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March 29, 2010
PRDL Editorial Board Members to Present at RSA Annual Meeting, April 8, in Venice

The Fifty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the RSA Venice, Italy 8-10 April 2010

Thursday, 8 April 2010 4:30–6:00 Università Ca’ Foscari - San Basilio - Aula 0D

NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND RENAISSANCE STUDIES VIII: THE POST-REFORMATION DIGITAL LIBRARY
Sponsor: CENTRE FOR REFORMATION AND RENAISSANCE STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
Co-Organizers: RAYMOND G. SIEMENS, UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA; JORDAN BALLOR, UNIVERSITÄT ZÜRICH; AND WILLIAM BOWEN, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO SCARBOROUGH

Chair: JORDAN BALLOR, UNIVERSITÄT ZÜRICH

JORDAN BALLOR, UNIVERSITÄT ZÜRICH
Gatekeepers of the Digital Renaissance

This paper focuses on the challenge for scholarly researchers posed by the wealth of information becoming newly available in this digital age. As more texts become more easily and readily accessible, there is a corresponding increase in the responsibility of the professional researcher to become digitally literate, conversant in the available tools and the ways in which they ought (and ought not) be used. Even so, the researcher is not an island unto him- or herself. Collaborative efforts, controlled for quality by various kinds of peer-review processes, will become more important as we emerge from what has been sometimes called “the late age of print.”

DAVID SYTSMA, PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
An Introduction to the Post-Reformation Digital Library

This paper illustrates the possibilities for collaborative digital websites via the construction and maintenance of the Post-Reformation Digital Library. The construction of a digital website for scholarly purposes inevitably raises questions of usability and quality control. As a medium between scholars and digital sources, the website ought to facilitate a scholar’s capacity to identify and use relevant primary and secondary sources. Thought must therefore be given to the scope, organization, standardized annotations, and oversight of materials. The presenter will explain the evolution of the Post-Reformation Digital Library in light of these concerns.

TODD M. RESTER, CALVIN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
A Digital Researcher’s Toolkit: Sive, Ad Fontes, Renatos ac Digitaliter Acquisitos

This paper surveys several tools available for streamlining the researcher’s process of acquisition, conversion, manipulation, and usage of non-digital primary sources both for independent and collaborative digital use. The relative ubiquity of laptop computers, wireless internet access, and digital photography form a revolutionary nexus allowing a researcher to maximize the quality of rare book and microfiche images in minimal time whether securely saving them locally or on the web, whether traveling or in day-to-day class preparation. Portable document formats and trainable optical character recognition software hold forth ripe opportunities for collecting publishable images and rapidly producing critical texts. Through the use of a highly portable setup, the presenter has digitized scores of works from the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries while respecting the fragility of the media. The presenter will also showcase several key pieces of software — some freeware others licensed — which expedite collaboration with worldwide colleagues nearly simultaneously.

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