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Some critics of the first edition said the book had its virtues but was not methodical enough; it wasn't organized systematically and failed to cover everything in a logical way. They were probably right. But if I were to dissect the dictionary structure in a completely calm and logical way, if I were to write a string of endless, numbered paragraphs, followed by followed by, and so on, one passive-voice sentence dribbling away into the next, the system might be improved but the book would be unreadable, and worse, unread. Writing is hard work, and I have never been motivated to write a book that no one will read, even if it wins critical acclaim. One has to have some passion to write a book when one isn't doing it to earn a living.

— Sidney I. Landau, Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of Lexicography, 2004. From the preface to the second edition.

...errors of the pen, of judgment, of typography, and of knowledge...

ONE of the most valuable contributions that can be made in any science is a good bibliography, and the difficulty of making it is commensurate with its value. The preparation of such a work is an attractive field for a bibliophile, and many have been the attempts to enter it, but only a few who have made the venture have accomplished anything of permanent value. How difficult even the masters have found the task is easily seen by any scholar who has studied carefully some portion of the field, for his own bibliography soon becomes far more complete than any other that he consults on that particular domain. For this reason it is easy to find fault with a work like the one under review. The task is so herculean, the patience needed is so inexhaustible, the scholarship demanded is so extensive, that errors are certain to creep in; errors of the pen, of judgment, of typography, and of knowledge. And recognizing all this, a reviewer should approach his examination of such a work with abundant charity, and with the determination to find the good that is in the book.

— David Eugene Smith reviewing Von E. Wölffing's Mathematiseher Büchersehatz [sic] (1903) in Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, volume 10, number 5, (1904), 261–263.

It takes a sort of inspired idiot to be a good bibliographer...

It takes a sort of inspired idiot to be a good bibliographer, and his inspiration is as dangerous a gift as the appetite of the gambler or dipsomaniac—it grows with what it feeds upon, and finally possesses its victim like any other invincible vice.

— Elliot Coues, author of the "monumental but never completed" Universal Bibliography of Ornithology, in "Coues Column". The Osprey. 2 (39). November 1897.  Quoted in Shoemaker, Richard (1967). "Bibliography (General)". In Downs, Robert B.; Jenkins, Frances B. Bibliography: Current State and Future Trends (PDF). Illinois Contributions to Librarianship, No. 8. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. p. 5. 

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DGAF This user can't be arsed, and hopes some day you will join them.
Puppeter template.svg This username is an alternative account of Garamond Lethe.