In Archaeology, we work a lot with objects. We find them, draw them, describe and archive them. In Archaeoinformatics, we work a lot with 3D objects. We build them, we convert and we share them. One service that was a tremendous help in our line of work was always SketchFab, a mostly free service to showcase 3D objects. It still wasn’t a university SketchFab

Nevertheless SketchFab is free for universities, you’ll never know. You don’t know what happens to your data and you can’t really control what happens, when the company decides to stop being free or else… The department of Digital Humanities of the University of Cologne decided to start building their own SketchFab and they called it Kompakkt.

Screenshot showing the start page of Kompakkt
Screenshot of Kompakkt

Besides 3D objects, the service covers images, videos and audio files. You can link and sometimes embed your files on your own homepage and annotate them in collaboration with other kompakkt users. In addition to that, you have detailed options of setting your privacy level as well as the copyright level under which you are willing to share your work. Here is an example of one of the objects, I uploaded on the service.

One of the best features however – and this is something SketchFab can’t compete with – is that you can order a DOI number through the universities service. 3D models therefore become long-term cite-able, which is just great! Also, the whole project is on GitHub and is usable under GNU AGPL-3.0 License.

So even if you are not part of the University of Cologne, you could use this code to create your own 3D viewing system for your own university. Hosting the data by the university itself gives them a more secure long-term archiving solution, which I totally support.

Sebastian Hageneuer

Founder & Editor

About the Author

My name is Sebastian. I am a research associate at the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Cologne, Germany, Discipline for Archaeoinformatics and at the German Archaeological Institute, Oriental Department. My special interest lies in reconstructing ancient architecture and thinking about ways to present archaeological knowledge to other researchers and the public in an informative and appealing way. I teach 3D documentation of material culture as well as 3D modelling and archaeological reconstruction and work on several projects as part of my job.

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