Skip to main content

Photoshop Spectroscopy

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 — Poster Session III

10:00 a.m. – Noon

Natcher Conference Center




  • K Davenport
  • S Greenberg
  • H Herro


A complete scientific analysis of the genetic chart created by Dr. Marshall Nirenberg (1927-2010) has begun in the National Library of Medicine to insure its existence for future generations. Due to the limited sample sizes required by conventional analytical approaches and the need for a full-format document quantitative analysis, NLM conservation staff explored the use of Photoshop® for full document digital color analysis as a comprehensive companion to traditional analytical chromatography and spectroscopy to deconstruct document ink color change. This approach to color analysis allows quantification of color change using the numeric RGB channel “triplet” model. Consequently, color change can be quantified in total document format analysis. In this approach, the typical copier/scanner behaves by analogy as a visible spectrometer coupled with Photoshop® software and ImageJ to assist in the chromatographic analysis. The advantage of this approach is a non-destructive full-document, multiplex deconstruction of color in this and other important historical documents.

back to top