Inscribed, coded, archived

Digitizing Early Modern Medical Casebooks

In The Journal for the history of knowledge verscheen een prachtig artikel van Lauren Kassell over een digitaliseringsproject van historische medische casusbeschrijvingen van vroegmoderne astrologen-‘dokters’. Het artikel beschrijft de wijze waarop wetenschappers het digitaliseren in the Casebooks Project van deze casus beschrijvingen hebben aangepakt en welke voordelen en nadelen er aan dit ‘nieuwe digitale archief’ van de boeken kleven.

What does it mean to make a new archive out of an old archive? This article describes how the Casebooks Project transformed thousands of consultations recorded by the seventeenth-century English astrologer-physicians, Simon Forman and Richard Napier, into the Casebooks Digital Edition. At the same time, it reflects on the nature of the production of knowledge, now and four hundred years ago. It builds on work that interrogates materiality and considers the ways in which remediation destabilizes notions of inscription, dissemination, and preservation. It resists the temptation to reduce cases to data and presents a model of an enduring digital archive. Remediating Forman’s and Napier’s manuscripts shows how knowledges in the past and in the present are made in writing, within encounters, and through archives.

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