I’m collecting songs “about” cataloging, classification, naming, lexicography, language issues, and a small group of related topics not fully explicated (yet).
I may also start a list somewhere about music to “catalog” to, that is to listen to while doing metadata-type work, but that’s separate. I do have a mix that I’ve been listening to, and it’s really good because it has a lot of changes in tempo and beat which keeps the brain moving along. But back to the current issue…
One wouldn’t have to be a “cataloger”/metadater/etc. to suggest/make additions. Especially since I am using “cataloging music” to refer to a whole raft of word/concept/description issues.
It doesn’t have to be a complete song to have relevance. I doubt there are any real songs about cataloging. Actually, I know that there is a little ditty we lovingly call “The Dewey Decimal Song,” but I fear mentioning it. I know nothing else about it, except that I played it for 3 sections of Cheryl Tarsala’s LIS507 Cat & Class class. I guess that makes it a “real” enough song about cataloging. 🙂 [OMG! A quick search shows that there is more than one Dewey Decimal Song, although I did not find the one Cheryl uses. I’ll leave it to you to find them for yourselves.]
Back to the topic at hand, it might just be a line or two, if they are especially relevant. Thus, I guess it’s a lot like defining porn. We will each know it when we see it, and we’ll each draw the line in different places along a continuum, if not varying continua. Nonetheless, feel free to help me compile a list. If I get enough suggestions to make it worthwhile I’ll probably make a page for it on my website; which could honestly use a bit of content.
Here is the start of my list, along with some relevant (to me) lyrics, and where I might have cited it before:
Masterfade – Andrew Bird from Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs
well you sure didn’t look like you were having any fun
with that heavy-metal gaze they’ll have to measure in tons
and when you look up at the sky
all you see are zeros
and all you see are zeros and ones
…does it matter?
if we’re all matter
what’s the matter does it matter
if we’re all matter when we’re done?
when the sky is full of zeroes and ones
and if the green grass is 6 and the soybeans are 7
the junebugs are 8 the weeds and thistles are 11
if the 1s just hold their place the 0s make a smiley face
when they come floating down from the heavens
I first wrote about it here. At one point when I was first working on this idea—much later than my 1st use of this song—I had made a great connection between Masterfade and Karen Calhoun and her ilk. Unfortunately, I did not record that connection explicitly and it now escapes my capability to clearly recall it. It had to do with a clear over-reliance on the digital, though.
The Naming of Things – Andrew Bird from Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs
you weren’t there that day for the naming of things
the naming of things
Written about at same post as above. This one is pretty darn loose I know. But I like it and I’m letting it on my own personal list; it resonates with me.
Night Vision – Suzanne Vega from Solitude Standing
When the darkness takes you
With her hand across your face
Don’t give in too quickly
Find the thing she’s erased
Find the line, find the shape
Through the grain
Find the outline and things will
Tell you their name
Seems pretty self evident to me. Used here first.
Language – Suzanne Vega from Solitude Standing
These words are too solid
They don’t move fast enough
To catch the blur in the brain
That flies by and is gone
I won’t use words again
They don’t mean what I meant
They don’t say what I said
It’s just the crust of the meaning
With realms underneath
Never even moved through
If language were liquid
It would be rushing in
Instead here we are
In a silence more eloquent
Than any word could ever be
Also used here. I sometimes find that when I am trying to determine the correct subject headings and call number for a work that the words on the page of the DDC manuals or ClassWeb or some other tool are too solid, but that the concept that I am really looking for is just a “blur in [my] brain, that flies by and is gone.”
Midsummer Night’s Dream – Noe Venable from the world is bound by secret knots
…when all of this is memories
what kind of creature shall i be?
>> How’d you get in here? — shh! it’s a secret >> tell me! — on flying heels and wagon wheels…
So I run out but not away
shooting off sparks into the dark out in the street
cause one day I am going to bloom
patient and proud with fish in my mouth and eyes in my wings
What kind of creature shall I be?
In many ways, catalogers really are answering this question of the resources we describe, “What kind of creature shall I be?” This is particularly so in serials cataloging. Of course, there’s the literary connection, too.
Crosseyed and Painless – Talking Heads from Stop Making Sense
I’m ready to leave-I push the fact in front of me
Facts lost-Facts are never what they seem to be
Nothing there!-No information left of any kind
Lifting my head-Looking for danger signs
Facts are simple and facts are straight
Facts are lazy and facts are late
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don’t do what I want them to
Facts just twist the truth around
Facts are living turned inside out
Facts are getting the best of them
Facts are nothing on the face of things
Facts don’t stain the furniture
Facts go out and slam the door
Facts are written all over your face
Facts continue to change their shape
Objectivity. Facts. Words. Are they really all they’re cracked up to be?
Across the Universe – The Beatles from Let It Be
Words are flowing out like
endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away across the universe
Thoughts meander like a
restless wind inside a letter box
they tumble blindly as
they make their way across the universe
Also used at words. redux. post.
That’s all I have for now. Please feel free to help me flesh this list out some. You can either comment here or email me via the Contact form.