The first printing revolution re-examined: Oxford Bibliographical Society

12 May 2014: The Oxford Bibliographical Society hosted Cristina Dondi speaking about ‘the first printing revolution’ and our understanding of the transformation of the economics of communications.
Citing the many copies of 15thc-century books with former owners’ inscriptions or just localisable and datable decoration, and binding style or manuscript annotations, Cristina Dondi explained the possibilities of using books themselves as evidence for the impact of printing in transmitting texts and images.
The aim of the ERC-funded project headed by Dr Dondi, beginning this year, “The 15th-century Book Trade: An Evidence-based Assessment and Visualization of the Distribution, Sale, and Reception of Books in the Renaissance“, is to gather evidence from early printed books, to analyse and categorize the marks of ownership, by geographical area, period, or person (gender, status, and profession). This is the approach established by Dr Dondi in the database, Material Evidence in Incunabula. The current project will seek also to more closely analyze the textual contents of editions (not just the main text and author, but all dedications, prologues, etc.) This approach extends the practices of Bod-Inc, the catalogue of 15th-century books in the Bodleian, and promises to expand our knowledge of the transmission of texts in the early period of print.
A further exciting development will be image matching analysis of illustrations in Venetian incunables, using the image matching software developed by the University of Oxford Department of Engineering for the Broadside Ballads Online database hosted by the Bodleian Digital Library.

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