Professorial Platform Lecture - Professor Nicholas Pickwoad “Finding Words- The Ligatus Glossary Project”

On Thursday 3rd February 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in the Rootstein Hopkins East Space, London College of Fashion, John Princes Street,
Professor Nicholas Pickwoad will give a lecture “Finding Words- The Ligatus Glossary Project” as a part of the UAL Professorial Platform.

All crafts, trades and disciplines sooner or later develop their own specialist vocabularies to allow their practitioners to communicate quickly, easily and clearly when going about their everyday activities. In the more literate areas of life – medicine and law for instance – these vocabularies have survived and remain, if not in use, at least in older records, but the more artisan trades have often lost their words as techniques have changed and new ways of doing things have evolved. This is certainly the case with bookbinding, where our current, inherited vocabulary has shown itself quite unable to cope with the description of the detailed techniques and structures of books sometimes no more than two hundred years old. Even where terms have survived, the same terms have sometimes been used to mean different things, or different things have been included under the same term. As the study of the history of bookbinding develops, and its value as an essential but hitherto largely disregarded part of the history of the book becomes ever clearer, so the need for a consistent glossary of terms becomes ever more apparent. The Ligatus Glossary project is trying to supply this need, working with the old terms and inventing new ones in equal measure, and delivering the result on-line in a new, hierarchical schema designed around the structure of the book itself, in an attempt to pin down the extraordinary diversity of technique used over two millennia to make the tens of millions of books that fill our libraries