Wit and Wisdom on the Web: Netting Some Quotations

"A short saying oft contains much wisdom." Sophocles' words ring especially true for those of us drawn to proverbs, mottos, thoughts-of-the-day, inspirational messages, bons mots, saws and one-liners. Memorable quotes are worth collecting. Many of us store them for future use, whether in our writing, during a presentation, at a social gathering or for gracing the end of our e-mail messages. When we come across a familiar saying, we may wish to identify its source and verify its exact wording. Whether tracking down the origins of quotes, or trying to locate quotations on any topic, we often turn to a reputable source, such as Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Bartlett's and a myriad of other quotation resources can be found on the World Wide Web.

The Web version of the 9th edition (1901) of Bartlett's (http://www.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/bartlett/) represents over 800 authors and bibliographic sources of quotations, from the ancient Greeks up through the late 19th century. Extensive Biblical and Shakespearean quotes are also included. You can consult the chronological and alphabetical indexes of all sources, or you can type words or phrases into the search bar on the main page. Don't forget to read the searching tips (http://www.columbia.edu/acis/documentation/ghttp/search-info.html) when you are searching phrases or word combinations.

The Quotation Guide (http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/ee/msr/quote.html) features a robust arrangement of quotations on a variety of subjects, including art ("Art is either plagiarism or revolution"), language ("Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing") and life ("In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular").

If you are interested in a single compilation of many quotation sites on the Web, then consult the Galaxy page of quotations (http://www.einet.net/galaxy/Reference/Quotations.html), as it provides 75 links to other Internet quotation-related sites. It includes sites devoted to such topics as labor ("Don't agonize. Organize"), libraries and librarians ("There are 70 million books in American libraries, but the one I want to read is always out") and zingers ("The chief cause of problems is solutions").

You might agree with Emerson ("Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it"), or you may lean toward Poole's more cynical view ("The next best thing to being clever is being able to quote someone who is"). Nonetheless, as you hunt for quotations on the Web, you could adopt as your maxim "Nothing is so difficult but that it may be found out by seeking" (Terence).

For assistance in connecting to the World Wide Web via UB computer accounts, contact the ASCIT Help Desk at 645-3542.

­Deborah Husted Koshinsky and Rick McRae, University Libraries

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