When i first learned that i would have to “become friends” with a book i got weirded out, like everyone, but I was mostly wondering: “well, how do i do that?”. I thought: “how much of a friend do I have to become? How much do I have to get to know it?”. I never really got excited by the whole thing and looked at it rather with disinterest. Now, looking back, I realize I actually did learn some things even if I never felt like it. I think most of the knowledge I acquired was not about my book itself, but about old books in general (Specially Architecture related ones i, guess).
I would describe everything I learned as “I learned how to learn about a book”. This whole experience was something that I personally had never done before or at least not to such extent. What i mean is even the first simple task was more than i have ever learned about a book. This is due to the fact that I learned about this book more by trying to find the information myself rather than by reading it already collected. Of course it wasn’t only this that I learned but much more. In retrospect I’m glad I was forced to complete such tasks because it helped me realize that the process I deemed so tedious and boring, could be really simple, maybe even enjoyable, if you divided it into pieces.
A very simple but key thing I learned from this was how to use the tools the ETH library provides. In all honesty it’s something I would have probably never done before my masters degree. Don’t get me wrong though, this doesn’t mean i will constantly use it, or use it more, but having gotten to know how to make use of it means if i ever want to use it i’ll be able to, which makes it a huge advantage.
During the whole process of becoming friends with my old but not so old french book i often got surprised or confused. First of all I didn’t ever think i would get to see an original copy of such an old book like this one. In my eyes those books were never to be touched or read in person by someone, this of course depending on the book. Considering my book was from an important writer from the time and author of relevant architecture books it confused me that it didn’t have any known reprints or new editions. But it also surprised me, since the information about the book is still there and this somehow without it even being a really big success and also being so old.
In conclusion I’m really grateful for what I learned and was forced to do even if I never really felt like doing it. I didn’t have any particular difficulties with anything, just the common lack of motivation to complete the tasks. Luckily i found the .text archive already online. I assume to most people that task was really a nightmare because of the combination of OCR and not having the program to do it. I’m also glad that even if my book wasn’t in Einsiedeln I went and saw that beautiful place.