Media Services Architect
|William R. Parod
Architect for Scholarly Technologies
Northwestern University recently completed a two-year project near Xi’an (China), digitizing at very high resolution the free-standing Shuilu (“Water and Land”) Buddhist temple, in partnership with experts from the Xi’an Center for Conservation and Restoration and with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This briefing describes the technical scope of the international Imag(n)ing Shuilu’an project in China, 2005-2007; it includes a tour of the comprehensive visual archive of the temple that was created for preservation purposes, and it presents the experimental interface that was developed as an investigation into scholarly technologies that enable collaborative study of massive 2D and 3D datasets from cultural heritage sites such as Shuilu’an. This scholars’ interface includes a Web-based annotation system that allowed the Xi’an team to assign conservation and descriptive metadata to arbitrary regions of the photographic textures, as the post-production team worked in Evanston. The experimental interface exploits 3D spatial/structural metadata to unify and navigate the presentation, description, and digital provenance of the massive visual dataset that we now have in hand.
The briefing will also include a look at possible paths forward: next steps that build upon the work that was completed six months ago with our partners in China; extending this work into other cultural heritage domains; and the development of digital tools that have been identified by conservationists, archaeologists and scholars as important to new work. Future work by the Northwestern team will apply metadata standards in Fedora content models in order to better address management and preservation goals. We will also describe the benefits of the integration of presentation tools with Fedora to support scholarly access, annotation, and commentary for integrated 3D archives.