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An Infrastructure for the Preservation & Publication of 3D Scholarship

The project intends to become a new paradigm in the field of 3D scholarship by developing a national infrastructure that will place emphasis on both the presentation and the preservation of 3D heritage, thus stimulating 3D-based research and educating a new generation of researchers and professionals in 3D scholarship. It will do this by establishing a framework in which 3D cultural heritage objects (including artefacts, buildings, landscapes etc.) will be published and preserved in the form of 3D Scholarly Editions (3DSEs). In 3DSEs the 3D models are becoming part of the scholarly record, unlike common practice in which 3D scholarship exists in a bifurcated information space: the knowledge generated from the models is published in articles, while the models rarely become available to the scholarly community and/or a more general audience in a meaningful, informed, and contextualized manner. To achieve this, the 3D models essentially become the text of conventional publication paradigms. This is done by means of contextualisation with multiple types of source materials, (e.g., annotations, images, video, structured/unstructured data) and the documentation of metadata and paradata (documentation of the creation process), providing users with access to modelling and interpretative choices as well as scholarly arguments; thus, creating a multimodal resource impossible to replicate in print form. At the same time, emphasis is placed on the preservation not only of the 3D models, but of all the information associated with those (e.g., annotations) following the FAIR principles.

Based on the above, the three key results of the project are:

  1. the development of an access infrastructure for viewing interactive 3D models (from single objects to virtual worlds) within the context of a scholarly publication format (3D Scholarly Editions);
  2. a preservation repository for the 3D models and the files associated with the 3DSEs;
  3. a conceptual and methodological framework for valorising, evaluating, and publishing interactive 3D scholarship.

Participating organisations

Maastricht University
KNAW Humanities Cluster
Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)
Gemeente Maastricht
Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken
Museum van Bommel van Dam
4DR Lab
Nederlands Mijnmuseum


Susan Schreibman
Dirk Roorda
Lead Developer
Data Archiving and Networked Services
Kelly Gillikin Schoueri
PhD Candidate
Maastricht University
Sohini Mallick
Research Software Engineer
Maastricht University