Conférence | « The elusive book. Modelling and digitizing the materiality of books towards digital codicology and bibliography. », Alberto Campagnolo. Mercredi 30 juin 2021, Tours [Présentiel & en ligne]

Conférence d’Alberto Campagnolo, chercheur invité au CESR qui présentera ses recherches en codicologie et bibliographie numériques et ses expériences en utilisant les données issues des BVH.

Mercredi 30 juin 2021, à 16h


The digitization of books is generally understood as the capture of the page contents through photography and imaging. Not all features of books can be digitally acquired in this manner — we will refer to these as untransferable characteristics — and models and descriptive metadata are necessary steps to computerize important information about the structure and materiality of books. Digitization, in fact, can do much more than reproducing books as texts to be read, and books are much more than flat sequences of pages. Among these elusive features we find the physical form of books (e.g., bindings, the form and materials of the pages, the gathering structure, and so on). While digitization tends to concentrate on the remediation of the content of books, we argue for an increased interest in the transmediation of the materiality of books. This digital representation and manipulation of an object’s materiality is achieved through a number of means, metadata designation being one of the most established processes to bring these untransferable features into the digital. Digital surrogates created in this manner have the potency to be more than mere replacements of the original objects. Instead, when the transformative nature of the digitization process is more fully harnessed, they can become digital cultural objects: digital objects that transcend the originals, work in synergy with them allowing them to be studied in a variety of different ways and make them something more.

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Development of text and image processing for digital libraries: the Bibliothèques Virtuelles Humanistes project and the digitization of Renaissance documents | Succeed Awards 2014, Nomination

En Mai 2014, Les Bibliothèques Virtuelles Humanistes se sont vues décernées le prix Succeed, soutenu par l’Union Européenne et par Impact Centre of Competence, qui récompensait « la mise en œuvre réussie d’un programme de numérisation exploitant les nouvelles technologies et les travaux de recherche en matière de numérisation des documents historiques ». Nous vous proposons ici, pour mémoire, la lecture du dossier complet soumis au comité des Succeed Awards.

Nomination summary

Development of text and image processing for digital libraries: the Bibliothèques Virtuelles Humanistes project and the digitization of Renaissance documents


The BVH (Bibliothèques Virtuelles Humanistes: Virtual Humanistic Libraries) is a research program devoted to the digitization and electronic publication of original source documents from the Renaissance period. Since 2003, its website has published digital facsimiles, selected Early Modern imprints (1450-1650) mainly from regional collections, and transcriptions of French texts of the same period, encoded according to the XML-TEI standard. Particular attention is paid to achieving great accuracy in the bibliographical description as regards the true states of originals and the closest correspondence between two distinct corpora, facsimile and text, linked by several levels of metadata in the main catalogue. The BVH team works in close collaboration with researchers from the Computer Science Laboratory of Tours (LI-Tours) to develop new technologies in the fields of image processing and pattern recognition. Open source software for layout analysis and text transcriptions, AGORA and RETRO, enables us to perform automatic extraction of graphic components from digitized books, and thus to build up specialized databases of iconographic and typographical material. As a member of the TEI consortium, we actively contribute to the development of a specialised schema for the transcription of Renaissance documents. Each step of processing and every component developed at the BVH is also intended for use by the whole digital community, creating a model for the digital library of the future.

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Projet PARADIIT : publication sur HAL


En 2011 et 2012, le laboratoire Reconnaissance des Formes et Analyse d’Images du Laboratoire informatique de l’Université de Tours (RFAI, équipe de Jean-Yves Ramel), associé à l’équipe des Bibliothèques Virtuelles Humanistes, a bénéficié de deux Google Digital Humanities Awards pour le projet PaRADIIT (Pattern Redundancy Analysis for Document Image Indexation and Transcription). Ce projet vise à développer les logiciels AGORA et RETRO, qui permettent l’extraction, le clustering et la reconnaissance de formes tirées de documents imprimés anciens. L’enjeu, à terme, est le développement d’outils d’aide à la transcription de documents imprimés anciens, et le développement d’un module d’OCR adapté aux livres imprimés de la Renaissance. Un résumé en anglais des résultats provisoires et des perspectives de développement du projet PARADIIT est désormais disponible sur HAL : Exploiting Document Image Analysis in the Humanities