Inscribed, Coded, Archived: Digitizing Early Modern Medical Casebooks
Keywords:Casebooks, cases, data, archives, digital editing, digital humanities
What does it mean to make a new archive out of an old archive? This article describes how the Casebooks Project transformed thousands of consultations recorded by the seventeenth-century English astrologer-physicians, Simon Forman and Richard Napier, into the Casebooks Digital Edition. At the same time, it reflects on the nature of the production of knowledge, now and four hundred years ago. It builds on work that interrogates materiality and considers the ways in which remediation destabilizes notions of inscription, dissemination, and preservation. It resists the temptation to reduce cases to data and presents a model of an enduring digital archive. Remediating Forman’s and Napier’s manuscripts shows how knowledges in the past and in the present are made in writing, within encounters, and through archives.
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