Book Conservation and Digitization
Book Conservation and Digitization
The Challenge of Dialogue and Collaboration
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Table of Contents
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Part One: Books as Objects and Their Digitization
Chapter 1: Understanding the Artifactual Value of Books
Chapter 2: Conservation and Digitization: A Difficult Balance?
Part Two Conservation and Digitization in Practice
Chapter 3: Conservation towards Large-Scale Digitization at the Vatican Library, ‰ngela Núñez Gaitán, Head of Conservation, Vatican Apostolic Library
Chapter 4: Large-Scale Digitization at The National Archives, Catt Baum, formerly Senior Conservation Manager“Digitization Services, The National Archives
Chapter 5: British Library/Qatar Foundation Partnership and the Digitization Project: A Case Study about Conservation Processes within Mass Digitization of Library Material, Flavio Marzo, formerly Conservation Manager, British Library/Qatar Foundation Partnership, British Library
Chapter 6: The Digitization of Medieval Western Manuscripts at the Wellcome Library, Stefania Signorello, Conservator, Wellcome Library
Chapter 7: Caring for the Object during Digitization of Written Heritage: The Strategy of the Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel, Almuth Corbach, Head of Collection Care and Conservation, Herzog August Bibliothek
Chapter 8: The Great Parchment Book Project, Caroline De Stefani, Conservation Studio Manager, and Philippa Smith, Head of Collections, London Metropolitan Archives
Chapter 9: The Development of the Language of Bindings Thesaurus, Athanasios Velios and Nicholas Pickwoad, Directors, Ligatus Research Centre, University of the Arts London
Chapter 10: Spectral Imaging to Aid Preservation and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Fenella G. France, Chief, Preservation Research and Testing Division, Library of Congress
Chapter 11: Multispectral Imaging for Special Collection Materials, Michael B. Toth, President and Chief Technology Officer, R. B. Toth Associates
Part Three: Conservators and Digitization Experts in Dialogue
Chapter 12: The Digitization of Manuscripts from the Point of View of a Book Conservator, Abigail B. Quandt, Head of Book and Paper Conservation, the Walters Art Museum
Chapter 13: Implementing Advanced Digital Imaging Research in Cultural Heritage: Building Relationships between Conservators and Computational Imaging Scientists, Melissa Terras, Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage, University of Edinburgh
Chapter 14: Coda: Concluding Thoughts on Digital Surrogates

Reviews and Features

"Despite the closure of major libraries and the curtailment of air travel that occurred during the global pandemic of 2020–21, decades-long efforts to digitize rare books and manuscripts have provided humanities researchers with vast resources that have enabled virtual access and opportunities for research. The timely publication of a volume of essays edited by Alberto Campagnolo provides a veritable master class in the work required to make these digital assets readily accessible online to scholars around the world. Alberto Campagnolo is that uncommon individual whose expertise combines the interdisciplinary fields of rare book and manuscript conservation and digital humanities. [...] [He brings] the voices of practicing conservators into dialogue with advanced digitization specialists, thus bridging these fields and demonstrating the value of this collaborative discourse for the future."
- Nancy K. Turner, Manuscript Studies: A Journal of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Volume 6, Issue 2 (2021)

Alberto Campagnolo

Book Conservation and Digitization

The Challenge of Dialogue and Collaboration

The successful transmediation of books and documents through digitization requires the synergetic partnership of many professional figures, that have what may sometimes appear as contrasting goals at heart. On one side, there are those who look after the physical objects and strive to preserve them for future generations, and on the other those involved in the digitization of the objects, the information that they contain, and the management of the digital data. These complementary activities are generally considered as separate and when the current literature addresses both fields, it does so strictly within technical reports and guidelines, concentrating on procedures and optimal workflow, standards, and technical metadata. In particular, more often than not, conservation is presented as ancillary to digitization, with the role of the conservator restricted to the preparation of items for scanning, with no input into the digital product, leading to misunderstanding and clashes of interests. Surveying a variety of projects and approaches to the challenging conservation-digitization balance and fostering a dialogue amongst practitioners, this book aims at demonstrating that a dialogue between apparently contrasting fields not only is possible, but it is in fact desirable and fruitful. Only through the synergetic collaboration of all people involved in the digitization process, conservators included, can cultural digital objects that represent more fully the original objects and their materiality be generated, encouraging and enabling new research and widening the horizons of scholarship.

Alberto Campagnolo

Dr. Alberto Campagnolo (PhD, Ligatus, University of the Arts London 2015) is a trained book conservator and digital humanist. Formerly a CLIR postdoctoral fellow in Data Curation at The Library of Congress (Washington DC), he is now adjunct professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Udine, Italy.