Not much information has been systematically compiled about the circulation habits of Jewish bibliophiles across geographies, historical periods, and individual hands. The Footprints: Jewish Books Through Time and Space effort seeks to create a database aggregating data about the transmission of Jewish books to foster collaborative, inter-institutional scholarship on Western Jewish book history. It is committed to presenting this network of book transfers through visual and virtual softwares, in particular with their accessible, online “Pathmapper” exhibit. The database website also houses a blog, which keeps those interested informed and updated.
Footprints is relevant to the MML’s project for two reasons. First, the database effort classifies books as cultural objects whose circulation across time and place tells a story about the memories they have touched along the way. The Lab too considers manuscripts as artifacts upon which lives are transformed, recorded, and shared — often across the boundaries normally imposed not them. Second, this research effort is invested in producing cutting-edge digital humanities efforts which visualize the historical and contemporary networks of text circulation at play. The Lab sends its support for Footprints, and is grateful to be in academic community (learning) with them.
This research endeavor is supported by the Center for Jewish History and Columbia’s Center for Teaching and Learning; collaborative efforts have been coordinated with Columbia University Libraries, The Jewish Theological Seminary, Stony Brook University, and the University of Pittsburgh. Check out the website, as well as its digital humanities efforts, at the links provided below.
Link, Footprints, website: https://footprints.ctl.columbia.edu.
Link, Footprints, Pathmapper exhibit: https://footprints.ctl.columbia.edu/pathmapper/.
Link, Footprints, Blog: https://edblogs.columbia.edu/footprints/.
Link, Footprints, Introductory Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qJPxzgPlzQ.