MUSTS Colloquium with Costas Papadopolous & Susan Schreibman: 3D Scholarly Editions

Wednesday, May 1, 2019, 15:30-17:00

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Grote Gracht 80-82, Attic (3rd floor)


3D Scholarly Editions: Opportunities, Affordances, Challenges 


Costas Papadopoulos &  Susan Schreibman

Literature & Art, Maastricht University




The increasing number and types of digital scholarship being produced in the last decade, including audiovisual content, multimodal interfaces, and different forms of visualisation (e.g. online databases, virtual worlds, blogs etc.) have started challenging established mechanisms of evaluation and publication. This presentation will discuss a particular form of interactive scholarship, 3D (re)construction, which despite its long tradition, is still faced with scepticism and hesitation, not only because of the constant technological shifts and exigencies and the fragile ecosystem within which such projects are being developed, but also due to their non-conventional nature that does not adhere to established publication modalities.

Since the mid-80s, 3D modelling and visualisations have become a substantial research practice in digital history, archaeology, and heritage. These range from schematic (re)constructions of buildings to hyper-realistic renderings of artefacts to spatial/temporal simulations of events to interactive visualisations of ancient structures and landscapes. Based on the features of such environments, their intended purposes, as well as their use by different audiences, we have divided them into  three broadly defined categories: ‘virtual museums’, ‘research laboratories’ and ‘teaching environments’. These, however, do not provide an integrated environment that brings to the fore the decision making process, for example by making available the materials collected that informed the research behind or steps taken to create the  models so others – beyond the research team – can utilise the knowledge developed during the modelling process. As a result, this scholarship exists in a bifurcated information space; the original models are available to the individual or the team who worked on them, a version of the models exists electronically (if technology allows), while the materials that informed decisions and the knowledge generated from them is written about in conventional publication formats. To overcome this, we are proposing a fourth type, that of a 3D Scholarly Edition; a knowledge site that provides hermeneutic richness that affords the interactivity of the medium and enables the communication of the process and results of that scholarship within a single spatiotemporal, immersive, and sensory environment.

This presentation will explore our ideas of 3D scholarly editions, both within the context of the long history of scholarly editions, as well as the affordances, advantages, and opportunities of (re)presenting 3D scholarship in this form.




Costas Papadopoulos is an Assistant Professor in Digital Humanities and Culture Studies. Costas’ research spans the development of virtual worlds to interpret societies of the past, to the application of computational imaging to analyse material culture, to the use of digital ethnographic methods to evaluate digital pedagogy and interactive teaching methods. Much of his scholarship focuses on 3D heritage visualisation and simulation with a particular emphasis on the role of light in the experience and perception of past environments.





Susan Schreibman is Professor of Digital Arts and Culture. Her research focuses  on the digital transformation of humanities research and teaching, particularly in developing interdisciplinary digitally and socially-engaged teaching and scholarship. A major focus of her research is the design, critical, and interpretative analysis of systems that remediate publication modalities and manuscript culture from the analogue world, while developing new born-digital paradigms.