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(see also Reprographics and Lithography)


  • The Spanish Forger -- 19/20c making medieval illuminated initials; reusing parchment, sometimes text/image don't relate

https://twitter.com/SocAntiquaries/status/1183774797844623360 "Charles Stothard was commissioned to draw the Bayeux Tapestry for the Society in 1816. During his 3 visits to Bayeux he also made small plaster casts - by taking wax impressions of the linen - to capture the detail of the embroidery. Of course, this would never be allowed today!"

first facsimile of a printed book: http://www.historyofinformation.com/detail.php?id=3340


Trajan’s column at v & a: https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/trajans-column

Plaster cast collections


1918, photography journal, advertisement for chromolithographer / printer / photographer making/selling facsimiles of Shakespeare quartos: https://go-gale-com.proxy.library.upenn.edu/ps/i.do?p=NCCO&u=upenn_main&id=GALE%7CMUZHQA585575447&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summon

Deegan and Sutherland 2009

Warren 2022

Sarah Werner, Pforzheimer lecture, "Early Digital Facsimiles" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3XXRpO7bBg

Joseph Viscomi, "Digital Facsimiles: Reading the William Blake Archive"

Mats Dahlström, "Copies and facsimiles," https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42803-019-00017-5

Carpenter, Frederic Ives. 1921. “The Photographic Reproduction of Rare Books.”

“Reproductions of Manuscripts and Rare Printed Books.” 1950. PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 6 (3): 289–338. JSTOR.

on collotypes: https://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/pdf_publications/pdf/atlas_collotype.pdf

example of 19c facsimile of early materials (by Frederic Madden): https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101075995942&view=thumb&seq=49&skin=2021

Challenging idea of "digital surrogate," notion of mimesis: https://charades.hypotheses.org/114

Writings on facsimiles

Retaining the original : multiple originals, copies, and reproductions (1989) https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9910199443503681

Bornstein and Tinkle 1998, Michael Camille's "Sensations of the page: imaging technologies and medieval illuminated manuscripts"

Gumbrecht and Marrinan 2003, Chartier chapter

Blouin and Rosenberg 2007, Stephen Nichols chapter

Echard 2008, esp. coda

Mak 2011

Gitelman 2014 -- talks about Binkley, as does Gavin below; esp Binkley's Typescript Book

Johnston and Van Dussen 2015, Foys chapter

Jane Raisch, "Original Copies: The Facsimile Before Photography" (2021) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FizstCooMoE&t=3071s

on lithography for reproducing medieval manuscripts, Nordenfalk 1976 and McLean 1972

Radio facsimile / radiofax

George C. Clark Radioana collection at the Smithsonian has a section of materials relating to radiofax: https://sova.si.edu/record/nmah.ac.0055/ref1571?q=%22radio+facsimile%22&t=W

Early fax machines for sending photographs over telegraph lines, then radio:

  • Alexander Bain, 1846
  • Frederick Bakewell, improved Bain's telefax
  • Giovanni Caselli, Pantelegraph, 1865
  • Shelford Bidwell, scanning phototelegraph, 1880
  • Arthur Korn, Bildtelegraph, 1900
  • Edwin Belin, Belinograph, 1913 -- over telephone wires
  • Arthur Cooley, 1927 -- over wireless telegraphy

(on this history ^ see Marcus J. Martin, The Electrical Transmission of Photographs (1921))

Brief history of radio facsimile: http://www.theradiohistorian.org/Radiofax/newspaper_of_the_air1.htm

