Ligatus Summer School 2009

Course completed.

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

In its 4th 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.

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 ( 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.

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.