Author: Carey Jewitt
We visited The National Archives to discuss the challenges and opportunities for making the BT Design Register (1839-1991) more accessible to a wider audience in different ways. We were shown some of the volumes that include samples of textiles, drawings, photographs and even artefacts such as lace bonnets, gloves, collars. The question of how to make the experience of these available online in a way that captures their essence and makes them visually searchable is a complex one. One option being explored is the use of Polynominal Texture Mapping (see papers below) – a digital technology for image capture and processing. These visual representations create what Kress and van Leeuwen in their book Reading Images (1996) would call a hyper-real representation through enhanced depth and texture that almost creates a sensory experience of touch and presence. The ways in which these objects linked to the information on their registration (including location of the company registering the design) prompts thoughts of how geo-tagging the objects could create a kind of changing map of manufacturing/design in Britain, its empire and beyond.
Goskar, T. A. & Earl, G. P. (2010) Polynomial texture mapping for archaeologists. British Archaeology 111: 28-31. Available as PDF from: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archaeology/docs/polynomial_texture_mapping.pdf
Earl, G., Martinez, K. and Malzbender, T. (2010) Archaeological applications of polynomial texture mapping: analysis, conservation and representation. Journal of Archaeological Science 37 (11pp). Available as PDF from: http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/21222/