IU Bloomington’s world-famous Lilly Library, home to rare books, manuscripts, and special collections, is packed with intriguing objects—from movie star Rita Hayworth’s makeup case to a leather art binding of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion by artist Philip Smith.
Now, the Lilly’s unique collections are immortalized in two- and three-dimensional formats, thanks to work by Professor Emerita Darlene J. Sadlier and UITS Research Technologies’ suite of high performance computing clusters.
In August 2019, Indiana University Press will publish Sadlier’s book, The Lilly Library from A to Z: Intriguing Objects in a World-Class Collection. Sadlier partnered with the UITS Cyberinfrastructure for Digital Humanities and Creative Activities (CyberDH) group to create an online 3-D supplement to accompany her 2-D book.
CyberDH staff offer a variety of services to the IU community, including photogrammetry—the process of extracting 3-D models from a set of standard 2-D photographs. This is how the Lilly’s collection came to life in its 3-D format.
CyberDH Coordinator Tassie Gniady and her graduate assistant, Katie Chapman, digitized and processed the images via IU’s computing clusters. “What’s especially cool about this project is that the cover will be Lilly’s copy of Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. Now, thanks to our 3-D version, anyone with a computer can get a closer look at this gorgeous book from many angles,” Gniady said.