The Google Cultural Institute and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem collaborated to bring five complete Dead Sea Scrolls online. The new digital library (released Tuesday, December 18), allows users to study and discover the the most ancient biblical manuscripts on earth:
The website gives searchable, fast-loading, high-resolution images of the scrolls, as well as short explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history. The scroll text is also discoverable via web search. If you search for a phrase from the scrolls, a link to that text within the scroll may surface in your search results. For example, try searching on Google for [And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb Dead Sea Scroll].
English translations of the manuscripts are also available. The Google Cultural Institute is also responsible for the Art Project as well as other digital humanities projects, including Versailles 3D and La France en relief. For the Dead Sea Scrolls project, they used imaging technology originally developed for NASA. The scrolls weren’t discovered until 1947, and they had been in the Qumran caves for two thousand years. ArtDaily reports:
The parchment and papyrus scrolls contain Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic script, and include several of the earliest-known texts from the Bible, including the oldest surviving copy of the Ten Commandments. The oldest of the documents dates to the third century BC and the most recent to about 70 AD, when Roman troops destroyed the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The artefacts are housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the larger pieces are shown at the dimly lit Shrine of the Book on a rotational basis in order to minimise damage from exposure. When not on show, they are kept in a dark, climate-controlled storeroom in conditions similar to those in the Qumran caves, where the humidity, temperature and darkness preserved the scrolls for two millennia.
For more information, visit the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls.
Two archaeologists at Harvard University’s Semitic Museum have begun using 3D-scanning and 3D printing to repair a ceramic artifact that was partially destroyed 3,000 years ago during an attack by the Assyrian army. They envision that this kind of work will be useful for conservation, research, and teaching purposes. The archaeologists describe their project:
Using a process called photomodeling, the Harvard team photographed sculpture fragments in the museum’s collection from hundreds of angles to create 3-D renderings of each piece, then meshed them together to form a semi-complete 3-D model of the original artifact. They compared the digital model to scans of full statues found in the same location, noting the gaps and creating the missing pieces and support structures out of 3-D printed parts and CNC carved foam. The technique worked successfully: The reconstituted sculpture will be displayed at the museum when this gallery is reinstated in 2014-15, but will likely be online well before that.
BuzzFeed recently reinterpreted several of Eadweard Muybridge’s time lapse motion study photographs as animated GIFs. Muybridge photographed examples of animal locomotion in the late 1870s and 1880s using multiple cameras to capture an “instantaneous” sequence. For example, the image below of an ostrich running was created using 24 camera that each took a photograph.
The GIFs BuzzFeed posted take those individual images and animate them:
Click here to see the rest!
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org
Via Deep Focus
We often post about new image collections and other scholarly resources pertaining to art history, but the building blocks are just as important. Based in the Netherlands, Materia is an art and architecture materials library that maintains an extensive collection of modern products in a database called Material Explorer that can be freely searched if you register for an account. They provide detailed information about product specs and contact information for the manufacturer, and users can download a PDF about the product, add it to a list of favorites, or suggest a new material to be included in the database.
The Book of Kells was released as an iPad app last Friday, November 16. The app contains all 680 surviving pages of the manuscript as well as other special features and content. It is intended to replace previous electronic reproductions of the manuscript which had been released on DVD-ROM and CD-ROM.
The app features the entire manuscript in high resolution, with 21 pages viewable at up to 6 times their actual size and categories of decorative themes that users can browse through including letters, animals, and other symbols.
You can also stop by the VRC anytime to check out the “eBook of Kells” app! Best of all, the app can be projected from the iPad for use in classrooms and presentations.
For more information, view the Book of Kells website or the iTunes app store.
[Images: The Book of Kells, folio 7v and 8r, and an image group of initial letters for the letter "A".]
The online art journal Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide recently featured a new digital humanities research project that focuses on London’s art market from 1850–1914. The researchers aim to document the rise and spread of commercial galleries across the city by aggregating data from a variety of sources including galleries, exhibition societies, artists’ addresses, and retail spaces. The data was then added to a map of Victorian London—users can turn data on or off depending on their research, including moving chronologically through time.
Pamela Fletcher and Anne Helmreich describe the project and offer their own conclusions based on their research in Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide, and the London Gallery Market website with their maps and data is freely available.
Via Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide and London Gallery Market
Image: Pamela Fletcher and David Israel, London Gallery Project, 2007, revised 2012.
Need a relaxing, ambient break from your studies? Check out Brian Eno’s latest invention, the Scape app for iPad:
[The Scape app] lets users pull together a variety of shapes, backgrounds, and color schemes – each with its own corresponding musical cues —to create their own visual and sonic landscape. There are no proxies to any sort of traditional music creation tools; everything is based on the abstract imagery and the sounds each visual creates.
The app is $5.99 in the iTunes store. Click here for a video demonstration.
The Bibliothéque Nationale de France recently released an iPad app for their digital library Gallica. The app, also called Gallica, contains nearly 2 million freely available items from the BnF, including books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, prints, posters, cards, and music scores among many others.
The app allows you to search or browse through all digitized material available through the BnF, and each document can be viewed in its entirety. You can create a favorites list, view the full bibliographic record, download entire documents or individual pages, email links, or share the object on social media outlets including Facebook and Twitter.
You can download the app here, or stop by the VRC to check it out on our iPad!
Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg of the information visualization duo HINT.FM have looked at the problems of inconsistency in digital reproductions of fine art images. Noticing how multiple reproductions of the same work of art could vary wildly in terms of quality, color, texture, and cropping, they started their project “The Art of Reproduction“:
For a set of famous artworks, we downloaded all the plausible copies we could find. Then we wrote software to reconstruct each artwork as a mosaic, a patchwork quilt where each patch comes from an individual copy.
The resulting compositions (which explore paintings, photographs, drawings, and detailed sections) visually demonstrate the discontinuities of the individual files, creating what HINT.FM calls “a tapestry of beautiful half-truths”. To view all the reproduction-compositions they created, click here.
And don’t forget—if you ever have any trouble finding, creating, or displaying the most accurate images possible, don’t hesitate to contact the VRC!
Interested in information visualization and/or 19th Century American culture? Explore “A Handsome Atlas,” a recent project by the Brooklyn Brainery, which displays reproductions of the Statistical Atlases of the United States of America from 1870, 1880, and 1890. Although these maps, charts, and graphs were created more than a hundred years ago, they are surprisingly modern in their display of information.
While the images are all available online through the Library of Congress and a long list on the US Census website, A Handsome Atlas provides a much more elegant interface image viewer that allows for easily viewing the contents of each atlas and zooming in on individual plates. Users have the options to filter by countless subjects pertaining to life in the US—including liquor, lumber, and Lutherans among many others—or to filter by specific categories of visualization devices, including pie charts, radar charts, and treemaps.
Users also have the option to view each plate on the Library of Congress website and to freely download image files in high, medium, or low resolution.
Additionally, the 1880 and 1890 Statistical Atlases were undertaken by Henry Gannett, largely considered to be the father of American mapmaking. The David Rumsey Map Collection contains more than 170 government-sponsored maps, charts, and geological surveys by Gannett. Click here to view.
Via Information Aesthetics