Alberto Campagnolo

Books as objects: mapping and eliciting experts' knowledge on bookbindings

Bookbindings provide much information on the material context of books. However, despite a considerable amount of literature, we lack a coherent history of the binding of books. Few scholars can date a bookbinding and provide an educated guess on its provenance, but one needs many years of work and research to accrue the encyclopaedic knowledge of binding structures to be able to place a binding with some confidence.

The HAB encompasses a notable and varied collection of undecorated bindings coming from almost any part of Europe that have been studied by the foremost experts in bookbinding structures. This project aims at semantically mapping these experts’ practice of pattern recognition within bookbinding structures - and their placement in time and space - to aid scholars in speeding up and refine a traditionally years-long process through digital means.