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3DVisA Index of 3D Projects: Palaeography and Manuscript Studies

Digital Atheneum

One of a number of initiatives undertaken at the University of Kentucky in partnership with the British Library, aiming at making electronic editions of medieval manuscripts widely available to scholars. The Electronic Beowulf was followed by the Electronic Boethius.

The Digital Atheneum Project was concerned with digital restoration of damaged manuscripts and focused on novel imaging technologies, including 3D scanning. These methods were applied to the manuscripts in the Cotton Library collection housed in the British Library. The manuscripts were badly damaged in a fire of 1731 and subsequently by misuse, bad restoration and flooding, resulting in the physical disintegration of binding and vellum leaves. Parts of texts became difficult or impossible to decipher.

Digitisation of these manuscripts provided digital facsimiles of texts. Warped and damaged folios exposed the limitations of 2D imaging. The use of 3D imaging techniques was therefore explored as a means of creating, manipulating, restoring and carefully measuring text.

Project dates: Ongoing from 1998?

Resource status: Online archive of electronic editions of manuscripts will be made available at http://beowulf.engl.uky.edu/ and http://www.digitalatheneum.org/ (?) in due course.

Contributors: Kevin Kiernan, English Department, University of Kentucky; Michael S. Brown, W. Brent Seales and James Griffioen, Department of Computer Science, University of Kentucky.

Sources and further details:

Brent Seales, W., Griffioen, J. and Kiernan, K. (1999), The Digital Atheneum - Restoring Damaged Manuscripts, RLG DigiNews, December 15, Vol. 3, No. 6.

Brown, M.S. and Brent Seales, W. (2001), 3D Imaging and Processing of Damaged Texts, Proceedings from the ACH/ALLC Conference, Humanities Computing Group, the Studio for Digital Projects and Research, and the Faculty of Arts and Science, University of New York, 13th-16th June.

Record compiled by Anna Bentkowska-Kafel. Last updated: 11 September 2006.

Digital Atheneum and 3DVisA, 2006.

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