RE: Canonical list of texts, across disciplines.

Leonardo Gonzalez (
Thu, 14 Oct 1999 23:02:31 -0700

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I think this is a great idea. Why don't we begin a list? I'll post it on a web page.

All we need is people to submit the works crucial to their development in their fields of expertise.

Send 'em,

Leonardo Gonzalez
President, Extropian Technologies
Cellular: (831) 840-0433
Fax: (831) 840-0420

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of O'Regan, Emlyn
> Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 1999 12:34 AM
> To: ''
> Subject: Canonical list of texts, across disciplines.
> Ladies & Jellybeans,
> I came across the idea of a canonical list of texts a while back (on
> Transhumantech)? The idea is to set up a centralised database on
> the web, of
> reading lists for every conceivable discipline/science/area of
> interest. It
> would need to be updated by netizens as they saw fit; people with specific
> knowledge of a particular area would be able to
> add/update/criticize reading
> lists regarding their area(s) of specialty.
> Anyone who has studied anything (bookish) has had the experience
> of finding
> useless books on subjects, finding mediocre books, and finding
> the essential
> (canonical) texts to which one will refer as the final arbiter on that
> subject. For instance, I have a shelf full of computer science & maths
> texts, some of which I cannot live without (in a professional sense).
> What I find irritating is that when I want to move into a different field
> (say physics), how do I begin? What is the definitive "introduction" book?
> Where do I go from there. How about if I know a bit about waves/particles,
> and a bit of maths, what would be the best book(s) to get me up
> to speed on
> nuclear physics? Often, if you haven't gone into the subject in
> enough depth
> (true by definition for the beginner), you don't even know what
> questions to
> ask to find out where to start, so a web search for this hazy grail is
> incredibly lengthy and probably fruitless.
> What would be useful is something like an annotated master catalog of
> university course reading lists. Sometimes the texts are inferior
> or hard to
> come by, but its a good approximation to a canonical texts list. Also I
> notice there are lists kicking around the net, but they seem quite
> specialised, and without much annotation (just a list of books).
> Does anyone know if the canonical texts database exists? If so, where? If
> not, how close an approximation is out there?
> Thanks all & sundry
> Emlyn

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