The Anatomy

It’s easy to get lost in the Library of Babel — in part, this is by design. I’ll do my best here to orient new users, and help them make use of its resources.

The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries…The arrangement of the galleries is always the same: Twenty bookshelves, five to each side, line four of the hexagon’s six sides…each bookshelf holds thirty-two books identical in format; each book contains four hundred ten pages; each page, forty lines; each line, approximately eighty black letters

With these words, Borges has set the rule for the universe en abyme contained on our site. Each book has been assigned its particular hexagon, wall, shelf, and volume code. The somewhat cryptic strings of characters you’ll see on the book and browse pages identify these locations. For example, jeb0110jlb-w2-s4-v16 means the book you are reading is the 16th volume (v16) on the fourth shelf (s4) of the second wall (w2) of hexagon jeb0110jlb. Consider it the Library of Babel’s equivalent of the Dewey Decimal system.


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