Turning up a quote by tapping a keyboard is not the same as, say, going to Bartlett’s—it short-circuits all contact with the contextual order that books represent. As I see it, the Kindle ethos—offering print by subscription, arriving from a vast, undifferentiated cyber-emporium out there—abets the decimation of context.
On reflection, I see three different categories of content and use in my reading & curating of content to my device:
- Ephemera put aboard for easier reading and markup than LCD onscreen reading: personal documents, web content from single source or compilation of multiple excerpts. As well, the subscriptions to blog, newspaper or magazine flow in & out (expire). They are not part of the kindle "bookshelf" or collections on the device.
- Long Tail of public domain, older works (e.g. via project Gutenberg.org). Here I browsed for early travel narratives, memoirs and life experiences of people now long gone.
- Current titles and backlist of books and periodicals for sale.
As a working method, I can envision a year from now storing unread content (type 1, 2, 3 above), but shifting materials that I have read and annotated to a backup medium like CD-r or DVD-r/w (unless it is a reference title or one that I want to return to again and again). That way the device will be a living "ecosystem" with old material removed to make room for fresh content. As such, I'll need to prune like an active and interested gardener.