Book history scholarship: creation, transmission of knowledge and archives
Date of Issue2016
School of Art, Design and Media
This text takes the form of a conversation between Danné Ojeda and Mathieu Lommen with a preliminary introduction by Danné referring to book history and the history of reading. The talk took place on 14 May 2014, in the Special Collections (Bijzondere Collecties), that house medieval manuscripts, books, prints, among other heritage materials in the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Through the introduction and the following conversation, we will examine books’ materiality and form as they define both the history of the book from its infancy and that of reading. The former will help us to understand how books have influenced not only thinking but also human ergonomic behavior towards these artifacts. The text also highlights the development of book forms by examining why certain transformations or deviations to the traditional book form took place and their impact on the history of book development and reading. This is in order to ascertain the consequences of the book’s physical transformation on the reader’s use and appreciation of it as a basic object of knowledge. In this regard, first the introductory text offers a succinct overview of the changes and transformations of the book’s physical forms. Second, the conversation focuses on the Special Collection of the University of Amsterdam in order to expose the criteria, guidelines, and parameters which classify a book as a “collectable object”, to be archived for the preservation of a record of the history of books and their forms.
© 2016 Visible Language. This paper was published in Visible Language and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of Visible Language. The published version is available at: [http://visiblelanguagejournal.com/issue/202/article/1442]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.