New technologies and the Herlufsholm Special Collection

By Jakob Povl Holck

Is it possible to apply modern optical quality control technologies from the food industry to the advanced analysis of text fragments in old book covers? This was recently put to the test as the Danish company Newtec Engineering in Odense volunteered to help the University Library of Southern Denmark with advanced hyper and multispectral imagery – an endeavor that should lead to the reading and identification of “rare bites” of 16th century prints. As a rule, fragments of all sorts of materials, including medieval manuscript pieces, were used by the bookbinders of the time to reinforce book covers. In many cases, this praxis would effectively preserve the encapsulated fragments for posterity. At the University Library of Southern Denmark, the fragments for analysis by Newtec Engineering were found in the Herlufsholm Special Collection which dates back to the foundation of the school at Herlufsholm in the year 1565.

The author of this paper presents some of the results from Newtec’s analysis along with other observations on fragments in the Herlufsholm Special Collection.

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