  • "RCA was the first company to adapt facsimile to radio, and sent a transoceanic image of President Calvin Coolidge from New York to London on November 29, 1924. Two years later, RCA began a commercial service of transmitting transoceanic photos by shortwave radio for the newspaper industry, and transmitting weather maps to ships at sea."
  • "KPO in San Francisco, owned by the San Francisco Chronicle, became the first radio broadcaster to transmit a photograph by radio when it transmitted a picture of cartoon character Andy Gump on August 22, 1925."
  • convergence of sound technologies: "WOR used the Cooley-Ray Foto System developed by Austin Cooley to transmit images late at night. Experimenters could make their own Cooley-Ray receivers by modifying old phonographs."
  • William Finch developed a receiver for home use and convinced broadcasters to participate in experiment; RCA realized its technology was useful and daily transmission of newspapers began in 1939
  • displays at the 1939 World's Fair
  • Crosley enters the scene with his "Reado" machines, much cheaper
  • issues with technology, not taken up by public; "many radio stations had already discontinuing their facsimile services by the end of 1940, and, with the start of World War II, anything that was left of the service had come to an unceremonious end. By 1943 there were only three facsimile stations still on the air in the country: W9XWT in Louisville, W8XUM in Columbus and W2XWE in Albany."

C. W. Page, "Radio Facsimile," in Scientific American (March 1935) -- on the "home radio printing press"

W. Carroll Munro, "Newspaper by Radio: Facsimile transmission has potentialities for changing the social life of the nation," on Finch's machines (1937)

"Facsimile Transmission," in Nature (Feb 10, 1940) -- mentions could be used to share news that could then be printed using photo-offset printing; mentions police cars being outfitted with facsimile transmitters

Noah Arceneaux, "Radio Facsimile Newspapers of the 1930s and 40s: Electronic Publishing in the Pre-Digital Era," Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 55.3 (2011): 344-59.

Following the development of wireless telegraphy, methods that utilized radio waves were developed, and inventor Austin Cooley demonstrated such a system in 1927 (Shefrin, 1949, p. 20). Through his Radiovision Corporation, Cooley sold kits to construct facsimile receivers, with the images trans- mitted originally from WOR in Newark. According to the accompanying instruction booklet, images could be sent prior to each radio program, increasing the enjoyment and educational potential of an otherwise purely aural medium (Radiovision, 1928). More than two dozen radio stations experimented with Cooley’s system before the FCC found ‘‘their signal too disagreeable to allow on the air’’ (Yoder, 1946).

The more widely adopted system of William Finch was one of the two displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair (Finch License File). Finch had a number of patents relating to radio, including one for a ‘‘talking newspaper.’’ Newsweek reported on the concept in 1938, which involved newspapers printing wavy lines along the borders of their pages; when fed through an audio device, sound would be produced (‘‘Talking Newspapers’’).

The first serious attempt to publish a radio-faxpaper outside of a laboratory envi- ronment began in 1934 (Koehler, 1969, p. 31). The Milwaukee Journal conducted transmissions over its experimental station W9XAG, using Hogan’s system. The first public demonstration was in a department store, illustrating a promotional tactic that was duplicated later. The station soured on the concept by 1936, lamenting the complete unavailability of facsimile receivers…

Given the slow transmission speed of facsimile, these newspapers did not see the electronic versions as true replacements but rather as condensed, tabloid-like supplements (Coe, 1939).

There were even attempts to establish ‘‘radio-faxpaper networks.’’ In February 1938, the McClatchy Corporation began to transmit the 8-page Radio Bee to a hun- dred homes in Sacramento and Fresno, California; the company owned newspapers and radio stations…

The paper also discovered that using a vari-typer, a type of typewriter that could justify text to the right and left margins, was the quickest way to get news into a faxpaper, as it removed the delay of type-setting and printing. The Radio Bee, published by the McClatchy Corporation, experimented with its own peculiar layout. The paper was published in the early morning hours, and the first page transmitted was actually the last page of the faxpaper (Hamilton, 1939). The editors therefore decided to put a photo of the most important story on the last page.

Unlike RCA’s version that utilized regular paper, Hogan’s system relied upon chemically-treated paper and cost almost $4 per roll. According to one estimate, a four-page faxpaper cost approximately 4 cents worth of paper (Beville, 1948, p. 7). For roughly the same amount, an individual could purchase a full-size newspaper, not the abbreviated version that took almost an hour to print via facsimile. Given that FM facsimile receivers cost several hundred dollars, price was thus a formidable barrier for the medium’s diffusion.

