ARCHIVE OF WATERMARKS AND PAPERS IN GREEK MANUSCRIPTS
Produced by Robert W. Allison
Assoc. Prof of Religion, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine
Research Fellow Ektaktikos of the
Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies, Thessaloniki
© 1996 Robert W. Allison. All rights reserved.
The Archive of Watermark Images
| Deposit a watermark to the Archive |
The watermark images in this archive consist of scanned tracings or watermark prints from papers occurring in Greek manuscripts. The primary purpose of this archive of electronic images is to enable researchers to make detailed comparison of watermarks which they find in Greek manuscripts with those found in other Greek manuscripts. The many other applications of this database are outlined below in the section entitled, Why an Electronic Archive of Watermarks and Papers? The watermarks (and the papers to which they belong) are identified by reference to the Greek manuscripts in which they occur and classified primarily by names of watermark designs
- The Database of Paper Descriptions
| Search the Database | Submit a New Paper Description |
Paper descriptions corresponding to the watermark images in the Watermark Archive make up this database. Descriptions include links to corresponding watermarks. Searches utilize a search form in which you identify the features of the paper for which you are seeking a match. The search engine scans the data in the Archive's paper descriptions, yielding a list of papers that match the criteria entered on the search form. You may click on any of the papers in the list to see the full descriptions and links to the watermark images.
- In this database papers are described by 10 elements of description (including watermarks, countermarks, and physical traits of the paper). The paper description is supported by a partial description of the manuscript, including searchable information on scribes and provenance. Together with the archive of watermark images, its primary purpose is to enable researchers to locate papers matching those found in manuscripts which they are studying. The descriptions employ wherever possible standardized descriptive terminology. Standardized terminology in description, although sometimes subjective, nevertheless facilitates effective searching of the database by fixing standard key words for searching. This standardization is established by the electronic form used for submission of paper descriptions.
- The Bibliography on Watermarks in Greek Manuscripts
This bibliographical database collects in a single, growing catalog references to scattered publications relating to watermarks in Greek manuscripts. It represents a continuation of the work begun by Paul Canart and Dieter Harlfinger, and is intended to be a collaborative project.
In addition to its index of searchable studies on particular watermarks (i.e., publications in this index are searchable by the watermark designs published in them), it includes sections for
- catalogs of watermarks (including manuscript catalogs which contain catalogs of watermarks)
- general and theoretical sources.
Scholars working on editions of Greek texts, or writing articles or otherwise working with Greek manuscripts are invited to collaborate in this project by contributing to this bibliography, listing here their own and other works in which watermarks in Greek manuscripts are identified or discussed. Contributions may be added using the Form for Submission of Bibliography on Watermarks in Greek Manuscripts. Our search engine will be set up for searching this database in the near future, but the database and the electronic forms are now ready to receive your input.
- The News Page
The Newspage is intended to be a quick way to see what's new in the Archive, and a place where scholars can place announcements & information about developments in the larger world of scholarship on papers and watermarks in Greek manuscripts .
- The Guide to the Archive
You are now reading the initial page of this Guide. The link in the above heading will put you directly into the Table of Contents of the Guide, which gives a full listing of topics to be found there and links for direct entry into both the databases and the various sections of the Guide.
This guide consists of many interlinked WWW pages with varying functions. Its pages are designed to provide the information you need at whatever point you may interact with the Archive, whether you are using it as a research tool, or contributing new data by publishing descriptions of papers that you have found in Greek manuscripts, or looking for information about how best to generate yhour own watermark images or tracings.
Some pages of the Guide function primarily as entry points into the various databases with their instructions on use of those databases; others provide information on such subjects as how the archive was created, how to use the archive, how to contribute new watermarks to the archive, and how to write up a paper description using the automated form here provided, etc.
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The Watermark Archive began as a mode of publishing the watermarks of papers in the Greek manuscripts of Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos. During the course of several years' work I built up a collection of contact prints of those papers for publication as a supplement volume to the Catalog of the Greek Manuscripts of Philotheou Monastery, a project of the Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies. The original purpose of of the Archive was to expedite the publication of this part of the catalog, and to exploit the advantages of computer enhancement offered by the electronic medium for comparative study and analysis of watermarks. An experimental graphic archive was set up for my own experimentation and for public viewing on the Bates College gopher server, with some sample scanned images of the watermark contact prints. Research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation subsequently funded a project to scan and enhance the entire body of watermark prints from Philotheou Monastery.
As I used this archive for my own work on the Philotheou Catalog Project, and developed new methods for assessing the evidence of paper for the history of book production at Philotheou, it became increasingly evident how useful a central archive of electronic images of watermarks could be for identifying the work of Greek scribes and centers of book production. At the same time, the potential of the World Wide Web as a mode of scholarly publication was becoming increasingly evident. When interactive forms and database interfacing became possible on the Web, it was a natural development to expand the scope of this archive (by adding a Database of Paper Descriptions and later a Bibliographical Database) and to mount it on the World Wide Web.
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Identifying Scribes, Centers of Manuscript Production & Patterns in the use of paper
As a vehicle of publication, this Archive began with the objective of publishing in a more useful way the watermarks and descriptions of papers found in manuscripts of Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos. Its expansion into a centralized, universal scholarly resource for papers and watermarks in Greek manuscripts extends this mode of publication to scholars everywhere who are identifying and describing papers in Greek manuscripts.
The Watermark Archive is structured to facilitate scholarly collaboration. Scholars everywhere who work with Greek manuscripts are invited participate in creating this resource by publishing here their watermark prints or tracings and their paper descriptions, and by submitting new entries for the Bibliographical Database. Electronic forms provide for the automated and standardized submission of watermark prints, paper descriptions, and bibliographical references.
