Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Open Notebook Project

About a year ago I bought a small notebook. A few weeks ago, I bought a second. The first had filled up - initially with shopping lists and to-do items, but then increasingly other notes - haiku, ideas, doodles, tiny plans for world domination.

I've always run off paper, but usually scraps - backs of receipts and the nearest postal spam to hand. Holding a completed notebook in my hand was a new experience - a chronology of cognition, of moods, of divination, of places I'd been and people I'd met.

In short, I found it too interesting an object - in itself, lying before me - to immediately throw away. Its pages were me.

I asked around on Twitter - what should a person do with such a thing? The ever-co-conspiratorial Bookmore assisted:

"Scan it all, frame your favourite piece, donate ideas as gifts to people they remind you of."
Wise advice, and it struck a chord. Recently I'd installed some camera-scanner apps on my phone, so I fired one up, and started scanning in any interesting pages. I skipped the shopping lists.

It took a few days, but it got there. Scanned, sorted - and now shared. I wondered, is there anything to gain from an "open notebook"? I always love seeing other people's notes (science ones, graf artists, &c.), so maybe there's a small chance that my own are of interest some day or some where. I also kind of like the idea of being able to discuss current ideas between a circle of people as well - a form of "open source
creativity".

If you're interested, you can view scanned the pages via Dropbox (BTSync was in the planning, but need to run some tests/checks on this):

Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zn6jnsxapmdnfvt/AACXpHF4uj9YcHdmadOwI7STa?dl=0

Haven't deeded if I'll send any pages yet. But I've enjoyed the "digitisation" process and the questions it leads to, such as:
  • should I transcribe text or not? Is it the text that's the content, or the presence of the page itself?
  • should pages be sorted chronologically, or into categories?
  • should these notes be kept apart from other notes, eg. email, test messages. Why / why not? Is the idea of a "notebook" significant in itself?
  • should notebook 2 get digitised as I go, or at the end?
Drop me a line with any thoughts on any of this!

More broadly, I'm doing a lot more with paper still - the tangibility of the medium along with the absent virtuality inherent to the handwritten form seems to hit a gap that the online world is designed to leave behind.

More paperwork soon. For now, the open notebook is out there, at least. Would love to know if any of it is useful or interesting, but at the same time is it also a personal project that just happens to be "out in the wild" as well?

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