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Analogue objects online. Epistemological reflections on digital reproductions of lantern slides
Many museums and collections publish digital photographs or scans of objects held in their collections in online-accessible databases. What are the epistemological issues at stake when an analogue object is digitised with the aim to ‘illustrate’, ‘document’ or ‘represent’ its analogue original? This essay tackles the question based on practical, hands-on experiences that the author obtained through testing a method for digitising lantern slides. The digital copies achieved in digitisation projects, the author argues, are never a matter of mere documentation that produce ‘evidence’ about or ‘neutral/objective copies’ of the analogue objects but are results of interpretation, selection processes and modelling, informed by the aim of the digitisation project and the perspective of the person carrying out the work. As a case study, this article provides a material basis for theoretical, conceptual and epistemological reflections on the relation of analogue and digitised (media) objects, adding to current digital humanities discussions on tool criticism and source critique of digital objects.
CitationIn: Early Popular Visual Culture Volume 17 / Issue 3-4 (2019-09-27) ,S. 322-340 ; EISSN 1746-0662
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