CE38 - Révolution numérique : rapports au savoir et à la culture

Rey’s Ornament Image investigation – ROIi

Submission summary

The ROIi (Rey's Ornament Image investigation) project brings together researchers in the fields of the history of ideas, literature and the history of books (Ihrim) on the one hand, and computer vision and machine learning (Hubert Curien Laboratory) on the other. The aim of this collaborative and interdisciplinary project is to design a tool to help authenticate books published under fictitious or counterfeit names or addresses in the 18th century, through the analysis of ornaments. It is based on the design of a database of ornaments used by the bookseller Marc Michel Rey (1720-1780). The editorial and commercial practices of this French-speaking bookseller based in Amsterdam are indeed particularly representative of both the typographical uses of ornaments and the strategies for circumventing censorship. The study of these editorial strategies is enlightening in order to understand the booktrade system and the way in which the sharing of knowledge and ideas on a European scale was practised at a time when it was beginning to be defended philosophically. These strategies make it particularly difficult to attribute a work to a publisher and to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit works. The investigation of ornaments then constitutes an additional clue to identify the works, within a cluster of concordant clues. The database will thus be associated with an anomaly detection task, combining computer vision and automatic learning. The objective is to design a decision support tool likely to reveal differences in shape at the level of wood ornaments and the publisher's mark, and differences in typographic style at the level of compound ornaments, based on the content of the database's data. Patch detection and auto-encoding will be developed to be confronted or combined in order to deliver tangible visual elements on demand, with patch analysis approximating the mechanisms implemented during a visual comparison of facing images, the auto-encoders producing an efficient representation of the data in unsupervised mode. This tool will be blindly tested on collections of ornamental images attributed to Marc Michel Rey, but also on fakes recognized by experts, before being tested online and in open access, and eventually transferred from Marc Michel Rey's collection to other heritage collections.

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LabHC Laboratoire Hubert Curien

Help of the ANR 296,136 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2021 - 42 Months

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