[IMAGE of a 

head watermark]

The WWW Watermark Archive Initiative

Produced by Robert W. Allison for
The 1996 Roanoke Conference Standards Project

© 1996 Robert W. Allison. All rights reserved.

Introduction: Origin & Objectives of the Project


A meeting on the subject of standards for World Wide Web watermark archives was convened at the First International Conference on the History, Function, and Study of Watermarks ("The Roanoke Conference") on Friday, Oct. 11, 1996. The Conference decided to adopt as a starting model the Bates College archive, The Archive of Papers and Watermarks in Greek Manuscripts. Its originator, Robert Allison of Bates College, Lewiston, Maine, was elected to serve as chair of this project.

The World Wide Web Watermark Archive Initiative is the laboratory for this project. It consists primarily of experimental designs or prototypes for the various components of a World Wide Web Watermark Archive.


Several objectives for the project were identified, including

  1. Adopting, if possible, the Standard of the International Paper Historians Association
  2. Adoption of SGML, if practical
  3. Internationalizing the Archive by incorporation of the several languages commonly used in Watermark catalogs
  4. Experimenting with various methods of describing watermarks, including the "grid" method and the variants of that method which were independently adopted by the Bates College Archive and the Gravell Archive
  5. Universal searching capability, so that a search of any archive of Papers and Watermarks established according to these standards would search all other such archives on the World Wide Web

The Watermark Initiative Discussion Group

At the Roanoke Conference, it was decided to continue the listserve which had been established for publicizing the Conference, that it might serve as a forum for the discussion of watermarks and their importance to a variety of fields of study, such as codicology, bibliography, musicology, art history and conservation, book conservation, and philately, and forensics. The listserve also provides a means of communication amongst Conference participants and other persons interested in observing or contributing to the design of the standards.

To subscribe to the listserve, enter "SUBSCRIBE WATERMARKS" followed by your full name in the body of the message area in an email note to subscribe to the listserve. You may leave the Subject blank.

You may also view past communications of the discussion group with your web browser in the Watermarks Discussion List Archive.

Go to:

  • Watermark Initiative Home Page

  • Robert W. Allison, designer
    Dept. of Philosophy & Religion, Bates College


    James Hart, Technical support and functionality
    Information Services, Bates College Lewiston, Maine, 04240

    Last updated: March 6, 1997