From learning in books to studying books

Books are more than the knowledge they contain. It is something curious for a concept to be known yet not grasped, to be common knowledge yet possessed with neither depth nor understanding. For long I have measured the value of a book in the light of the written or printed words upon the paper. Only lately have I realized only one part of the work’s whole worth lies within its content. 

I’m Gabriel Doyen, student in the Rare Book and Digital Humanities master in Besançon. Looking back at my studies, one could wonder how I ended up taking this course. Despite loving litterature and history, I have always found myself attracted to science and nature, and I obtained a scientific baccalaureate. However, in doing so I realized science was not my calling, and I switched path to enter a history license. But as I progressed through the cursus, I noticed something which worried me greatly: history was a very crowded job market, one I was afraid I would find myself lost amongst many others unable to find a place to work in. Looking at my possibilites, I decided to enter a master to become teacher, finding a call in education. However, during the first internship I came upon the conclusion I would not find fullfilement in becoming a professor.

Books have been a passion of mine since very little. I devoured as many as I could, and I still does so whenever I have the occasion. I did not entertain the idea of entering a work related to the books themselves for a long time, but after leaving my master in education I decided to return to my original passions and broaden my horizons from there. My researches had not only the goal of finding a job in a domain which would grants me fulfillment, but also that would be less crowded. Through this reasoning, I turned toward the digital medium and investigated the possibilities it brought. And this is how I discovered the field of digital humanities. 

The very idea of digital humanities piqued my curiosity. It seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, a different way to study and work in the field of history and classic letters. After looking at the curriculum of Rare Books and Digital Humanities, I found it to align extremely well with my interests and goals. This formation aims to provide a high level of competency in not only book trade and book conservation, but also digitalization, while providing the fundamentals for creating websites and catalogs. All of this convinced me to apply for this formation.

After some months of study, I firmly believe this formation will enable me to develop not only useful professional skills and tools, but also helps in solidifying my own personal project.