Monday, December 16, 2013

Google Books: Unconsciously creating art...

Check out this blog, The Art of Google Books, which takes a fresh look at the pages scanned into Google Books. After a lot of scurrying through the numerous scanned pages, they've put together a list of the most common mishaps which occur during the scans and have reframed them in the context of art. They state their mission purpose as follows:

"The diverse, startling adversaria of Google Books merits examination and exhibition. The aim of this project is twofold; to recognize book digitization as rephotography, and to value the signs of use that accompany digitized texts as worthy of documentation and study."

The types of mishaps they've uncovered go from unwitting scans of the hands of the people scanning the pages to burn marks, marginalia, library stamps, distortions and objects left between the pages:

Employee’s hand.
From the front matter of An Account of the Societies For Reformation of Manners, In England and Ireland by Josiah Woodward (1701). Original from the Bavarian State Library. Digitized January 24, 2011.
Reading around (and through) a burn.
From p. 6 of The Long Lost Friend: or, Faithful & Christian Instructions Containing Wonderous and Well-tried Arts & Remedies, for Man as Well as Animals by Johann Georg Hohman (1850). Original from Harvard University. Digitized December 4, 2007. 
Circulation slip with stamps from 1960 to 1987.
From the front matter of English Traditional Songs and Carols edited by Lucy Etheldred Broadwood (1908). Original from Harvard University. Digitized November 6, 2007.
Feeling inspired? Want to start hunting for your own Google Books treasures? You can find a helpful guide to get you started here. And if you'd like to add you findings to the blog, you can submit them here.