In order to fund their operations, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Miami Herald charged a monthly fee for facsimile service, which covered the rental of the receivers along with the necessary paper. At its peak, the Herald reportedly published in 75 locations, including hotel lobbies and retail stores…

Though printing and broadcasting each offered their advantages, the issue of government licensing was a critical difference between the two technologies. The FCC limits access to the airwaves, with the public interest mandate, though no such authorization is needed to publish a newspaper. Facsimile proponents were thus concerned about their ability to exercise free speech when presenting the news in this new format.

Photostats in libraries

Erin Blake, “Photostats,” Collation post: https://www.folger.edu/blogs/collation/photostats/ -- shows photostat room in library at its opening in 1932

PBSA 15.1 (1922), meeting of the Bibliographical Society of America discussed photostats in libraries: https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Papers_of_the_Bibliographical_Societ/N_nyAAAAMAAJ?q=&gbpv=1#f=false

Hannah Alpert-Abrams, "An Unexpected Influence: Photostats in Special Collections Libraries," PBSA 117.2. (September 2023): 311-337.

Micrography in libraries / Microfilm in general

The Microform Revolution in Libraries

Preservation Microfilming: Does it Have a Future?

Microphotography for libraries; papers presented at the microphotography symposium at the 1936 conference of the American Library Association, edited by M. Llewellyn Raney ...

Studies in Micropublishing: Documentary Sources

Changing Patterns of Scholarship and the Future of Research Libraries (1951)

Craig Saper's Object Lessons essay on microfilm: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/07/microfilm-lasts-half-a-millennium/565643/

  • "Digital searches also turn search activity into data that someone else can surveil, compare, quantify, and visualize. The user’s own thinking becomes the object of search and retrieval, not just the documents that user hopes to find. None of this happens when using a microfilm machine. A library can record what materials a user requests or checks out, but the microfilm reader itself cannot track what someone looks at when using the machine. It is not networked to all other searches. No entity, corporate or governmental, uses algorithms to analyze microfilm readers’ habits and predilections. The microfilm reader does not read you, your emotions, or your political or consumerist desires."

On Albert Boni and microprint: https://www.americanantiquarian.org/proceedings/44539612.pdf

Micropublishing : a history of scholarly micropublishing in America, 1938-1980 / Alan Marshall Meckler: https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_993331923503681

The Early Information Society: https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy.library.upenn.edu/lib/upenn-ebooks/detail.action?docID=438327

Luther, A History of Microfilm (in ebooks folder)

Work on EEBO as facsimile project

Diana Kichuk, "Metamorphosis: Remediation in Early English Books Online (EEBO)," Literary and Linguistic Computing 22.3 (2007)

"What is the impact of remediation in digital facsimiles? … Alternatively, doe she process of digitization and remediation transform the original work into a virtual artifact with an ersatz resemblance to an original?” (292)

“From the outset, UMI used the recently perfected 35mm microfilm camera and silver halide on acetate base 35mm film. After the 1980s, it used the more stable polyester base film. EEB has three film generations: a first-generation master or preservation negative-polarity film (white on a black background), a copy negative, and multiple working copies (either negative or positive polarity) for distribution to subscribing institutions. Positive polarity images have black text or illustra- tions on a white background, the standard polarity of distribution copies.” (293)

“Operators excluded images that might not convert well to black and white, for example, the frontispiece paintings in works from the incunabula period. Operators systematically excluded front matter and end papers, including handwritten notes added by a reader.” (293)

All images are 400 PPI, produced from second-generation negative polarity EEB master “in order to avoid subjecting the original master to wear and tear” (294)

“The enthusiasm engendered by the liberating experience of accessing facsimiles anywhere anytime coupled with the potential of online analysis undreamed of with print or microfilm, suspends the scholar’s incredulity. The longer they look, the more the facsimile becomes the ‘real thing’. The scholar rationalizes the only version of the work she will ever examine—the ‘only thing’—as the ‘real thing’. “ (296)

