The use of database techniques for preserving high quality printing skills and processes
Hill, V. and Thirkell, P. (2006) The use of database techniques for preserving high quality printing skills and processes. In: Institute of Physics , London, April 2006.
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With the rapid advancement of digital technology, knowledge of many former specialist high quality printing processes used throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries have fallen by the wayside. As a result the details relating to their unique printing capabilities and technique now threaten to be rapidly lost. In order to maintain a rich diversity of print qualities that reflect past standards and have potential to contribute to modern practice, one of the many areas of print related research pursued by the University of the West of England, Centre for Fine Print Research in Bristol has focussed on the re-assessment of forgotten printing processes in the light of current digital imaging capacities. Particularly in the case of photographers and printmakers, such processes -when combined with digital imaging techniques- offer the opportunity for creating unique high fidelity; archivally stable prints that are capable of transcending past and current expectations of quality. Two processes specifically identified through this research (the 19th century collotype and woodburytype techniques) offer outstanding potential, valid even in a contemporary context. Although much was written about these processes during their use, it is difficult now to piece together an overall picture of their significance and technique without undergoing a great deal of detective work. In order to provide a fully interactive overview of many of the aspects and implications of these techniques, the Centre has employed the use of digital database technology to locate, store and sift this material. This poster will present a working model of how databases can be used to preserve information, images, and knowledge relating to the maintenance of high quality printing practices.