Saturday, February 24, 2007

Czech Periodicals Digitized

I realize that some of my readers are waiting patiently for photos of Tirolian mountains and an account of everything inept I might have done skiing, but I have been lethargic since my return. The thought occurs to me that perhaps I have got mono, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, or of course cancer.
But, of course, while there are times when sitting up does seem fairly exhausting in itself, this has not kept me from working diligently on my dissertation, since in a certain twisted sense this does not require much mental effort (I am used to doing it).
I did manage to summon the energy to meet Shawn for tea yesterday. He tells me that the PNP has a trove of E.F. Burian materials, which while not directly useful to me seems like the kind of thing I might want to dig into some years down the road. More immediately to the point, he has discovered that the Institute for Czech Literature, in its bibliographic wisdom, has been digitizing some of the publications we use and that these are available on the Web! Why were we wasting all that time photographing periodicals?
This afternoon (having failed to find any of this using Google), I got the URLs from Shawn and took a look.
The list is pretty impressive. I poked around a bit and found that while this will be a wonderful resource, actually there is not all that much duplication of my photographic efforts. It's true that I did photograph the first volume of Levá fronta and so did they, but otherwise there is not all that much overlap. I had not yet found a copy of the first volume of Pásmo, but they have put it nicely online for me to use. They have also done those useful publications Rozpravy Aventina and Literární noviny! It's true I have photographed many bits of Rozpravy Aventina, but I am looking forward to having the whole thing conveniently available to me. My only complaint at the moment is that I cannot understand what prompted them to do the digitization in black and white. Part of the fun of looking at the originals is seeing what color paper was used for different issues, or what color ink, and that sort of thing. The covers Adolf Hoffmeister did for Rozpravy Aventina, for instance, tended to be done in color.
I had been hoping that sooner or later the Czechs would do something akin to the Digital Dada Library and now, clearly, it is underway. The library of the Academy of Science is also digitizing Czech periodicals, but it appears that they are working on scholarly publications and that one has to access these from the library for copyright reasons. All the same, I see that Umění is on their list of planned digitizations...

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4 Comments:

Blogger Siri said...

I have read your posts of the last two months + some others about Prague, and it's really interesting!
great dissertation subject!

February 24, 2007 9:30 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

Glad you're enjoying it. I keep meaning to say more about Toyen herself, but she is elusive.

February 25, 2007 9:23 AM  
Blogger morskyjezek said...

Wow, that's a nice resource for periodicals. Too bad they don't yet seem to have full-text searches.

February 26, 2007 12:33 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Well, the one for historical periodicals at least allows looking at the individual pages and downloading them. Not quite the same as searching on "cimbalom," but still...

February 26, 2007 9:56 PM  

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