“If the digital facsimile is to serve as a virtual and ubiquitous stand-in for the original work and undergo such wide scholarly scrutiny, then it is very desirable that its identity be as true as possible. What standard of identicalness should such a facsimile have?” (297)

“ProQuest’s choice, driven by economics and practicality, places the remediated microfilm image at the center of Early English textual studies for years to come, at least until there is a renewed drive to digitize extant print copies directly using state of the art technology, thereby substantially surpassing EEB and EEBO in resolution and completeness. EEBO prolongs the influence of the microform facsimile and ensures that libraries continue to acquire and maintain EEB as a necessary supplement.” (297)

“Works routinely start with the title page and end with the last page of text, excluding front and end pages, consecutive blanks, and special front matter, such as incunabula paintings.” (298)

“Although improvements in communication tech- nologies promise to bring the reality of the perfect ‘clone’ facsimile ever closer, is it achievable? Is it desirable? The cost would be prohibitive. The remediated digital facsimile cannot overcome its surrogacy or the incompleteness of absorption of the old medium. The question is not whether it needs to do this (does print have to justify that it is not a manuscript?), but whether publishers and scholars will openly acknowledge the limits of remediation, guard against publisher claims of authenticity and avoid scholarly artifact creation and misreading. Scholars may be keenly aware of the limits of remediated primary sources, but it is a learned awareness. Each generation must rediscover for itself the limits of new media and interpret how it affects their research.” (302)

Shawn Martin, "EEBO, Microfilm, and Umberto Eco: Historical Lessons and Future Directions for Building Electronic Collections," Microform and Imaging Review 36.2 (Fall 2007): 159-64.

"Many of the same arguments about preservation, greater access, and easier search capability are similare to the arguments about mass microfilming only 50 years ago. What is or is not unique about digitization as opposed to microfilm, and, more importantly, what lessons from mass microfilming can be learned for modern electronic projects?" (159)

Eugene Power, was employed by Edwards' Brothers Printers, left to found UMI

"Because of growing fear of a German invasion of the U.K., it was decided to preserve as much of England's cultural heritage as possible." -- began filming STC volumes (160)

"Originally, this project was envisioned as a preservation project, but soon libraries came to realize how important such a collection would become to scholars on their campuses." (160)

"One of the most notable shifts that seemed to happen in the 1950s was the emphasis on getting access to the content within EEB rather than preserving it. Eugene Power originally envisioned his microfilm projects as helping to preserve content of Britain and many other places and distributing that content to libraries around the world so that if any one copy should be destroyed many would still remain. That view of microfilm has remained up until the present day. Even into into the 1990s this view continued to dominate. If a book was microfilmed, that was the preferred method of preservation of a book. On the other hand, if it had been digitized, that is a method of providing access to that book, not preserving it." (161)

shift toward libraries now spending money "on content the library already owns, but cannot access to the full extent that electronic technology allows" (162)

Ian Gadd, "The Use and Misuse of Early English Books Online," Literature Compass 6/3 (2009): 680-692

article is in some ways a "footnote" to Martin and Kichuk (above)

STC, Pollard and Redgrave, pre-1641

  • Catalogue of editions and issues, not copies
  • Catalogue of survivors
  • Limited to English language books printed anywhere in the world during this time — so “the very large numbers of foreign-printed Latin books imported into England from the 15c onwards are not to be found in STC, meaning that one cannot read STC’s contents as a full representation of Britain’s print culture prior to 1641”

Wing, by Donald Wing between 1945 and 1951, up to 1700

  • Printed between 1972 and 1998
  • Excludes periodicals and other ephemeral items that STC had catalogued

Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue, ESTC, established at British Library in mid-=1970s

  • Computerized cataloguing project, made available through published microfiches and CD-ROMs
  • Exclude serials, bookplates, trad e cards, playbills, and blank forms or engraved prints, music, or maps
  • “Did away entirely with genre-specific information; the organizing unit was solely the individual edition” (684)

