A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…The man who never reads lives only one. George R.R. Martin
Books are like spaceships or teleporters. They have the incredible capacity to take you places: past, present or future; faraway places or just around the corner; even to the belly of another book. They allow you to live, feel and see through somebody —or something else’s— eyes.
That insightfulness of books is why working surrounded by them has always been my dream job. As a child I fancied myself working as a librarian, guarding entire collections and introducing people to them as that nice lady did for me long ago. Information and learning have always been a source of comfort and books a loyal companion.
Therefore, when I came accross the master’s Rare Books and Digital Humanities at the Université de Franche-Comté, it came as a wonderful opportunity to me personally due to the broad spectrum of possibilities it offers, especially when it comes to mixing literature and history with digital technologies, so paramount in our modern world.
Overall, the practical knowledge of ancient languages, literature and computer science, the familiarity with the book world and culture in a broad sense, as well as the internship and international possibilities it provides, are some of the features I find most appealing about this master’s program; in addition to all the rich european history and culture at the very reach of our fingertips!
This opportunity to experience history, not only through books, but also in the flesh through architecture, visuals, artefacts, archeological findings —all of which are recorded in books—, and help preserve them with the technology now at our disposal for future generations to enjoy is absolutely priceless.
I still don’t know exactly what my future holds. I want to try a bit of everything: libraries and bookshops alike. The idea of an auction and the exhilaration of people bidding for objects that are considered valuable for the history they contain is quite appealing. But then working at a library guarding entire old and precious collections is also alluring.
So far the journey is both interesting and eventful, dynamic and enlightening, full of new insightful glimpses into a world I only saw in movies. The uphill hike to develop digital skills and master the tools can be frustating at times but rewarding in the end, once the skill has made of your mind its home. The hands-on approach to mastering technology and its diverse uses serves as both a comprehensive formation as well as a fitting introduction to the world of rare and old books.