Shakespeare on the clock.
There is a serious limitation to the "print clock"
technique ("Mutant Maps," SN: 8/26/06, p. 136) that can
probably be addressed. The method proposed holds good only for works
with small print runs (such as expensive maps), where the damage to the
printing surface in successive printings is minor in comparison to
deterioration over time. Damage to the printing surface in the same run
has already been studied in the case of Shakespeare's early folio texts, and can be significant. If researchers combine the data for two
very different physical processes--deterioration owing to pressure on
surfaces and repeated use and deterioration over time--the results will
gain a great deal of accuracy.
ANTHONY GUNERATNE, JACKSONVILLE, FLA.