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Librarians, historians, and those who love physical books may enjoy Book Traces, a crowd-sourced project focused on the handwritten marginalia, annotations, mementos, and errata found in pre-1923 books on university library shelves. These customizations provide a record of how books were read and used by their original owners. Book Traces is led by Andrew Stauffer, an English scholar at the University of Virginia, and is sponsored by NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship). This project aims to draw attention to the value printed books hold as historical and social objects and "to engage the question of the future of the print record in the wake of wide-scale digitization." To date, Book Traces has collected over 800 marginalia submissions, which site visitors may browse in order of submission date. Alternatively, visitors may search this collection by book author or type of marginalia. Particularly unique examples include paper doll clothes tucked into The Complete Works of Sir Walter Scott and a copy of The History of the Popes by Leopold von Ranke that includes an inscription written by the thief who had stolen it.
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Date of Scout Publication 2018-07-27
Archived Scout Publication URL https://scout.wisc.edu/report/2018/0727

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