Crossing the Line: Data visualisation of Codicological Data of Hebrew Manuscripts and Incunabula
XIth Congress of the European Association of Jewish Studies (EAJS, 2018)
Scholarly debates on the introduction of the press in Jewish society have focused primarily on continuity or discontinuity, and whether print fostered new audiences and new ways of reading. However, it can be argued that the actual impact of print has been overstated, at least until the mid-sixteenth century, for evidence suggests instead that print and manuscript continued apace for quite some time. It seems, nevertheless, that the two media tend to engage different experts and audiences. Seldom the two fields are crossed, despite their frequent overlapping. In recent years, the digitisation endeavours focused on Hebrew books have created unprecedented amounts of information. The data are intrinsically heterogeneous, some are quantitative, some are qualitative; some standardised, some entirely dependent on scholars or institutions. Despite the generated data, within the sub-field that is ‘Jewish Book History’ plenty of efforts have been made to address books in their immaterial and material dimensions long before the aforementioned wave of digitisation. Examples of such are codicological databases such as Sfardata, the various palaeographical approaches, not to mention the plenty bibliographic, historiographic, and art historical narratives that deal with individual or with regional productions. These multiple sources of data should, therefore, be processed, centralised and standardised in order to provide a better linkage and semantic meaning to the information. Moreover, the existing computational techniques such as machine learning and data visualisation would increase the discovery of relevant patterns and eventually verify existing studies. Having as backdrop the multidisciplinary nature of Book History, the following paper intentionally bridges between manuscript and print by proposing the quantitative exploration of layers of data, to further consider the coexistence of manuscript and print in Jewish culture, up to 1550. It considers previous scholarship on both manuscripts and incunabula, it discusses issues that arise with the available data, it generates new knowledge, and, by crossing between the disciplinary lines, hopes to contribute to scholarship on the transition from manuscript to print.
Digital Humanities,Jewish Book History,Data visualization
Classificação Fields of Science and Technology
- Engenharia Eletrotécnica, Eletrónica e Informática - Engenharia e Tecnologia
- Artes - Humanidades