PostSecret is a blog that i follow for its unique concept of posting random notes and private secrets left by strangers in libraries and bookstores across the US. it's the equivalent of going through confession but done in a publicly anonymous catharsis.

Anyone can read it, and most of the notes end up published by the administrators who run PostSecret. I half suspect that majority of the readers and subscribers of the site are those that left their notes (often done in a very creative artsy manner) with the hope that they will see their "dirty" little secret out in the open.

the notes are usually short, some are cryptic, often dark.

nevertheless, i've never really felt the urge to put out a comment about anything in the site until today when i saw something that caught my eye:

"I have a case of 158.73 and it is turning me into the kind of librarian that I hate"

the clue was already there: librarian.

This got me thinking that 158.723 is a library classification in the dewey decimal system. a quick search in wiki revealed that 158 focuses on psychology.

thoughts of a perverted sexually depraved librarian popped in my head considering that most of the published work in PostSecret often revolve around this particular topic.

then again, the last line didn't make sense: "the kind of librarian that i hate." which implies that this particular "characteristic" is a common occurrence for this profession.

with piqued interest, i continued to dig deeper and eventually found a table of sub-classes that defines .723 as topics related to BURNOUT.

finally, the note made sense.

visit my blog for more random rambling.

note : photo credits go to PhotoSecret.


E said…
PostSecret doesn't just post 'secrets' found in books, people are also encouraged to mail their secrets direct to the creator, Frank Warren.

To quote the site "PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard."
Slater said…
I saw PostSecret too, and figured it was a Dewey Decimal section.

You are the top result for "158.723" now. Enjoy all your ad-sense riches haha
Anonymous said…
If you look at the name of the image itself, Frank already provided the answer. ;)

Still, good work! :)
Anonymous said…
I just googled 158.723 and found this. Thank you for helping me discover the hidden message.
Anonymous said…
The jpg name says "burn out" but as I librarian I wanted to verify this. It was an interesting post.
Anonymous said…
lol, I just read the secret & headed for google to work it out - you're the top result, thanks for the answer x
Megan Amanda said…
My first thought was that it was a medical or psychological diagnosis code (but then, I'm in medical billing). Searched for it, your site came up first (congrats). Continued searching, and it's specifically Job Burnout, not just burnout.

thanks a bunch - sometimes some of the secrets don't make sense or some of the words are hidden by the barcode scan sticker (why doesn't he just take that stupid sticker off??? i dunno) but i googled the 158.723 and got you =)

great job and have a great day!
Anonymous said…
thanks a bunch - sometimes some of the secrets don't make sense or some of the words are hidden by the barcode scan sticker (why doesn't he just take that stupid sticker off??? i dunno) but i googled the 158.723 and got you =)

great job and have a great day!

onintimacy said…
THANK YOU! I was just googling to find out what the number from the postcard meant and you popped up :)
Kandace said…
Another Googler... :D Thanks.
Anonymous said…
Or if you scroll over the postcard (or save it) you will see what it is saved under. Frank saved it as something along the lines of Dewey Burnout.
Deirdre said…
Oh dear, all I did was google the number and job burnout came up.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for unravelling the mystery for me!
mike said…
@Auntie Jo: Frank has says numerous times that he will never "take that stupid sticker off" of secrets he recieves with the postal bar code attached. He says hr wants to keep the secrets intact as they were received.

Either way, thank you for doing all of our "research" for us and posting the answer in your blog.
D said…
I really don't get it.. Someone help?
Anonymous said…
I bet your traffic went up about 10000% today. Haha, thanks so much for posting this :)
Anonymous said…
I'm so glad I found this! Great job cracking the code!
kembranicole said…
Agreed with "E"...
Postsecret is about mailing in your secrets to Frank, and he's the only "administrator". It started out as a small project and somehow became a world-wide phenomenon years and years ago.

And most of the published work does not focus on sexually depraved librarians. In fact, I'd say only half, if that, of the PostSecrets that we all see are about sex.

Thank you for posting your journey of finding the solution to the dewey decimal mystery, but you should probably research and revise a little more before posting false information about such a beloved blog.
Anonymous said…
I imagine nearly all of the secrets posted are those sent directly to Frank -- not left behind in bookstores or libraries. Also, he receives a massive volume of mail. I imagine there are many that never make the web site or his books.
Joseph said…
Was wondering about this, too. Thanks to your brilliant research, I don't have to look it up myself. :) Nice blog btw! -Joseph
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