Hyperspectral image analysis for questioned historical documents.
Shiel, Patrick (2010) Hyperspectral image analysis for questioned historical documents. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
This thesis describes the application of spectroscopy and hyperspectral image processing to examine historical manuscripts and text. Major activities in palaeographic and manuscript studies include the recovery of illegible or deleted text, the minute analyses of scribal hands, the identification of inks and the segmentation and dating of text. This thesis describes how Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI), applied in a novel manner, can be used to perform quality text recovery, segmentation and dating of historical documents. The non-destructive optical imaging process of Spectroscopy is described in detail and how it can be used to assist historians and document experts in the exemption of aged manuscripts. This non-destructive optical method of analysis can distinguish subtle differences in the reflectance properties of the materials under study. Many historically significant documents from libraries such as the Royal Irish Academy and the Russell Library at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, have been the selected for study using the hyperspectral imaging technique. Processing techniques have are described for the applications to the study of manuscripts in a poor state of conservation. The research provides a comprehensive overview of Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI) and associated statistical and analytical methods, and also an in-depth investigation of the practical implementation of such methods to aid document analysts. Specifically, we provide results from employing statistical analytical methods including principal component analysis (PCA), independent component analysis (ICA) and both supervised and automatic clustering methods to historically significant manuscripts and text VIII such as Leabhar na hUidhre, a 12th century Irish text which was subject to part-erasure and rewriting, a 16th Century pastedown cover, and a multi-ink example typical of that found in, for example, late medieval administrative texts such as Gttingen’s kundige bok. The purpose of which is to achieve an overall greater insight into the historical context of the document, which includes the recovery or enhancement of faded or illegible text or text lost through fading, staining, overwriting or other forms of erasure. In addition, we demonstrate prospect of distinguishing different ink-types, and furnishing us with details of the manuscript’s composition, all of which are refinements, which can be used to answer questions about date and provenance. This process marks a new departure for the study of manuscripts and may provide answer many long-standing questions posed by palaeographers and by scholars in a variety of disciplines. Furthermore, through text retrieval, it holds out the prospect of adding considerably to the existing corpus of texts and to providing very many new research opportunities for coming generations of scholars.
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