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.

Use of Screen Images for Comparison of Watermark Prints

Watermark images which appear on the computer screen have the advantages that the viewer may view two images on the screen side by side for comparative study, and may zoom in for close study of details. The current full feature graphical WWW browsers like NCSA Mosaic or Netscape employ "helper applications" possessing these and other capabilities to read, display and manipulating images downloaded by the WWW browser, for example, JPEGView used with Macintosh computers, or LView Pro used with Microsoft Windows on PCs. These capabilities allow users to observe with precision the location of such features as knots or the placement of the watermark relative to the chain and wire lines, in order to distinguish twin watermarks or determine whether or not two watermarks are matches. These capabilities are particularly important for scholars attempting to identify the scriptorium and time in which a manuscript was written by means of exact paper matches, as by the profile method.
The Profile Method characterizes a manuscript by means of the profile of papers which occur mixed within a codex. This profile, being a product of stockpiling of papers by local suppliers or within the monastery or scriptorium, is unique to the center of copy and time of production of the codex in question. At Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos, manuscripts produced from the 14th century on were characterized by mixing of anywhere from 2 or three to fifteen or more types of paper within a single codex. Mixing of papers is not found in all codices, of course. But once the association of particular types of paper with specific scribes or centers of copy has been established from such cases, that data in combination with paleographical and other codicological traits will begin to be applicable to other codices in which only a single paper type is preserved.
On-screen study of watermark prints represents a major step forward for the definitive matching and identification of papers. Researchers desiring to identify a paper using this archive may follow the same procedure (i.e., produce a contact print of the paper in question, scan it at a resolution of 400 DPI, and convert it for on-screen viewing; see our description of procedures for producing contact prints and scanning them). You will then be able to do your own on-screen comparison with papers found in the Watermark Archive.

Scholars who use the present archive in this manner are urged to send in their images of watermarks from Greek manuscripts or documents for addition to this data base following the Instructions for Submission of Images here provided and following the simple instructions given on the form, and to submit the relevant descriptive data using the Form for Paper Description here provided. The new watermark prints and descriptions will then be added to this archive and catalog.

Tracings of Watermarks may also be published in this archive, and indeed you are urged to submit them, together with the relevant descriptive data, especially if they would otherwise not be published. Simply use the forms here provided. (the Instructions for Submission of Images and the Form for Paper Description) Even though hand tracings do not provide the possibility for precise identification made possible by the method here recommended, the sharing of this information by means of publication here may help another scholar, and may lead eventually to someone's submitting a full image of the paper in question to this archive.

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

Updated September 28, 1996

© 1996 Robert W. Allison. All rights reserved.