Op 9 december organiseerde de Britse Digital Preservation Coalition met de Wellcome Library voor haar leden de workshop over het creëren, gebruiken en duurzaam beheren van 3d-data, met als titel ‘3D4ever: building three dimensional models to last‘. William Kilbride, directeur van de DPC, deelde het volgende verslag van de bijeenkomst:
The next big thing
“3d scanning – and 3d printing – has been the ‘next big thing’ for a long time. With origins in the 1960s it is an established technology and has enjoyed a prominent place in the imagination but has remained been a rather niche concern in practice. But as scanning equipment become cheaper and more user-friendly, and as ubiquitous processing power improves, so the barriers to creating, sharing and accessing highly detailed 3d models are eroding. Simultaneously a price crash in personal immersive devices means that objects can finally be distributed with confidence, while 3d printing is beginning to look like a seriously disruptive technology within any number of industrial and commercial sectors. It may have taken fifty years, but in the last few months we have witnessed the first proper scandal of appropriated 3d data when a team claimed to have surreptitiously scanned the bust of queen Nefertiti at the Neues Meseum in Berlin. 3d visualisation companies are being purchased by global tech firms eager to add 3d capabilities to their stable. The value and utility of the 3d scanning is going up as the cost and barriers to production are dropping. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that 3d scanning is, finally, the next big thing.
Digital preservation challenge
Digitisation creates, by default, a digital preservation challenge. For decades, photographers and 2d imaging technicians have argued over formats for capture, preservation and dissemination. Complex metadata requirements have been specified and embedded into workflows; preservation modules have been integrated into image management systems; compression techniques have been devised, demonstrated and denounced. The 3d scanning community has been almost entirely silent on digital preservation, excepting tendentious and at times calculated misappropriation of the term. Scanning, however virtuous, is not digital preservation. Perhaps the long heritage of analogue photography means we implicitly value of 2d images more; perhaps the rapid evolution of 3d scanning means we haven’t taken time to establish its worth.
The workshop asked participants what, if anything, do we have to show from the last 50 years of 3d scanning?; and what do we need to do to ensure that the next 50 years is better?
It’s not as if no one has been voicing concern about the long-term sustainability and preservation of 3d data. In 1996 Nick Ryan challenged the lack of transparency as a problem in the generation and use of 3d models. In 2002 the ADS published a ‘Guide to Good Practice’ for creating Virtual Reality. Principles 5 and 6 of the 2006 ‘London Charter’ encouraged public agencies developing 3d visualisations to act as good stewards of the public investment by ensuring sustainability. Have these warning been overlooked?
Speakers at the workshop reviewed a range of case studies of good – and at times bad – practice that demonstrated not only the value of 3d data but also the ways in which it could be preserved, and the simple faults that inhibit its preservation. It ended with an extended roundtable discussion on ‘what should be done next’ and some recommendations for action to the DPC so that our members can be more confident, and better informed about the preservation pitfalls of 3d data; and so that creators of 3d data and suppliers of tools and technologies can better understand the long term value of their data.”