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The Watermark Initiative

"Watermarks" Discussion List Archive from Virginia Tech

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This is an effort to coordinate the two most important classification methods available 
today, the IPH system and the www proposal (without diminishing the merits of others 

	After 1500, and once conquest was achieved, the hispanic world opened archives 
to cover all overseas events.  Centralized by the king, the only proprietor of all the 
land, all archives followed the same patterns ordered by Royal Decrees.  Thus, there are 
many archives all over the hispanic world, with the jewel of all archives in Seville.  
There is not equivalent in the rest of the world, where archives were located in small 
clerical and laical principalities, universities and monasteries.

	Lately there has been and effort to adapt many spanish mainland archives to the 
IPH procedures.  Papers have been presented during the two congress on paper history 
(Barcelona 1995 and Cuenca 1996) applying those methods.  Commentaries and proporsals 
were made at the 23rd ITH Congress in Leipzig 1996.  Therefore taking into account the 
enormeus volume of documents to be processed, the previous work than, and in order to 
avoid repetitions, it would be laudable to reach an approach between the two 
methodologist: the IPH and www-archive.

	To help in this difficult task, I have subdivided the two procedures into 
advantages and disadvantages from the point of view of people working at archives in 
hispanoamerica, were they have mostly no access to material and infrastructure which are 
normally available as the big universities and archives at other places. Their budget is 
mostly filled with good will rather than money.  The following list is a summary of how 
I visualized the situation: 

	A. The spanish IPH inspired system:

		A D V A N T A G E S              D I S A D V A N T A G E S

	- use of spanish language		- inflexible classifications

	- main codes (numerical) adapted	- secundary codification not
	  from IPH 		        	  conentional (letters)

	- use of standard data storing		- not available in other language

	- use of inexepensive 			- exclusion of industrial papers
	  representation methods

	- exclusion of the codification		- data base managing not compatible
	  of representation (IPH 5.0) 		  without special handling

						- at this moment only applicable
						  to pre-1500 documents

						- lack of universal references

B. The www-based Archive

	    A D V A N T A G E S			    D I S A D V A N T A G E S

	- universality 				- at this moment only in english,
						  but german, french and spanish

	- flexibility				- access to Internet required

	- data base managing clear		- equivalence with IPH not clear 
	  and compatible      

	- classification compatible		- reproduction methods not always 
	  with IPH				  easy to obtain

	- exclusion of the codification
	  of representation (IPH 5.0)

	- easy handing of all periods,
	  incl. post 1500 and industrial

	- contact to other archives through

	- universal references.

		I believe in the www-system, but to make it broadly applicable there is 
a need for a certain time span before it may be directly used.  As with the IPH method 
used in Spain, it will probabily also happened with data archives at other places, 
including the "Swiss project for informatisation of watermarks" which was approved by 
the IPH for creating an European Watermark data base.  Therefore, I suggest that the 
www-system should included a program of equivalence between the main IPH code and the 
www nomenclature.  A simple procedure should allow to take the data from the IPH system 
and transform them into the www-system.  I recognize the need for a very flexible system 
which would allow the storage of watermark data of american documents, which are all 
post 1500.  I visualize that the propose www-system might fullfill this need. TomĚs 

The Watermark Initiative was created by

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

James Hart
Information Services, Bates College Lewiston, Maine, 04240