May 21, 2022

Recording the Past and the Future in 3-D at IUPUI Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship

From Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis University Library:

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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Direct to Center For Digital Scholarship Cultural Heritage Collections

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.