Keeper’s Blog- Error Date March 23rd
My fellow errorists,
it is with great delight that I can now begin these blogs with the address “my fellow errorists”. The Library has now been open for three weeks and already we have almost one hundred registered readers. I am very aware that many of you live many miles, sometimes thousands of miles, away from the Library itself. We do hope that you can make it to Edinburgh one day but we also plan to improve our online offering to benefit all our readers.
At this stage we can offer our fully searchable catalogue online and this will grow steadily as the months and years continue. Readers looking for material to research specific subjects in economic and financial history will hopefully find the catalogue a useful tool to identify appropriate material. Our aim is to offer access to as much digitalized content as is possible within the limits of copyright and our budget. When we get to that stage this will further enhance the benefits of readership for those who will find it difficult to visit the Library in Edinburgh.
A library is a connection of books and not a collection of books. Our readers can play a key role in increasing the connections between our books and thus the value of the Library. Already we have tags on each book (such as psychology, United Kingdom, regulation) and these help direct readers to materials on these specific subject tags.
By adding keywords and then perhaps a review to each book the usefulness of the search function will further improve. If I add the keywords — subprime, 2008, 2009, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers — to the review panel for Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, a search for any of these words will direct readers to that excellent book. If we were able to add keywords for every book in our catalogue, the search function would direct readers to very subject-specific reading materials.
All our readers can contribute to this process by simply choosing books from our catalogue and e-mailing keywords or perhaps a review to the Keeper (email@example.com). The Keeper will add your keywords and any review to the appropriate book and, by working together, our collection of books becomes a connection of books.
This week in the United Kingdom there has been a revolution in the savings system. For the first time in the modern age those with private pension pots will be free to choose their savings vehicle of choice in retirement, rather than be compelled to purchase an annuity.
This is a very welcome boost to personal responsibility in our society but clearly one not without some dangers. Most people are not financially literate and are thus prey to those who can sell them products with inappropriate risk/reward characteristics and, invariably, with too high a fee. This means that part and parcel of the savings revolution will have to be the provision of basic financial education to equip those retiring to make informed choices. The British government recognizes this need and part of the reform will be the provision of free financial advice for those retiring. The Library of Mistakes offers a high quality additional resource for those newly enfranchised savers seeking to understand the risk/reward characteristics of the investments which will be right for them. And who better than Einstein to explain the role of the Library of Mistakes in this new era:
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
At the Library of Mistakes we cannot promise readers that we have the right answers to questions which clearly involve forecasting future returns. However, we can promise that some time spent perusing the Library and some time spent reading financial history will significantly help you to ask the right questions about the future of financial returns.
So, it’s your responsibility now and what better place to start exercising that responsibility than at the Library of Mistakes. Come along and join us in helping to change the world “one mistake at a time”.