September 7, 1999

I hate hate hate the international symbol for the library:

The reason that I care is that I am a librarian.
In fact, I work at a library whose logo is this:

It's a pretty lame logo, although at least it does accurately depict what the library building looks like. It's much more difficult to give a symbol to what is housed within.

What's housed inside is information and the symbol for information is also lame. It looks like this:

To you, you think:
I is for information, just like C is for cookie.

But you, my friend are wrong. At least to those responsible for

"Semiotically it is a combination of for one entity, something absolute and unique, a fact,  placed beneath  for all possibilities. Semiotically: All possibilities prevail, but should you need an informative fact or two, then this is the place. Compare with the similar structure , the exclamation mark, which expresses the absolute predominating with a point for concentration under it: This is absolute! This is serious!"
I like the reasoning, but I still think that the concept of information deserves a better symbol.

I'm working on it.

And I think the computer deserves a symbol too. I haven't found the appropriate representation of a computer at and so I have a couple of suggestions.

suggestion (a)

While this is reasonable pictogram of what a personal computer looks like now (at least to me, but that's because I drew it) it does not convey the nature of a computer. As well, it does not convey that what constitutes a computer can embedded into appliances, phones, and the like or can be distributed over an area.

suggestion (b)

This is the symbol for the Philosopher's Stone.


"The alchemists believed that a simple substance could be transmuted into a more precious one through the addition of an enzyme-like substance known as the lapis philosophorum, the stone of the wise, an elixir. This substance could transform other substances without itself being changed."

I like the idea of the computer as the Philosopher's Stone : something that transforms information into a more precious form without being changed itself.

But I don't like the symbol itself. And besides, Americans have some supposed bias against the philosopher stone.

suggestion (c)

I took this image from the alchemy symbol for amalgam.

An amalgam is :
1 : an alloy of mercury with another metal that is solid or liquid at room temperature according to the proportion of mercury present 2 : a mixture of different elements

Nelson has referred to the web as an amalgam of media and I think it's a very good name for it. And, to boot, the symbol looks like what could be seen as a chip or a network.

Lobby your member of parliament today.