How do you sort your MLs?

Murry or Carolyn Spector candm at
Mon Oct 18 10:03:46 EDT 2004

I start with the Boni-Livright books without covers. These are in 
alphabetical order by author. Following that are the small MLs with cover by 
number. The rest of the regular MLs with covers are by number, then the 
giants with covers by number. Now that I have about 600 of these things, I'm 
not as quick at finding a specific book as I used to be, however I have 
Henry's guide to look up the author and find the number.

Murry Spector
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Scot Kamins" <kamins at>
To: "ML LIstServ" <modlib at>
Sent: Sunday, October 17, 2004 1:16 PM
Subject: How do you sort your MLs?

> Folks,
> When I first started collecting MLs, I sorted the books by binder type 
> (pre-8, 8-14. giants), alphabetically within type. I didn't have that many 
> pieces, so when I wanted to pull a volume to read it was easy to scan for 
> what I wanted.
> When my collection grew beyond a couple hundred titles, this became 
> inconvenient. Sometimes I wanted a novel, sometimes a volume of poetry - 
> but being over 50, my powers of recall had become not as good as they once 
> were. "Who was that sharp-tongued woman from the Algonquin Group who wrote 
> all those great short stories?" Scanning 30 or 40 titles looking for the 
> book was one thing - but scanning over ten times that many became a 
> problem.
> So I sorted my collection by genres - poetry, drama, short stories, 
> novels, biography, essays, philosophy, religion, psychology, and so on - 
> in alphabetic order by author, with each section starting with anthologies 
> of miscellaneous authors sorted by title. I ended up with fifteen areas or 
> so. (I keep all the illustrateds and the buckrams together, with the 
> buckrams sorted numerically just for fun.) This was a fine solution - 
> scanning the short stories area was much easier now ("Oh - there she is - 
> Dorothy Parker - right!"). Novels were still a problem because there were 
> so many of them, but I muddled through.
> The problem came when I began selling my collection. I have descriptions 
> and values for most of the books in a database; I exported the database 
> files to HTML tables, and that's what ended up as my For Sale lists at 
> Dogeared. When someone ordered a book, I'd go to the shelves and pull the 
> title for verification and packing.
> But in the database I neglected to create a field called "genre." Where 
> did I put Homer? He was a poet (genre: Poetry), but I couldn't recall if 
> the translations were done into prose - and if so, were they with the 
> Novels or in the Mythology section? (Answer: Poetry for both him and 
> Virgil, because when I studied them in High School...) And Nostradamus - 
> where the heck did I put him? (Answer: Religion, for "Prophesy). Flame of 
> Life - what the heck was that???
> (By the way, Flame of Life is how the Titles index at Dogeared came about. 
> Without searching can you recall who wrote that - and what genre it's in?)
> So this is a long-winded way of asking: How do you sort your MLs, and why? 
> What have you found are the shortcomings of that method?
> -- 
> Scot Kamins
> "Modern Library books are intended to be read and not just to be stuck 
> away in bookcases like old sets of Balzac and Victor Hugo..."
>                    - Bennett Cerf

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