1987, incorporate STC and Wing into ESTC to create newly-titled English Short Title Catalogue

  • Made available in 1994, CD-ROM published in 1998 and 2003
  • 2006, ESTC made freely available on internet through BL
  • “ESTC is a hybrid database consisting of three sets of catalogue records, each constructed on different principles.” (684)

Eugene Power, University Microfilms (now ProQuest), founded in 1938

  • Began copying English books pre-1701, using STC and Wing
  • By late 1990s, several thousand reels published in two series, “Early English Books, 1475-1640” and “Early English Books, 1641-1700”
  • “Power originally envisaged the microfilming of pre-1701 books as a way of improving the research collections of US university libraries that otherwise had rather limited physical holdings of such books” (685)
  • 1998, UM (now ProQuest) began making digitized copies of microfilms available to subscribing institutions, creating EEBO

2003, Thomsn Gale (not Gale Cengage Learning) put Eightenth Century Collection films online, creating ECCO

“By bringing together the bibliographical record for an edition and (usually but not always) only a single witness of that edition,22 EEBO is obviously aiming to provide a useful scholarly mechanism in terms of searching but by doing so are implying – albeit not deliberately – that the record and the copy are one and the same thing.23 It would be better, perhaps, if EEBO represented itself as a library of copies, rather than a catalogue of ‘titles’.” (687)

Bonnie Mak, "Archaeology of a Digitization" (2014)

digitization is a product of human labor; digitizations as palimpsests

STC: Pollard and Redgrave; enumerative bibliography of surviving editions of pre-1641 English printed books – not complete, just waht could be found; revision begun in 1949 and finished around 1980; “unevenness in execution”; conceved as a prepatory list form the start

EEBO based on STC but not exact overlap

STC editors were transparent about gaps, process; EEBO is not

“In erasing markers of the processes of its own construction, for instance eliding the role of the ESTC, EEBO fashions a porous boundary between the database and the STC. Main- taining this close and ambiguous relationship garners for EEBO a kind of authority by association, for thus entwined, criticisms of the database could be construed as an attack on the bibliographical monument of the STC.” (1517)

approaching remediations of EEBO as “residue of hand, machine, and time”

UMI, University Microfilms International; Eugene Power, began microfilming in late 1930s; part of imagined publication-on-demand service; first microfilmed individual books, then began doing so on 100-foot rolls with 20-30 books each

   “Because many disparate books were now conjoined on the same film, the physical reconfiguration necessitated a concomitant change in the identification and organization of the materials.” (1518) 
   filming was supposed to be chronological by year and alphabetical by author, but exceptions had to be made due to uneven delivery, etc. 
   worried that WW2 would interrupt his fledgling biz (had 16 institutional subscribers) and scholars were concerned about preservation of books and manuscripts 
   June 1940, decided to produce microfilm and shift operations to America; funds from Rockefeller grant 
   began microfilming intelligence docs, too 
   women crucial in these projects 
   Power gained access to high-quality equipment usually reserved for fed gov’t 

ProQuest now manages EEBO, translation to digital images

originally bitonal digital scans; 2012 on, they are grayscale

“The facsimile is designed to imitate, to emulate, to reproduce; it seduces readers into overlooking the physical differences between the reproduction and its exemplar, and nowhere more acutely than in the digital environment, where the material incongruities between codex and computer should be most evident.” (1519)

“The facsimile is designed to imitate, to emulate, to reproduce; it seduces readers into overlooking the physical differences between the reproduction and its exemplar, and nowhere more acutely than in the digital environment, where the material incongruities between codex and computer should be most evident.” (1519)

Text Creation Partnership – outsourced transcription of texts in SGML

Latour, construction of scientific knowledge – point of stabilization when an assertion becomes authoritative and incorporated into large body of knowledge by others; Mak suggests EEBO-TCP may be at that point

