[Digitally Reconstructing The Great Parchment Book: 3D recovery of fire-damaged historical documents]

Digitally Reconstructing The Great Parchment Book: 3D recovery of fire-damaged historical documents

Kazim Pal1,  Nicola Avery2,  Pete Boston3,  Alberto Campagnolo4,  Caroline De Stefani2,  Helen Matheson-Pollock1,  Daniele Panozzo5,6,  Matthew Payne7,  Christian Schüller5,  Chris Sanderson3,  Chris Scott3,  Philippa Smith2,  Rachel Smither2,  Olga Sorkine-Hornung5,  Ann Stewart8,  Emma Stewart2,  Patricia Stewart9,  Melissa Terras1,  Bernadette Walsh10,  Laurence Ward2,  Liz Yamada11,  Tim Weyrich1

1 University College London
2 London Metropolitan Archives
3 Headscape Ltd, UK
4 University of the Arts London
5 ETH Zurich
6 New York University
7 Westminster Abbey Muniment Room
8 National Museums Liverpool
9 Oxford University Press
10 Museum and Visitor Service, Derry City and Strabane District Council
11 Freelance Paper Conservator

Abstract

The Great Parchment Book of The Honourable The Irish Society is a major surviving historical record of the estates of the county of Londonderry (in modern day Northern Ireland). It contains key data about landholding and population in the Irish province of Ulster and the city of Londonderry and its environs in the mid-17th Century, at a time of social, religious, and political upheaval. Compiled in 1639, it was severely damaged in a fire in 1786, and due to the fragile state of the parchment its contents have been mostly inaccessible since. We describe here a long-term, interdisciplinary, international partnership involving conservators, archivists, computer scientists and digital humanists that developed a low-cost pipeline for conserving, digitizing, 3D-reconstructing, and virtually flattening the fire-damaged, buckled parchment, enabling new readings and understanding of the text to be created. For the first time, this paper presents a complete overview of the project, detailing the conservation, digital acquisition, and digital reconstruction methods used, resulting in a new transcription and digital edition of the text in time for the 400th anniversary celebrations of the building of Londonderry’s city walls in 2013. We concentrate on the digital reconstruction pipeline that will be of interest to custodians of similarly fire-damaged historical parchment, whilst highlighting how working together on this project has produced an online resource that has focussed community reflection upon an important, but previously inaccessible, historical text.

Citation Style:    Publication

Digitally Reconstructing The Great Parchment Book: 3D recovery of fire-damaged historical documents.
Kazim Pal, Nicola Avery, Pete Boston, Alberto Campagnolo, Caroline De Stefani, Helen Matheson-Pollock, Daniele Panozzo, Matthew Payne, Christian Schüller, Chris Sanderson, Chris Scott, Philippa Smith, Rachel Smither, Olga Sorkine-Hornung, Ann Stewart, Emma Stewart, Patricia Stewart, Melissa Terras, Bernadette Walsh, Laurence Ward, Liz Yamada, Tim Weyrich.
Literary and Linguistic Computing: the journal of digital scholarship in the humanities, pp. 1–31, Oxford University Press, December 2016.
Kazim Pal, Nicole Avery, Pete Boston, Alberto Campagnolo, Caroline De Stefani, Helen Matheson-Pollock, Daniele Panozzo, Matthew Payne, Christian Schüller, Chris Sanderson, Chris Scott, Philippa Smith, Rachael Smither, Olga Sorkine-Hornung, Ann Stewart, Emma Stewart, Patricia Stewart, Melissa Terras, Bernadette Walsh, Laurence Ward, Liz Yamada, and Tim Weyrich. Digitally reconstructing the great parchment book: 3D recovery of fire-damaged historical documents. Literary and Linguistic Computing: the journal of digital scholarship in the humanities, Oxford University Press, pages 1–31, December 2016.Pal, K., Avery, N., Boston, P., Campagnolo, A., De Stefani, C., Matheson-Pollock, H., Panozzo, D., Payne, M., Schüller, C., Sanderson, C., Scott, C., Smith, P., Smither, R., Sorkine-Hornung, O., Stewart, A., Stewart, E., Stewart, P., Terras, M., Walsh, B., Ward, L., Yamada, L., and Weyrich, T. 2016. Digitally reconstructing the great parchment book: 3D recovery of fire-damaged historical documents. Literary and Linguistic Computing: the journal of digital scholarship in the humanities, Oxford University Press (Dec.), 1–31.K. Pal, N. Avery, P. Boston, A. Campagnolo, C. De Stefani, H. Matheson-Pollock, D. Panozzo, M. Payne, C. Schüller, C. Sanderson, C. Scott, P. Smith, R. Smither, O. Sorkine-Hornung, A. Stewart, E. Stewart, P. Stewart, M. Terras, B. Walsh, L. Ward, L. Yamada, and T. Weyrich, “Digitally reconstructing the great parchment book: 3D recovery of fire-damaged historical documents,” Literary and Linguistic Computing: the journal of digital scholarship in the humanities, Oxford University Press, pp. 1–31, Dec. 2016.

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