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The preservation and sharing of research data is a fundamental responsibility of libraries and museums. Increasingly, this data is in digital form. Although standards and best practices have been developed for many kinds of digital data to ensure that assets can be accessed and reused in perpetuity, the applicability of these standards to digital 3D data is limited. As the use of digital 3D data in research has grown, libraries and museums have been increasingly involved in the creation and/or stewardship of such data – and many of them are grappling with how to curate and preserve this data. While some guidance exists regarding digital 3D data creation and use, guidelines and studies on the problems of management and preservation are woefully lacking. Institutions are left filling in the gaps with ad-hoc, localized solutions. Local solutions can create barriers to effective data sharing and may make large-scale, national or international data aggregation and cooperative projects difficult. Clearly there is a pressing need for comprehensive shared standards for preservation, documentation and dissemination of digital 3D data. With their increasing expertise and investment in data preservation and access initiatives, libraries and museums are well positioned to lead the effort for digital 3D data preservation and curation.

Logo design: C. Abraczinskas UMMP 2017