The University of Kentucky Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments

Enhanced Digital Unwrapping for Conservation and Exploration (EDUCE)

Enhanced Digital Unwrapping for Conservation and Exploration (EDUCE)

W. Brent Seales

Co-Principal Investigators:
Joseph Gray
James Griffioen
Ross Scaife

National Science Foundation

IBM, The British Museum, and University of Kentucky W.T. Young Library

NSF Grant Number:


Project Description:

From ancient times, words have been recorded that express immortal ideas and thoughts about society, culture, and philosophy. Around the world, people have recorded these writings in a variety of ways. However, we are now more aware than ever of the possibility of losing these recordings of human history.

We are in race to use 21st century technology to preserve the traces of ancient cultures before the relics disappear forever. The EDUCE project (Enhanced Digital Unwrapping for Conservation and Exploration) is developing a hardware and software system for the virtual unwrapping and visualization of ancient texts. The overall purpose is to capture in digital form fragile 3D texts, such as ancient papyrus and scrolls of other materials using a custom built, portable, multi-power CT scanning device and then to virtually “unroll” the scroll using image algorithms, rendering a digital facsimile that exposes and makes legible inscriptions and other markings on the artifact, all in a non-invasive process.

The project is intensely interdisciplinary, requiring expertise in multiple domains. A complex project, it presents significant intellectual and technical challenges to information technology research, materials research, engineering and the social sciences. The potential broader impacts of the project are significant and immediately useful across a large set of scholarly applications and institutional practices. Successful implementation of the described system will enable noninvasive, nondestructive examination of fragile texts and artifacts which contain a wealth of information, allowing holders to share the intellectual content of precious assets with individuals and other institutions.


Ryan Baumann and W. Brent Seales. Robust Registration of Manuscript Images. In Proceedings of the 9th ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on
Digital libraries, pp. 263-266. (2009) (paper)

Ryan Baumann, Dorothy Carr Porter, W. Brent Seales. The Use of micro-CT in the Study of Archaeological Artifacts. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on NDT of Art. (2008) (paper)

George V. Landon, Yun Lin, W. Brent Seales. Towards Automatic Photometric Correction of Casually Illuminated Documents. IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, pp. 1-8. (2007) (paper)

Michael S. Brown, Mingxuan Sun, Ruigang Yang, Lin Yun, W. Brent Seales. Restoring 2D Content from Distorted Documents. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, pp. 1904-1916. (2007) (paper)

Mingxuan Sun, Ruigang Yang, Yun Lin, George Landon, W. Brent Seales, Michael S. Brown. Geometric and Photometric Restoration of Distorted Documents. In Proceedings of the Tenth IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision, pp. 1117-1123. (2005) (paper)

Yun Lin and W. Brent Seales. Opaque Document Imaging: Building Images of Inaccessible Texts. In Proceedings of the Tenth IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision, pp. 662-669. (2005) (paper)

W. Brent Seales and Yun Lin. Digital Restoration Using Volumetric Scanning. In Proceedings of the 4th ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital libraries, pp. 117-124. (2004) (paper)

Michael S. Brown and W. Brent Seales. Image Restoration of Arbitrarily Warped Documents. IEEE Trans. Pattern Anal. Mach. Intell. 26, 10 (Oct.
2004), pp. 1295-1306. (2004) (paper)

Kevin Kiernan, Brent Seales, James Griffioen. The reappearances of St. Basil the Great in British Library MS Cotton Otho B. x. Computers and
the Humanities, Volume 36, Number 1, pp. 7-26. (2002) (paper)

Michael S. Brown and W. Brent Seales. Document Restoration Using 3D Shape: A General Deskewing Algorithm for Arbitrarily Warped Documents. In Proceedings of the Eighth IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision, p. 367. (2001) (paper)

Michael S. Brown and W. Brent Seales. Beyond 2D Images: Effective 3D Imaging for Library Materials. In Proceedings of the Fifth ACM
Conference on Digital Libraries, pp. 27-36. (2000) (paper)

W. Brent Seales, James Griffioen, Kevin Kiernan, Cheng Jiun Yuan, and Linda Cantara. The Digital Atheneum: New Technologies for Restoring and Preserving Old Documents, Computers and Libraries, Vol. 20, No. 2 (February 2000) ( paper )

Michael S. Brown and W. Brent Seales, 3D Imaging and Processing of Damaged Texts, 2001 ( paper )

W. Brent Seales, James Griffioen and Kevin Kiernan. The Digital Atheneum – Restoring Damaged Manuscripts. RLG DigiNews, Vol 3, No. 6 (December 1999) ( paper )

NSF Disclaimer
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0535003

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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