Bibliotechnica: Humanist Practice in Digital Times


Pasquale Gagliardi; John Tresch; Geoffrey Bowker; Glenn Most; Gregory Crane; Dagmar Schäfer; Stéphane Van Damme; Aihwa Ong; Murtha Baca; Ann-Sophie Lehmann; Matthew Battles; Ruth Padel


This book is the revised transcription of the 2014 “Dialogo di San Giorgio” entitled, Bibliotechnica: Digital Arts, Philology, Art History, and Knowledge Worlds. Held at the Fondazione Cini on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, the “Dialogue” was planned and conducted by Simon Schaffer, Pasquale Gagliardi and John Tresch.
How do changing library technologies alter the ways we relate to knowledge, nature, and each other? What do we learn about the present and future of data storage, analysis, and retrieval by studying the machines that have made these practices possible, from ancient Greece and China, all the way up to contemporary global networks? To answer these questions, historians of science, experts in digitalisation, art historians, philologists, book historians and a poet gathered at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice. For three days, they sounded each other out about how different types of buildings, institutions, systems and objects have collected and classified books, manuscripts and works of art, and what use has been made of them. Linking and comparing the past and the present, science and humanities, the West and the East, and the analogical and the digital, each chapter is followed by a lively, wide-ranging debate, foreshadowing unexpected connections and new issues. Set in one of Europe’s most remarkable libraries and cultural centres, Bibliotechnica explores how the growing digital order depends on earlier information handling techniques and suggests how the ideals of humanistic knowledge can continue to guide us in new, unfamiliar worlds.


  • Perface
    Of Black Angels and In nite Hexagons
    Pasquale Gagliardi
  • Introduction
    The Machine in the Library
    John Tresch
  • Part I
  • Performing the Database
    Geoffrey Bowker
  • Philology as a Social Practice
    Glenn Most
  • Coding the Classical Corpus
    Gregory Crane
  • Part II
  • Unpacking the Chinese Library
    Dagmar Schäfer
  • Mobile Philology and the Invisible Library
    Stéphane Van Damme
  • In a Time of Earthquakes: Chinese Artists Shake the World
    Aihwa Ong
  • Part III
  • Digitization Does Not Equal Access: Challenges in Putting Cultural Materials Online
    Murtha Baca
  • Two Digits: Digital Materials against Dystopias of Replacement and Utopias of Participation
    Ann-Sophie Lehmann
  • The Provisional Library Machine
    Matthew Battles
  • Epilogue: Below Is the Same as Above
    Ruth Padel
  • Final Discussion
Cover for Bibliotechnica: Humanist Practice in Digital Times

Details about this monograph

ISBN-13 (15)