Cats make bad research assistants

As I mentioned in a previous post, I use lots and lots of tape flags to mark library books as I read them for class or research. The problem is that now that I’m sitting down to write final papers for my classes, PJ has decided that one of her favorite games is to yank tape flags from books and run off to chew them.

On top of the fact that I have to stop work and get up to retrieve the flag from her, once they’ve been pulled out, I really have no sense of where in the book the cryptic little notes I write go back in. The most recent one she yanked was from Thomas Weiskel’s The Romantic Sublime, and I had written “Figure out how MWS figures this,” with MWS being Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. I know it was some theoretical idea of Weiskel’s that I wanted to look for in Frankenstein, but which one? I don’t think other graduate students are working under these conditions.

(For the record, yes, I could label each flag with the book it came from and the page number or something, but really, how anal-retentive is that? On the other hand, as I’ve run out of library renewals on some of the books I’m using for my research, I’ve started deflagging them and recording the page number and note that I made in my research notebook. So I’m somewhere in between overly cautious and obsessive.)

2 Responses to “Cats make bad research assistants”

  1. Erin
    December 10th, 2007 21:32

    Or you could just be like a normal graduate student and write IN your books. Lyra also chews (and swallows) post-it flags, so I just make pencil notes to thwart her. If it’s a library book, I just figure that some future grad student will be grateful for my brilliant insights.

  2. Dan
    December 11th, 2007 02:33

    Believe me, she scribbles eagerly all over the books she owns, but is a bit more hesitant to add her inscriptions to library books. Hence: tape flags.

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