In order that a new asceticism of reading may come to flower, we must first recognize that the bookish “classical” reading of the last 450 years is only one among several ways of using alphabetical techniques…I have not written this book to make a learned contribution. I wrote it to offer a guide to a vantage point in the past from which I have gained new insights into the present. No one should be misled into taking my footnotes as either proof of, or invitation to, scholarship. They are here to remind the reader of the rich harvest of memorabilia—rocks, fauna, and flora—which a man has picked up on repeated walks through a certain area, and now would like to share with others. They are here mainly to encourage the reader to venture into the shelves of the library and experiment with distinct types of reading.
—Illich, Ivan. In the vineyard of the text : a commentary to Hugh’s Didascalicon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993 (p3 and 5).
I wish more folks, including myself, thought of footnotes this way!