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Archive for the 'Research Papers' Category

Multimodal imaging of papyrus article in Heritage Science journal

Lucy Stagg23 March 2018

The team behind the UCLDH Research Project Deep Imaging Egyptian Mummy Cases is pleased to have an article published in the Springer Heritage Science Journal 2018 6:7.

The article is ‘An assessment of multimodal imaging of subsurface text in mummy cartonnage using surrogate papyrus phantoms’ and the abstract reads as follows:

Ancient Egyptian mummies were often covered with an outer casing, panels and masks made from cartonnage: a lightweight material made from linen, plaster, and recycled papyrus held together with adhesive. Egyptologists, papyrologists, and historians aim to recover and read extant text on the papyrus contained within cartonnage layers, but some methods, such as dissolving mummy casings, are destructive. The use of an advanced range of different imaging modalities was investigated to test the feasibility of non-destructive approaches applied to multi-layered papyrus found in ancient Egyptian mummy cartonnage. Eight different techniques were compared by imaging four synthetic phantoms designed to provide robust, well-understood, yet relevant sample standards using modern papyrus and replica inks. The techniques include optical (multispectral imaging with reflection and transillumination, and optical coherence tomography), X-ray (X-ray fluorescence imaging, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, X-ray micro computed tomography and phase contrast X-ray) and terahertz-based approaches. Optical imaging techniques were able to detect inks on all four phantoms, but were unable to significantly penetrate papyrus. X-ray-based techniques were sensitive to iron-based inks with excellent penetration but were not able to detect carbon-based inks. However, using terahertz imaging, it was possible to detect carbon-based inks with good penetration but with less sensitivity to iron-based inks. The phantoms allowed reliable and repeatable tests to be made at multiple sites on three continents. The tests demonstrated that each imaging modality needs to be optimised for this particular application: it is, in general, not sufficient to repurpose an existing device without modification. Furthermore, it is likely that no single imaging technique will to be able to robustly detect and enable the reading of text within ancient Egyptian mummy cartonnage. However, by carefully selecting, optimising and combining techniques, text contained within these fragile and rare artefacts may eventually be open to non-destructive imaging, identification, and interpretation.

You can download and read the full article on Springer Open.

Papers aplenty

Lucy Stagg28 April 2017

We’re very busy here at UCLDH, delivering papers and promoting our wonderfully diverse portfolio of research

Martin Zaltz Austwick, our Associate Director and Senior Lecturer in Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualization, has been reporting on the Survey of London: Whitechapel project at the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers in Boston, at a seminar for Geospatial Innovations in the Digital Humanities in Lancaster, and at a workshop on Visualizations and other digital possibilities at Birkbeck, London.

Duncan Hay, Research Associate at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, spoke at an event for World Poetry Day, organised by the Digital Scholarship team at the British Library.

Andreas Vlachidis and Antonis Bikakis will be presenting their paper on “Semantic Representation and Enrichment of Cultural Heritage Information for Fostering Reinterpretation and Reflection on the European History” at the ITN-DCH Final Conference on Digital Heritage, on 23-25 May 2017.

Pete Williams will be giving a paper at the IJAS International Conference for Academic Disciplines in Venice, on 20- 23 June 2017.

The Digital Music Lab: A Big Data Infrastructure for Digital Musicology

Lucy Stagg20 March 2017

A paper describing the infrastructure of the Digital Music Lab framework has been published in the ACM Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH). The paper is available to download from UCL Discovery. The project also got a write-up in Motherboard

Digital Music Lab is an AHRC project aiming to to develop research methods and software infrastructure for exploring and analysing large-scale music collections. The £560k project is being carried out collaboratively between City University London, Queen Mary University of London, University College London, and the British Library.

Digital Classicist London Seminars

Simon Mahony9 June 2014


This week’s seminar in the 2014 Digital Classicist London & Institute of Classical Studies series.

Victoria Moul & Charlotte Tupman (King’s College London)
‘Neo-Latin poetry in English manuscripts, 1550-1700’

Friday June 13 at 16:30 in room 103 (Holden), Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

This paper discusses a proposed project to examine the role and significance of the large quantities of neo-Latin poetry composed and circulated within the thriving manuscript culture of early modern England (c. 1550-1700). It will produce a searchable digital edition of representative examples of early modern Latin poetry in English manuscripts, and a body of print publications analysing this almost unstudied wealth of material. We address the typical genres and forms of neo-Latin poetry in manuscript and how they are used; the relationship between original Latin and English poetry in manuscript sources; and the political significance of such poetry.

Full abstract
The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.


The full 2014 programme is on the Digital Classicist website.

