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01 dec 2021


20:00 - 21:30

Miraeus Lecture: Nikolaus Weichselbaumer: New Metrics for Bibliography in Scanned Books

Miraeus Lecture by Nikolaus Weichselbaumer (Johannes-Gutenberg Universität Mainz).

This lecture is supported by the Society of Antwerp Bibliophiles (Vereniging van Antwerpse Bibliofielen).

On 1 December 2021 there will be a Q&A session with Nikolaus Weichselbaumer at 20 PM CET.

Participation to the Q&A session is free and open to all, but please register using this link: A video meeting link will be sent one day in advance.

Abstract of the lecture: Analytical bibliographers have been measuring books with a tape measure for generations. Sizes given in millimetres are a cornerstone of many bibliographies. The continuing swell of digital scans of early printed material makes this increasingly problematic. Attempts to measure scanned books in millimetres tend to have limited success as there rarely is a precise reference length in the frame. Even in the cases where a ruler is placed on or near the book, it is often not in the same plane which lets parallax errors distort the results. To simply give up on measuring in scans would mean giving up on a wealth of options that scanned material offers, such as comparisons between copies that are kept half a world apart and computer aided analyses of large amounts of material that no bibliographer could cope with in a lifetime. The lecture proposes two approaches to this issue: proportional measurements and mathematically expressed comparisons of shape. Both metrics are still far from being standardised and easily applicable, but they have the potential to allow reliable comparisons of scanned books.

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