New Methods for Manuscript Imaging and Analysis

National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Wales
March 30th-April 1st, 2015


The workshop acknowledged the long tradition of the use of scientific aids in the investigation of manuscripts, and addressed the enormous opportunities for enhancing our understanding of the date, localisation, contents and genesis of manuscript sources through the use of new technological approaches, including RTI imaging, and the use of synchrotron light sources. 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. Among the issues considered in this workshop were how outputs of this research can be made available for analysis by a wider range of researchers, and the role of cultural heritage organisations, which now 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.

The event took place from March 30th-April 1st, 2015, at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Roderic Bowen Library, University of Wales Trinity St David, Lampeter, Wales.

The event was sponsored by the ESF Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities (NeDIMAH) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council Theme Leader Fellowship in Digital Transformations. Travel bursaries were awarded to five postgraduates/early career scholars.


For the full report, please see the attached pdf.