Castle and her team took the device on the road to the Boston Public Library, where RIT alumnus Tom Blake works in the Digital Lab. It was an ideal venue for trying out the device. Activity in the lab focuses on digitizing books and artifacts for public use and to make available on the Internet, Castle explains.
“Our main goal was to take polynomial texture maps of many of the artifacts and historical documents Tom provided us with to see what worked and what didn’t with our device, and how we might improve it in the future,” Castle says.
Blake brought the students a sampler platter of artifacts to image, including ancient cuneiform tablets, the original masthead of The Liberator newspaper, a Mongolian prayer board, two death masks and a page of the Gutenberg Bible.
“It was an awesome experience to be working with such amazing artifacts,” Castle says. “Not everyone gets to hold a real cuneiform tablet in their hands or see the death masks of Sacco and Vanzetti up close.
“Many of the objects that we took PTMs of had a lot of great texture, which made for great PTMs,” Castle says. “You can’t show a PTM with a picture,” Castle says. “It is an interactive image, not a still one. Tom Blake was really excited about the PTMs we created for him because he wants to show his colleagues that there are more ways to digitize and document the artifacts in the library besides just a still picture.”
Castle hopes to publish an article about the experience in an undergraduate research journal. Her team includes RIT imaging science students Kevin Dickey, Scarlett Montanaro and Dan Goldberg.