“The elision of the contingencies that are always entangled in processes of production generates the illusion that the digitizations have not only been pro- tected from editorial intervention, but may even function outside traditional infrastructures of production.” (1520)

“In eliding the social processes that constitute the digitizations, not only are the politics of the final product in EEBO obscured, but so too is the possibility of a historical understanding of the project itself. The palimpsesting of the past, present, and everything in between can therefore be understood as part of the dynamic that produces the effect of fact: The performance of EEBO becomes the performance of knowledge.” (1520)

Goal for students in assignment: “An archaeology of a digitization, then, should understand the digitally encoded entity as a cultural object, produced by human labor, and necessarily shaped by—and consequently embodying—his- torical circumstance.” (1521)

“The digitization emerges as an interface of differing and often opposing narratives and temporalities; consequently, it embodies and stimulates a wide variety of performances in the making of meaning.” (1522)

Michael Gavin, "How to Think about EEBO," Textual Cultures 11.1/2 (Winter 2017): 70-105

“EEBO sits at the intersection of several lines of disciplinary development and technological innovation and is one result of generations of work in bibliography, document imaging, and information science.” (70)

“The EEBO-TCP is more like a simulation or model of extant print. Bibliographic metadata fold documents into history, connecting them to libraries and authors, to booksellers, printers, and patrons. Descriptive markup in turn teases out the formal structure of those documents, identifying texts’ individual parts and the relationships among them. The result is a vast and sophisticated model of historicity, textuality, and sociality.” (71)

“Unified bibliographies like the Short-Title Catalogue offered scholars a new and radically different way to experience library archives: not as a collection of rare books but as a compilation of metadata already powerfully abstracted from the paper, cardboard, and leather on the shelves.” (75)

“Contra assertions that digital representation somehow occludes atten- tion to physical realities outside itself, the metadata of the XML file is designed to be integrated with print resources. It highlights areas of uncer- tainty and it notes oddities in the source copy, at all times inviting users to be mindful of variations that may appear across the 30 copies known to exist. Of course, none of this can be assumed to be complete nor perfectly trustworthy. Despite the best efforts of cataloguers and archivists, errors certainly crept in, perhaps even in this very record.” (76)

STC and headers in TEI collections thus “invite a very strange reading practice, though perhaps it’s been so naturalized since the information revolutions of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that it no longer feels strange. To read an entry from the STC is to project one’s imagination outward to libraries across Britain and North America, where items (probably) exist that are likely to share many of the character- istics described, but which are also presumed to exhibit variations not rep- resented in the entry. Bibliographic catalogues provoke a kind of sublime experience, an awareness of ambient textuality, whispering: Books like this, but different, exist.” (76)

Eugene Power, influenced by Robert C. Binkley, who argued that deterioriation of modern papers would leave few permanent records

Excess of information — “Bibliographers approached this problem in a relatively narrow, tactical way, designing aids for scholars who hoped to wade into this great mass of documentation, while at the same time urging those scholars to stay mindful of their catalogues’ inadequacies. For Binkley, the only conceivable solution was strategic and technological. With its com- paratively cheap production and storage costs, microphotography promised to resolve print’s contradictions and to meet the needs of institutions and individuals both.” (82)

“The catalogue provided a record sys- tem that made library holdings visible and therefore accessible. That vis- ibility depended on translating archives to historical points of reference outside themselves: to authors, titles, imprints, catalog numbers, libraries, etc. Catalogues fold archives into history by layering them with historical metadata. Microfilm inserts page images into this data structure; it textures the sublime biblioscape with images, such that Books like this, but differ- ent, exist could be experienced anew as Pages like this, but different, exist. Catalogues abstract books from the shelf and treat metadata as proxies for them. Microfilm reconfigures this metadata as the index of a new archive, still pointing outside itself, but providing also an internally coherent proxy for rare books. This was the primary intellectual innovation of Early Eng- lish Books: it re-purposed the STC as an index of an image collection. No longer a mere finding aid, the STC became an authoritative mechanism over which search queries could be performed from virtually any university library.“ (87)

