Reproduction and the value of noise

I’ve just been reading David McKitterick’s Old Books and New Technologies¬†and something he says on page 15 (clearly, I’ve not gotten far yet), has made me pause.¬†He is writing about the reproduction of early texts done by the ProQuest (then known as University Microfilms), in which the pages were copied onto microfilm. “Not surprisingly, quality varied, of the film when it was originated in libraries across mostly Britain and North…