The written word has been used throughout history to chronicle and contemplate the human experience, but many valuable texts are “lost” to us due to damage. The words of these documents and the knowledge they seek to impart are locked behind the destruction and decay wrought by time and injury, while the physical manuscripts themselves form an “invisible library” of sorts — closeted away on dark shelves, well-protected but prevented from proffering knowledge and encouraging inquiry. For more than 20 years, Dr. Seales has been working to create and use hi-tech, non-invasive tools to rescue these lost texts from the blink of oblivion and restore them to humanity. We call this innovative process “virtual unwrapping.”

From Damage to Discovery – A Timeline of Innovation

2019

Machine Learning Reveals Carbon Ink

Machine LearningFrom Invisibility to Readability: Recovering the Ink of Herculaneum
View Project

2018

3D Registration to 2D Images

Herculaneum Papyrus Scrolls – PHerc. 118
View Project

2015

Complete Virtual Unwrapping and Reading

The Scroll from En-Gedi, The Israel Antiquities Authority
View Project

2013

Restoration Using Layers

Chinese Dynastic Texts,  National Palace Museum (Taiwan)
View Video

2011

Multi-spectral Images Across Time

The St. Chad Gospels: Diachronic Manuscript Registration and Visualization
View Paper

2009

Digital Rendering of Internal Structures

Herculaneum Scroll, Institut de France
View Video

2008

Alignment of Page Versions

The Iliad, Marciana Library
View Video

2006

Non-invasive Reading

Ecclesiastes Book Binding, The University of Michigan
View Video

2003

Virtual Unwrapping

Egyptian Scroll Prototype, The University of Kentucky

2000

Digital Flattening of Warped Pages

The Cotton Collection, The British Library

1999

2D Digitization of Burned Pages

Beowulf, The British Library

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

TESTIMONIALS

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Come Be a Part of This Exciting Research

The Digital Restoration Initiative at the University of Kentucky is made possible through donors like you. Funding for projects is highly competitive, and gaps in funding delay progress and limit student opportunities. Your partnership will allow this cutting-edge research to continue at the University of Kentucky with UK students at the helm.
1

$10,000

One undergraduate stipend for one year of research work.

2

$36,000

One year of graduate student research.

3

$50,000

One staff member’s time and travel for one project.

4

$100,000

Total cost for one project, including staff, students, travel, and equipment rental.

5

$250,000

A year’s worth of research work, including staff, two graduate students, limited equipment, and travel.

6

$500,000

Development of an on-site experimental lab, including equipment acquisition.

7

$500,000/year for five years

A fully equipped and fully staffed Digital Restoration Initiative research lab and program.

“We are on the verge of exciting breakthroughs. It’s a great time to get involved. Your partnership allows this cutting-edge research to continue at the University of Kentucky with UK students at the helm.”

– Professor Seales
National Endowment for the Humanities
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Diamond Light Source
Micro Photonics Inc.
University of Kentucky Office of Philanthropy
National Science Foundation (NSF)