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Write your reading sheets and organize your library with Foglietto

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Our library is, for many of us, an important resource place.A place that brings us well-being and comfort, entertains us and trains us.A place to cherish, and readings we would all like to remember.Only, here it is: both the physical space we can give to our books and the mental space we have to remember them are limited.So how can we remember all our readings, the concepts they taught us, their inspirational quotes, the questions they raised? How do we remember each book? And how to organize your library to make the books talk to each other? We are going to explain to you step by step how to write and classify, thanks to our foglietti, reading sheets that will meet your desires as bibliophiles, and how to use them to organize your library(s) and create links between your readings... in order to to generate new ideas.

The kit for the perfect bibliophile:

Why write bibliographic records and take reading notes?

To answer this question, it is necessary to take a small step back in time, and go back two centuries.It was between the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century that contemporary bibliographical records and reading records appeared.

The very first card library catalogs appeared in France after the French Revolution.They were made on the back of playing cards, and in particular on the back of the figures of the Queen and the King, the use of which was then prohibited.This tool quickly took over the registers previously kept in notebooks.

This new system made it possible to easily update the catalogues, as the cards for new books could easily be inserted into files kept, most often, in alphabetical order.Conversely, the notebooks used until then had to be completely rewritten and reprinted with each update.The cards therefore allowed a flexible classification and a simplified search, with several entries, for example in alphabetical order and by main theme.

Why do the same today, for our personal library? The advantages are numerous, but let's quote them out of order:

  • Improve your memory: writing helps to anchor information in the brain, and we are more likely to reread a few note cards than an entire book,
  • Keeping up with what you read: wouldn't you be curious to know how many books you read last year, and this year? Or to remember in which year you read this book that marked you so much.e?
  • Remembering the books you have read but don't own: because it's not just the books on your shelves that count! A reading record allows you to keep track of a borrowed and loved book.
  • Easily find a book: for large libraries… and very small ones.
  • Make links between our books: and this is the most interesting part of a catalog, since it allows you to classify your books according to different categories, and therefore to make crosses between several readings...
  • … And thus to generate new ideas and stimulate your creativity!

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How to make a bibliographic record for your personal library

There are two types of information to record on a personal bibliographic record.It goes without saying that we are not trying here to create a professional catalog, according to well-defined standards.Feel free to adapt these ideas to your own tastes!

You are going to create one bibliographic record for each book in your library.On it, you will note all or part of the following information:

  • Surname and first name of the author,
  • Book title,
  • Publisher,
  • Year of publication,
  • Country,
  • Type (novel, essays, comics…),
  • Literary genre (science fiction, history, etc.),
  • Keywords,
  • Number of pages,
  • A call number, if you decide to classify your books according to a certain system (more on that later).

This is "objective" information about the book.To these, you will be able to add, according to your desires, "subjective" information, related to your own reading:

  • Start date and end date of reading,
  • Your opinion (for example on a scale of 1 to 5),
  • The books that reading this made you want to (re)read,
  • The questions this reading raised,
  • etc.

Thanks to Foglietto, you will also be able to choose a color code for your files right from the start.For example, you will be able to easily distinguish several bookcases within the same catalog of files, in the event that your books are distributed in different pieces of furniture or rooms.But you can also choose to assign a color code by literary genre, country, etc.

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Last December, Foglietto produced in collaboration with the Kube literary boxes, and in limited edition, reading sheets, available here.You can also make your own card templates, by printing on your foglietti.We explain here how.

Reading notes: best practices and some leads (but no rules)

Now that your bibliographic records are ready, you will be able to associate reading records with them as you read.What is the difference between a bibliographic record and a reading record?

A bibliographic record will contain all the "general" information about a given book, while a reading record contains all the notes you will have taken as you read.It goes into the detail of the content of the text.

Forget the reading sheets from your high school years.The sheets that you make here are for your own pleasure and personal enrichment, so you have no rules to follow except those that you will set yourself.

However, we can give you some advice.First, always write down the page your note refers to.Second, try to find a happy medium between synthesis and readability.Finally, avoid copying entire passages from the book.Instead, use your own words, try to reformulate, to synthesize the author's words, in short, to make it your own.That's how you'll memorize it best and how it's most likely to lead you to new ideas.

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Don't worry if the exercise seems difficult at first! It will take you a little time to find your style and your balance.Finally, to the question: "what is it useful to note?" know that there is no right answer: it all depends on what you are looking for in reading this book and what it evokes in you.

