Digital Access to Non-Print Collections
University libraries have held collections of books and printed material throughout their existence and continue to be perceived as repositories for physical collections. Other non-print specialized collections of interest have been held in various departments on campus such as Anthropology, Art, and Biology due to the unique needs of the collections and their usage. With the advent of electronic media, it becomes possible to store these non-print collections in a central place, such as the Libray.
The skills needed to curate artifacts from an archeological excavation, biological specimens from various life forms, and sculpture work are very different, making it difficult for smaller university libraries to properly hold, curate, and make available such collections. In addition, faculty in the various departments tend to want those collections near their coursework and research, so it can be readily available to students and researchers. With the expansion of online learning, the need for such availability becomes increasingly pronounced.
With the advent of 3 dimensional (3D) scanners, it has become possible for a smaller library to hold digital representations of these collections in an archive that can be curated from the various departments by experts in the discipline. The Library can then make the digital representations available to other researchers, students, and the public through kiosks in the Library or via the Internet. Current methods to scan and store an artifact in 3Dstill require expertise not often found in a Library.
We propose to use existing technology to build an easy-to-use system to scan smaller artifacts in 3D. The project will include purchase and installation of a workstation in the Library where the artifact collection can be accessed using a large touch-screen monitor, and a portable, easy-to-use 3D scanning station. Curators of collections from various departments on the St. Cloud State University campus can check out the scanning station, connect to power and Internet where the collection is located, and scan their collection into the libraries digital archives, making the collection easily available to students, other researchers and the public.
The project would include assembly of two workstations previously mentioned and potentially develop the robotic scanner. Software would be produced to automate the workflow from the scanner to archiving the digital representation and then make the collection available on the Internet.
This project would be a collaboration between the St. Cloud State University Library (https://www.stcloudstate.edu/library/ and Visualization Laboratory (https://www.facebook.com/SCSUVizLab/). The project would use the expertise and services of the St. Cloud State Visualization Laboratory. Dr. Plamen Miltenoff, a faculty with the Library will coordinate the Library initiatives related to the use of the 3D scanner. Mark Gill, Visualization Engineer, and Dr. Mark Petzold, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering will lead a group of students in developing the software to automate the scanning, storage, and retrieval of the 3D models. The Visualization Lab has already had success in 3D scanning objects for other departments and in creating interactive displays allowing retrieval of various digital content, including 3D scanned objects such animal skulls and video. A collaboration between the Library, VizLab and the Center for Teaching and Learning (, https://www.stcloudstate.edu/teaching/) will enable campus faculty to overcome technical and financial obstacles. It will promote the VizLab across campus, while sharing its technical resources with the Library and making those resources widely available across campus. Such work across silos will expose the necessity (if any) of standardization and will help faculty embrace stronger collaborative practices as well as spur the process of reproduction of best practices across disciplines.
|42” Touch Screen Monitor||$2200|
|2 Computer Workstations||$5000|
|Cart for Mobile 3D Scanner||$1000|
|3D Scanner (either purchase or develop in-house)||$2000|
The budget covers two computer workstations. One will be installed in the library as a way to access the digital catalog, and will include a 42 inch touch screen monitor mounted to a wall or stand. This installation will provide students a way to interact with the models in a more natural way. The second workstation would be mounted on a mobile cart and connected to the 3D scanner. This would allow collection curators from different parts of campus to check out the scanner and scan their collections. The ability to bring the scanner to the collection would increase the likelihood the collections to be scanned into the library collection.
The 3D scanner would either be purchased off-the shelf or designed by a student team from the Engineering Department. A solution will be sought to use and minimize the amount of training the operator would need. If the scanner is developed in-house, a simple optical scanner such as an XBox Kinect device and a turntable or robotic arm will be used. Support for the XBox Kinect is built into Microsoft Visual Studio, thus creating the interface efficient and costeffective.
|Task||Start Time||End Time|
|Catalog Software||October 2017||December 2017|
|Scanner Interface||October 2017||March 2018|
|Web Interface||January 2018||May 2018|
|System Installation||March 2018||May 2018|
Plamen Miltenoff, Ph.D., MLIS
Dr. Miltenoff is part of a workgroup within the academic library, which works with faculty, students and staff on the application of new technologies in education. Dr. Miltenoff’s most recent research with Mark Gill is on the impact of Video 360 on students during library orientation: http://web.stcloudstate.edu/pmiltenoff/bi/
Mark Petzold, Ph.D.
Dr. Petzold is an Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His current projects involve visualization of meteorological data in a virtual reality environment and research into student retention issues. He is co-PI on a $5 million NSF S-STEM grant which gives scholarships to low income students and investigates issues around student transitions to college.
Mr. Gill is a Visualization Engineer for the College of Science and Engineering and runs the Visualization Laboratory. He has worked for several major universities as well as Stennis Space Center and Mechdyne, Inc. He holds a Masters of Science in Software Engineering.
University of Nevada, Reno and Pennsylvania State University 41 campus libraries to include collaborative spaces where faculty and students gather to transform virtual ideas into reality.
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more on grants in this IMS blog