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Inspiration (3/27/2021)

Thanks to the work of Gustavs Strenga (National Library of Latvia, Riga, Latvia), Jonas Nordin (Lund University, Lund, Sweden), and Peter Sjökvist (Uppsala University Library, Uppsala, Sweden), I've just had a most inspiring two days. We were scheduled to have a conference in Riga last October, but thanks to COVID-19, had to cancel that meeting. Gustavs, Jonas, and Peter decided to pursue the goal from the conference--a printed volume called The Baltic Battle of Books: Formation, Transfiguration and Relocation of European Libraries in the Confessional Age (c. 1500-c.1650) and their Afterlife, and to organize a workshop based on the research which we have thus far completed. I have benefitted greatly from the exchange of ideas--both in listening to my colleagues' fascinating talks and in hearing their creative and thought-provoking questions and comments, which are prodding me to think in different ways about my own contribution and about future directions.

By now, we're all quite familiar with laments about not being able to travel or see people "in 3D," and I will say that I remain utterly disappointed that I was not able to get to see Riga. I will have to make a plan to go there anyway, because I'd been so very much looking forward to it. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the colleagues who participated in the workshop and am excited about the plans for the book.

In the meantime, I have been as busy as my schedule allows on the EJLPP. The database now consists of over 5,300 volumes. I can hardly believe that, but it's true. I've worked on the chapter for this workshop and am currently also working on a paper for a virtual conference (rather than in Dublin, on Zoom) which is similar. In both, I am looking at groupings of colleges (for the Riga one, north/central/eastern colleges; for the Renaissance Society of America, comparing the English and Irish colleges with several in the Italian peninsula) to explore patterns of collecting. That involves consideration of subject, author, and language. It's been fascinating, in part because I'm not especially inclined to work with statistics, and in part because I have so many data points that I keep thinking of new ways to analyze them.

I've just posted updated spreadsheets in the Data section. In addition to adding hundreds of new lines to the printed volumes file, I've also fleshed out several sections of the file which contains inventories transcribed from non-archival sources. As always, I hope that you will find them useful, and that you'll share any corrections, concerns, or questions with me.


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