Multispectral imaging and medieval manuscripts

Authored by: Eric Weiskott

The Routledge Research Companion to Digital Medieval Literature

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138905047
eBook ISBN: 9781315696041
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315696041-13

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Abstract

Debates in the field of manuscript studies often take the form of disputes over material details that are at least theoretically quantifiable. Until recently, such debates were adjudicated entirely on the basis of comparison by human eye. Paleographical and codicological research along these lines has been transformative: it remains the edifice on which rest all other forms of knowledge about medieval texts. Recently, it has become possible to supplement the human eye with a digital one. This essay outlines the scope and goals of interdisciplinary research at the intersection of computer science, manuscript studies, and cultural heritage preservation. It does so through an overview of a case study: a research project in the digital humanities carried out by computer scientists, medievalists, and digital preservation experts at Yale University from 2012–2015 on the use of multispectral imaging of medieval manuscripts.

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