My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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reshelving project

I love Jane. She just announced The Ministry of Reshelving and she wants your help:

How to Serve the Ministry of Reshelving

1. Select a local bookstore to carry out your reshelving activities.

2. Download and print “This book has been relocated by the Ministry of Reshelving” bookmarks and “All copies of 1984 have been relocated” notecards to take with you to the bookstore. Or make your own. We recommend bringing a notecard and 5-10 bookmarks to each store.

3. Go to the bookstore and locate its copies of George Orwell’s 1984. Unless the Ministry of Reshelving has already visited this bookstore, it is probably currently incorrectly classified as “Fiction” or “Literature.”

4. Discreetly move all copies of 1984 to a more suitable section, such as “Current Events”, “Politics”, “History”, “True Crime”, or “New Non-Fiction.”

5. Insert a Ministry of Reshelving bookmark into each copy of any book you have moved. Leave a notecard in the empty space the books once occupied.

6. If you spot other incorrectly classified books, feel free to relocate them.

7. Please report all reshelving efforts to the Ministry. Email your store name, location, # of 1984 copies reshelved, and any other reshelving activities conducted, to reshelving @ avantgame.com. Photos of your mission can be uploaded to Flickr, tagged as “reshelving”, and submitted to the Ministry of Reshelving group.

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14 comments to reshelving project

  • Blogher: Ring Thing Edition

    Mac Muck: “I got motivated to start a blog from the girls that attended Blogher.”The Adnostic: “In a twisted kind of way that will eventually turn annoying, this is really romantic.”I really can’t summarize this post …

  • Ok, this is clearly fantastic. I think Brave New World could be moved at the same time.

  • can i just say on behalf of librarians everywhere: thanks, a lot. i just hope this is limited to bookstores and not done in libraries.

  • Ministry of Reshelving

    Das ist doch mal ein interessantes Projekt…How to Serve the Ministry of Reshelving
    1. Select a local bookstore to carry out your reshelving activities.
    2. Download and print "This book has been relocated by the Ministry of Reshelving&quo…

  • Ken

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

  • That’s hysterical. And sadly true.

  • Minishel

    Brilliant idea. A surprisingly large number of humorless bookstore employees based on the comments. (Of course, on the Internet, nobody knows whether you’re really a bookstore employee.) I think I have enough good reshelving karma that I shouldn’t feel to

  • Stacey

    The markers are a fantastic idea. A few years ago there was a book published called “A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion”, where these 2 male academics made the most offensive arguments about how it’s a “natural” phenomenon, blah blah blah, and it was just the most incredible piece of garbage and it enraged me to see it. So whenever I’d see it in a bookstore, always shelved under “science” or “biology,” I would relocate it to some other section, usually “Occult” or “True Crime” or “Fiction.” But I never used a marker of any kind to indicate that the move was *intentional* and its new location was *deliberate*. I’ll definitely print some of those out.

  • Unfortunately, it’s reversible, and has more or less already been going on in the other direction. For years I’ve found total crap that’s been intentionally shelved in the “science and nature” section, especially in national chains — life-after-death stuff, UFOs, crystal power.

    I hesitate to say it, but its a charming idea, but one that immediately makes me think of Rik Mayall’s character Rick in The Young Ones….

  • apophenia round-up: posts that slipped through

    I’ve been doing a terrible job at posting to M2M because i’m never quite sure what fraction of my posts belong here and what tone is appropriate. I’ve been actively posting to my personal blog apophenia and looking back, i…

  • poszoski

    if every era and social condition has it’s form of social activism, then maybe reshelving is the right social movement for the moment and place on the West Coast now.
    But if situation is really such that ‘1984’ can be reshelved under ‘current events’ than activists can do better than shuffle books around.
    And then there’s Flickr. Flickr makes this project exist mainly as a series of (self-promoting) to some extent photos available online. It’s a perversion of activism if the desired event is the existence of a documentation of the event.
    Social action with it’s roots in dada, situationism, etc. was much more fun before flashmogs, moblobs, digital cameras (no, even better, phones with those inside) and flickr. why? because it was personal and discreet.
    I know that avantgaming is about public not personal, but there’s no public on Flickr, just viewers of photos.

  • poszoski

    aww, seriously, this happens to me ever so often that my posts seem to serve as pegs that peg up a barrel full of nice talk. no more conversation. as satisfying as a finishing touch can be – the last one in the marathon; the last one to finish a dinner; the last one to write an exam – it always leaves me with a feeling that I said something inappropriate that made everyone shut up. sorri.

  • sno

    nna, it was a nice leap in carrying on the thought, but not inappropriate.
    wasn’t it that for a long time an activism was a niche manifestation? reshelving project brings in my mind an activism described by Cortazar, called by him a contestation. do you remember those guys replacing single matches in the bulk containers with burnt ones? or standing up and screaming in the cinema just before the climax scene? but today a coincidence of niche activism and interest of media can turn the charming idea into the social movement. we never know when coincidence happens. but as long as the idea is worth of contestation, is worth of undertaking. why? as we can’t anticipate the outcome of an experience and addressee or viewer’s motivation to the reaction.
    it’s funny how simple bookmark and notecard appeal to people’s acquiescence.