Category error


Yesterday, I catalogued a frog.  I often get to catalogue some peculiar items as part of my job, as our library stock includes a collection of ‘things’ used by student teachers.  Artefacts for use in history and religious education, stopwatches and trundle wheels for maths, board games for all sorts of subjects.  And a frog.  Specifically, a beanbag frog called Fred, which is used to teach phonics (in conjunction with other resources, mostly books and flashcards).  I’m not sure how this works, exactly, but according to the publishers, Fred Frog is only able to communicate in pure sounds.  Poor chap.

Cataloguing these oddities makes my job that little bit more interesting, and Fred Frog was no exception.  However, dealing with him (it?) did introduce a major category error in my mind, for I discovered that Fred Frog has an ISBN (9780199116546 if you’re interested).  This is most odd.  ISBN, for those not initiated, stands for International Standard Book Number.  Not thing number, toy number, amphibian number or random item number. Book number.  Fred Frog is rather lovely.  Fred Frog is probably very useful.  Fred Frog cheered me up no end, particularly when his picture appeared in my catalogue record (due to the ISBN being picked up).  But he is not a book.  Not even the most generous definition of ‘book’ could stretch to include a frog-shaped beanbag toy.  Some things are just wrong.  And amusing though it may be, a frog with an ISBN is definitely one of those things.

    • Trish
    • November 10th, 2010

    Yes, that is definitely wrong. Once you have to start cataloguing frogs who knows what else you will have to catalogue. Where will it all end?

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