Produced by Robert W. Allison
Assoc. Prof of Religion, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine and
Research Fellow Ektaktikos of the Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies, Thessaloniki
© 1996 Robert W. Allison. All rights reserved.

Form for Submitting Descriptions of Papers and Watermarks

Go to condensed form (form without explanations, for expert users and persons submitting multiple descriptions)

This form for description of papers consists of four parts. In the first part you are asked to identify yourself for purposes of follow-up communication and credits. The following three parts are the description itself, including :

  1. The Paper identification, consisting of the standard identification of the codex or other document in which it occurs, plus a paper reference number.

  2. Six elements of manuscript description which contribute to identification of the paper and establish the paper's association with the scribes or centers of book production which used it.

  3. Ten elements of paper description (instructions are provided for each item.)

You may refer back to the Introduction to the Database of Paper Descriptions for an overview of the method of paper description here employed and to review the rationale for the inclusion of these elements of description.

If you are missing a piece of information, skip that section and move on to the next. Maybe the next time you have the manuscript in front of you, you can collect the information needed and update the information for this database.

Many of the descriptions can be entered by selecting from a "pop-up list" of standard choices. If you do not find an appropriate descriptor among the standard entries in the pop-up list, select the blank field, and enter your own descriptor in the box immediately below marked "Other . . . :"

PLEASE NOTE: Certain blanks in this form are for "required" data, that is, they must be filled in. These items are marked by an asterisk. If they are left blank, you will receive an automated message indicating that your submission was not successful."

From: (your email address please)

*Please enter here your e-mail address:

*Please enter today's date (year/month/day):

Please enter your professional identification here:
*full name:
*city, state
*country, code

Part 1: Paper Identification: (please don't leave blank)

Please provide here the official identification of the paper whose description you are submitting. The information which you provide will generate a description in the following form:

*placename, *library name, *collection name (if appropriate), *shelf number, *paper reference number.

Please select or fill in the appropriate information in the spaces which follow:

Part 2: Manuscript Description.

The following numbered elements of manuscript description contribute to calculations regarding size of the original sheet of paper used in the codex and placement of the watermark. The last two items may make it possible to establish associations of the paper with scribes and centers of book production.

  1. Type of manuscript:
    Select type of manuscript here:

    Other manuscript type:

  2. Manuscript dimensions
    Please enter dimensions of folio (if a codex) or of sheet (unattached or in roll) in mm.:
    Please enter numbers only, not the abbreviation, "mm."

    codex vertical dimension or narrow dimension of sheet:

    codex horiz. dimension or long dimension of sheet:

  3. Codex format
    If the manuscript is a codex, select the format of the codex or of that section of the codex in which this paper occurs (folio, quarto, octavo, etc) here:

  4. Use of paper in the manuscript
    The relationship of a paper to the manuscript with which it is now associated ranges from being the original material of the manuscript to being a completely distinct paper only incidentally associated with the present manuscript. Select a descriptor in the box below which describes the relation of the paper to the manuscript in which it was found, or select the blank and enter your own descriptor in the box below labelled "Other paper use."

    Other paper use:

  5. Scribe Identification:
    If the scribe of the manuscript is known, please enter the scribe's name here in place of the term, "unknown."
    Note: if more than one scribe wrote the manuscript, enter here only the scribe(s) who wrote on this particular paper in the manuscript.

    First Scribe:

    Second Scribe:

    Third Scribe:

  6. Provenance
    If the provenance and scriptorium for this manuscript is known (the place at which this paper was used), please enter the information here replacing the terms "unknown."

    Provenance (region or city):
    Scriptorium (monastery or other center of copy):

Part 3: Paper Description

The ten numbered elements of description in this section constitute the paper description proper. This section can be used as a guide to field work by persons engaged in description of paper manuscripts.

  1. *Watermark design

    Standard descriptive terms as found in Briquet or Mosin-Traljic are used in this catalog, as evident in the options listed in the box below. These options are based on the complete List of Watermark Designs currently included in this archive.

    Please note that this list includes

    • Descriptors of Basic Motifs
      (for example: AMPHORA)
    • Supplementary descriptors for basic motifs
      for example: with SINGLE HANDLE
    • Descriptors for secondary motirs occurring above or below the basic watermark design
    • Abbreviations
      NOTE: mgr. for "monogram," ltr. for "letter"

    Please select one of the options listed in the pull-down menu below, or if you do not find your watermark among these options, you may

    • Select the entry "other" (located at the end of this pull-down list of options) and enter your own descriptor in the following fill-in box.
    • Select an appropriate general descriptor from the pull-down menu and in the box which follows add a specific descriptor.

    NOTE: Please do not select parenthesized cross references or following explanations as options in the pull-down lists below.

    Basic Motifs Watermark Designs: Supplemental Descriptors

    Secondary Motifs:
    Above the Basic Design:

    Secondary Motifs:
    Below the Basic Design:

    If you did not find a descriptor for your watermark in the options provided in the pull-down lists above, and selected any blank entries, please enter your own full watermark description or supplemental descriptors for this watermark in the box below, using terminology consistent with standard watermark catalogs:

    Type of facsimile from which the watermark facsimile submitted to the Archive was produced:

    Other type of watermark facsimile:

  2. Countermarks

    Please select one of the descriptors listed in the pull-down menu below. If the paper has no countermark, select "No Countermark." If your paper has a countermark different from the options offered here, select the blank entry (located at the end of this pull-down list) and enter your own descriptor in the fill-in box which follows the pull-down list.

