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Miraeus Lecture: New Metrics for Bibliography in Scanned Books

Spreker: Nikolaus Weichselbaumer (Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz)

Te bekijken op Youtube vanaf 24 november 2021; online vragensessie op 1 december 2021, 20u
Voor deelname aan de vragensessie is inschrijven noodzakelijk.


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.