Friday, May 28, 2010

Interesting books

Cataloging books at a university library I often come across books that look interesting, but sometimes I also wonder why we would purchase certain books. For example, I just cataloged a French translation of a book originally written in English about the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. We already have the English language book in the library. So what is the point in getting a French translation? Although we have many foreign students here, I doubt there is a great need among our library patrons to read a French translation of this work originally written in English, especially when it will be sitting right next to the original English copy on the bookshelf.

Of course, translated works can be very valuable, as well as foreign language works, of which we have many. But the point of obtaining a book in its original language, even if a translation is available, is because sometimes the original nuances gets lost in translation. And the point of having translated works is to make the books more accessible to the library patrons. But to obtain a translated copy of a book originally written in English does not make much sense.

Sorry to belabor the obvious. In any case it is not my job to choose books for our library, only to catalog them.

Also sorry I have been away from this blog for so long. I will try to post more often.