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Textual Transmission and The Book Medium

Textual Transmission and The Book Medium

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  • Wed 11 Mar ’15, 12:15pm – 1:00pm


National Library of New Zealand, 70 Molesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington Show map


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

This event is part of The Book Beautiful exhibition currently on at the Turnbull Gallery

Join Dr Thomas Köntges as he discusses the past, present, and future of the book as a medium.

Textual transmission is the passing of textual data and meta-data from the past to the present. This talk will give a short overview of the 5,000-year history of textual transmission, from ancient writings in cuneiform to textual information’s current (often) digital state. It will focus in particular on the book medium and the constant innovation and rethinking it inspired, concentrating on Western developments from late antiquity to modern times, demonstrating how changes of the different material, medium, editorial techniques, and letter-code influenced the success of textual transmission.

The talk will close with a look into the future of the book medium. Recent research in areas such as Corpus Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Machine Learning, Topic Modelling, and Text Mining has provided textual scholars with radically new methods by which to explore textual data and the history of textual transmission. While those new research methods generate more knowledge in and about the textual data, they also demand that the traditional book-format changes. Textual data now needs to be open, linkable, explorable, and machine actionable. In my closing remarks I will update the audience on current research by the Perseus Project Research Group of Tufts University and the University of Leipzig and our attempt to ‘think outside the books’.

Dr Thomas Köntges
Thomas Köntges is a trained classical philologist and lecturer in Computer Science. From May 2015 he will take up an Assistant Professorship in the Department of Digital Humanities at the University of Leipzig. He is currently in New Zealand working with Dr Shep at Victoria University, where he is Digital Humanities Advisor to the Marsden Project “Personal geographies and global networks: William Colenso and the Victorian Republic of Letters”.

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