“When the Early English Books microfilm collection was digitized in the 1990s, its index was transformed into a computer database, which whetted the scholarly appetite for more advanced search capabilities.” (88)

Charles Goldfarb, hired to install a computerized typesetter for a newspaper, developing stylesheets; 1981 essay “A Generalized Approach to Document Markup”

“A TEI-encoded file is a textual form unlike any other; the inven- tion of this genre was an extraordinary intellectual accomplishment that remains under-appreciated. When combined with the archival research of the short-title catalogues (themselves scholarly projects of the highest quality) the result is a collection of files — files, not documents nor texts — that fold discourse into history in a remarkable way, combining “real life” sociological information about names, books, places, and dates, with the formal and lexical features of the texts that record that information. “ (101)

“Catalogues took books off the shelves. Microfilm took pages out of books. Transcription and markup freed words from the page. Collection and standardization dissolved those words into data. Early print’s realization as data opened a new horizon of study that we’re still just beginning to survey. “ (102)

Jasmine Elizabeth Burns, “Digital Facsimiles and the Modern Viewer: Medieval Manuscripts and Archival Practices in the Age of New Media” (2014)

Uniqueness of object and history of use shown in materiality of manuscripts

“Digital facsimiles eliminate these clues as the layers become inseparable, and instead of revealing information about medieval bookbinding and illuminating techniques, they actually reveal more about contemporary cultural practices regarding the construction and transfer of data.” (158)

“The digital image solidifies the manuscript in time, essentially erasing the object’s unique existence, no longer allowing the object to operate as a tase of its past.” (159)

Digital facsimiles further restrict access to the original

Digital and material objects age differently

“Digitization facilitates the separation of an object and its institutional interpreta- tion, and similarly the separation of the object’s content from its vessel. A medieval manuscript is made up of mostly text and frequently illuminated imagery. In large- scale digitization projects that result in online collections, such as those implemented by the Bodleian, it becomes easy to crop both images and/or text from the remaining content, therefore distorting the true form of the manuscript. “ (164)

Pollard et al., "'Facsimile' Reprints of Old Books," The Library 6.4 (March 1926): 305-38.

reprints: 1) photographic facsimiles, 2) type facsimiles (following setting, original fount as closely as possible), 3) luxurious reprints that make concessions to original

"The questions we have to ask ourselves are : (i) what are the Advantages which it is proposed to gain by accurately reproducing an original edition in any respect ? (ii) what are the Methods available for reproducing the various features of an original with an accuracy adequate to secure the advantage which is desired ? (iii) what is the History of these methods in our own country (to which for the present we had better confine ourselves)?" (306)

facsimiles can be dangerous, because errors in first edition may persist in reader's mind; type facsimiles are safer

perhaps earliest example of "period printing" / type-facsimile reprints: The Order of the Hospitals of King Henry viii. and King Edward the vi. are dated 1557 but have been shown to be printed in 1690 by D'Arcy Power

1710ish example of a reprint that tries to follow original type, making it a type facsimile, from Rawlinsons

hoax of The English Mercurie, claiming to be earliest printed newspaper, talking about Spanish Armada in 1588

early 19c reprints, sometimes misunderstood as originals -- e.g. John Smeeton facsimiles

Utterson Reprints, Chiswick Press

Lionel Booth, type-facsimile of First Folio, 1864

Edmund William Ashbee, lithographic facsimiles of Shakespeare quartos produced for Halliwell-Phillipps, 1862-71; only 50 copies, some destroyed in fire

Quarto facsimiles, overseen by Furnivall in 1880d, produced by Charles Praetorius; photolithograph, zincograph

1902, Oxford collotype of the First Folio

1909, Methuen facimilse of four folios in photozincography

Sir Henry James, Report on Photo-zincography (1862)

facsimiles made of Domesday Book, recommendation to make on of First Folio owned by Dryden descendant -- many plates made (see text for details, around 314)

