"E-Curator: A 3D web-based archive for conservators and curators
Digital heritage technologies promise a greater understanding of cultural objects cared for by museums. Recent technological advances in digital photography and image processing not only offer a high level of documentation, they also provide powerful analytical tools for conservation monitoring of cultural objects.
Museums are increasingly turning to digital documentation and relational databases to administer their collections for a variety of tasks: detailed description, intervention planning, loan. Online collection databases support the remote browsing of collections.
Such imaging technologies open up radically new ways of knowing and engaging with collections, something which we are only really beginning to understand as of now. From remote accessing of objects to 3D displays and documentation, digital heritage technologies offer the potential to transform the very nature of the museum experience both from a professional viewpoint, and from the perspective of the visitor.
The E-Curator Project was set up in 2007 precisely to explore some of these issues, using state-of-the-art imaging facilities at University College London (UCL). A collaborative project involving anthropologists, curators, and engineers, the principal aim of the project was to develop a new tool for museum and heritage conservation documentation.
The use of an Arius3D laser scanner, housed in the UCL Geomatic Engineering Department, has enabled us to experiment with 3D documentation and the collaborative sharing of virtual 3D images of museum artefacts. We are evaluating 3D laser scanning for cultural heritage with methods from engineering metrology, bridging the gaps between conservation, curation and metric survey."
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