Annotation scenario

The location for the annotation scenario is the V&A museum. In this example there are two 3D digitised artefacts of the same piece of sculpture of a bust. The primary 3D artefact represents the work in the gallery and the secondary 3D artefact represents the work during restoration.

The CH professional wishes:

  • to establish links between these two 3D artefacts or between parts of them;
  • to link paintings, bibliography or any other multimedia information about the artist or the object like, for example, important features as macro photography of details of the face of the bust, the back of the sculpture, etc., where each of these may be annotated subjectively.
"Example of n-ary annotations and how they relate objects, annotations and metadata."

The current documented information of these sculptures is held within the museum Collections Information System (CIS). This database is SPECTRUM compliant and holds information on: acquisition, location, provenance, history and physical attributes.


An example of an annotation would be the description made by the curator about the 3D artefact as free text. This annotation would be about such topics as:

  • What this particular aspect of the object says
  • What other objects/periods/stories this object relates to
  • Scholarly opinions

The notes field in the tombstone above could be described as an annotation. Moreover, the curator would like to link other information sources such as: inventory level / physical location in institute or depth of carving around the eye. The annotation should also help to build relations, for example: “this 3D model comes from this depth map”.

A conservator may place his own annotations onto the object such as:

  • The meaning or age of particular marks on the object surface
  • How they are measured and compared
  • Restoration history
  • Comparison with other similar objects

An ambition of this annotation scenario in the V&A museum can be described in the following way. A technician scans the sculpture before and after conservation or restoration work. S/he describes and reports the restoration work by means of annotations. It allows the curator or conservator to create links and build relations between the two 3D artefacts. The sculpture is scanned at further occasions over time and any new annotations are used to describe differences over time.

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Prof David Arnold, University of Brighton

20 September 2013



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