Multispectral imaging of parchment documents and much more

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LMA is pleased to be working with UCL on research into the multispectral imaging of archival documents. Find out more here about recent research on degraded historical texts written on parchment, and events and discussions about this hot topic.

Multispectral imaging of degraded historical texts written on parchment

LMA is pleased to have contributed the raw material which allowed our partners at University College London to carry out research on the multispectral imaging of degraded historical texts written on parchment. They chose to focus on parchment documents for their study, given that parchment remains the primary medium of large quantities of culturally important documents in archives, museums, libraries, and private collections.

Multispectral imaging is an advanced digitisation method for acquiring image data over a series of wavelengths across the light spectrum. Combined with image processing, it has become a valuable tool for the enhancement and recovery of information contained within culturally important documents, providing a means, in some cases, to recover lost text, or examine other features no longer detectable by the human eye. The aim of the research was evaluate this technique in a structured fashion, to provide recommendations on how best to capture and process images when working with damaged and abraded textual material.

“The value of critical destruction: Evaluating multispectral image processing methods for the analysis of primary historical texts” by Alejandro Giacometti, Alberto Campagnolo, Lindsay MacDonald, Simon Mahony, Stuart Robson, Tim Weyrich, Melissa Terras, Adam Gibson was published in the online journal Digital Scholarship in the Humanities by Oxford University Press on behalf of European Association for Digital Humanities on 7 October 2015.

More than the eye can see: Digital Humanities spectral imaging

Effective spectral imaging requires not just collection of quality images, but the ability to manage and exploit large amounts of integrated data and metadata for cultural heritage studies. Mike Toth, Honorary Research Associate at UCL, who is supporting the integration of spectral imaging systems into digital humanities studies and institutions, is speaking about this at a seminar “More than the eye can see: Digital Humanities spectral imaging” at UCL on 28 October 2015 5.30-6.30pm.

All welcome and there will be drinks and discussion after the talk, but please note that registration is required. More information is available here.


Mike Toth was also speaking in the United States at Sightlines, a panel discussion and technology petting zoo with light-based technologies, presented by the Digital Futures Consortium of Harvard University on 14 October 2015. This event brought together experts and thinkers from multiple disciplines to discuss 2D, 3D, and multispectral imaging for cultural heritage collections and is one of a three part series. The presentations will be published on the Sightlines website in due course.

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