In an earlier post, I provided an up-to-date inventory of the papyrus and parchment books from Roman Egypt in the Fondation Martin Bodmer. I’ve been working on these books for a while, and I recently partnered up with the Bodmer Lab (University of Geneva), a digital humanities initiative that is making the materials at the Fondation Martin Bodmer more widely available. My colleague Daniel Sharp and I are working to produce a detailed catalog of “P.Bodmer” material, and we’re hoping to have this data, along with high-quality digital images of many of the books, online later in 2018.
Another aspect of this effort involves experiments with 3D visualization. Some of the early Christian manuscripts at the Fondation Martin Bodmer are still kept as stacks of quires. This makes it hard to study the individual pages, but it gives us the rare opportunity to get a sense of these books as three-dimensional objects. In 2015, the Fondation collaborated with the imaging company Artmyn to generate 3D models of some of these codices (there is a video of some of the imaging process at the Artmyn site, which features P.Bodmer II). You can now go online and manipulate three of these items, using your cursor to rotate the books and adjust the lighting.
Because the back sides of the bookblocks weren’t photographed, the degree of rotation is quite limited, but it’s still an interesting interface. There is a short tutorial that shows you how to use the controls on the right of the screen (to zoom, double-click the scale indicator in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen).