NeDiMAH workshop: New methods of manuscript imaging and analysis

30. March 2015 to 1. April 2015

A workshop organised by the Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities ( and the Arts and Humanities Research Council Theme Leader Fellowship in Digital Transformations.

National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Roderic Bowen Library, University of Wales Trinity St David, Lampeter, Wales, March 30th-April 1st, 2015

There has been a long tradition of the use of scientific aids in the investigation of manuscripts, dating back to the nineteenth century.  One of the first applications of digital imaging was in the investigation of damaged and concealed portions of manuscripts.  New technologies continue to offer enormous opportunities for enhancing our understanding of the date, localisation, contents and genesis of manuscript sources which are fundamental for many humanities disciplines.  New approaches including RTI imaging which by replicating angled lighting allows the scholar to see details such as scratched glosses or flaking of pigment which cannot be seen with conventional digital imaging.  Some research teams have even explored the use of synchrotron light sources in investigating manuscripts.  Researchers now have a multiplicity of tools with which to explore problems in manuscripts, and further exciting new technologies are likely to become available in the near future.

These methods create enormous opportunities for scholars, but also tremendous challenges. Existing work of this sort is currently very fragmented and knowledge of the possibilities scattered. There needs to be more contact between researchers in this area. Among the issues to be considered in this workshop will be how these sort of images can be made available for analysis by a wider range of researchers. These developments are also creating issues for cultural heritage organisations, who must make available new types of digital images. While many of the techniques derive from work in conservation science, repeated re-examination of ancient manuscripts using different techniques can raise preservation issues.This means moving far beyond the current provision of manuscripts that have been through ‘mass digitisation’, and moving to a more bespoke, ‘slow digitisation’ provision of images that are outputs of new types of capture.


Monday March 30th, Roderic Bowen Library, University of Wales Trinity St David, Lampeter (Transport will be provided from the National Library of Wales if you would like to attend this part of the event, please email the organisers.)

14.00 Introduction to the Roderic Bowen Library by Peter Hopkins, Special Collections Librarian, University of Wales Trinity St David

14.45 Hands on RTI demonstration, led by Professor William Endres, University of Kentucky

16.15 Tea in the Old Founders Library, St David’s Building, Lampeter

17.00 Return to Aberystwyth

Tuesday March 31st, Council Chamber, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

9.30 Coffee and registration

9.45 Welcome and introduction

10.00 Professor Kevin S. Kiernan, University of Kentucky, Digging with Digits: the Excavation of Artifacts in Ancient Manuscripts

11.00 Coffee

11.30 Professor Koen Janssens, University of Antwerp will present two projects: the use of synchotron radiation on ferro-gallic inks; and the mobile scanning of Flemish and Venetian illuminated manuscripts.

12.30 Lunch

14.00 Dr Polonca Ropret, Institute for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, Raman spectroscopy and cultural heritage artefacts

15.00 Tea

16.00 Professor William Endres, University of Kentucky: The Use of RTI scanning in the Study of Manuscripts and Medieval Artefacts

Wednesday April 1st, Council Chamber, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

9.30 Coffee

9.45 Professor Lorna M. Hughes, School of Advanced Study, University of London: Developing Research Infrastructures for Digital Manuscripts

10.05 Professor Andrew Prescott, University of Glasgow: Some Marginal Thoughts

10.25 Dr Estelle Stubbs, University of York and University of Sheffield: The Legacy of Manley and Rickert

10.45 Hendrik Hameeuw, Dr. Lieve Watteeuw and Bruno Vandermeulen, KU Leuven: When the details matter: acquiring, storing and safeguarding large interactive 2D and 3D data sets, from Mesopotamian cuneiform document to medieval manuscripts

11.45 Concluding discussion

12:30 Lunch

(13:00 The Black Book of Carmarthen: Minding the gaps, a public lunchtime lecture by Paul Russel and Myriah Williams presented by the National Library of Wales.)


Please register via the EventBrite page.


A limited number of travel bursaries are available. If you wish to apply, please tell us about your research, the country you are coming from (it must be part of the NeDiMAH network), and how you plan to participate in the event? You will be contacted after receipt of your application to let you know if it was successful. The deadline for bursary applications is the 20th of March 2015.

Groups audience: