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Washington University Libraries to Collaborate on Grant-Funded 3D Research Project

A 2017 National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will fund “Community Standards for 3D Data Preservation (CS3DP),” a collaborative project between WU Libraries, University of Iowa Libraries, and the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology.

The grant will provide $99,960 in funding for the project, which responds to the need for nationally shared guidelines regarding the preservation and management of digital 3D research data.

The partnering institutions plan to hold two forums that will bring together librarians, curators, faculty, and professionals from the United States and abroad to produce a community-developed plan for managing the data.

At the first forum, tentatively scheduled to take place at WU in January 2018, participants will explore digital 3D preservation topics and establish working groups. At the second forum, which is slated for summer 2018 at the University of Michigan, participants will explore proposed solutions and agree on a roadmap for digital 3D preservation. Each two-and-a-half day meeting will feature discussions, presentations, and collaborative work.

The preservation and sharing of research data is a fundamental part of the mission of libraries and museums. Today much of that data is in digital form. While standards and best practices have been developed for many kinds of digital data, the applicability of these standards to digital 3D data is limited.

The meetings will make it possible for a diverse group of stakeholders to have input in the creation of guidelines specifically designed for 3D data. Once established, the guidelines can be used by institutions around the world.

The CS3DP project team consists of principal investigator Jennifer Moore, GIS and data projects manager and anthropology librarian at WU Libraries; Adam Rountrey, a museum manager, researcher, and 3D practitioner at the University of Michigan, and Hannah Scates Kettler, digital humanities librarian at the University of Iowa Libraries.

“When we began our work with digital 3D data locally, we found that the absence of standards was a barrier to preserving the digital data long-term, which is an essential library function,” Moore says. “What the project team has learned thus far is that, like us, the wider community is crying out for standards, so we are eager to pull everyone together to work on the problem.”

IMLS received 115 applications for National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program awards; 31 projects were chosen to receive funding.

For more information about CS3DP, contact Jennifer Moore at