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I am the Faculty Advisor of the Shakespeare Press Museum, a working printing museum on the campus of Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, California.
We have 18 operating presses and about 400 metal and wood type fonts.
Our never-ending problem is cataloging and indexing our collection of type, some of which is so rare that we don't know what it is, where it came from, or what to call it.
I have been working for several months to develop a method for cataloging the nicks on the type we have, which I plan to use to help identify type that is not distributed correctly, or at all.
Acknowledging the potential weaknesses of the system (different nicks in the same font, for example) I would like to put this out to the Typophile forum for comment.
My idea is to scan the profile of a character in a font, then to make a digital record of the profile. Then, I would like to encode a series of numeric values for the size, position and shape of the various type nicks.
With this in place, it might be possible to "simply" look up the nick pattern, using the font database, and have the database respond with a list of fonts that qualify.
WHAT I WANT FROM YOU:
Please tell me if I am completely crazy (I am), and please provide constructive ideas if you can.
I have not begun to implement this yet. I am in the planning stage, asking if the typographic public thinks this is a good idea.
Any input from the members of Typophile would be appreciated.
Brian P. Lawler
San Luis Obispo, California