• Sharing the Secrets of a Rare Book Collection: Explore - Describe - Connect

    Jan Simane
    Rare books, Libraries--Special collections, Digital humanities
    Item Type:
    Meeting Title:
    ARLIS/NA 51st Annual Conference
    Meeting Org.:
    Meeting Loc.:
    Mexico City
    2023 ARLIS/NA Conference, digital scholarship
    Permanent URL:
    Many libraries hold rare book collections and they maintain and explore them with special attention, usually by following international standards. Over time, extensive knowledge has been accumulated about these books. However, the intensity of research on these collections can vary. My library's rare book project presented here is based on the following premises: We do not consider historical books merely as written and pictorial media from past eras, but as objects whose characteristics such as state of preservation, provenance, additions (annotations, owner's notes, ex-libris), and individual features such as binding, edges, printing errors, etc., provide a wealth of historical data. This (codicological) data can be relevant to research questions outside the library domain. It is the noblest task of any library not only to collect this data, but also to make it available for experts without restriction and to secure it for further use. Can digital technology help to go beyond what has already been achieved? For more than ten years, every work in our collection has been subjected to an in-depth analysis. All of the aforementioned codicological data, but also, for example, findings that have emerged in the course of restoration and conservation, are recorded in a database designed specifically for this purpose. In this way, a considerable amount of knowledge has been accumulated over the years. Thus, by digitizing our Rare Book Collection, we have considerably expanded the sector of metadata and are now adding the codicological data. Crucially, all this information is not only displayed, but is also searchable. As next steps, it is prepared to map the codicological data with authority files and thus to achieve a further and higher level of interoperability. The obvious consequence to advance into the LOD system and generate corresponding interoperable entities and identities based on the collected data is being planned.
    Last Updated:
    8 months ago


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