It was impressive to hold a book of such old age as Cerceau’s Livre d’edifice in my own hands. The visit in the Oechslin library in Einsiedeln was certainly one of the highlights of this series of tasks. I liked looking at Cerceau’s drawings and imagine how this was created centuries ago. The illustrations were beautiful and the library itself was breath taking. My astonishment increased when I learnt the price: over 10 000 francs!
I also enjoyed the last task, where we got to us our own head and creativity and work in groups. I think the way the content of the books were analyzed quantitatively was really interesting and there could have been more of this. How to go on with such books in present times? What information is relevant at present and how can we use it?
The groups could be built much earlier and there could be little group projects though out the year. Each other’s books could be compared in more ways than only the word cloud and the galaxies, which were quite abstract for most of us anyway. I think it is fine and for me as a data-interested person definitely fascinating, but it was a sudden jump out of nowhere. I think the group of books should be compared first in more traditional ways, as preparation, and then do the quantification on them. I think this way the tasks would become more meaningful and our understanding deeper.
Most of the other tasks I found quite boring, honestly speaking. We also had already had the introduction to the library on the Erstsemestrigentag, so I think this part could be skipped in the future. Finding literature is a useful skill, but this is actually very simple to learn and becomes much more interesting once it is required for one’s own work. At this stage I think this part of the task only counteracts the motivation for the whole course. Taking a video for 20 minutes to prove that one has looked at the book is also not my taste. I think answering a questionair and a photo could have been enough.
The task about transcribing the pdf into text was useful for me. I didn’t know how to do this before and I’m glad I know how to now. Although I find it tricky to give tasks that require expensive software. I think the use of free-ware should be the way to go and encouraged, whenever possible.
I did like this wordpress format. I think this is an elegant and simple way to share work.
In conclusion I think the course would benefit from reducing the simpler, bibliographic tasks and instead increase the independent, more sophisticated tasks in groups.