‘World Class Rapid Digitization of Cultural Heritage’

Digital research of historical reading behavior

The website Annotated Books Online is a virtual research environment for scholars and students interested in historical reading practices. It is part of the research project "A Collaboratory for the Study of Reading and the Circulation of Ideas in Early Modern Europe" funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and co-ordinated by Arnoud Visser. Additional funding was provided by Anthony Grafton for the edition of Gabriel Harvey's annotations to Livy (Mellon Foundation). The digital research enviroment will be launched on Friday November 9, 2012.

Annotated Books Online
Universiteit Utrecht

For scholars and students

Historical readers left many traces in the books they owned. Names, notes, marks, and underlining provide unique evidence of how generations of readers used their books. Annotated Books Online gives full access to these unique copies. These books provide a great insight in the lifes of Thomas More, Desiderius Erasmus and Leonardo Da Vinci. Proceeding from the idea that reading constitutes an important form of intellectual exchange, the collaborators will collect and enhance evidence of how readers used their books to build knowledge and assimilate ideas.

Annotated Books Online focuses on the first three centuries of print, and creates a transnational platform that enables scholars and students interested in the history of reading to collect, view and study reading practices. User tools include extensive search, viewing and annotating options. In practice, valuable old books can be enriched with new research data. The proposed collaboratory will connect scholarly expertise and provide added value to digital sources through user-generated content in an electronic environment specifically designed for research and teaching purposes. It will offer, in short, an academic Wikipedia for the history of reading and the circulation of ideas. Annotated Books Online is powered by the Utrecht University.