The first time we heard about the project « Friends with an old book», I was wondering how could we get to know a book without reading it. So was I a bit lost about what was expected of me but it is also what made me curious about this project. Each time we started a task I was questionning the purpose of the exercice. It’s once I started the task that the aim of the exercice was making more sense. It is also once each task has been put end to end and with the step back that I really got the purpose of the whole exercice. And then I thought how impressive it was how much you can learn about the contents of a book without reading it.
I started the project with a book by François d’Aguilon « Six Books of Optics ». The first task showed me how easy it is to have an access to some books that seem to be out of reach because of their age. The task two has been my favorite one despite of the book’s changement on arrival at Oechslin’s library. I loved this task because it allowed me to discover this wonderful place hidden in the heights of Einsiedln. It is not only the aestethic oft he library but also all the books it houses that pleased me. I saw there the original edition of the « Dix Livres d’architecture de Vitruve » by Perrault with handwritten footnotes. It is such a mythic book in architecture that I was moved to see it. The emotion also arose as I had in my hands the edition of the book «Mathesis Compendiaria, sive tyrocinia mathematica tabulis » and « Scientia cosmica, sive astronomia tam theorica quam sphaerica » dating from 1698 by Johann Christoph Sturm. Approaching such an old book so closely is an experience I probably would never have had if I hadn’t had to do this task for this project. The task three required me more effort than I first thought when I discovered the task. Probably due to the age of our books it was not easy to find reliable information concerning the different editions as well as the date of publication of the book. For the task four I had to change my book once again. I found interessant in this task to discover what was the Optical Character Recognition engine (OCR). Without this assignement I probably never would have discovered this tool. Task five is also one of my favorite one, because we got to know a complete new and contemporary approach of discovering a book without reading it. I refere to the Xenotheka’s library that is a way more than just a library. I was impressed to see how could we mix literature with computer science in such relevant way. I have the feeling this friendship that everything seemed to oppose is finally much stronger than the friendship that I myself have been waving with the books since the beginning of the year.
In conclusion I had a lot of pleasure working on the project « Friend’s with an old book ». I found this project really rewarding. I had the opportunity to do and to see some things I would have probably never done outside the scope of the project. What I didn’t like about it, however, is the change of books three times. It was no big deal but I think I would have preferred to keep the same book along the year to keep a stronger connection with my book between the different task that were required.
But in any cas it was a great adventure and I thank you to giving us the opportunity to live it !