[The value of critical destruction: Evaluating multispectral image processing methods for the analysis of primary historical texts]

The value of critical destruction:
Evaluating multispectral image processing methods for the analysis of primary historical texts

Alejandro Giacometti1,  Alberto Campagnolo2,  Lindsay MacDonald1,  Simon Mahony1,  Stuart Robson1,  Tim Weyrich1,  Melissa Terras1,  Adam Gibson1

1 University College London
2 University of the Arts London

Abstract

Multispectral imaging – a method for acquiring image data over a series of wavelengths across the light spectrum – is becoming a valuable tool within the cultural and heritage sector for the recovery and enhancement of information contained within primary historical texts. However, most applications of this technique, to date, have been bespoke: analysing particular documents of historic importance. There has been little prior work done on evaluating this technique in a structured fashion, to provide recommendations on how best to capture and process images when working with damaged and abraded textual material. This article introduces a new approach for evaluating the efficacy of image processing algorithms in recovering information from multispectral images of deteriorated primary historical texts. We present a series of experiments that deliberately degrade samples cut from a real historical document to provide a set of images acquired before and after damage. These images then allow us to compare, both objectively and quantitatively, the effectiveness of multispectral imaging and image processing for recovering information from damaged text. We develop a methodological framework for the continuing study of the techniques involved in the analysis and processing of multispectral images of primary historical texts, and a dataset which will be of use to others interested in advanced digitisation techniques within the cultural heritage sector.

Citation Style:    Publication

The value of critical destruction: Evaluating multispectral image processing methods for the analysis of primary historical texts.
Alejandro Giacometti, Alberto Campagnolo, Lindsay MacDonald, Simon Mahony, Stuart Robson, Tim Weyrich, Melissa Terras, Adam Gibson.
In Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, pp. 1–22, October 2015.
Alejandro Giacometti, Alberto Campagnolo, Lindsay MacDonald, Simon Mahony, Stuart Robson, Tim Weyrich, Melissa Terras, and Adam Gibson. The value of critical destruction: Evaluating multispectral image processing methods for the analysis of primary historical texts. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, pages 1–22, October 2015.Giacometti, A., Campagnolo, A., MacDonald, L., Mahony, S., Robson, S., Weyrich, T., Terras, M., and Gibson, A. 2015. The value of critical destruction: Evaluating multispectral image processing methods for the analysis of primary historical texts. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (Oct.), 1–22.A. Giacometti, A. Campagnolo, L. MacDonald, S. Mahony, S. Robson, T. Weyrich, M. Terras, and A. Gibson, “The value of critical destruction: Evaluating multispectral image processing methods for the analysis of primary historical texts,” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, pp. 1–22, Oct. 2015. [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqv036

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [grant number EP/F01208X/1]. We would like to thank London Metropolitan Archives for donating the parchment manuscript which allowed us to carry out this research.


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