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Rare Book Bindings Revealed by New Imaging Technology

A new exhibit of books in the Lillian Goldman Law Library is showcasing how modern technology can bring historical details and artwork to light. The exhibit, "Reflections on Bindings: Using New Imaging Technology to Study Historical Bindings," features books from the Rare Book Collection of the Law Library that have been analyzed using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). In many cases, the technology has revealed exquisite details from early modern blind-stamped bindings.

As Rare Book Librarian Mike Widener explains, RTI offers exciting new possibilities for safely capturing a book's surface decorations, revealing details that cannot be seen using traditional methods or the naked eye. These details can help identify the book's early owners and understand attitudes about the books.

The analysis was undertaken by members of Yale University Library's Conservation & Exhibition Services team, who curated the exhibit. The curators are Chief Conservator Christine McCarthy and Conservation Assistants Fionnuala Gerrity, Ansley Joe, and Karen Jutzi.

The exhibit is open to the public from 9 am-10 pm daily, February 3 - May 24, 2014, on Level L2 in the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.