The Librarians: Now With Footnotes


The project:

In brief, I’ve really enjoyed the commentary that Kristina Killgrove has been doing over at about the TV show Bones. (She’s a forensic anthropologist, and her primary area of study is people we don’t know much about in ancient Rome.)

I thought it might be really interesting to do something similar for The Librarians that looks both at how the library bits are portrayed, but also footnotes the various people, places, books, art, topics, and other things mentioned. I love my profession, and I think that our-world librarians do some really amazing things – but I also have a great fondness for pulpy shows and movies of this kind of genre, and the mixture of that with a joy-in-knowledge is a lot of fun for me.

I was also really curious about how many of the references are accurate (and which ones) and making connections between different bits of info, and so on and so forth. (Short version: the show runners are definitely playing with realities not ours, but a vast amount of the stuff that sounds like it’s real is accurate, once you allow for the premise.)

(See below for other links of interest, and more about the mechanics.)

What you should expect:

There is a reasonable chance of random book recommendations when things come up where I’ve read something relevant.

1) Summary: Links to the relevant IMDB and commentary from John Rogers (co-creator and various other roles on the show), as well as a brief plot summary.

2) Commentary: Things about librarians, Librarians, knowledge in the world, how people go about solving problems with information, etc.

3) Footnotes: Comments on bits of knowledge that’s scattered through the series. I am attempting to be thorough, but there are things I may miss. Feel free to add info in comments. (I’m especially likely to miss a range of pop culture references.)

In general, I’m aiming for “Hey, you’re one of the lucky 10,000! Whee!” if I get to introduce you to something new, rather than being an exhaustive answer. But I’m also hoping to make connections between bits of data that you, oh reader, might find interesting or amusing.

Many of my links will be to Wikipedia, because on a well-edited page, you get a fair bit of info, links to other resources and related topics, and so on (and the pages are designed to be easily read on a variety of devices, which is more than you can say for some websites.) I’ll note when links go to PDFs or video or sound files.

About character development, interpersonal plots, etc: I am unlikely to comment on them at any length, but reserve the right to do so at some point if the mood strikes me. (I am more likely to comment about bits of the series mythos.)

About spoilers:

The plot summary is about the same degree as detailed as the summaries you’d find on IMDB or iTunes or whatever. I try to avoid spoilers here for anything past the first five minutes of the show in the summary section. (i.e. a bit about setting or the thing they’re trying to find might show up.) There’s a ‘read more’ tag after this. I am not great at writing non-spoilery summaries, the goal is ‘oh, which episode is that again?’.

Both the commentary and footnote sections go in order of the actual show, and thus have spoilers.

I am doing my best to avoid spoilers for later episodes, but you may see things footnoted because they became relevant later without explaining why. (And at the time I started posting these, I have seen all ten episodes, so I’m aware of “Oh, hey, that’s more relevant later”.)

Mechanical details:

  • I am watching the episodes as they come out (the iTunes releases which include extended cuts when relevant.) This means I’ve now seen everything in the current series.
  • I rewatch to footnote, with the captioning on so I can grab correct spellings and precise wording. (If I catch a glitch in the captioning I will note it, but I am not attempting to proof things like Latin.)
  • I’ll be posting the writeups as I go, ideally a week apart, likely on a Tuesday.
  • I did the first three writeups (the first movie and the first two episodes of the series) before posting anything, to get a sense for how long they take me to do, and to make sure I had a bit of backlog.

Other resources of interest: 

Comment policy:

Comments with things I didn’t spot are welcome – in the spirit of this project, a “Hey, here’s this cool thing!” is much better than “How can you not know that?” (No one knows everything. Even The Librarian doesn’t.)

I reserve the right to delete comments that make the conversation a miserable place to be (spam, but also harassment, things that shut down people participating in the conversation rather than encouraging it, etc.)

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4 comments to The Librarians: Now With Footnotes

Hi, I’m Jen

Librarian, infovore, and general geek, likely to write comments about books, link collections, and other thoughts related to how we find, use, and take joy in information.

I'm the Research Librarian at the Perkins School for the Blind

More about my job and a day in the life

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