Via that well-known academic periodical, the Annals of Improbable Research, comes news of this year’s Ig Nobel prizes. I particularly enjoyed the paper that won the Literature prize, which will interest the more library-minded readers of this blog. It’s a paper on how to treat the word ‘the’, concluding that the best solution is making sure to have a cross-reference for whichever option you choose to follow or not follow. The paper by our new celebrity Glenda Browne is very readable (so that’s one point for the improbables over the probables!) and can be downloaded in PDF here. Ironically (or not), it was published in The Indexer – or should that be Indexer, The?

(I also prescribe a good reading of the paper for all those airlines and ticket bookers who record my name as Síthigh, Daithí M and then say that my name doesn’t match. Of course it doesn’t. Or the conference organisers who file my name badge in the S pile (despite my filling in the surname field as Mac Síthigh) and then give me a dirty look for not telling them).