What does it mean to digitize a medieval manuscript? This book examines this question by exploring a range of advanced imaging technologies, from multispectral to 3D to reflectance transformation imaging. To understand imaging technologies requires an understanding of the complex materiality of what is being digitized and, to this end, the book focuses on the relationship between digital technologies and the complex materiality of manuscripts and the human bodies that engages them.
From this perspective, the chapters explore imaging technologies, interfaces to present digital surrogates, and limitations to and enhancements through the digital. But lest past photographic information be lost, the book also examines historical photographs, exploring their rich visual information, and how digitizing and comparing them transforms what can be known. Examples and innovations from the author’s work digitizing the eighth-century St. Chad Gospels at Lichfield Cathedral are provided.
This book is essential reading for all those involved in large and small scale manuscript digitization projects in both scholarly and cultural heritage contexts.
Introduction: The Age of Visual Wonder: Digitizing Materiality and Unriddling Light
Chapter 1: Recovery: From Multispectral Imaging to Alternative Colour Spaces
Chapter 2: Reflectance Transformation Imaging: An Enhanced View of Surface Details
Chapter 3: The Otherwise Unknowable: Digitizing and Comparing Historical Photographs
Chapter 4: Sacred Artifacts: Open Access, Power, Ethics, and Reciprocity
Chapter 5: A Crisis in Knowledge-Space? A Look Toward Virtual Reality
Bill Endres' Digitizing Medieval Manuscripts: The St. Chad Gospels, Materiality, Recoveries, and Representation in 2D & 3D is much more than a technical guide to various methods of digitization of early manuscripts, although that is one of its primary strengths. Like other contributions to the Arc Humanities Press series Medieval Media Cultures, the volume is brief, digestible, affordable, and most welcome. [...] For anyone interested in understanding the intricacies of digital imaging and the complexities of working with ancient material in a modern context, Digitizing Medieval Manuscripts is indispensable. The print volume is enhanced by online full-color images and gifs.~Lisa Fagin Davis, The Medieval Review 2021