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Although the Jubilees Palimpsest provided the original impetus for the Jubilees Palimpsest Project, it subsequently became clear that the tools of digital archaeology could have a far greater impact if applied systematically to the tens of thousands of unreadable manuscripts already in libraries and museums. The following palimpsests at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, particularly those acquired from the Bobbio, have been identified as the top priority for advanced imaging.
We also believe that some items in the collection that are not technically palimpsests could benefit from advanced imaging.
The Jubilees Palimpsest is named after the oldest of three texts contained in the erased layer of what now stands as a 144-page codex, unbound for conservation. See About the Jubilees Palimpsest for bibliography and links.
It is possible to reconstruct the fifth-century codex containing Latin Jubilees and the Testament of Moses even though more than half of it is now lost. For each preserved page we now have advanced spectral images, WebRTI (relightable texture) images, scanned microfilm images (useful for conservation comparison), the transcription offered by Ceriani (1861), and the translation offered by VanderKam (1989). We also produced an English translation of Ceriani’s introduction in Latin describing the condition of the manuscript and Gryson’s description in French of the codicology of the Arian Commentary on Luke (see About the Jubilees Palimpsest). This information was used to compose the entry on Latin Jubilees for the Brill Textual History of the Bible (pre-publisher copy).
IIIF Presentation manifests have been created to reconstruct the two older manuscripts erased and resorted to create the eighth century palimpsest, the preserved portion of which is known as Ambrosiana C73 inf. The two older manuscripts are Latin Moses (Jubilees and the Testament/Assumption of Moses) and the Latin (Arian) Commentary on Luke. These manifests can be browsed in Mirador. A paleography chart for Latin Moses is also available.
The next phase of the project will produce a print and interactive online critical edition of Latin Moses, comprising Latin Jubilees and the Testament of Moses. The editions will rely on the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) to encode all information necessary to derive a IIIF Presentation manifest with annotations for transcription of each line tied to regions of the images. The same TEI file will encode the critical text, translation, apparatus and notes for the print edition, as well as the hypertext digital edition which will more closely follow the features of the manuscript. A two-page sample of the proposed edition is now available (start with Mirador). The previous stable version is also available.
Spectral RTI combines the advantages of spectral imaging (spatial resolution, color spectrum range and resolution, processed enhancements) with the advantages of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (pixel-level texture mapping, interactivity, enhancements). Spectral is helpful for manuscripts because it recovers traces of erased ink indistinguishable to the human eye. Texture mapping is helpful for manuscripts because it can show the outline of an erased letter in the corrosion on the surface of the parchment, as well as other features of accretion (wax, dirt, glue, other deposits) and depression (scores, punctures, dry-point notations).
In 2013–2014 the National Endowment for the Humanities (Digital Humanities Startup Grant) funded a collaboration to test and develop methods to integrate spectral and RTI. The most efficient method uses the standard equipment for spectral and RTI capture and relies on processing to combine the chrominance features of spectral imaging with the luminance features of RTI.
The 2013-2014 Integrating Phase produced:
An implementation grant from National Endowment for the Humanities made the technology accessible to more imaging teams. Major contributions from the 2016-2019 phase include:
The images captured and processed by the project are publicly available (see section on Permissions below) and comply with open standards for viewing and annotation. There are two basic types of images. The first type consists of static images in a repository following the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) standards (Image and Presentation APIs, LINK). The second type consists of interactive relightable texture images (RTI). Additionally, transcription and translation information is provided in XML. For advanced image processing scientists, the raw data archive is available, but that is not recommended for the vast majority of users.
Mirador Viewer includes a side panel that allows users to switch and fade between layers, namely the enhanced color from spectral processing and raking light angles. For pages from Jubilees, the index tab shows the verse numbers preserved on a page, along with the reconstructed page number of the original fifth-century codex, and the page numbers written on the palimpsest codex in modern times. The annotations tab shows the resources available, including WebRTI images, transcriptions, translations, and line-by-line transcriptions over the images. The annotations created by team members can also be accessed in a single page in the Index of Annotations.
IIIF Navigator, visualizes the same IIIF Presentation manifests. It lacks some advanced features of Mirador, but has some advantages in showing all information available. Based on Leaflet, it seems to perform faster and more reliably on pages with many image layers.
Speed and reliability may also vary between two mirror websites associated with the project. https://jubilees.stmarytx.edu/ is designed for stability and very long-term reliability. It also features advanced caching through Amazon Web Services. https://palimpsest.stmarytx.edu/ is used for development, processing, and the raw data archives. It has more raw power but is susceptible to outages.
Extended Spectrum is a processing technique for spectral imaging captures. It utilizes all the reflectance captures of spectral imaging (including ultraviolet and infrared) and principal component analysis within the three categories of color natural to the human eye. The result is more natural than pseudocolor but simulates what we would see if human color perception had a wider range and higher resolution. The technique divides the spectral captures into three categories: the shortest wavelengths (blueish), the middle wavelengths (greenish), and the longest wavelengths (reddish). Principal Component Analysis finds the greatest contrasts in each of the three categories, which are then mapped to the three channels of an RGB image.
Roman-Period Egyptian Mummy Mask from the USC Archaeological Museum in Accurate Color (left) and Extended Spectrum (right).
The National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence
St. Mary’s University, especially the Edward and Linda Speed Fund
Image of artifacts from the Biblioteca Ambrosiana can be used and reused under the CC BY-NC-SA license. That means the images can be used as long the sources are attributed, derivatives are shared with the same degree of openness, and no commercial profit is derived from the images. Commercial use of images of artifacts owned by the Biblioteca Ambrosiana must be licensed from the Ambrosiana (not the Jubilees Palimpsest Project). The contact for licensing permission from the Biblioteca Ambrosiana is email@example.com.
Everything created solely by the Jubilees Palimpsest Project is licensed under the Creative Commons CC BY-SA license. This includes metadata, documentation, and software created by the project. Images of artifacts from U.S.C. and U.C.L.A. are also available under this license.
Attribution should include at minimum the Jubilees Palimpsest Project and the owner of the artifact (e.g., Biblioteca Ambrosiana, U.S.C., U.C.L.A.). If a named author is required use Todd Hanneken or contact the project director for specifics on persons who contributed to creating a particular image.
Some items linked from this site are governed by separate licenses. Examples include the digital versions of public domain books created by Google Books.