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Big Data in Cultural Heritage Imaging Incubator

2-4 May 2018
Washington, DC
John Delaney, National Gallery of Art, United States
Martin Fischer, Duke University, United States
David Saunders, British Museum, United Kingdom

Read more about this meeting: Day 1 and Day 2

View the agenda here (PDF)

Imaging capabilities for cultural heritage objects have increased dramatically on several fronts. On the microscale, three-dimensional imaging methods (for example confocal microscopy, multi-photon microscopy, or optical coherence tomography) can provide high-resolution volumetric data. On the macroscale, imaging spectroscopy (such as reflectance imaging spectroscopy or x-ray fluorescence) can provide molecular and elemental information of the artists’ materials present. These new micro and macro methods combine 2-D and 3-D spatial information with spectral and in some cases temporal information giving rise to complex multi- to hyper-dimensional data sets.
Making use of this wealth of information presents a set of challenges, including storing, transferring, analyzing, visualizing, and ultimately interpreting such large amounts of data. We intend to bring together active scientists in this interdisciplinary incubator workshop in order to exchange ideas, solutions, and challenges. Besides researchers in cultural heritage science, we aim to include data and image analysis experts and scientists from areas that face similar challenges (e.g. biomedical imaging) and have successfully adopted a variety of strategies to handle such data volumes.
This Incubator will serve as a platform for establishing interdisciplinary collaborations that will help identify improved optical instrumentation and analysis methods to overcome the unique challenges posed by the examination of Cultural Heritage Objects.  Focus areas include those identified by a NSF-Mellon white paper, such as new analytical standoff spectroscopic methods, improving or adding new spectroscopic methods, and finally identifying new large data set spectral analysis tools. The program will also include a tour of the National Gallery of Art’s Scientific Research Department.
Program, Scope and Topics
The program will include invited talks, moderated discussion time, poster sessions, and ample informal networking opportunities in order to provide time for idea exchange. In addition, we will provide an opportunity for a behind-the-scene tour of the National Gallery of Art’s Scientific Research Department, including the Chemical Imaging laboratory. After the meeting, we intend to summarize the presentation topics (input from the speakers) and the discussion (with input from participants) in a white paper for dissemination. Specific topic areas include:
Spectroscopic Macro or Remote Mapping Modalities

  • Topics covered include: Diffuse reflectance / molecular emission imaging spectroscopy; Raman imaging; X-ray based techniques such as x-ray fluorescence imaging spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction based mapping
  • Discussion topics include: Optimization of acquisition methods for improved performance and reduced potential for damage of cultural heritage objects; enhancement of contrast; merit of multimodal contrast; avenues for dissemination of data

Micro Imaging Modalities – “Towards virtual Cross-sections”

  • Topics covered include: Confocal X-ray; linear optical imaging (OCT, spatially offset Raman spectroscopy); two or more photon spectroscopies (TPF, SRS, pump-probe)
  • Discussion topics include: Mitigation of tradeoffs in contrast / speed / imaging volume; enhancement of chemical / functional contrast, utility to the cultural heritage field

Large Data Set Analysis Tools

  • Topics covered include: Coupling micro and macro data sets; fusion of multi-modal data sets – registration; analysis tools
  • Discussion topics include: Advantages and disadvantages of multimodal vs. co-registration; commercial vs. custom software; open source tools and open access data

This Incubator is supported in part by:



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