Project Spotlight

Multispectral Imaging of Jefferson Manuscripts

Funding for this project will allow the University of Virginia Library begin explorations into multispectral imaging, which will allow them to open up new avenues of research to University scholars with a modest investment of funds. Multispectral scanning is extremely useful in making obscured writings visible on palimpsests, severely damaged manuscripts, and documents that are barely legible, which will allow scholars and students to make many new discoveries that were previously impossible. Multispectral imaging reveals details that are invisible in white light by using multiple single wavelength scans to capture details from documents. The proposed project will digitize materials from the Thomas Jefferson Collection with crossed out words and phrases. Hundreds of documents in the collection have at least one or two cross-outs, and several of the architectural drawings have specifications written on them that have cross-outs and corrections. The Jefferson materials are just the beginning of the process, and this multispectral scanner is the entry point for the University to begin expanding digital imaging services to scholars. Once proof of concept is established, with the University Library Staff with work with curators in Special Collections and University faculty to identify other collections can be scanned to reveal hidden content that will be of interest to scholars.

Watch a video about the impact of the scanner.

Updates

Multispectral Imaging of Jefferson Manuscripts