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Subject: Ligatus Summer School

Ligatus Summer School

From: Athanasios Velios <a.velios<-at->
Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Ligatus Summer School: Identifying and recording bookbinding
    structures for conservation and cataloguing


Thessaloniki (Greece), Aristotle University Library and Museum of
Byzantine Culture.
5-9 and 12-16 October 2009
5-9 October 2009 and 12-16 October 2009

In its fourth year and following the success of the courses in Volos
and Patmos, the Ligatus Summer School is organised this year in
collaboration with the Aristotle University and the Museum of
Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki. It is taking place mainly in the
city of Thessaloniki with visits to the important monastic libraries
of Mount Athos, and the monasteries of Ormylia and Meteora.

About the course: Conservators, librarians, book historians and
scholars who work with books, need to understand the structure of
their bindings in order to be able to describe them for the needs of
cataloguing and historical research as well as for making
appropriate decisions on issues relevant to conservation treatment,
housing, access, etc. Such descriptions of the bindings are
important for digitisation projects as they dramatically enrich the
potential of image and text metadata. This is particularly important
for collections of manuscripts and early printed books.

The purpose of the course is to uncover the possibilities latent in
the detailed study of bookbinding and it mainly focuses on books
which have been bound between the 15th and the early 19th century.
The two courses offered in this summer school focus upon two
different broad categories of bookbindings: a) the Byzantine and
post-Byzantine and b) the western European. The technical and
decorative details, as well as the way bookbindings evolved through
time and space will be discussed during the individual sessions.
Part of the school will be dedicated to the construction of an XML
data structure (schema) for recording bookbindings.

The courses will consist of both lectures and hands-on sessions
using the collections of the Aristotle University Library. A visit
to the libraries of the monasteries of Mount Athos will also be
included for male participants and to the monasteries of Ormylia and
Meteora for female participants.

The language of the courses is English and they are open to 12
individuals from relevant fields per week. Although the courses can
be attended individually, participants are encouraged to attend both
courses in order to get a more complete understanding of the issues
discussed, through the comparison of the major categories of
bookbindings considered each week. Since these are not
beginner-level courses, the participants are expected to be familiar
with bookbinding terminology and have a basic knowledge of the
history of book production in the period under discussion. A basic
understanding of database use is also desirable for those who will
attend the course on the first week.

Description of courses:

Week 1
Tutors Dr. G. Boudalis and
Dr. A. Velios:

    This five-day course will be divided in two interconnected
    sessions. The first session, run by Dr. Georgios Boudalis, will
    focus upon the major structural and decorative features of the
    Byzantine and post-Byzantine bookbindings and their evolution in
    time and space. The relation of these bindings with the early
    bindings of the Coptic and other Eastern Mediterranean cultures
    will be discussed, during lectures, slide-shows and hands-on
    sessions. This session will centre the influences and
    comparisons of these different bookbindings. It will consist of
    eight 90-minute computer presentations supplemented by hands-on
    sessions in the library of the Aristotle University.

    The second session will be run by Dr. Athanasios Velios and will
    deal with the data management and storage of bookbinding
    descriptions. Alongside a brief reference to the relational
    databases this session will mainly involve discussions on a) the
    semantic web and XML, b) schemas and terminologies for
    bookbinding descriptions, c) commercial and open source software
    options for XML documents and d) methodologies and workflows for
    collection surveys. A large part of this session will be devoted
    to the actual development and use of an XML schema for recording
    binding structures. This session will consist of two 90-minutes
    presentations and eight 90-minutes hands-on workshops. Basic
    knowledge of database use is desirable for this course.

Week 2
Tutor Professor N. Pickwoad:

    This course will follow European bookbinding from the end of the
    Middle Ages to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, using
    the bindings themselves to illustrate the aims and intentions of
    the binding trade. A large part of the course will be devoted to
    the identification of both broad and detailed distinctions
    within the larger groups of plain commercial bindings and the
    possibilities of identifying the work of different countries,
    cities, even workshops without reference to finishing tools. The
    identification and significance of the different materials used
    in bookbinding will be examined, as well as the classification
    of bookbindings by structural type, and how these types
    developed through the three centuries covered by the course. The
    development of binding decoration will be touched on, but will
    not form a major part of the discussion.

    The course consists of ten 90-minute sessions with slides (over
    800 slides will be shown). Actual examples of bindings are shown
    and discussed to supplement the slides in separate sessions in
    the University Library.

Because of the support from Ligatus, the Aristotle University and
the Museum of Byzantine Culture, we are able to reduce the cost of
the course for this year to 350 Euros per week excluding meals and
accommodation. The price includes transportation to and from the
monasteries of Mount Athos, Meteora and Ormylia, reading material,
use of computers and coffee and refreshments during the breaks. A
number of accommodation options will be provided to the
participants. A detailed schedule of the courses can be sent upon
request. Applications, including a short CV should be sent to
Ewelina Warner <e.warner<-at->camberwell<.>arts<.>ac<.>uk> marked in the
message subject: 'Ligatus Summer School' or apply online at


A reading list will be sent to those who will attend the courses in
advance. The participants will be contacted by the end of June. For
those attending the course at least 50% of the course fee will have
to be paid by the end of July, 2090.

Thessaloniki is the capital of the Macedonian region, co-capital of
Greece and the second largest cultural, economic and political
centre in Greece. Thessaloniki was a hugely important centre during
Byzantium and the city still preserves many important monuments from
that period. The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is one of the
largest universities in Greece covering a wide range of subjects.
The University library holds a unique collection of books from the
10th to the 20th centuries which makes it ideal for the study of
historic bookbinding. The Museum of Byzantine Culture in
Thessaloniki is an award winning museum with a state of the art
facilities and a excellent collection covering all aspects of
Byzantine life.

Ligatus is a research unit of the University of the Arts London with
particular interest to historic bookbinding, book conservation,
archiving and the application of digital technology to these fields.
Ligatus's main research projects currently include the assessment of
the condition of the books in the St Catherine's Monastery Library
in Sinai and the development of and English-Greek glossary of
bookbinding terms.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:61
                  Distributed: Friday, April 24, 2009
                       Message Id: cdl-22-61-006
Received on Tuesday, 14 April, 2009

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