Friday, June 12, 2015

Aby Warburg's Card Index

Aby Warburg (1866-1929) was a German art historian of some fame. He also kept his research in a kind of Zettelksten. Yet his method was rather different from that of other people discussed in this blog. For one thing, he decorated his boxes with different kind of materials. Secondly, they were not always kept at one place. Apparently, he took some of them on his extensive trips. Thirdly, contrary to Luhmann's method, his index cards had no firm place. He constantly re-arranged them in accordance with different criteria. Fourth, and this is related, he used a hierarchical system, even though his hierarchy would strike many as rather arbitrary and idiosyncratic.[1]

1. For the detailed discussion of one of his Boxes (in German), see here. It's concerned with Box, number 2 (which deals with conceptions of history).

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