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
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.
- Global. The first mode is “global”: it makes
a schematic version of a CH model with simplified geometry
and reduced texturing available in a KMZ
layer in Google Earth. The KMZ file will be downloadable from the SAVE home
page at no cost to users. Accompanying it will be a related KML file containing
geo-referenced documentation and metadata giving users information about the
evidence used to make the elements of the reconstruction, as well as links
to other scientific on-line resources for the study of the monument.
- High Resolution. The second mode is “high resolution”: it makes
the full model available with full interactivity, real-time lighting, and some
simple tools (e.g., a virtual measuring tape and calipers). This mode is the
most sensitive in terms of the protection of the creator’s intellectual
property since it presents the full model without simplification. SAVE protects
the intellectual property of its authors by using principles of secure remote
rendering developed with the support of grants from the National Science Foundation
(grants 0535118 and 0713295): instead of giving the end user a download of the
full model, SAVE sends the user a video stream from a secure server. Each image
in the stream is imperceptibly distorted in order to make cybertheft difficult
or impossible. By providing secure transmission of the full model, SAVE hopes
to encourage more cultural authorities and model creators to allow CH digital
models to be published to the Internet with no sacrifice of detail.
- Collaborative. The third mode is “collaborative”: it presents
a somewhat simplified version of the model enhanced with social tools such as
avatars, VOIP, and instant messaging to facilitate the use of the model in teaching
and research. Since each model supports the opening of a HTML browser, all the
modes are mutually accessible to our subscribers: if the user is in the high
resolution mode and wishes to see the archaeological documentation for a window
or door, she can go to the global mode to obtain this information. When she
is in the collaborative mode and wishes to take a measurement of in a room,
she can switch to the high resolution mode.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will the peer-review process work?
Peer-review will pass through three phases:
- Technical review. Your contribution will be
studied by SAVE’s technical staff to verify four points: the model is in
a supported format (3D Studio Max, Maya, etc.); that it is well-made for
efficient operation in real-time; that the requisite metadata, documentation and
related article or monograph have been included; and that the standard SAVE
intellectual property agreement has been signed.
- Review by subject experts. The work you submit will
be examined by at least two scholars in the field using the system of double-blind
reviewing: you will not know their identity and they will not know yours. The subject
experts will be mark the work as “publish as submitted,”
“publishable submit to revision,” or “not publishable.”
- Post-publication peer-review. A blog will be associated with
each publication in SAVE, so that SAVE subscribers can comment on the model. The editorial
board will monitor the logs to see if any criticisms or suggestions have been
posted that might warrant a response by the creator of the model. The creator
will have the opportunity to update or correct the model. Alternatively, if
the creator decides not to accept a suggested change which the editorial board
believes would enhance the model, the editorial board may itself add or commission
an alternative version of the model (or of an element in the overall model)
that reflects this suggestion (see above under “editorial
- 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,