Anne Lister – Meet a Diary in Virtual 3D

Would you like to be able to look at one of Anne Lister’s diaries in a new way; to see the words written by Anne’s hand; to zoom in and decipher the code or read Anne’s handwriting yourself? 

If you are saying to yourself, ‘Yes’, then carry on reading! 

One of our conservator colleagues, Zoe Hutchinson has been studying for an MA in Conservation of Cultural Heritage, where she was introduced to digital heritage and photogrammetry.

I was intrigued as to what the diaries looked like as artefacts: what type of covers do they have; is there anything written on the front; what does Anne’s handwriting look like? And more importantly, I needed to see the code as written by her.’

Photogrammetry is a way of providing digital access to cultural heritage objects for a broader audience. This sparked an interest in using the technology to make one of the Anne Lister diaries accessible and more inclusive to a wider audience; not just an experience focused on what was written within the diary but looking at the diary as an object.’

Individual photographs aligned

Photogrammetry is a three-dimensional (3D) measuring tool that uses overlapping photographs of an object to create a 3D model.  These images are loaded into an algorithm where the software can make an accurate 3D representation.  Over 90 photos, shown above, were taken of the diary SH:7/ML/E/2 at 15-degree intervals on a turntable and from three levels of low, medium, and high to get a complete picture of the diary. 

Points detected to create a 3D model.                                 

The algorithm works through the images, identifying points to align and build a model, adding texture and surface detail. Once the model is created and edited to remove any unwanted background such as a stand, it is loaded onto a platform that allows viewers to interact with it as they choose. 

This type of display shows the diary as an object rather than a document to flick through; it does not allow manipulation of the pages, although it will let you rotate the diary around 360 degrees and zoom into any part of the pages shown, including the front and back covers.  The model enables you to read passages of text or look at a section of code as Anne wrote them, giving you the experience of being in the presence of one of her diaries.

Enjoy this free interactive experience with the link!

SH:7/ML/E/2 (allow the model to load fully)