Publishing guide for 3D content

Getting started…Where can I find more information about digitising in 3D?

In addition, the Expert Group on Digital Cultural Heritage and Europeana have summarised some aspects to keep in mind when starting digitising 3D:

  • Consider the value and need for digitisation (see for example the Twin it! campaign and EC 3D KPI’s)

  • Select what to digitise and for what use cases and user group

  • Decide whether to digitise in-house or to outsource

  • Clarify the copyright aspects and plan for open and broad access

  • Determine the minimum quality needed but aim for the highest affordable

  • Identify the different versions and formats suitable for the use cases targeted

  • Plan for long term preservation of the data acquired

  • Use the right equipment, methods and workflows

  • Protect the assets during and after digitisation

  • Invest in knowledge of 3D technologies, processes and content

For reference and more information, see Basic principles and tips for 3D digitisation of cultural heritage

For tutorials, see for example dariahTeach

What are the main requirements for sharing 3D with Europeana?

The main requirements for sharing 3D with Europeana are:

  • The 3D models are published online and accessible in a viewer

  • Metadata records are available for export or harvesting in an XML format that is mapped to the Europeana Data Model

  • Your organisation has signed the Data Exchange Agreement with Europeana Foundation or via one of the Europeana aggregators

In addition, Europeana recommends enriching your metadata records by:

  • Including language tags 

  • Supporting browse by subject or types; by place; by date or time-span; by agents

  • Using LOD vocabularies supported by Europeana

  • Offering access to additional information on the creation process of the 3D models (i.e. the paradata)

Aggregators can offer help and advice on the process of transforming your metadata records into Europeana’s EDM format and sharing your metadata with Europeana

Where can I find more information about sharing 3D with Europeana?

Europeana’s Publishing Guide is available on the Knowledge Base as a resource for data partners sharing material with the Europeana website. The Publishing Guide builds on the Europeana Publishing Framework (EPF) which addresses the quality of content and metadata through ‘tiers’. For 3D, see the following sections: 

In addition, the User Guide to the Share3D dashboard provides a step-by-step guide to sharing 3D models with Europeana via the tool maintained by CARARE.

How do I map 3D object(s) and data about them to EDM?

If you are new to the Europeana Data Model (EDM), we recommend you begin by consulting the mapping guidelines.

At the moment, there are no special additional fields for data about 3D objects available in EDM. We are working on reviewing which additional fields could be useful.

Just like with other types of objects, the type for 3D objects has to have a set value, in this case, edm:type = '3D'. A link to your online resource should be provided in edm:isShownBy. There are two preferred options when providing a 3D object in EDM:

  • edm:isShownBy is a direct link to a 3D file. If you provide a direct link (for example to an STL file) in edm:isShownBy, it is advisable to map a URL to your resource to edm:hasView as well. This will lead to a higher quality measurement in content tiers. Please note Europeana website does not yet support the display of 3D objects when edm:isShownBy is a direct link to a 3D file.

  • edm:isShownBy is a link to a webpage where the 3D object can be displayed and which can be mapped to an oEmbed URL. Europeana currently supports links to Sketchfab or the WEAVE viewer when they are provided as one of the following URL patterns:

Europeana applies an additional logic to convert the above URLs into an oEmbed URL that is used for embedding, meaning that 3D objects are displayed on the Europeana website. So if you would like the user to interact with your content directly on the Europeana item page, you can use the SketchFab or WEAVE viewer. More supported viewers and URL patterns are expected to be added in the future. If you have your own viewer, you can request your oEmbed-compliant viewer to be added to the internal registry of oEmbed endpoints that are supported by us. Please send a message to the 3D service desk and your request will be checked.

Alternatively, if your viewer is not supported by Europeana, it is possible to provide a link to 3D online content (i.e. link to a 3D viewer or player) in edm:isShownAt, but this may lead to lower content tiers.

Are there any examples of 3D records in EDM?

Yes, there are specific 3D XML-examples in EDM and on this page, you can find examples for any media type, including 3D. Examples are available as XML and as a preview on the Europeana website.

Which 3D formats does Europeana support?

At the moment, there are no recommended formats yet. Any format that is visible in an embeddable (oEmbed) viewer (currently only Sketchfab or WEAVE are supported, but more will be in the future, and it is always possible to request if your own viewer can be embedded) should do, as well as direct links to your 3D content.

There are, however, formats that are well established within the 3D community and that we are considering supporting in the future. Multiple formats can already be found within the 3D content published on the Europeana website, such as DAE, PLY, WRL, GLTF (via embedded SketchFab viewer), and OBJ. Other options can, for example, be STL, NXS (NXZ), DICOM, IFC or USDZ. The selected format may of course depend upon the requirements you have for your 3D collections, and the use case you have in mind.

For 3D records, 3D PDF files are not sufficient and should not be submitted to Europeana.

Can Europeana host 3D files?

No. Some national aggregators have solutions if you are unable to host content yourself. 

How about rights and licenses?

For all copyright information, we refer to the copyright section in the Europeana Knowledge Base and our copyright pages on Europeana Pro.

Where can I get (technical) support?

  • CARARE, one of Europeana’s domain/thematic aggregators, can offer advice and support on 3D and/or help direct you to contacts with specialist expertise in your country.

  • EUreka3D project (2023-2024) is developing a platform that you can use to store, manage and publish your 3D models

  • Europeana Aggregators can help with the aggregation of your metadata for Europeana publication, and provide advice and support

  • 4CH as the Competence Center for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage currently being established will provide technical support on 3D capturing, modeling, and visualisation at 

As another option, you can reach out to Europeana directly via our service desk. Make sure to state the subject of your question(s) clearly in the form.