3D imaging is used today for analyzing, preserving and visualizing cultural heritage assets and
has constantly gained in importance over the past twenty years. The prevalence of these methods is directly related to the technical development and advancements in digital electronics. Three dimensional documentation of objects of cultural heritage can be understood as part of a natural progression from drawings, to two-dimensional photography, to 3D digital models.
Today, 3D images of musical instruments are generated to plan restorations, visualize functionality in education or to estimate age and origin of wooden parts. Today, stakeholders from various fields like musicology, cultural history, ethnology, conservation, engineering and instrument building interact with digital 3D representations of musical instruments.
Archival structures, therefore, need to be able to handle heterogeneous sets of sources, data structures,
content and formats and thereby allow interdisciplinary approach to the objects. The output formats of datasets vary widely: raw geometric 3D models, web-based applications, renderings, animations, VR and AR applications, annotations, 3D sketches, vector graphics and technical drawings among others.
As of today, there is no single solution to cover all these demands but a variety of services, applications and databases is used for each specific task, borrowed mainly from geosciences, life sciences and archaeology. To allow for archives to advance from being mere storage facilities towards being comprehensive research tools, interaction with 3D content should be facilitated and encouraged. 3D visual representations of historical artefacts provide an intuitive and immersive environment, encouraging novel and creative approaches to cultural heritage safeguarding.