The handheld scanner looks like an old-school video game controller, a clunky throwback to the early days of Atari. But these mobile 3-D scanners used by the staff in the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis University Library Center for Digital Scholarship are actually very advanced technology, and they are changing the way we record recent history, ancient history and even the future.
“About two years ago, we decided to explore 3-D technology and what scanning could look like,” said Jenny Johnson, head of digitization services for the Center for Digital Scholarship. “Every community and cultural heritage institution that we work with has 3-D objects. As the technology has gotten better, computer processing has gotten better, and because costs have been reduced a little bit with the technology, we decided to dive into the specifics and see what we could do. The Benjamin Harrison team was really interested in this, and they’ve got an eCollection initiative to document more of their items.”
Proving its place at the front of the 3-D digital archiving crowd, the Center for Digital Scholarship recently received a grant from LYRASIS — a nonprofit organization for information professionals — to develop standards for how digital archives are recorded.
Johnson explained: “I’m in a group with several other universities having conversations about best practices, such as file-naming conventions, file formats, formats for augmented virtual reality — information about the object. We are trying to figure out what metadata we need to capture so we can get the most information to whoever needs to research it or use it. “
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