Class Speaker


Today, Stephanie Stillo presented information on various imaging processes and their importance in recovering information about historical events, specifically involving the discovery of the New World. Stephanie’s work contributes to solving the problem that age and destruction impose upon historical documents. Recovering this information will provide information about cultural concerns throughout history. Stephanie approaches her problem through careful analysis of various historical documents and the information that they will reveal after imaging processes.  Although I am not sure how she evaluates her approach to the problem, I would assume that she and her colleagues evaluate their work based on the results of their image processing. Stephanie’s work will contribute to an analysis of the inspiration for exploration of the New World.

I enjoyed Stephanie’s specific approach to teaching us about how obscured information can be extracted from historical documents. She taught us about a major imaging process called Hyperspectral Imaging (HIS) and its ability to expose data and metadata regarding small details such as what might be in the paper, or what might be in the ink. She then showed us two specific historical documents that have undergone image processes: Waldseemuller World Map (1507) and Portolon Chart (1312). The Waldseemuller Map demonstrates how early cartographers were displaying a 3D world on a 2D plane. The Portolon Chart demonstrates the result of exposing a document to light, as seen by the underlying drawing. Stephanie’s examples demonstrated the idea that people became increasingly interested in the New World and natural commodities found in it. Their interest prompted further exploration and experimentation with commodities in their own backyards. I am interested in knowing about Stephanie’s specific role in recovering this information, but I did not ask this question during the discussion. I would enjoy taking a course taught by Stephanie, because of her enthusiastic approach to the subject and her approachable nature. I really enjoyed her presentation, and the added pieces of information that she lent, including the anecdote about a Monk arriving at the Library of Congress with old manuscripts ready for image processing.