Savannah Willards Social Life of Books site.

Month: February 2017

Assignment #5 – A Book’s Owners

You know how when renovating a room, you have to scrape all of the wallpaper off the walls and it is easy and super tedious, but you know it’s going to be worth it in the end? That’s kind of how this assignment went for me. This week we were asked to once again use technology I had previously never dealt with before, and considering last week’s results, I was cautious to say the least. Surpisingly enough, I did not have as many troubles this time around. While data scraping is definitely not how I would like to spend an afternoon, much like peeling wallpaper off it was more tedious than anything.
Once I finally got all of the data, painstakingly putting it through Google Sheet after Google Sheet, I was ready to take on Kumu. Once again, I was surpised how user-friendly it was. (Maybe Zotero and I are just not meant to be.) Although there are some discrepancies with my map, such as the random gray circles that did not want to get color coded, overall it turned out pretty well.

I used the Bristol Baptist Academy’s records of 1860 from Dissenting Academies database:

Authors = Blue dots

Books = Yellow dots

Assignment #4 – A Book’s Location

For this assignment I decided on a whim to use Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s Don Quixote (English translations), knowing that there was a copy in our archives here. I struggled and struggled with the software due to my own technological ineptness, but finally after hours of having too many tabs open on my computer at once, I was able to make a map. This map shows the distribution of editions of Don Quixote from 1620 to 1799. Unsurpisingly enough, most of them were published in London (which is why it is red, because I color-coded by concentration), but there a few more here and there, obviously centralized in the UK and Ireland. As you can see, there was one stray over in Maryland, which was slightly out of place, but I guess not too odd because it was a later copy (1781).

Color-Coded by Concentration:

London – 59 copies (red)

Dublin – 9 copies (orange)

Glasgow – 3 copies (yellow)

Coventry – 1 copy (green)

Edinburgh – 1 copy (green)

Assignment #3 – A Book’s Life

New software, new language, and a new way to think of books, these are the oppurtunities that this week’s assignment has given me. We were asked to pick a book with a deep, preferrably mappable history and create a timeline of its life (see below). This project was intimidating at first, but once Mary Haynes and I got going, it actully gave us some really amazing insights into just what a book can hold if you look deep enough. The book we ended up using was actually discovered on a whim; I happened to grab it off the shelf and notice that it definitely was not in English. Ultimately it were the signs of ownership that caught our attention, and you’ll see why in the timeline. We thought that using the unfamiliar timeline software was going to be the most intimidating part of this project, but it turns out that translating Danish and using Norwegian census data is a lot more difficult. Even so, we made it work and discovered some facinating things about just how far a book can travel.

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