at the perfect angle.

Stating the obvious (1): these skeins of quotations are in one way reader's reviews, without the holier-than-thou tone of a professional critic. The quotations I've selected are such a small fraction of the books that I feel I'm safely within the fair use provisions, which allow quotation for the purposes of review...

Stating the obvious (2): as I selected the .sigs, I drew silhoutte portraits of my own obsessions (writing, egotism) and those of people close to me (reptiles, polyamory). I'm stunned by how personal it has felt to decode those lists of page numbers for you. I'm confident that if you .sig'd one of the same books that I did, you'd pick completely different sentences. Let's test this hypothesis: I invite you to submit contributions to this project, as long as you're willing to work within the project's


Them's the constraints; if you would be willing to use them, I would likely feel very happy about including your selections on this site. I would also be interested to read and/or post anything you'd like to say about the specific reading or period of your life memorialized through selection: "I was recovering from surgery that summer and I think that's why all the .sigs I chose are about blood and flowers." Unfortunately I didn't keep those kinds of notes for the books I've .sig'd so far, but you can be sure that from now on I will.

If this project gets nightmarishly large and intense, I hope to add all sorts of searching, sorting, slicing and dicing capabilities. Right now it's still small, kaffeeklatsch-sized. Thank you for being one of the first to visit, and please do let me know what you think, or what you think it needs.

A gift to the web from Julianne Chatelain

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