This year we were asked to become friends with an old book, a book that was assigned to each one of us. In the beginning, the task sounded strange and I couldn’t understand what the point was. So, I just started doing the tasks that we were assigned to in order to fulfil my duties as a student.
The first task was about finding your book in the database of the ETH Libraries. As I was searching for my book through my Laptop, I realized that the task helped me familiarize myself with the search engine and the system of the online libraries.
After finishing my 1st task the second one came in. It was about visiting the library where you found your book and getting in to contact with it. That task seemed quite odd to me, but I still went. Through this task I had the chance to visit the Oechslin Library in Einsiedeln. There, there was a wide variety of really old books. It was a really unique experience as I got to hold in my hands and see up close such an old book and also learned how to treat old books with respect and carefulness. I also learned a lot about the safekeeping of the books and about the printing in old times.
The third task was about finding other known editions of my book. Although at first, this task seemed quite simple I realized due to the age of the book there are not so many information and I had to learn how to properly look for such information.
Task 4 was about extracting part of your book and transforming it into a text (as the book was only available as a scan document). Afterwards, the text had to be translated in English. Furthermore, we had to discuss how the book is composed in terms of typography and illustrations. This task was particularly demanding as there were difficulties in converting the book to a text file. Additionally, I didn’t know a lot about the composing of the book, so I had to learn about it. In the end the hard work paid off as it was really interesting to read what your book was all about.
Finally, Task 5 came. It was a group task as we were assigned in groups were the books of each member had something in common. What we had to do was present and describe the friendships that constitute our books. We decided to let our books chat with each other and discover what they were about and what they had in common. Although this task was for me kind of peculiar, I really enjoyed it and learned a lot about other old books as well.