A one year long journey with „Manière de bastir pour toutes sortes de personnes“ has come to an end and I must admit that I’m not unhappy about it. It was a year full of new and interesting experiences, where I tried to get to know my book and build up a relationship to it, but my ventures were not really successful.
It all started when we were assigned a specific book and I read the title of mine for the first time. It was already at this point that I got concerned about wether our friendship was going to work out, because I found out that it was a French book and my French ist not really at a useful level.
Anyways, I had no trouble completing the first two tasks because it was only about gathering general informations about the book and finding the libraries where it is available. With each new task we had to deal more intensively with the book and its content and the more I tried to understand what it was about, the more I realized that the language formed a huge barrier. I especially noticed this with the fourth task, where we had to run the pdfs of ours books through an OCR. I did not think that I would have such problems with it, because the font didn’t look so old and was easily legible. But the OCR had a lot of problems to recognize some letters correctly (for example ‚u‘ as a ‚v‘) so that in the end the french text document contained many words that didn’t even exist. When I then tried to read some sections I simply couldn’t figure out what the author was trying to say and the English translation did only little contribute to my understanding.
The last task didn’t bring me any closer to my book either. Even if the basic idea of these libraries and xenotheca can be a great source I did not understand why the whole thing had to be brought closer to us in such an almost childlike way.
Nevertheless, I was somehow able to profit from the friendship. My personal highlight of our relationship was, when I got to make physical contact with my book. It was a great experience to hold it in my hands, to flip through it and even find small notes and calculations from those wo held it in their hands before I did. I was not aware how easy it actually is to get access to such important sources and old treasures. It has also shown me that many books are timeless and that their contents make great contributions to our times nowadays. The tasks have shown me which possibilities there are to get to these informations and how I can make them useful for myself. But I still have to say that I’m not sure whether this task-and-deadline-format is the right way to bring us closer to this whole subject.