to the or not to the – that is the question

The annual Ig Nobel Prizes are meant to honor scientific achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think,” according to the founders at science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research.

What grabbed my attention this year was this year’s Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize, which was awarded to a Japanese (who else)  scientist for developing a method for extracting vanillin from cow dung.  Previous society-changing award-winning achievements from Japan include the invention of karaoke, which received the Peace Prize, and the Tamagotchi, which received the Economics Prize.  Imagine a life in Japan with no karaoke?!

But onto more library related things, the ig noble award for literature this year went to Glenda Browne of NSW Australia for her study of the word “the” and of the many ways it causes problems for anyone who tries to put things into alphabetical order. Im now very afraid that this is going to create mass confusion and the world is going to explode because people are going to misread the article and think it’s right that titles starting with ‘The’ should be indexed under “T”.

To be more informed,  read the article, which examines rules and practice relating to the filing of ‘The’ at the beginning of index entries.  It recommends that the definite article should be accorded ‘more respect’.



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