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In this era of disposable paperbacks and even more disposable e-books, the ex libris (or bookplate) has become a quaint relic of the past. When books were rare treasured possessions, readers commonly pasted these lavishly illustrated labels inside the front cover, both to claim ownership and to declare their high literary tastes. McGill's Digital Library preserves this lost art form in the Phillippe Masson Ex Libris Collection, with almost 4,500 historic bookplates. Little is known of Masson except that he was an avid ex libris collector, a passion he pursued single-mindedly despite the serious illness which eventually claimed his life in 1944, at the age of 32. McGill acquired his collection in 1972 and published it online in 2002.
This is easily one of the most useful extras offered on the McGill website, courtesy of the University's Web Services Group (WSG). Any member of the McGill community can post free ads in any one of 15 categories, including Bikes, Books, Computers, Employment/Services, Furniture and Housing, to name only a few. It's a highly effective service with all the benefits of Craigslist, but with a much more targeted and accessible audience. Over the years, this columnist, for one, has successfully used the McGill Classifieds to sublet an apartment, sell a TV/stereo stand, fob off a broken PDA on someone who wanted it for parts, and buy a great MP3 player at a substantial discount. I never did so well on eBay.