More on Marginalia and Related Topics

Ackerman, Rakefet, and Morris Goldsmith, "Metacognitive Regulation of Text Learning: On Screen Versus on Paper" (2011) Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.
Ackerman and Goldsmith compare learning from digital texts versus those in print form, finding "specific metacognitive deficits in on-screen learning that do not appear to reflect difficulties in information encoding."

Adler, Mortimer J., "How to Mark a Book" (6 July 1941) Saturday Review of Literature.
Among the oft-quoted lines from this essay is "I contend, quite bluntly, that marking up a book is not an act of mutilation but of love."

Adler, Mortimer J., How to Read a Book: The Art of Getting a Liberal Education (1940).
In this book (available at most libraries, including Hanover's Duggan Library), Adler gives detailed advice about active reading. He insists that reading well -- an essential part of a liberal arts education -- is "indispensable" because it "cultivates our minds" and "frees our minds by disciplining them."

Anderson, Sam,  "What I Really Want Is Someone Rolling Around in the Text" (4 March 2011), New York Times.
Anderson describes the pleasure of reading and writing in the margins and gives some history of marginalia.

Anderson, Sam,  "A Year in Marginalia" (6 Dec. 2010) themillions.com.
A literary critic reproduces some of the marginalia he made over the course of a year -- one or two examples for every month.

Book Traces is a crowd-sourced project to identify and preserve marginalia in out-of-copyright library books. You can see the interesting examples other library users have turned up, and you can submit your own finds.

Collins, Billy,  "Marginalia" (2002) in Maria Popova's "Pardon the Egg Salad Stains, But I'm in Love," BrainPickings.org.
Here you can read Collins's poem or listen to him reading it. Celebrating marginalia of all sorts, he suggests "if you have managed to graduate from college without ever having written 'Man vs. Nature' in a margin, perhaps now is the time to take one step forward."

"Copy Of 'The Scarlet Letter' Can't Believe The Notes High Schooler Writing In Margins" (23 Jan. 2013) The Onion
Amusing report of a book's reactions to the "misguided and often completely erroneous notes that local high school sophomore Phoebe Dobson has been writing in its margins."

Dickey, Colin,  "Living in the Margins" (22 March 2012) Lapham's Quarterly.
Dickey gives a mini-history of medieval marginalia, which could be vulgar, bizarre, and/or humorous. Here's a sample of the "bitchy complaints" monks wrote in the margins of the books they were copying: "Now I've written the whole thing: for Christ's sake give me a drink."

Dunlosky, John, et al., "Improving Students' Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology" (Jan 2013) Psychological Science in the Public Interest
The authors evaluate a variety of learning techniques, finding highlighting without marginalia to be among the least helpful.

Haeg, Eleanor, "Reading Actively" (13 March 2014) shenandoahliterary.org.
In this blog post, Haeg challenges readers to follow Adler's advice. For her and for those who comment on her blog, "it made reading an entirely different activity."

Jabr, Ferris,  "The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens" (11 April 2013) Scientific American.
Jabr summarizes multiple studies on reading text in print or digital form.

Kamenetz, Anya, "Caution Flags For Tech In Classrooms" NPR Learning & Tech (11 Aug. 2016).  Kamenetz summarizes recent real-world studies of technology use in learning; she reports that "results ranged from mixed to negative."

OECD, Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection (2015).  This lengthy, "first-of-its-kind internationally comparative analysis" finds that the results of increased use of technology in learning are "mixed at best."

Mack, Dinah, and Holly Epstein Ojalvo, "Briefly Noted: Practicing Useful Annotation Strategies" (7 Mar. 2011) New York Times
A lesson plan for teaching students to use marginalia.

May, Cindi,  "A Learning Secret: Don't Take Notes with a Laptop" (3 June 2014) Scientific American.
May summarizes multiple studies on the use of laptops in the college and graduate school classroom, showing that handwritten lecture notes are more effective and that -- despite their best intentions -- almost all students using laptops are distracted for at least part of every class.

Mueller, Pam A.,  and Daniel M. Oppenheimer, "The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking" (4 June 2014) Psychological Science.
Mueller and Oppenheimer did three studies, showing that students who took handwritten lecture notes mastered the ideas from the lecture better than students who took notes on laptops.

O'Connell, Mark,  "The Marginal Obsession with Marginalia" (26 Jan. 2012) The New Yorker.
O'Connell compares handwritten marginalia with the note taking function possible when reading digital texts.

Ojalvo, Holly Epstein, "Do You Write in Your Books?" (22 Feb. 2011) New York Times
Students comment on their use of marginalia.

Parks, Tim,  "A Weapon for Readers" (3 Dec. 2014) New York Review of Books blog.
Parks argues that reading with pen in hand encourages readers to be more critical: like a "hawk over a field," readers with pens are "on the lookout for something vulnerable" so that they can "swoop and skewer the victim with the nib's sharp point."

Popova, Maria,  "Edgar Allan Poe on the Joy of Marginalia and What Handwriting Reveals about Character," (17 Sept. 2013) BrainPickings.org.
Popova calls Edgar Allan Poe "history's greatest champion of marginalia."

Pyrdum, Carl,  "Medieval Doodles: A Quick Primer" (13 Feb. 2012) gotmedieval.com.
Pyrdum's blogs on medieval marginalia include amusing footnotes in the style of Terry Pratchett; this one explains how various types of marginalia were created.



Vosmeier, Sarah McNair:  My class records show significant correlations between using marginalia and getting better grades.  For example, those students who had marginalia at least half of the times when I checked had final grades that were 7 points higher (on a 100-point scale) than those who were not so consistent about making marginalia.  My thanks to Bill Altermatt for help in analyzing the data.