Commonplace Books


15 September 2013 and ongoing



Dating back to antiquity and with particular popularity in the Renaissance period, "commonplace books" are a type of scholarly notebook containing a collection of excerpted and copied passages that a person compiled and stored for future purposes such as reference and quotation. How to actually keep and organize a commonplace book was a small science in itself. John Locke’s text A New Method of Making Common-Place-Books (1706) suggested some techniques—one of which is a system of classifying and coding entries into a growing subject index, one’s personal potential encyclopedia. While physical notebooks remain a treasure to keep and even if we do not yet live in a truly paperless age, our commonplace of today is that we access and store a huge amount of information digitally. By engaging an online library, specifically the Arg library, “Commonplace Books” seeks to address shifts in how we approach notions such as the “common” or the “public” more openly and actively than ever.


A PDF has been created from excerpted and copied passages of thematically relevant publications available in digital form in the Arg library. It has been uploaded back onto the platform and a link appeared in the “New Texts” section on making it available to all network users.

EX LIBRIS: “Commonplace Books”

Miniature publication

Edited & translated by Anna-Sophie Springer

Design by Charles Stankievech

14 pages, 42 x 9.8 cm

English edition

ISBN 978-0-9877949-6-3


PDF English edition


“Commonplace Books”: Exhibition Book

Compiled by Anna-Sophie Springer from books found in the Arg library

and uploaded back into the library as a dowloadable PDF


Published & uploaded in September 2013