BSA 2020 Annual Meeting Program

Bibliography and Technologies

January 24, 2020 – Convene, 237 Park Avenue

Bibliographers and book historians have long studied the impact of technology on the production of material texts. In the 21st century, we must also confront the ways that new technologies impact bibliographical research methods and results. This year’s annual meeting will explore this very topic with three papers and a formal response from scholars who study and use technologies in meaningful new ways.

The presentation will begin at 4:30pm, following papers by the 2020 New Scholars (2pm) and a brief business meeting (3:45pm). For a complete schedule, & to register, click here. Join us after the presentation for a lively reception.

Annual Meeting Details & Registration

How Else Can We Use Our Books?: Technology and Collections at the Folger Shakespeare Library by Michael Witmore, Director, Folger Shakespeare Library

In this talk, Folger Director Michael Witmore will discuss some of the ways in which research collections such as the one at the Folger are being used to explore new bibliographical questions using technology, including the analysis of biological material contained in books and the computational study of their contents. He will discuss the Folger’s commitment to “biocodicology” as an emerging field that deals with the biological substrate and history of books. It examines, for example, the genetic diversity of the animals used in the creation of books, and the biological materials that are sometimes deposited in books through use.

Digital Paleography and the Voynich Cipher Manuscript by Lisa Fagin Davis, Executive Director, The Medieval Academy of America

It can be safely claimed that there is no medieval script that has been seen, analyzed, and debated more than that of the mysterious and as-yet-unread Voynich Manuscript (Beinecke MS 408). Using digital paleographic methodologies such as the DigiPal application and other annotation tools, it is possible to apply the traditional methodologies of Latin paleography to the script and scribes of the Voynich Manuscript. The results of this analysis have intriguing implications for understanding the origins and history of the manuscript as well as providing a roadmap for future linguistic research.

Biblio-Archaeology: Excavating Print and Marginalia at the Digital Crossroads by Earle Havens, Nancy H. Hall Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts, and Director of the Virginia Fox Stern Center for the History of the Book in the Renaissance, Johns Hopkins University

The Archaeology of Reading (AOR) digital project gathers dozens of scattered 16th-century imprints that are uniquely valuable for their extensive manuscript marginalia about books and learning, recorded by former owners who were two of the leading book collectors and “serial annotators” of the English Renaissance—Gabriel Harvey and John Dee. This presentation demonstrates how AOR’s technology acts as a bibliographical toolkit for unlocking the scholarly potential of these dense marginalia, enabling the user to organize, transcribe, interpret, and share discoveries with the wider world.

Digital Meets Analog, a response from Haven Hawley, Chair, Special and Area Studies Collections Department, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida

Emerging scholarship in bibliography shows that digital and analog are not opposed terms or perspectives. Digital technologies can reveal the positionality of books within larger worlds through techniques that may seem highly focused and discrete. Relational understandings regarding the creation of, systems of knowledge within, and construction of order through books allow us to see the codex (and fragments) as an analog form, even as the codex reveals itself as a digital technology.

Annual Meeting Details & Registration


The BSA Annual Meeting is generously supported by:
The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America
Bonhams
The Brick Row Book Shop
Bromer Booksellers
Charles Wood Bookseller
Christie’s
The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar
De Simone Company
Donald A. Heald Rare Books
Honey & Wax Booksellers
Jonathan A. Hill Bookseller
Kenneth Karmiole Bookseller, Inc.
Nina Musinsky Rare Books
Penn State University Press
RIVERRUN Books & Manuscripts
Richard C. Ramer, Old & Rare Books
Thomas A Goldwasser Rare Books
William Reese Company