Three-Dimensional (3-D) Scanning Within Academic Libraries: Exploring and Considering a New Public Service


  • Jason A. Reuscher The Pennsylvania State University Libraries



The article discusses the creation of a three-dimensional (3-D) scanning service within an academic library. Academic libraries generally offer two-dimensional (2-D) or flatbed scanning to their patrons—why not 3-D scanning? Inspired by the routine use of the former, the author investigates the reasoning for offering as a service the latter, defining what it is from a library and information science perspective, how it complements the digital repository and digital scholarship projects being supported within academic libraries, and why libraries should consider it as a public service independently from 3-D printing. A technical description of the scanning equipment and an informal, qualitative account are given from experience using a NextEngine 3-D scanner within an academic library, highlighting some of the challenges and opportunities that such a technology might present.

Author Biography

Jason A. Reuscher, The Pennsylvania State University Libraries

Jason A. Reuscher is an assistant librarian with the Pennsylvania State University Libraries, employed at the Schuylkill Campus.