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Read, Watch and Listen

RIFA 2018- Inspiration Award (Public Category)

This week we’re taking a look at the five films shortlisted for the Inspiration Award – the only category open to members of the public whose films have been inspired by the arts and humanities.

Clothing suitable for the country, illustration by Belinda Lyon

Pam Lyons, Today’s Etiquette, London: Bancroft and Co. Ltd., 1967, p. 135. Reproduced with permission, Linden Artists. CC-BY-NC.

Illustrations in domestic advice books can undercut the advice. Pam Lyons dry passage about dressing for the countryside (‘Clothes that co-ordinate to carry you through both smart and casual occasions are the order of the day’) is accompanied by Belinda Lyon’s illustration of a man on horseback waving to a woman with flowing hair, holding some flowers. Lyon’s fashionable, informal illustrations engage a different reader than the conservative text.

24th of September 1869 London Standard Newspaper

Neil Imray Livingstone Wilson and Ian Livingstone kindly granted permission on behalf of, respectively, the Livingstone family and the David Livingstone Centre trustees to transport, spectrally image, and digitally publish the manuscript pages of the 1871 Field diary, and related materials at the National Library of Scotland. Page shown DLC297b, held at the David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre, Scotland.

Testing spectral imaging processing

Onsite processing in Scotland relied primarily on applying principal component analysis (PCA) to the raw image sets. Experimentation began with this technique from the earliest initial imaging phase. The image is from October 2009, and shows the low-resolution, "raw" and processed PCA spectral images. The PCA technique uses combinations of an original set of images to construct an equivalent set of images ordered by statistical variance. Images from diary page DLC 297b/160, held at the David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre, Scotland. 

Examining and preparing the diary

The National Trust for Scotland arranged for Conservator Kate Kidd, to prepare the materials for imaging. Kate is shown with Ken Boydston and Mike Toth of the Spectral imaging team. Work included stabilizing documents for handling, repairing all edge tears and tears along central fold lines, reattaching a detached page, and supporting manuscript weaknesses using very light-weight Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste. Page shown DLC297d, held at the David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre, Scotland.

EurekaVision multi-spectral imaging system

The team transported the system from the U.S. MegaVision E6, 39 megapixel camera back (7216 X 5412 pixels; 16-bit data with approximately 12 bits of dynamic range) mounted in a technical view camera with a 60mm UV-VIS-IR lens and a colour filter wheel installed for UV fluorescence studies. Ken Boydston sets up imaging system in the reprographics department of the National Library of Scotland. The LED illumination array and diffuser can be seen in the background.

Capturing the images

Each LED panel contained seven banks of LEDs that emit in the ultraviolet and visible regions of the spectrum and five additional clusters of LEDs that emit in the infrared region. A primary advantage of the system is that LEDs do not generate heat that can damage fragile pages. The EurekaVision system illuminated each Livingstone folio, while the monochrome camera automatically photographed the folio under each illumination.

Livingstone’s diary image stages

The spectral imaging of the 1871 Field Diary and associated documents produced raw image sets of 202 Livingstone folia in total. In other words, the spectral imaging of Livingstone’s diary resulted in the creation of 3,032 digital image files totalling, roughly, 750 GB of data. This data required processing by the team’s imaging scientists in order to make Livingstone’s handwritten text readable.

Spectral image processing uses tailored mathematical algorithms in order to manipulate and enhance raw spectral image data

In the case of Livingstone’s manuscripts, such processing relies on the fact that different ink types on a given page (for instance, Livingstone’s ink, the ink of the newsprint, etc.) behave differently under different bands of wavelengths of light. Page shown, MS. 10703 f.21, held at the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.