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Call for Papers: Book trade history in the digital age






24 July 2015 at Chetham’s Library, Manchester 

Print Networks committee

Caroline Archer (caroline.archer@bcu.ac.uk) Catherine Armstrong (C.M.Armstrong@lboro.ac.uk), Maureen Bell (m.bell@bham.ac.uk), Giles Bergel (giles.bergel@ell.ox.ac.uk), John Hinks (jh241@leicester.ac.uk), Lucy Lewis (poet@nofear.org), Barry McKay (mailto@barrymckay.plus.com), Lisa Peters (L.Peters@chester.ac.uk), Michael Powell (librarian@chethams.org.uk)

The British Book Trade Index, originated by Peter Isaac in Newcastle and currently accessible online from the University of Birmingham, is in the process of being transferred to a new home at the Bodleian Library’s Centre for the Study of the Book. In Oxford it will join other electronic book trade resources such as Michael Turner’s London Book Trades database. Many new digital resources are now becoming available to the book trade historian, from Broadside Ballads Online to new work on the Stationers’ Company archives. The English Short Title Catalogue, for example, is undergoing major regeneration; image-recognition technology is being applied to cheap illustrations; presses and their trading networks are being mapped; and the potential of ‘big data’ is already being explored by economic historians. This is, therefore, an appropriate time to consider book trade history in the context of the uses and potential of digital resources.

Print Networks therefore invites contributions for a one-day workshop on Book Trade History in the Digital Age. Proposals for papers (20-30 minutes), panels (1 hour) or presentations on aspects of the following or related topics are welcome:

Existing resources:

  • their potential for development
  • pitfalls and problems in using them for book history
  • methodologies
  • innovation: new resources and work in progress
  • how do digital resources transform book trade history?

Using digital resources:

  • tracking publications
  • reconstructing businesses
  • biographical research
  • geographical mapping
  • trade networks

Dreams & visions:

  • what kinds of resources are needed by book trade historians?
  • is interoperability desirable? or a proliferation of stand-alone resources?

An abstract (300 words) should be submitted by 31st March 2015 to Maureen Bell at m.bell@bham.ac.uk


Professor Caroline Archer Phd

Professor of Typography, Birmingham City University
Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Birmingham University

The Typographic Hub [Room 423]
Faculty of Art, Design and Media

Birmingham City University

Parkside Building, 5 Cardigan Street, Birmingham B4 7BD
0121 331 5871 | www.typographichub.org

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