    If you did not find a descriptor for your countermark in the options provided above, and selected either blank or a general descriptor, type in a full descriptor or an added specific descriptor for this countermark here, using terminology found in standard watermark catalogs:

    Type of facsimile from which the countermark facsimile submitted to the Archive was produced:

    Other type of countermark facsimile:

  3. Watermark Description

    • Watermark Dimensions are recorded in mm., vertical dimension first.
      NOTE: "Vertical" parallels the alignment of the chain lines; it is not necessarily the same as the vertical axis of the design.

      Enter dimensions here (numerals only, not the abbreviation, mm.):

      Vertical dimension:
      Horizontal dimension:

    • Position of Watermark: is described relative to the chain lines.
      Please indicate the position of the watermark here:

      If you selected blank in the preceding box, please indicate here the position of the watermark relative to the chain lines:

  4. Wire & Chain Lines Description

    • Density of wire lines in mm is indicated as the measure (in mm.) of 20 wirelines.

      Please enter the measurement of wirelines here (numerals only, not the abbreviation, mm.):

      Additional descriptors (check or enter your own descriptor):

      If you selected blank in the box above, please enter description of the wirelines pattern here:

    • Spacing of chain lines in mm:
      Enter in the box below the intervals between chain lines in mm.

      If the spacing of the chain lines is not regular, indicate the spacings of the chain lines sequentially, with the position of the watermark (which often affects the spacing of the chain lines) indicated by parentheses, as follows:

      If the watermark is on a chainline, the spaces on either side occupied by the watermark should be given in parentheses:

      If the watermark is positioned between or across two chain lines, the space between them should be given in parentheses:


    Enter the description of chain lines here (numerals only, not the abbreviation, mm.):

  5. Paper Thickness

    Paper thickness is described on a subjective and relative scale. Only extreme cases will be listed as "very thin" or "very thick". Please select one:

    If additional description is needed, please enter comments here:

  6. Paper Surface (color & texture description)

    • Color descriptors:

      Please select a color descriptor in the pull-down list, below. If you do not find an appropriate color descriptor here, select the blank at the end of the pull-down list and enter your own descriptor in the box that follows the pull-down list.

      Note: "white," and "off-white" indicate lighter color tones

      If you selected blank, please enter alternate color description here:

    • Texture descriptors:
      Typical texture descriptors include the following (check as many as are appropriate):
      dark fibres visible in paper
      wire lines visible in surface of paper

      Space is provided here for alternate or more extensive description if necessary:

  7. Stiffness of Paper

    Typical descriptors include (check as many as are appropriate):

    fiber-network disintegration

    Please enter additional description of paper stiffness here only if the description is distinctly different than any terms currently in the checklist:

  8. Date of the Paper

    Century is indicated in the form 14** (=1400-1490; decade by 145* (= 1450-1459); range of dates by 145*-146*)

    Basis for your dating of this paper (optional):

    Indicate the main basis for your dating of this paper by selecting one of the criteria in the following pull-down list. If you do not find an appropriate criterion there, select the blank at the end of the list and enter your own criterion or criteria in the box which follows the pull-down list.

    Criteria for your dating of the paper:

    If you selected blank (other evidence), or want to give more specific information, you may indicate the basis for your dating of this paper here:

  9. References to Published Watermarks

    References to published catalogs of watermarks are recorded here because they can be useful to persons searching this database. References are typically given in abbreviated form consisting of the editor's name and the watermark reference number used in that catalog.

    References may be for such purposes as:

    • giving cross references to similar or identical papers in traditional watermark catalogs
    • citing publications in which this particular paper has already been described.

    Common Abbreviations:

    • Briquet
      C. M. Briquet, Les Filigranes. Second Edition, 4 volumes, Leipzig, 1923. Reprinted N.Y., Hacker Art Books, 1966 and 1985.
    • Harlfinger
      Dieter & Johanna Harlfinger, Wasserzeichen aus griechischen Handschriften. Berlin, Nikolaus Mielke, 1974.
    • Mosin & Traljic
      Vladimir A. Mosin and Seid M. Traljic, Filigranes des XIIIe et XIVe SS. Zagreb, Academie Yougoslave des Sciences et des Beaux-Arts, Institut d'Histoire, 1957.

    Please enter sources and watermark references here by selecting from the options in the following pull-down lists. If a source which you used is not found in these lists, select the blank fields at the ends of the pull down lists below and enter your own references in the bibliographical information input box that follows:

    First source:

    Short entry:
    Other first source:
    Watermark reference:

    Second source:

    Short entry:
    Other second source:
    Watermark reference:

    Third source:

    Short entry:
    Other third source:
    Watermark reference:

    If you selected the blank field(s) above, please enter the full bibliographical information for your sources (with reference numbers) here:

  10. Optional Additional Notes For mention of special circumstances affecting the paper or to clarify or qualify any element of your description, you may add here such comments as
    • how the paper is distributed through the codex
    • how the paper is mixed with other papers
    • severe acid deterioration
    • severe water stains
    • information to help the user locate very faint watermarks in the print
    • comments regarding any references given above to published watermarks
    • etc.
    Please enter notes here:

You should now recheck your submission data for accuracy, make any changes or corrections, and then:
when done, or
if you want to start over.

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Created by Robert W. Allison
Dept. of Philosophy & Religion, Bates College
Lewiston, Maine 04240

Last updated: September 28, 1996

© 1996 Robert W. Allison. All rights reserved.