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:

  1. There is a permanent record of read works that can be referenced later when you’re thinking “Where did I read that?”
  2. 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.
  3. It discourages you from reading intellectual trash, because everyone’s going to see on your public website that you read the trash.
  4. 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.
  5. If posted publicly, other people can see what you’re reading and benefit from your finds.

Inspired by the personal bibliographies of Roslyn Ross: