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Presentation to Early Modern Digital Agendas at Folger Shakespeare Library 2015

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Prescott Emda2015

  1. 1. Proceedings in the court of King’s Bench against Joanna, wife of John Ferrer of Rochester, accused of participating in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381: burning John of Gaunt’s palace at the Savoy and plundering it: London, The National Archives, KB 27/482 rex m. 39d
  2. 2. aalt.law.uh.edu
  3. 3. Recorda file from the Court of King’s Bench, containing copies of charges and evidence for trials in that court, 1382-3
  4. 4. File indictments against rebels in Kent: note how the many interlineations and corrections reflect the process of interrogation and compilation: London, The National Archives, KB 9/43 mm. 15-19
  5. 5. Sir Robert Cotton (1571-1631)
  6. 6. Experimental image of fragment of an Old English life of St Mary of Egypt, London, British Library, Cotton MS. Otho B x, f. 54v, taken with a Roche Kontron digital camera under ultra-violet light in 1993.
  7. 7. An unstable text: London, British Library, Cotton MS Vitellius A.xv, Beowulf [even the foliation is disputed: you can choose between 179r or 182 r]
  8. 8. Imaging of the Beowulf manuscript using fibre optic backlighting to reveal letters and words concealed by nineteenth-century conservation work, from Electronic Beowulf 3.0, edited by Kevin S. Kiernan
  9. 9. Two sets of transcripts made for the Danish antiquary Thorkelin, now in the Royal Library Copenhagen, compared with the original manuscript
  10. 10. Electronic Beowulf edition with access to translation and metrics tool
  11. 11. A conjectural restoration of lost text that doesn’t fit the available space A conjectural restoration of lost text that does fit the available space
  12. 12. British Library, London, Cotton MS. Vitellius F.v: chronicle of the London provisioner Henry Machyn, 1550-1563
  13. 13. Only surviving engrossment of 1215 Magna Carta with a seal of King John attached: damaged by fire in 1731 and then by conservation work in 1836
  14. 14. Hyperspectral imaging of the burnt Magna Carta, Cotton Ch. xiii.31a: Principal Component Analysis of images under different light wavelengths used to reconstruct damaged text
  15. 15. Visual and statistical analysis of scribal hands: digipal.eu Like Visualising English Print intended to develop more transparent and systematic scholarly discourse in humanities
  16. 16. Mitchell Whitelaw’s Generous Interfaces: illustrations from the Queenslander filtered by colour and date How far could a generous interface like this be used to realise the historian Vivian Galbraith’s dream of an archivists’ history: ‘To name a century is to call up a mental picture of the relevant records, the progress of history appearing as a slow pageant of slowly changing records’
  17. 17. • ‘Digital transformations’ refers to (and misinterprets) the ‘disruptive’ models of Christensen • The world is going through a kind of digital transformation as everything — customers and equipment alike — becomes connected. The connected world creates a digital imperative for companies. They must succeed in creating transformation through technology, or they’ll face destruction at the hands of their competitors that do. MIT Sloan Management Review: Capgemini
  18. 18. Traditional music companies are expected to lose more than 35 percent of value between 2003 and 2012, with total revenues for the period expected to drop from US$12 billion to $8 billion. But at the same time, other parts of the music ecosystem – more closely attuned to the customer – experienced significant growth. This includes consumer electronics companies that make digital music players, concert promoters and producers of other live events.
  19. 19. Sidney Pollard on the Industrial Revolution in Sheffield and Birmingham “a visitor to the metalworking areas of Birmingham or Sheffield in the mid nineteenth-century would have found little to distinguish them superficially from the same industries a hundred years earlier. The men worked as independent sub-contractors in their own or rented workshops using their own or hired equipment … These industries .. were still waiting for their Industrial Revolution”
  20. 20. up" by organized labor was a persistent problem to industrialpioneers (Crafts 1995). Table 3 reportsthe results of a growth accounting exercise to quantify the contributionof steam power to British economic growth. This shows that the contributionmadetolaborproductivitygrowthwas trivialbefore 1830 andpeaked Table 3. Steam'scontributionto Britishlaborproductivitygrowth1760-1910 (%peryear). 1760-1800 1800-1830 1830-1850 1850-1870 1870-1910 Capitaldeepening 0.004 0.02 0.16 0.20 0.15 Steamengines 0.004 0.02 0.02 0.06 0.09 Railways 0.14 0.12 0.01 Steamships 0.02 0.05 TFP 0.005 0.001 0.04 0.21 0.16 Steamengines 0.005 0.001 0.02 0.06 0.05 Railways 0.02 0.14 0.06 Steamships 0.01 0.05 Total O01 O02 O20 041 0.31 Source:Crafts(2004b).
  21. 21. William Holt Yates Titcomb, The Wealth of England, the Bessemer Process of Making Steel (1895) Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust
  22. 22. • Model of Newcomen Steam Engine at the University of Glasgow repaired by James Watt in 1765 • A plaything to start with, but ‘everything became science in his hands’ • Not immediately disruptive • Partnership with Boulton and move to Birmingham was key
  23. 23. Steve Jobs: the tweaker of genius?
  24. 24. • Elizabeth Eisenstein: printing as the ‘unacknowledged revolution’ • Acting as an agent of change by fixing texts • Proposed that standardized texts which had been fluid during periods of oral and manuscript circulation • By making settled versions of texts more readily available, their contradictions and mistakes became more evident, so that readers became more sceptical of authority • Tom Pettit: oral culture was interrupted by Gutenberg's invention of the printing press and the roughly 500 years of print dominance; a dominance now being challenged in many ways by digital culture and the orality it embraces • Fluidity / fixity of text in different media has wider implications for our understanding of technological and social change
  25. 25. • Objections to Eisenstein thesis by David McKitterick, Adrian Johns etc. • Technological determinism which can be easily disproved: printing press readily controlled in Russia, Ottoman Empire etc. • Contemporary reactions to print do not correspond with those suggested by Eisenstein: Donne and Marvell believed that manuscripts might be more durable; the Duke of Newcastle considers the pen to be more dangerous than the printing press, because less easily controlled • McKitterick: treatise by Walter of Hilton copied in 1499 despite the fact that owner possessed the book as printed by Wynkyn de Worde five years previously • McKitterick describes the slow process by which the distinction between manuscripts and printed books in library shelving emerged over a period of two hundred years
  26. 26. • The fundamental objection to Eisenstein’s thesis raised by Johns and McKitterick is that it is difficult to find that print resulted in greater fixity of text than the manuscript pecia system • McKitterick: From the 42-line Bible onwards, thousands of books [printed in the fifteenth century] exist with different type settings for reasons that are not always clear but that always emanate from some adjustment found necessary in the printing house or the binder’s bench … Of three dozen copies surviving of Fust and Schoeffer’s Durandus (1459), no two copies are exactly alike. • Shakespeare’s First Folio • The errors in successive editions of the Canterbury Tales ‘reduced the text to a state of chaos’ (Derek Pearsall) • Jeremy Smith has recently discussed how early printed versions of lives of Robert Bruce and William Wallace were reshaped by political and religious considerations in successive editions, with Scotticisms ironed out
  27. 27. Fredson Bowers demonstrating the Hinman Collator (based on an astronomical instrument called a blink comparator; digital blink comparators have been used for analysis of Sloan sky survey).
  28. 28. • Ten copies survive of Bacon’s 1625 Essays. Wright found that no two were the same. • ‘The cause of these differences is not difficult to conjecture. Corrections were made while the sheets were being printed off, and the corrected and uncorrected sheets were afterwards bound up indiscriminately. In this way the number of different copies might be multiplied to any extent’.
  29. 29. STC (2nd ed.), 1148: reissue of STC 1147: reproduced in EEBO from a copy in Cambridge University Library. This is the copy used for the TCP text, thereby fixing the text in this version. STC 1147 added to EEBO from copy in Henry Huntingdon Library. Not in TCP. The original microfilm on which EEBO was based is misnumbered.
  30. 30. First edition of Vol. 3 of Tristram Shandy. 4,000 copies were printed, each containing two marbled pages. No two marbled pages were alike, and each two tipped in by hand.
  31. 31. Illustration from ECCO presentation of second volume of Hans Sloane’s Voyage to Jamaica (1725). Illustration originally showed Indian cultivation of cochineal.
  32. 32. 26 Single-composer prints (RISM A/I) versus anthologies (RISM B/I), 1500-1700 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 1490s 1500s 1510s 1520s 1530s 1540s 1550s 1560s 1570s 1580s 1590s 1600s 1610s 1620s 1630s 1640s 1650s 1660s 1670s 1680s 1690s AI BI
  33. 33. 30 Music printed in major centres, 1500-1649 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 1493 1503 1507 1511 1516 1520 1526 1530 1534 1538 1542 1546 1550 1554 1558 1562 1566 1570 1574 1578 1582 1586 1590 1594 1598 1602 1606 1610 1614 1618 1622 1626 1630 1634 1638 1642 1646 Venice Rome Paris Nuremberg London Antwerp
  34. 34. 42 RISM A/I data Palestrina: genres and places
  35. 35. Concluding questions • What does this sense of continuity and continued affordance in such ‘revolutions’ as the printing and industrial tell us about our approach to the ‘digital revolution’? • We began by just seeking to make catalogues easier to update and to replace microfilm. Should we be thinking of an endless development: ‘perpetual beta’? • How does this affect the way we think of the tools we have developed - as subject to constant interrogation and refinement? • The relationship of text to its physical environment is a constant issue for the humanities scholar. How is this explored in a computing environment which splits up information? • Do we need to think of textual manipulation which operates both horizontally (across many copies of the text) as well as vertically (across many texts)? • Importance of data (and data cleaning) as the contribution of the humanities scholar? • How will specialisms emerge within digital forms of scholarship? Are divisions based on period, form and media the best ones?

Presentation to Early Modern Digital Agendas at Folger Shakespeare Library 2015

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