For this project, our working group has examined the issues surrounding MARC cataloging for electronic files of 3D models created as scans of original artwork. In an integrated library, archive, and museum catalog, a search for information about a particular artist could have results that include not only publications about the artist and his or her artwork, but also information about individual works of art and even files for 3D models of the artwork. Our project provides some examples of what those search results could look like.

Many museums have taken an interest in 3D scanning of their artifacts, as discussed in a 2013 paper by Neely and Langer, “Please Feel the Museum: The Emergence of 3D Printing and Scanning.” Indeed, several notable scanning projects have received attention, from the “Digital Michelangelo” project at Stanford (Levoy, 2009) to Cosmo Wenman’s “Through a Scanner, Skulpturhalle” project (Wenman, 2013). 

Over the last few years, the Digital Media Lab at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has invited the museum technology community to participate in a series of events to use 3D scanning tools to capture some of the sculpture in the museum’s collections. These scans can then be edited using 3D modeling software, and printed (usually on a small scale) using 3D printers. Currently the 3D scan files created during such events are available under the Digital Media Lab’s username “met” at the website, where the company Makerbot (manufacturers of commercial 3D printers) encourages users to share their scans with the community for reuse. Indeed, the Met scans are made available under a Creative Commons license, open for reuse. While members of the museum technology community may be aware of these resources, users who are searching the Met’s online collections or library for information about a particular artist or artwork would have no indication that such related resources exist. However, in an integrated library, archive, and museum catalog, an artwork, publications about it, and electronic files representing it (including 3D models) could all be more easily connected.

For this project we have examined the use of MARC encoding, and content standards from AACR2 and RDA, to represent these 3D models in a format that is interoperable with existing library records and systems. The challenges of applying MARC to these electronic resources are discussed in the “Guidelines” section of this website, and in our conclusion.

Comments are closed.