Seminar: An Ontology for 3D Visualisation in Cultural Heritage

Simon Mahony11 June 2013


This week’s seminar in the Digital Classicist & Institute of Classical Studies Summer seminars for 2013:

Valeria Vitale (King’s College London)
‘An Ontology for 3D Visualisation in Cultural Heritage’

Time: Friday June 14th at 16:30
Place: Room G37, Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU

Behind each scholarly 3D visualisation is a thorough study of records, iconography, literary sources, artistic canons and precedents. However, this research process is seldom visible in the final outcome to either the general public or the academy. This paper suggests the use of an RDF ontology to describe 3D models, identify relationships, and connect them to their diverse related sources (photographs, GIS coordinates, academic literature, etc.). If such an ontology can be derived and applied it will optimise the documentation process, and further, allow 3D visualisations to join and enrich the growing network of linked digital resources to study the past.

The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.

All are welcome

The series is being recorder for audio and video which will be made available on the seminar webpage along with presentation slides.

The full 2013 programme is now online.

UCLDH contributes to ESF Science Policy Briefing on Digital Infrastructures

Julianne Nyhan2 November 2011

UCLDH’s Dr Julianne Nyhan is a joint Author of a new Science Policy Briefing from the European Science Foundation, entitled Research Infrastructures in the Digital Humanities. This report was written by the ESF Working Group on Research Infrastructures in the Humanities under the editorial chairmanship of Professor Claudine Moulin (Trier Center for Digital Humanities, Universität Trier). It also in includes contributions from many Scholars from across Europe who are researching the areas of digital humanities and digital infrastructures.

Today, ESF has described the report as follows:

“Europe’s leading scientists have pledged to embrace and expand the role of technology in the Humanities. In a Science Policy Briefing released today by the European Science Foundation (ESF), they argue that without Research Infrastructures (RIs) such as archives, libraries, academies, museums and galleries, significant strands of Humanities research would not be possible. By drawing on a number of case studies, the report demonstrates that digital RIs offer Humanities scholars new and productive ways to explore old questions and develop new ones.” (see here)

Both the full report and a shorter document that excerpts the report’s main findings are freely available on ESF’s publication page.  We hope you find it interesting and relevant.

CELM: Summary and reflections on London seminar #3

Claire L H Warwick6 December 2010

Despite the snow we had a remarkably good turnout for the third London Seminar in Digital Text and Scholarship, which proved thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you to everyone who got there! However, some of our usual attendees couldn’t make it but were sufficiently intrigued, when following the tweets, to want to find out more about what was said. As a result, Henry Woudhuysen has kindly agreed to produce a summary of his talk, including some thoughts on how CELM might develop in future. This may not be as good as being there, but I hope it’s the next best thing:

In 1966, Peter Beal, a graduate of the University of Leeds, started work on the Index of English Literary Manuscripts, 1450-1700 (IELM). The first volume of what was originally meant to be a one-year project appeared in 1980. Its two parts covered the years 1450 to 1625 and were followed, in 1987 and 1993, by a further volume in two parts taking the coverage up to 1700. For the first time, English Renaissance scholars had a full catalogue of the manuscripts – autograph and scribal – of the major authors of the period. The Index included writings in verse, prose, dramatic, and miscellaneous works, including letters, documents, books owned, presented, and annotated by the authors, and related items. In 23,000 entries, Peter Beal covered the works of 128 authors – of these two were women: his choice was determined by a decision to base the whole project (further volumes covered the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries) around authors with entries in The Concise Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (1974). Each author’s entry begins with a valuable introduction giving an overview of the surviving material.

The project initiated a series of investigations into what has come to be known as ‘scribal publication’, and this phenomenon in itself has contributed an important element to the study of the history of the book in Britain. Following the Catalogue’s publication, Peter Beal continued to collect material relating to the authors whose manuscripts he had already described, and by the early years of the new century he was ready to find a way of updating the Index. A proposal in 2004 to the Arts and Humanities Research Board (later Council) for a five-year project to create an enhanced digital version of the Index was successful, and the following year work began on The Catalogue of English Literary Manuscripts, 1450-1700 (CELM). Since then, Peter Beal has continued his researches, assisted by John Lavagnino of King’s College London’s Centre for Computing in the Humanities, who has acted as the project’s technical advisor, while I have acted as its general overseer, along with a distinguished international advisory panel .

CELM will cover the work of around 200 authors (60 of them women) in some 40,000 entries. The author entries range in length from having no items (Emilia Lanier and Isabella Whitney) to having only one (Thomas Deloney and Sir Thomas Elyot), to having around 4,500 (John Donne). A conference relating to the project was held at King’s in the summer of 2009, when the database was shown to a number of scholars, and the Catalogue will be launched online as an open-access resource at a larger event in the summer of 2011.

