When I was first introduced to the task of “becoming friends with an old book”, I thought it was quite pointless and unappealing. I was assigned to a book called Trattato di Teofilo Gallaccini sopra gli errori degli architetti, which was written and published by Teofilo Gallaccini in Venice in 1767. That threw me off even more, because I can’t speak any Italian and that did become a problem later. I really didn’t like the fact, that I could not understand the content of the book and I didn’t even want to try to become friends with it.
I visited the book in the archive of the ETHZ and I had to film myself looking at it and analyzing its format, size and composition. This was the peak of redundancy to me, I felt used and fooled. But meeting my book was very beneficial for our friendship. I had seen the pages in a pdf, but it was very important to see the entire book to get an idea of what it actually looked like. I realized that the physical book contains Teofilo Gallaccini’s book and “La Perfezione” by Antonio Visentini. There were some really beautiful drawings and the layout of the book was well done.
I had to examine the publishing history and I thought it was a lot of effort for not getting a lot of results. I guess it takes even more time, if there are fewer results, because you have to search a lot longer to be sure you haven’t missed anything.
When I ran the pdf of my book through an optical character recognition engine, it couldn’t recognize the text properly. The pages were not scanned nicely and the script was too old, so a lot of letters were mistaken as other letters or characters. Therefore, I had to write the entire text myself, which took way too long since I am not fluent in Italian. I’m glad that I did it regarding the last task, because I would have been sorted into a weird group without any actual content, if I had not done that previously. In my opinion, there should have been a better solution for the scanning part, because a lot of other students had the same problem apparently. I also had to write a paragraph about how the book is composed in terms of typography and illustrations and some of the required information was reasonable. However, I can’t see what, for example, the quality of knowing what size the margin has is.
For the last task, the groups we were sorted into were created by extracting special words found in the texts of the previous task and combining them. As we were trying to do that, we found out that our books had very little in common. We neither had the same content, nor the same layout or a similar amount of images or drawings. We tried to find a topic to talk about anyways and talked to each other in a group chat.