[Paper Description Page: image of rounded scales watermark]

The Watermark Initiative

"Watermarks" Discussion List Archive from Virginia Tech

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Spanish registration stamps

Many thanks to Tomas Stohr for his constructive remarks and kind
compliments on the model for the distributed WWW archive of paper
descriptions and watermark images.  For everyone's benefit we would like
to reply to a couple of

Among his remarks, Tomas wrote:

>...Therefore, there is no need to have all watermarks in one computer
> data bank. The Archive could be subdivided into subarchives, each
> to a certain period. Only as an example one could imagine the following
> sub division:
>           Paper production                 Watermarks
>        individual (nomad craftsmanship) related to a (land)lord,
>                                         sometimes to a maker
>        massive craftsmanship            related to place or proucer
>        semiindustrial craftsmanship     related to producer, ditributer
>                                         or quality of paper
>        industrial                       all types

We agree.  In fact, the design we have proposed specifically envisions
archives, divided up as archive maintainers see fit.  Near the bottom of
design page
are the following remarks:

"We concluded that the best solution is a system which provides for a
completely separate "instance" of the database for each "submitter". In
plain terms, no matter whether an archive is stored with others on the
machine, or whether the group of archives is maintained by a single
institution or on different machines half a world away from each other,
will have its own, separate but similarly organized set of files. Since
search engine has to cope with databases on separate machines anyway, this
requirement only changes the quantity of databases, not the nature of the
searching/indexing problem."

We believe this is a significant part of the proposal.
A large, centralized database would result in a number of administrative,
control, attribution, and multi-user issues, and would ignore a primary
benefit of the World Wide Web -- that is, hyperlinked access to
anywhere in the world.  The key to making a distributed system work is the
"similarly organized set of files" and certain "standards", which we'll be
proposing in the future.

> Spaniards invented in 1635 and mantained ever after official stamped
> paper, to be used in all official and private documents. The stamps
> showed the year or years of validity, thus giving an excellent
> orientation on the date of making of the paper and watermark. This
> stamped paper before rendering useful must be considered a new category
> in paper usage:"intermediate use".

This is probably the first of many questions that will come up which go
beyond our experience.  One way to incorporate that information might be
to include the registration information it as another type of "physical
content" -- other examples of physical content might be lettering,
illustration, etc. This category of information is meant to include
anything that might be put on the paper after it was produced, without
imposing on the cataloger the added work of deciding what might be
"intermediate" as opposed to "final" use. If that makes sense, we would
also need in make it recordable and searchable by standard terminology.

What kind of information would be needed to identify one of these
official, government stamps?

Jim Hart <jhart@bates.edu>            Bob Allison <rallison@bates.edu>

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