Thanks to both document digitization and audio recording, we can engage both eyes and ears in extending the life of the oldest English language poem extant. The British Library’s digitization of an early manuscript copy of Beowulf (which, of course, is an epic predating its inscription) is cataloged to include its physical properties as well as presented in full color(s) on screen. As a thousand-year-old document, it looks admirable and the description of its fiber content also provides suggestions of both scent and touch sensations.
Arthur Bahr, MIT Old English assistant professor, reads the first 12 lines in Beowulf’s original here. As this was recorded on video, with the camera directed at Bahr, the disconnect between the aural and visual presentation of a t-shirted and most definitely 21st century man serves to demonstrate how the power of listening alone can allow the reader to be more deeply absorbed than when they are confronted by sight as well as sound. Humans, at the norm, depend on eyesight as our primary means of information gathering. However, when we deploy our eyes while trying to listen, we are, indeed, less likely to hear all that we can when we stop looking.
While many Westerners accompany any listening they do with visual stimulus (either from the same source, as in video, or through multitasking), the true power of what we can hear–and feel and think based on hearing alone–can be revealed when we don’t look. Pull up some poetry and spend an hour listening with your eyes closed. The link immediately above offers reviews of possibilities ranging from classic to contemporary, collections of verse and novels in verse. Whatever you choose, let your ears have your full attention.
Great post onAtlas Obscura on some of the best digitization projects—i.e., “amazing archival treasures” digitized in 2017—some unveiled for the first time this year, others expanded significantly with new content—including:
Los Angeles Public LibraryPhoto Collection (from Valley Times Collection; the newspaper covered the San Fernando Valley from 1946 to 1965)
New online collections from the New York Public Library‘s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, including The Black Experience in Children’s Books: Selections from Augusta Baker’s Bibliographies and The Picture-Poetry Book.
Most important part first: view the images here. The Archive, belonging to the University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center, was acquired in 2014 and has been opened since 2015. The digitalization, which, the university reports, took 18 months to complete, involved the efforts of archivists, students, librarians, and conservators, among others.
Included in the Archive are 27,000 images and 22 personal scrapbooks and notebooks, among them a memoir, screenplays, photos, etc.
From the university’s site:
The papers (English | Spanish) of Gabriel García Márquez, acquired by the Ransom Center in 2014, include original manuscript material, predominantly in Spanish, for 10 books, more than 2,000 pieces of correspondence, drafts of his 1982 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, more than 40 photograph albums documenting all aspects of his life over nearly nine decades, the Smith Corona typewriters and computers on which he wrote some of the twentieth century’s most beloved works, and scrapbooks meticulously documenting his career via news clippings from Latin America and around the world.
An inventory of the papers can be found in the following finding aids:
Medical Services and Warfare, 1850-1927, the latest primary source collection from Adam Matthew Digital, has transformed access to the personal and professional writings of Florence Nightingale with exclusive Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR). The HTR technology allows these handwritten papers to be fully searchable for the first time.
“[HTR] is going to transform scholarship and the types of questions researchers can ask,” commented Dr Patrick Spero, Director, American Philosophical Society Library, explaining the impact of HTR. “The technology has tremendous potential.”
The first stream, currently at 122,281 images, has been carefully curated, and includes searchable galleries and albums divided by book title or subject…The second stream, consisting of over 2 million images, is a massive grab-bag of photos, illustrations from nature, advertisements, and imaginative renderings.”
Literary Print Culture, the latest primary source collection from Adam Matthew Digital, makes available The Stationers’ Company Archive with material from 1554 to the 21st Century.
Widely regarded as one of the most important sources for the history of the book, publishing and copyright, the archive of The Worshipful Company of Stationers & Newspaper Makers is now available for unparalleled research.
Adam Matthew Digital is the first primary source publisher to utilize artificial intelligence to offer transformative search capabilities with Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) for its manuscript collections.
The first new collection available with this enhancement is Colonial America, Module III: The American Revolution. Sourced from The National Archives UK, Colonial America offers access to thousands of documents on North America from 1606-1822. Described as an indispensable resource for researchers of the early-modern Atlantic world and winner of Library Journal’s Best Reference Award, scholars and researchers have clamoured for access to this material for years. Now for the first time, all handwritten documents within the entire Colonial America series are full-text searchable. Continue reading Artificial Intelligence transforms discoverability of 17th and 18th century manuscripts using handwritten text recognition→
De Gruyter has taken the decision to digitize the entirety of its backlist all the way back to 1749. The decision to make this significant investment to complete the prestigious archive was taken earlier this year and the digitization process will begin shortly.
Many treasures are among works to be digitized, including Noam Chomsky’s “Syntactic Structures” as well as versions of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” to name but two. The project is expected to conclude in 2020 with 3,000 additional titles to be available by the end of 2017. Of those titles digitized during the rest of this year, up to one hundred of the most important series will have priority, to allow librarians to complete their holdings. Continue reading De Gruyter will digitize the entirety of its backlist. All the way back to 1749.→
An interesting discussion is taking place in the Frankfurt Book Fair circles. This press release hints at the opportunities afforded to society through digitalization, To understand it fully, it helps to understand what THE ARTS+ is about. It is “a fair, business festival and international meeting place for the culture and creative industries,” which launched in October 2016 during the Frankfurt Book Fair and will return in October 2017.
The goal is to exploit the potential of digitalization for creative content and to develop new business areas. International artists, opinion leaders and experts will present at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair innovative approaches from the fields of publishing, museums, architecture and design, brands and agencies.
ProQuest’s Early European Books (EEB) program now includes nearly 10,000 digitized titles and more than four million pages from the Wellcome Library, the pre-eminent collection in Europe devoted to the history of medicine and related topics.
This project is part of ProQuest’s program that makes available early printed books from five major European libraries, including Danish Royal Library, the National Central Library in Florence, the National Library of the Netherlands, the National Library of France, and the Wellcome Library in London.
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