1888, facsimile of Hariot's Brief and true report

works of Caxton in facsimile, lace books

Cambridge Reprints, reprinting 15c books in Cambridge University Libraries (1906-7)

1906, Malone Society

"photographic reproductions are reliable but illegible, reprints are legible but unreliable. Photo- graphic methods are limited by the necessity of relying in general upon a single copy of the original, which may be indistinct or damaged, and also by the fact that no facsimile which can be produced commercially ever affords quite as much evidence as can be obtained from the original—no process but in some measure obscures what it reproduces." (322)

relative value of type-facsimiles vs reproductions (323)

"Probably where circumstances, financial and other, permit, the ideal can be most nearly approached to-day in the pro- duction of a photographic facsimile of the best copy of the original available, supplemented by notes embodying the result of a minute technical examination of that copy and of careful collation of other copies of the original. The method seems an obvious one, but I do not know of any case in which it has been applied." (323)

A. T. Hazen, "Type-Facsimiles," Modern Philology 44.4 (May 1947): 209-17.

shows how Smeeton facsimiles have fooled many bibliographers

example of John Stephen Farmer, Tudor facsimile texts, 1912, reprinted Solimon and Perseda facsimile from the best of the 4 1599 editions at the British Museum -- but was in fact the facsimile, which had been miscatalogued

Hobbes Leviathan (1651), type-facsimile made in 1680

1527 Giunta Boccacio, reprinted in type-facsimile in 1729

Thomas Coryate, Letter to the English wits (1616), reprinted in 1815 with original date

many copies of engraved portraits pass for original

1929 Dorner exhibit

May 1929, Alexander Dorner stages a small exhibit displaying engravings and watercolors alongside their high-quality facsimile reproductions

German art critics etc debated in fall/winter 1929-1930 about original vs. copy; preface to Benjamin, "Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"

Dorner claimed that facsimile allows for a virtual museum -- a key precursor to Malraux 1974 and idea of "museum without walls" -- and even argues that facsimiles should be in museums, because they democratize art and bring it in touch with the greatest number of people. church artifacts have been taken from churches and put in museums; would be weird to put them back in original churches -- same argument could apply to facsimiles

debate reproduced in Phillips 1989, Photograph in the Modern Era (1989)


Culture is a “network of imaginative investments that canont be contained within material artefacts, yet cannot be understood without them” (Galey, Nelson, Cunningham, Siemens)

Lots of work has been done tracking the history of textual editing, its evolution in the wake of advent of electronic technologies for editing

Less work has been done tracking the changing notions of facsimile in the wake of (electronic) reproduction

  • Stretching back to Dorner debate, Malvaux and “museum without walls”
  • McKenzie and rise of “material texts” approach / copy-specific research
  • What do we do with facsimiles in the wake of sociology of the text approach?

Important works:

  • Nichols, “An Artifact by Any Other Name”
    • Different people come to artifacts with different interests – scholars – and libraries have to decide what to preserve
      • “One way to think of the artifact, the, would be as a multiplicity of information sets, including the material form of the object, and it contextual history, where known”
  • D. F. McKenzie, “The Book as an Expressive Form”
    • Foundational document for readings of the material text
    • Famously argues that “any history of the book – subject as books are to typographic and material change – must be a history of misreadings” since “every society rewrites its past, every reader rewrites its texts, and, if they have any continuing life at all, at some point every printer redesigns them” (25)
      • This is a fundamentally textual studies / editing argument that nevertheless attends to the material text and not just the text-as-words
  • Bonnie Mak, How the Page Matters (2011)
    • Performs a McKenzian reading that shows how material text changes over history of mediation / “history of misreadings”
    • In so doing, brings to the fore the ways that digital facsimiles remake the material text
      • Substituting materiality of codex for “logical architecture” of software [point also made by Chartier, whom Mak quotes]
  • Shift to relationality
  • Change in what Chartier calls contextualization
    • Borders of page don’t always match the borders of hardware