What is SAVE?

SAVE stands for "Serving and Archiving Virtual Environments." Once launched, SAVE will be the world’s first on-line, peer-reviewed journal in which scholars can publish 3D digital models of the world’s cultural heritage (CH) sites and monuments. Research done with generous support from the National Science Foundation (NSF grant: 0535118) indicates that over 90% of the scholars making CH models think that creation of such an outlet is a high priority.

As its name suggests, SAVE aims both to preserve 3D digital CH models and to provide access to them for the scholarly public. SAVE can be seen as part of a larger trend to recognize our duty to preserve our new born-digital heritage. This recognition is perhaps most clearly expressed in the 2003 UNESCO Charter on the Preservation of Digital Heritage.

Why is SAVE needed?

There are already several outlets where scholars can publish articles about their 3D models, illustrated by still shots or screen captures of video fly-throughs. SAVE offers scholars the opportunity of publishing their models to the Internet with full interactivity so that users can explore them at will. It also offers peer-review, and requires all models to be accompanied by metadata, documentation, and a related article or monograph explaining the history of the monument and its state of preservation, as well as an account of the modeling project itself. SAVE will furthermore provide secure transmission of the 3D models over the Internet, thereby protecting contributors' intellectual property.

SAVE is based on the model of "prosumption," a blurring of the gap between producers and customers in a situation where "customers participate in the creation of products in an active and ongoing way" (Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, 2006. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, p. 126). The classic example they cite is Second Life, which "has no preset script—and few limitations on what players can do. Residents create just about everything, from virtual storefronts and nightclubs to clothing, vehicles, and other items for use in the game" (ibid.).

SAVE might be thought of as Second Life for scholars. If Second Life harnesses human imagination to create a fictional world primarily for purposes of collaborative diversion and entertainment, SAVE intends to harness human creativity, disciplined by historical methodology, to recreate, with the greatest possible fidelity, the historical cultures that once actually existed across the globe. Thus the project of SAVE can be understood to mean collaboratively building up a virtual space-time machine that, absent true time travel, will offer scholars, students, and the general public the best opportunity we are ever likely to have to visualize the lost monuments and worlds of the past.

What will SAVE publish?

In addition to 3D models of sites and monuments of world heritage and related articles and monographs, SAVE will publish studies of issues relating to 3D CH models, reviews of 3D CH models published elsewhere, reviews of studies of 3D CH models published elsewhere, post-publication peer-review (i.e., mediated discussions about the foregoing publications).

The heart of SAVE is its collection of 3D models that are made available with full interactivity over the Internet. The user interface will offer three modes of accessing a CH model.

CH models can be seen in two views: authorial and editorial. In the authorial view, the user sees the model in its original form (i.e., how it was built by a specific creator). In the editorial view, the user sees how the Editorial Board of SAVE has remixed elements of different models of the same CH monument made by two or more authors. The editorial view thus gives the end user the Editorial Board’s judgment of the “best of the best” available in visualizing how a particular CH site or monument should be reconstructed.

How can you contribute to SAVE?

Scholars wishing to publish their work in SAVE should contact the editor-in-chief for guidance about how to submit work for consideration by the editorial board. Please send inquiries to: bernard.d.frischer@gmail.com.

How will the peer-review process work?

Peer-review will pass through three phases:

Editorial Board

Arne Flaten (Coastal Carolina University): Peer-review
Philippe Fleury (Université de Caen): Roman topography and technology
Bernard Frischer (University of Virginia): Editor-in-chief
Alyson Gill (Arkansas State University): Greek archaeology; peer-review
Gabriele Guidi (Politecnico di Milano): 3D technologies
Yehuda Kalay (University of California, Berkeley): twentieth-century urban and architectural history
Karsten Lambers (University of Bamberg): Precolumbian archaeology in Latin America
Paolo Liverani (Università di Firenze): Classical art and archaeology
Nasser Rabbat (MIT): Islamic sites and monuments
Robert Vergnieux (Université de Bordeaux, CNRS): Egyptian archaeology

Questions & comments.

For further information, please contact Bernard Frischer, editor-in-chief, SAVE, bernard.d.frischer@gmail.com