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.