Publishing guide for 3D content

Getting started

Some aspects to keep in mind when starting digitising 3D have been summarised by the Expert Group on Digital Cultural Heritage and Europeana:

  • 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

For tutorials, see for example

And for more recommendations and information on 3D digitisation:

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 in the Europeana portal. 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 in the future.

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) 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 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 licences?

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

Getting help and information

There are two options if you have questions or if you are looking for more information.

FAQ [Answers are coming]

  1. I will need more information about publishing 3D models in Europeana. Is the only way to publish 3D models above Content Tier 1 in Europeana currently via Sketchfab?

  2. Will Europeana be offering some support or platforms for alternative ways of publishing 3D content, especially very large models, during the campaign?

  3. In the future, where can I find more specific information in the publishing guide about how a direct link to the content can be streamed directly to a Europeana item page (instead of via an embeddable viewer)?

  4. How can I receive technical support in:

    1. Defining the accuracy of digitisation,

    2. The availability of the digital object

    3. Long-term preservation?

  5. How do I make sure that I enrich my metadata with accurate and properly formed information? I would like to connect to digitisation standards that could benefit researchers in retrieving information on digitisation techniques, equipment and methodology.

  6. I would like to optimize my 3D model for a better presentation on the web. How do I achieve this?

  7. Are there alternative methods to submit a 3D object?

  8. On the acquisition of a 3D model : where will you catalogue ctScans for smaller objects : laser, photogrammetry or other category?

  9. About Persistent Unique identifiers: who will attribute them: Europeana, a national aggregator, or the cultural heritage institution itself (which is good practice)?

  10. Are there any written recommendations for the 3D models (sizes, formats etc.) prepared for creating apps, gaming and augmented reality projects?