A1 Journal article – refereed
A Quantitative Approach to Book-Printing in Sweden and Finland, 1640–1828

List of Authors: Mikko Tolonen, Leo Lahti, Hege Roivainen, Jani Marjanen
Publisher: Routledge
Publication year: 2018
Journal: Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History
eISSN: 1940-1906


Several cities in Sweden have been providing book-printing facilities
since the 1640s. In our quantitative and explorative analysis of library
catalogs from the National Library of Sweden and the National Library
of Finland we identify the general trends in publishing, how
book-printing has been affected by political events, and how printing
developed at different paces in different parts of the realm. We have
developed a new method for analyzing the totality of publishing through
extensive data harmonization and comprehensive statistical analysis, and
by treating library catalogs not as an endpoint of bibliographic
research but as an inherently rich source of information. This
facilitated the quantitative assessment of printing in the Swedish realm
based on the metadata contained in library catalogs. Our data-driven
approach to the transformation of public discourse demonstrates that
whereas the amount of printed material grew steadily, political ruptures
affected the development of printing. We also suggest that the culture
of books and printing is best understood through the dynamics of
competing intellectual hubs consisting of the university cities and the
political center in Stockholm. This perspective further challenges the
dominant, nationally delineated approach in book history.

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Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 13:56