Publications of Paper Matches. As the databases grow, it can be anticipated that searches and analytical comparative studies conducted by scholars to match papers in manuscripts with examples in the Watermark Archive will begin to identify clusters of matching papers within the archive. Searches for matching papers will begin to yield larger numbers of examples which match the characteristics of new papers being searched. Scholars are invited to publish their discoveries of such clusters of identical papers and their analyses of these results here, where they can be found by other scholars who are searching for matching papers. In other words, we look forward to extending this Archive to include an electronic journal devoted to discoveries about paper in Greek manuscripts.
Publications regarding scribes and scriptoria. Likewise, it can be anticipated that the expansion of this database will begin to reveal patterns of use of paper in manuscripts as characteristic of particular scribes or centers of book production. It is for this reason that the indexing of scribes and places of production is incorporated into the Form for Description of Papers and the Search Form. It is our hope that this Archive, as a vehicle of publication, will include increasing reports of discoveries of such associations of papers with scribes and centers of book production in the future.
Alternatively, scholars who choose to publish such discoveries in the form of traditional journal articles are urged to contribute a listing of those articles to the Watermark Archive's Bibliographical Database using the Form for Submission of Bibliography on Watermarks in Greek Manuscripts
The remainder of this introductory page of the Guide includes:
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Watermarks and the related characteristics of hand made paper (countermarks, chain and wire lines, and physical traits), are the "fingerprints" by which we can date and establish the provenance of manuscripts from the late medieval, humanist and early modern eras. The evidence of the paper on which they are written can link even unsigned manuscripts with the centers of copy or the scribes which produced them, contributing to one of the central tasks of Greek paleography and codicology, namely, the reconstruction of the output of these centers of book production.
To be useful to scholars, however, these pieces of evidence need to be collected and permanently available in a central database, so that scholars working with manuscripts can compare the papers they are finding with those that have been found and recorded by others. Scholars everywhere who work with manuscripts written on paper collect this information, but until now, there has been no convenient and central repository for this information. Consequently, with very few exceptions (see the Bibliography of Watermark Publications), this kind of information is now scattered in scholarly articles or books of very diverse nature which can not be conveniently or systematically searched every time a scholar needs to date or place a manuscript.
The present archive with its three interrelated databases is intended to unite all the necessary information in one place, so that the evidence of paper in Greek manuscripts can be utilized to its full potential. Its objective is to become a comprehensive, electronic Briquet for papers used in Greek manuscripts.
Why, finally, an archive for papers found specifically in Greek manuscripts? In part the answer is historical; it grew out of a large-scale project of the Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies whose focus is specifically Greek manuscripts, and for the most part Athonite Greek manuscripts. More importantly, however, the scope of this archive is based on the practical observation which has emerged from this work, that it is a rarity to find a match for papers found in Greek manuscripts in catalogs based on Western European sources. This observation based on Athonite manuscripts has recently found confirmation in the studies of Mark Sosower on Greek manuscripts in European libraries (based on a personal communication; see News Clips). The objective of recovering the output of particular scribes and particular centers of copy, whether monastic or other, depends upon our ability to find matching papers, not merely papers with generally similar watermarks from approximately the same era. The Watermark Archive is designed to meet this need, and thereby to advance the central objective of the contemporary study of Greek paleography and codicology.
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The electronic medium makes it possible to conduct very sophisticated searches for paper matches very easily, once the database of paper descriptions and watermark images exists. The use of contact images, which preserve more information than tracings, and the electronic medium with its many advantages for study and manipulation of data, facilitate the close comparison of papers needed to establish matches. Watermark tracings which are machine-generated also take advantage of this medium.
Advantages of the Electronic Medium. The following are some of the several advantages which this medium offers over traditional printed watermark catalogs:
Promoting the use of contact prints instead of watermark tracings The Watermarks Archive is also intended to promote the method of reproducing watermarks as contact prints (the Dylux® method). Contact prints, together with consistently formatted paper descriptions, enable us to match papers among scattered manuscripts with much greater accuracy than has ever before been possible. As the data at our disposal multiply, we will be increasingly capable of reconstructing the output of particular scribes (even anonymous ones) and book production centers in the era of paper manuscripts.
- watermark prints viewed on screen may be enlarged for close study and detailed analysis
- watermark prints can be downloaded and printed out in actual size by scholars for comparison with personal tracings or prints from manuscripts which they are studying
- watermark prints can be downloaded and manipulated for use in computer presentations
- watermark tracings that are machine generated can be manipulated electronically to yield a truer image of the watermark being recorded
- matching of watermarks is facilitated by the search capabilities of WWW browsers
- Users may search for watermarks not only by watermark design as in printed catalogs, but by any of the elements of description in the Descriptive Catalog of Papers.
- Standardized descriptive terminology facilitates searches for matching papers
- Descriptive terminology is fixed by the form for submitting paper descriptions. This means that descriptions are reasonably consistent, and that searches can be conducted using those terms with considerable confidence that if there are any matching papers recorded in this Archive, those matching papers will be found.
- Analysis of papers and watermarks for grouping under arbitrary numbers (as in standard printed watermark catalogs) is no longer necessary.
- The search capability of the electronic medium means that any search for a matching paper or for a particular set of watermark and physical traits will generate a set of all matching examples that have been entered into this archive.
- Newly discovered papers and watermarks can be easily added to this archive
- Forms are provided here for submitting newly discovered watermarks and paper descriptions.
Created by Robert W. Allison
Dept. of Philosophy & Religion, Bates College
Lewiston, Maine 04240
Updated: October 3, 1996
© 1996 Robert W. Allison. All rights reserved.