Digital Dog Ears

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 18 2012 @ 2:51pm

Krissy Wilson runs The Art of Google Books, a tumblr that preserves the errors and anomalies caused during the digitization of books. She spoke to Victoria Fleischer:

Tumblr_liuhdhHwSg1qixa76o1_400To me, used books are infinitely more interesting than the kinds of books that collectors covet. While perfect-condition, first-edition books hold great value in showing us exactly what was created and sold when the book was produced, used books can tell us something about the material culture of the era in which it was used. In a way, I'm documenting the wear-and-tear of digital books: Kids left all kinds of marks on nineteenth-century books, and digitizers leave all kinds of marks on digital books.

Wilson explains the above image, which sparked the project:

It's a portrait photographed through the tissue that protects it, and the result is ghostly and ethereal. It's also got the strongest link to my research. I never would have found this image if I hadn't been prompted to search Google Books for keywords from a scrap of text bound into another book. … I feel that there is a kind of expiration date on these phenomena, and that, at some point, they are going to stop happening (already, there are very faithful digital books produced by universities, like the University of Florida Digital Collections). In that way, these images document an important digital moment.