While libraries become increasing involved in the digitization of their various textual collections, little work has been done digitizing and preserving physical collections containing items such as artwork, textiles, insignias, and other historically significant relics. Advancements in 3D scanning technology have made the digitization of physical objects of this kind much more possible though, and developments in technologies such as 3D printing and 3D holograph projection have opened up an entire new way for libraries to provide this information to patrons across the world.
This paper will describe the author’s own process in building and cataloging a collection of 3D models on the DalSpace servers at the Dalhousie University Libraries. This paper will then explore other methods for delivering 3D model content to library patrons, including 3D holograph and WebGL technologies.
Following this 3D model repository discussion, this paper will describe how 3D printing technology, implemented as a service at the Dalhousie University Libraries in March of 2012, was used to deliver 3D model content to library patrons; the challenges faced in delivering this service; how this service was used; and finally how successful, overall, this service was.