Once you have finished reading and your files, you can store them with the bibliographic file corresponding to the book, holding them together using a paperclip for example.

How to classify your files?

Here we enter a world apart, fascinating and terrifying at the same time: that of classification! Fascinating because it opens up many possibilities, which one would have barely imagined, and terrifying because it can quickly turn into a "gas plant".We are therefore going to offer you here a powerful but altogether simple system with triple reading.

To start, you will have to define a maximum of three ranking criteria.These may be the three things you value most when choosing a book.For example, if you like to explore literature from different countries, the country of origin of the book will be one of these criteria.

Here are, in order of importance, the three ranking criteria that we will use here as an example:

  • Alphabetical order by author's name,
  • The country of origin of the book,
  • The "type" of book (here: storytelling, essays and training, practical books, beautiful books).

Again, this is not a school exercise.Feel free to define your own categories, according to what seems most natural to you.Remember that the ranking is there to help you find your books and "place" them within your reader universe.rice.These categories must therefore above all speak to you.We guarantee that the Académie Française will not beat you on the wrist if you do not respect the official nomenclature.😉 They must also be adapted to the reality of your library: if you don't read comics, there's no need to create the corresponding category.

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Here is how we have classified our files according to these three categories:

  1. We created several dividers with a tab on the left to divide the alphabet into several parts, then arranged our index cards accordingly.
  2. We then took the cards behind each divider, and divided them according to our second criterion, namely the country of origin of the book, then we created "country" dividers using the center dividers.We repeated this operation for each alphabetical divider.
  3. We had already made this categorization when we made our cards: we assigned a color to each "type" of book: blue cards for narration, pink cards for essays and books related to our training, white cards for practical books and yellow cards for beautiful books.

There you go! Your catalog is complete.

How to organize your library?

So your files are now perfectly organized, but is it the same for your library? How will your index cards help you find your books?

Here, two levels of storage are available to you: the first, the base, will be storage by book category.It's up to you to define the one that speaks to you the most: alphabetical order, literary genre, publisher, "type" of book... In any case, make sure that this criterion is also listed on your bibliographic records.

The second level, which we will call the "expert" level, is that of the call number, like in public libraries! You can set up a simplified rating system if you have a lot of books.In this case, provide a field for this purpose on your bibliographic records and report each call number on the spine of your books.

Here is an example of rating, corresponding to our ranking system: FS-EU-02.Here's how to read it:

  • "FS" is the author's initials.rice, we place the name, better known in literature, before the first name, here it is Federici Silvia,
  • "EU" is the country code of the book, here the United States,
  • Finally, "02" corresponds to the type of book, here an essay (01 for narration, 02 for essays and training books, 03 for how-to books and 04 for beautiful books).

Of course, the quotation is completely optional!

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How and why make a link between your readings?

This is one of the main benefits of bibliographic records and reading records, as well as their classification: creating interactions between your readings.

Let's take an example: you want to focus more on books written by women, or even on feminist readings, in order to begin a reflection on this subject.If you have kept your catalog up to date, all you have to do is go through your files and pull out all those relating to works written by women.You can re-read your notes, juxtapose them and compare them according to the different criteria you have identified (country, year, type of book, etc.).

If you continue your search, you may find in your other files books written by men but dealing with subjects related to women's history.The "keywords" section, which you may have listed on your bibliographic records, will be very useful for this.

This very simple and very quick exercise will allow you to easily build up a corpus of text, cross references and remember past readings, which you can rediscover today with a new reading grid.

Your reading notes will allow you to refer only to the passages that interest you, and will save you precious time, also providing you with other avenues of reading to extend your reflection thanks to new books.

In summary

In summary, we've seen how to organize your library like a.e pro, so as not to lose a single crumb of your reading and stimulate your creativity! From taking notes to cross-referencing, to cataloging your books, this dense article will have given you a good overview of what Foglietto can allow you to do.

You can also choose to apply this system to only part of your library.For example, it will be particularly useful for you to continue to train and learn about subjects that interest you or are useful to you in your professional life.

In conclusion, to organize your library with Foglietto you will need to:

  1. Compile a bibliographic record for each of your books,
  2. Write reading sheets as you go,
  3. Classify these two types of records according to criteria that you will have defined yourself,
  4. Organize your library according to these same criteria, for greater convenience,
  5. Cross-reference your readings using your files.

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