Fac-similé: technique de reproduction qui respecte les propriétés essentielles de l’original; inventée à la fin du XVIIe siècle, la lithographie permettait d’établir dès le début du XIXe siècle des reproductions de manuscrits de grande qualité; aujourd’hui, c’est la photographie qui produit les meilleurs fac-similés (Grésillon 1994, 243).
If the descriptive information given by means of typography is inadequate, it may be supplemented (but not replaced) by a photomechanical reproduction. Such photoreproduction does not make the descriptive details of the typographical representation superfluous, as has been thought. The more complicated and ambiguous the manuscript and the more intricate its graphical appearance, the more important a typographical reproduction is for the user. It is true that at the same time it becomes more difficult to use such a reproduction by itself, but the descriptive and interpretative presentation in print becomes necessary for the purpose of orientation. The descriptive details, then, differ in their function: If the representation in print is the only means of documentation, then it alone argues and justifies the interpretation of the manuscript; if the representation in print is supported by a photographic reproduction, then the detailed descriptive information serves to guide the user. It makes the identification of variants in the printed and in the photographical reproduction easier, or sometimes even possible at all. In complicated situations the photoreproduction does not render the detailed typographical representation superfluous, but requires it both as interpretation and as documentation (Zeller 1995, 47).