The Times finds a small group of people who it quotes being concerned about the decline of marginalia. What they are really con­cerned about, I’d argue, is the losing the exclusive capacity to gain a limited view into the private lives of dead strangers.

What’s really at stake in this ‘problem’ is the way we construe public and private. The value of mar­ginalia is for the most part the voyeuristic thrill of seeing the private made public. The digital age will create more forms of annotation, more commentary, more ‘marginalia.’ But it won’t have the same creepy snooping quality. And that’s a good thing.