May 28, 2022

RIT Building Imaging Systems To Help Libraries and Museums Uncover Lost Texts

From the Rochester Institute of Technology:

Scientists from Rochester Institute of Technology are developing affordable imaging systems to help libraries and museums preserve and expand access to their historical collections. The project, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, aims to create a low-cost spectral imaging system and software that can be used to recover obscured and illegible text on historical documents.

Spectral imaging—the process of collecting images of objects in many wavelengths of light—can be an effective way of revealing faded text that is undetectable to the human eye on documents that are hundreds of years old. However, existing systems are expensive and require expertise in image processing, which makes them unaffordable and impractical for most special collections.


The team is currently designing the system and hopes to have a working prototype by the end of the winter. Next summer, they plan to train students in RIT’s museum studies program on how to use the system and have them field test it at several sites. They will then use those field tests to make further improvements. The project is slated to run through February 2023.

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See Also: New Resource From Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT): “Researchers Create Easy-to-Use Math-Aware Search Interface”

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.