Work on CELM began with keyboarding all the entries in IELM, turning the contents of the books into a database. In many ways, CELM is instantly recognisable as a digital version of IELM. However, whereas IELM was solely based around authors, CELM has a repository view as well as an author view – both are available in longer and shorter forms. The repository view allows the user to see what is available in some 500 locations from Aberdeen University Library to the Zentralbibliothek, Zürich, Switzerland, by way of numerous Private Owners and Untraced items. Even though the repository view only contains descriptions of items by CELM’s authors, it is a major step towards producing what is in effect a short-title catalogue of English manuscripts of the period.

Much thought has been given to the question of tagging material and to the possibilities of full-text searching. For example, it will be easy to find some specific literary genres, such as verse letters or epigrams by text searching, but other ‘hidden’ categories, such as women, scribes, compilers, owners, collectors, composers, dealers, bindings and binders will remain elusive unless tagged. The project has enormous scope for further development. It might, for example, supply links to library home pages and their catalogues and to related digital projects such as ODNB, Perdita, and the Electronic Enlightenment. Most importantly of all, there are several areas where CELM offers a valuable starting point for further research: for example, into paper and bindings, auction and booksellers’ catalogues, the history of scribal publication, literary genres, authorship, and collecting. One obvious development would be to link entries to images of the material that is being described, while in time it is hoped that full descriptions of each manuscript referred to can be created. There is scope for more work on as yet unvisited repositories, as well as for including more authors and literary types, especially anonymous works. Some thought has already been given to how to maintain the website and how to signal the addition of new material to users.

What began as a simple one-year survey of what was thought to be quite a limited field has grown, through Peter Beal’s extraordinary labours, into a vast digital project that will be essential to the work of all scholars of the period.

H.R. Woudhuysen

Designing the e-book

Claire L H Warwick19 October 2010

Please join us on Thursday 21 October for the London Seminar in Digital Text and Scholarship, at which Dr Stan Ruecker will be presenting his work on designing effective digital environments for reading. ‘In, Around, and Beyond the Electronic Book: INKE designs and prototypes to make working with digital text more enjoyable and rewarding’

Stan is on sabbatical from the University of Alberta, and is a visiting researcher at the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities. We are lucky to have him here, but he’s soon going to be off on his travels so do come and hear him while you have the chance!

The seminar will be in Room G27 of Senate House, Ground Floor, from 17:30 – 19:30. Full details of other talks in the series can be found on the Institute of English Studies’ webpage

Digital Classicist & ICS Seminar: Fragmentary Texts and Digital Collections of Fragmentary Authors

Simon Mahony27 July 2010

Friday July 30th at 16:30

STB9 (Stewart House), Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU

Monica Berti (Torino) and Marco Büchler (Leipzig)

‘Fragmentary Texts and Digital Collections of Fragmentary Authors’

**All Welcome**

Fragmentary texts are not only material remains of ancient writings, but also quotations of lost texts preserved through other texts: in this seminar the speakers will show how methods of computer scientists and methodologies of classicists can be combined to represent fragmentary sources in a digital library of ancient testimonies. (full abstract)

The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.

For the full programme see:

Simon Mahony from UCLDH, co-organises the Digital Classicist, as well as the summer seminar series. We also have a email discussion list and wiki.  All are welcome to seminars so please do attend if you can.

If you have an interest but are unable to come along, the seminars are podcast with the slides at:

Digital Classicist & ICS Seminar: On-demand Virtual Research Environments: a case study from the Humanities

Simon Mahony19 July 2010

This week’s session in the Digital Classicist ICS summer seminar series is from  Mike Priddy who is based at the Centre for e-Research at King’s College London.

Friday July 23rd at 16:30
STB9 (Stewart House), Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU

Mike Priddy (King’s College London)
‘On-demand Virtual Research Environments: a case study from the Humanities’


Virtual Research Environments are often highly specialised concentrating efforts around a single collection. The gMan project aims to demonstrate cross-collection discovery, annotation, reporting & management in an on-demand VRE (using gCube) with three heterogeneous classical collections: The Heidelberger Gesamtverzeichnis (HGV), Projet Volterra & The Inscriptions of Aphrodisias (IAph).
(full abstract)
The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.

For the full programme see:

Simon Mahony from UCLDH, co-organises the Digital Classicist, as well as the summer seminar series. We also have a email discussion list and wiki.  All are welcome to seminars so please do attend if you can.

If you have an interest but are unable to come along, the seminars are podcast with the slides at:
with an RSS feed you can subscribe to.