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Re: Armitage CD and other electronic wonders

Guess I'm the only contrarian who thinks most gardening books are how-to manuals, not something to get teary-eyed over--rather something to get into, find what you're looking for, and get out of as quickly as you can. A long time ago, I thought reading the dictionary was fun but I gave it up once someone invented the spellchecker. Can't say that I miss it.

And, of course, there are many, many books that I enjoy that will likely never become electronic--in spite of the herculean effort of the Gutenburg Project. But when I want to remember a passage from Huckleberry Finn, I go to Gutenburg and do a site search. I don't try to thumb through the yellowed pages of an old, inexpensive [probably book club issue], dog-eared copy.

And, yes, I wandered though the back stacks, not only at university, but also at the National Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD, before the National Agricultural Library was built. In those innocent days, I could check out 17th and 18th century books--even take them home to share with my children. That stuff [John Gerard's herbal and Philip Miller's Gardeners' Dictionary] will probably never make the electronic library. And it's a pity. Because they haven't made the reprint paper library either. And probably won't.

Qualifier--Gerard's herbal was reprinted in facsimile several years ago at something like $100 per copy; as far as I know, Miller [the most popular gardening book of its time, and perhaps for a 100 years thereafter] has never been re-printed on cheap or expensive paper. My first wife [divorce settlement story] has a third edition. Seventeen hundred something; bound in leather.

I'd settle for it on a web site.

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