Imaging the Chad - University of Kentucky Vis Center
In 2010, a group of researchers and historians from the University of Kentucky's Vis Center traveled to England to digitally preserve the St. Chad Gospels and a version of the Wycliffe Bible.
Lichfield Cathedral / 2010
A frequent struggle within the field of historical preservation has been how to preserve artifacts for future study. Manuscripts especially are fragile and have been destroyed through the centuries by common use. In 2010, a team of researchers from UK including computer scientists and historians gathered in Lichfield to create a digital replica of the St. Chad Gospels, a manuscript dating from the 8th Century containing the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and part of Luke.
The St. Chad Gospels are housed at Lichfield Cathedral located about 20 km south of Birmingham, England.
Vis Center at the University of Kentucky is researching how to preserve ancient
manuscripts while also making them available to more people through the
development of modern platforms like handheld touch screens or web browsers to
showcase the material. The FoLIO project is working on solutions to these
questions and in 2010 travelled to Lichfield, England to image the Chad Gospels
and a version of the Wycliffe Bible.
The Chad Gospels are the only
ancient manuscript of its kind that is still in use ceremonially. Four times a
year, Lichfield Cathedral reads from the Chad Gospels as a part of their services.
The idea of this project was born when the Vis Center was imaging the oldest complete copy of the Iliad (referred to as Venetus A) in 2008. Researchers realized that more could be done with the idea of imaging so they began thinking of ways to improve the process, resulting in the FoLIO project.
imaging process the FoLIO team developed involved taking
high-resolution images of each manuscript page in every level of the
light spectrum. In addition, they took a 3-D scan of each page. In total, there were around 13 images taken of each manuscript page.
Later, these images were combined on a computer
to generate a full color image that is true to the original manuscript page in
both color and texture. Researchers can flatten pages that are warped or
restore characters that have faded.
The ability to restore manuscripts and give
them new life is what makes this project so significant. The researchers at the
University of Kentucky were able to work with historians to discover
information about the construction of the manuscripts.
Access to the manuscript has been limited
because a digital version has never been published. The
project's digital copy opens access to the manuscript for scholarship
by making it widely available.
As the project moves forward, researchers at the
Vis Center are imaging more manuscripts and making them available to anyone who
wishes to see them. In addition, researchers are also working towards the goal
of highlighting meaning in the manuscripts through image organization that
enables anyone to derive significance from these important artifacts.
Contributor: National Science Foundation—This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0916421. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Contributor: Vis Center at the University of Kentucky—