To 3D is to Classify: Bringing Knowledge Organisation Theorising to the World of Archiving of the Third Dimension

Submitted by Isto Huvila on Mon, 04/09/2018 - 11:36

Presentation at the Centre for Digital Heritage conference in Lund.


Perhaps somewhat unintuitively, there is a lack of clear understanding what 3D technologies produce, what are 3D models and consequently, what 3D archives are and should be archiving. A clear conceptual understanding of what is being archived is equally central to a successful preservation of 3D artifacts for future use than technical preservation of digital objects. From an information perspective, 3D can be conceptualised as a form of organising knowledge or information: to classify reality in distinct categories, or to attempt to do so. A focus on the informational aspects of 3D provides a potentially invaluable complement to technical analysis of digital objects, consideration of the materialities of digital and non-digital artefacts, and for instance, investigations of the practices surrounding the production and use of 3D.

This presentation discusses knowledge organisation theory and its implications to understanding of the nature of 3D and archiving 3D with a focus on preserving its 'significant properties'. The presentation draws on knowledge organisation theory to discuss what is (or are) the domains of 3D in digital heritage, what warrants underpin current practices of working with 3D, and what implications the different approaches of working with 3D has on organisation, retrieval and communication of information and knowledge. It is argued that a careful consideration of the informational aspects of 3D artefacts is necessary for their successful archiving – when the ambition of preservation is to use 3D artefacts as informative and communicative devices.

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