Archaeology of a Book: An experimental approach to reading rare books in archival contexts

Introduction to (Digital) Futures

What is the future of the printed book in the digital age? In this project, we have explored this question by considering the long history of interaction between books and their material conditions - whether those conditions are the scene of their production, the site of their collection, or the process of their acquisition. At the same time, we have sought to illustrate some ways in which digital collections like the Primeros Libros project can allow for new paths into book history, creating opportunities for research and for writing.
To conclude this project, we turn our attention to the future of the Advertencias in both institutions and in digital repositories. The historical processes of collection and acquisition described in this project continue today in new libraries like the Biblioteca Franciscana, and in new digital repositories, like the Internet Archive and the Primeros Libros project. These projects, discussed in the "Library Collections" page, show changes in institutional priorities and research practices in the present day.

At the same time, digital projects offer new opportunities for analysis. In the "Digital Projects" page, we discuss two new ways of digitally exploring the Advertencias: the Cobre reader designed by researchers at Texas A&M University, and the "Reading the First Books" project, a transcription project based at the University of Texas at Austin. The tools developed through these two projects invite new ways of thinking about how we engage with the Advertencias and present new opportunities for historical scholarship.

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