There are many reasons to read. For some it’s a purely pleasurable activity, and for others it is rigorous research. Regardless of the aim, it can be useful to keep a personal bibiography of everything read so far.
I started this practice near the beginning of 2021, and have enjoyed it immensely. If you head to my personal bibliography, you will find 15-sentence technical articles, full-size books, and everything in-between. It started out as a books-read list, but expanded to include most everything I read.
There are a few good reasons to keep such a public document:
- There is a permanent record of read works that can be referenced later when you’re thinking “Where did I read that?”
- It trains you to read and synthesize full works rather than skimming articles for the juicy parts. How do you document a half-reading of a work? The illegibility of the concept of kinda-sorta reading prevents it from being recorded in the bibliography and is consequently discouraged.
- It discourages you from reading intellectual trash, because everyone’s going to see on your public website that you read the trash.
- Quotes have a sensical place to live. Rather than keeping a separate file of interesting quotes, you can make a sub-bullet under an entry in the bibilography and include it inline.
- If posted publicly, other people can see what you’re reading and benefit from your finds.
Inspired by the personal bibliographies of Roslyn Ross: