Quotables

Ever tried looking for a quotation online (of the literary as opposed to the insurance variety)? Wasn’t much fun was it? Not that easy to find what you want. And just how accurate was it? And why does it look like the site was made by a geek with no design skills in his stinky bedroom?

But you love great quotes don’t you? On your Facebook profile. In that presentation. You know, those ones you keep in that file – the one on your old computer. They’re everywhere – on the tube, in that advert, on that building, in that caff.

So why don’t we get the quotation sites we deserve and desire? Although there are several in the Alexa top 5000 most are labours of love, evolutions, accretions of amateur solutions stuck one on top of another like the proverbial sticking plaster. Or take Wikiquote – I search for “cars” and I get a Disney property, not a hint of shiny metallic vehicle in sight…

The world reduced to Disneyfication

And how pug ugly is that homepage?

And don’t get me started on the functionality which makes no real distinction between an encyclopedia article and a quotation. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wikipedia as much as the next man, woman or child but Wikiquote ain’t no fun.

Tear my eyes out!

Aargh. Barf. Yuk.

Suffer no more, fellow lovers of wit and wordcraft – may I introduce you to Quotables (www.quotabl.es) my latest baby, a Beta finding its feet at this stage, but already I hope lovelier and with your help, advice, input, love potentially a solution to the online quotes joylessness.

The world opened to verbal loveliness

Quotables is designed to work in four dimensions:

  • as a Utility – an accessible place to save the quotes you love, the Delicious of quotations
  • as a Reference Resource – growing into a comprehensive and contemporary repository of accurate, properly sourced quotes
  • as a Reflector of Buzz – capturing what’s most on people’s minds at a given time, indicating the trends and zeitgeist
  • as a Community of quote and language lovers – drawing together people who want to take on what was controlled by an editorial elite in the dead-tree era.

Quotables encourages contributors to draw on non-traditional sources such as bons mots heard live at public events, snappy one-liners from TV shows, tweets, a rich mix from high literature to popular culture. It also encourages short, concise selections (up to 75 words max) – that’s a “Quotable”. And it’s keen to promote the behaviour of saving our favourite quotes as we do our links on the likes of Delicious – to abandon those lost and abandoned files and notebooks and get Quotables to help that transition from old computer to new, to help circumvent that fruitless search for a scribbled upon bit of dead-tree not seen for a dog’s age.

The Beta is offered in the spirit of this quote which not so long ago defined its era:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

We know some stuff we have yet to implement or roll-out – much of the mobile dimension of Quotables, some more of the integration into social networks, one click mark-and-publish from the browser, a long list programmed for release over the next year. But for the Unknown Unknowns we rely on you, dear reader, to tell us about via Laura Grace, our producer at hello@quotabl.es – observations, suggestions, gripes, words of wisdom, all much appreciated to help us shape this baby for the greater good.

Quotables has been lovingly made by Mint Digital and co-funded by Channel 4 and Arts Council England.

That master of wit and badinage Donald Rumsfeld who blessed us with the unknowable above also produced this little gem…

Oh, Lord, I didn’t mean to say anything quotable.

Well tough titty, Donald – we’re coming after everyone from you via Donald Duck to Donald Trump, from Jonathan Franzen to Franz Beckenbauer, from Martin Amis to Amy Winehouse, from Father Ted to Ted Hughes, not forgetting my favourite contribution of my own to date – a non-traditional source (police video), the verbal pyrotechnics of Mad Mel:

What are you looking at, sugar tits?

We’d love to revel in your own favourite(s) so without further ado please do head over to Quotables, have a poke around, and share some sugar, love and inspiration…

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2 comments so far

  1. Kristianstill on

    I like what you have done with Quotables, little ripple. Yes, I have signed up and read the blog post. I am a teacher and I dip in and out of the sites you highlighted above.

    Before I ruin your impression of me, here is an idea. Most often we / I combine quotes with images. How about Quotables combining the tags on Quotables with the CC pictures on say Flickr (but I expect you have already thought of that.

    Your impression: As a PE teacher I collect inspirational quotes. Now the list is about 10 yrs old. In a spreadsheet (dated). I will put some onto the site but happy to share the xls. These are ‘high quality’ Sport / Inspirational quotes, yes the all time greats are there, but main from reading – rather than just you usual INSPIRE ME quotes.

    Quotes with images. http://www.flickr.com/groups/858082@N25/?added=1

    Good luck

    Like

  2. ArkAngel on

    Kristian, thanks for your feedback. We have thought a bit about quotes and pictures and were most enthused by pictures where the quote is integral to the photo rather than superimposed on it as a caption. eg http://www.flickr.com/photos/forward/4515048533/

    Have you got a Username on Quotables yet? Look forward to looking at what inspires you most.

    Like


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