Starting a research blog

by David Shields. Average Reading Time: almost 2 minutes.

The intention of starting this blog is to develop a platform to record threads of ongoing inquiries, partially formulated ideas, bits of new discoveries and observations of the world through the filter of my research into nineteenth century and twentieth century wood type.

I’ll be including notes on histories of particular type designs, texts regarding wood type manufacturers from nineteenth century sources, images from my research as well as details concerning previously unrecorded wood type manufacturers—with particular attention paid to the twentieth century manufacturers. The site will also act as a curriculum vitæ to chart the writing, speaking and cataloging of collections that are components of my ongoing research.

Rob Roy Kelly’s seminal research into American wood type has gone largely un-updated and unanswered in the forty-plus years since the publication of his American Wood Type 1828–1900. It is my hope that this blog will allow for a dissemination of current wood type research, and like Nick Sherman’s Woodtyper  “to at least begin to pick up where [Rob Roy Kelly] left off.”

A pragmatic consequence of developing this blog is that it will help me write on a more regular basis. I’m working under the notion that “[e]verything you need to learn about writing you will learn, and can only learn, by writing.”1 It will be a mix of medium and short form writing, with a dream of working my way up to more scholarly 5000-word blog posts on the order (if not the magnitude) of James Mosely’s Typefoundry.

My thanks to Iain Gray for the coding acumen to help me trick-out the iA³ wordpress template from Information Architects. Using an off-the-shelf—but reasonably tweaked—template became a much more viable (and actionable) solution than designing a web site from scratch. After kicking the idea of a research blog around for a year-and-a-half, but never actually pulling the design trigger, jumping in with both feet and giving it a shot seems more effective way to actually make it live in the world.

As all of this is a work in progress, any and all clarifications to the information presented in this blog are greatly appreciated. I can be reached at dawash@woodtyperesearch.com.

  1. David Mitchell, 2010 /