Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Attention to detail

I'm not one for attention to detail, as any casual reader of this blog will appreciate (spelling, sentences without endings etc).  I like to be roughly right rather than exactly wrong.  I've just spent a few hours linking the proposed Logic Museum version of the Quaracchi edition of the Ordinatio to an online pdf I found. A sample  Logic Museum page is here, containing a link to the corresponding page in the pdf.  Now click on the link to take you to the pdf.  You notice the button at the bottom right, inviting you to move to the next page.  You do so, and you notice the special effect that makes the page turn as though by an invisible hand. All very nice, and must have taken a long time to code all that up. (The work was funded by a grant from the University of Toronto).  But look again at the right page, particularly the bottom half. Anyone familiar with digitisation will recognise the problem this.  The contrast is poorly set, or it is overlit.  The poor digitiser will give up in disgust.

And that is precisely what happened. Go to the digitised, pure text version, you see that while the even-numbered pages are not too bad, the odd-numbered pages (that's the pages on the right, mathematicians) are unintelligible.  A bit of thought at the beginning would have saved a lot of effort.

This sort of thing is everywhere in 'digital medievalism'.  Too much focus on software, not enough on the bleeding obvious.  Same applies to Wikipedia, by the way.

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