Time passed very quickly and I learned a lot about my friend “Mémoire Historique sur le dome du Panthéon”. My first research was very superficial and I only collected the most important information about the old book. It was written by Jean-Baptiste Rondelet and was published in France in 1797. But for me it was important to know where the book is, so I could meet it in the library of the ETH.
During our meeting a lot of sensitivity and patience was needed, as my friend is already very old and fragile. For me it was a new experience to read such an old book on a cushion with gloves. I also had a lot of respect for my new friend because he seemed so valuable to me. I think it was very important to physically hold the book in my hands to understand what it feels like.
Next we had to look for other versions of the book before 1800, but that was very difficult for me, because my book was not published until 1997. But that didn’t bother me at all, because the book has much more value for me, because there are no other versions of it.
Digitizing the text of the book was easy and quickly done. Here I learned how to use OCR and how to convert a PDF into a text. I also got in touch with the content of the book again and was able to look at the text and the pictures a second time.
All in all I found out that it is quite difficult to find information about old books. It’s not easy to find everything on the internet and therefore the search for information requires more effort than usual. The connection to the book was therefore much closer and physically present. Nowadays you can get every little bit of information over the internet and you don’t have to bother with it anymore.
During the conversations with the other books we had to put ourselves into our own book and show the others why we are interesting and why our own pictures are so good. And the cooperation with the fellow students was very exciting although the whole thing had to be done via internet.