commonplace books

Years and years ago, (1998) I was sitting around reading my copy of Benet’s Readers Encyclopedia, which is a somewhat obscure reference book. I came across a passage about “commonplace books” which described them as a type of journal from the 1800s where people would collect scraps of poetry, ideas and their own writing along a common theme. It differed from a diary in that it wasn’t a collection of personal recollections, but was more like an artist’s notebook. They were kept most often by authors who used them as the genesis for novels, but famous commonplace books were also kept by Thomas Jefferson and other politicos.
I was struck at that time by the similarity to what I was doing on the web. My site had been around for several years by that time; I had started with a few pages in 1994 on someone else’s site, and moved to my own area on a local service provider in 1996. I was essentially “blogging” regularly and had been since 1996, although blogger software was still a few years away and I was coding my “blog” by hand.
It was just about the time that it because possible for individuals to purchase domain names of their own, and my site, which was located at at the time, was looking more and more professional, although it still had the tell-tale “personal” URL. So I took the plunge and paid for my own domain name, purchasing “”
At the time, I had to explain the concept of a commonplace book to everyone and their mom and their dog every time I gave out my URL to people, or sent an e-mail, and for years I had the definition from Benets on the homepage of my site so people would stop e-mailing me about it.
A while back, I entered a google term of “commonplace book” into both google alerts and technorati so I could get an alert every time someone mentioned my site on their site.
Over the past six months or so, fourteen or fifteen different people have started calling their “blog” a “commonplace book” and they show up every day in my google and technorati pings.
Apparently, seven years after I started doing it, “commonplace book” has become the hot new thing to call your site to set it apart from the crowd.
Late bitches. Suffer; I’ve got the URL.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Bil Browning

    LMAO – Thankfully no one wants bilerico… 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.