Digital Objects are Handmade
The "Uncertainty and the Handmade" Collegium (hosted by Stanford Text Technologies) investigated the handmade book through discussion of manuscripts, artists’ books, and digital aspects of—and data about—the handmade. This is a practice recording of my talk, which was not recorded.
Digital objects are handmade. Does that surprise you? Screens can create an impression of authority, exactitude, and accuracy, but we must always bear in mind that what we are seeing is being mediated. Like the subtle (or not so subtle) ways that a translator can influence our impressions of a text, the hands and thoughts of the digitizer suffuse a layer of meaning upon physical materials.
As a rare book digitization specialist and coordinator, I am acutely aware of my presence, and that of my colleagues, in the digital resources created from objects that I digitize or oversee through our workflow. In addition to my digitization work, I am an artist. As an exercise to explore both the handmade book and the ways that they are digitally depicted, I came up with a sneaky exercise: I digitized a unique book that I created, and I also asked our lead photographer, and a number of other lab staff, to digitize the same book. Comparing the resulting digital objects may prove to offer insight into the ways we each evaluated and executed the same task, from the standpoints of technician and maker.
|Type of resource
|January 27, 2023
|March 16, 2023
|March 15, 2023; January 27, 2023
|Smith, Astrid J.
|Cultural heritage imaging
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