“Friends with an old book” is an original and interesting experience. It reminds us one important thing that we tend to forget when we study or discuss about theories or old authors: these things are written in real books that still exist and you can even become friends with them. Even though, I was skeptical at the beginning about how this friendship will develop because my book is so old and has a title that is longer than a paragraph. I have to admit that a sort of curiosity developed after each exercise. Indeed, I was more and more intrigued by my assigned book.
The visit in Werner Oechslin library in Einsiedeln was also interesting. It shows that our “friends” are in good hands and are relatively accessible for the public. They are not hidden in a lost manor house or kept safely in a museum archive. One only needs to search on an engine to find their locations. In Einsiedeln, I finally got the occasion to meet my book that I heard so much about. After all, it felt special to touch a book that is 500 years old.
But I sense that something was missing. This so called friendship was not there. It lacks some sort of deepness because it was only based on physical aspects. Indeed, throughout the exercises, we were only asked to study the form of the text and the illustrations, to find its author or editor, which constitute actually only the envelope of a book. Indeed, during these exercises, I never really read or studied its content, except reading some simple and rare summaries I found on the internet. Hence, It became hard for me to develop a strong friendship and understanding with my book because I simply do not know anything about its personality.
The part of recording us examining the book during 20 minutes was funny but I still do not get the point of turning pages without really reading or analyzing them, except for the sake of showing that we got a physical interaction with the book. Perhaps, this time could be used for reading or analyzing a page of the book.
The task 4 might have helped to sort out the big themes and keywords but it remains on a superficial level. I do not think that an algorithm can reproduce or create this understanding for us. It can not really bring out the true essence of a book. And in my case, I had to switch “friend” for the OCR part because the typeface was too special to be recognised. Even if the OCR is an extraordinary tool, it is not infallible and can not replace the human reading. I was a little bit disappointed because I began with something that would not be concretized at the end.
Finally, I clearly understand that because of this matter of time and language, we were not able to exploit the full potential of our book. But I think these are the things that one should overcome in order to deepen a relationship. I would not say that I became friend with an old book but I rather made a simple acquaintance which still remains interesting.