Workflow:Long Term Archiving at the CINES

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Long Term Archiving at the CINES
Input:All data identified as to be retained in the 3D data life cycle
Output:PLY, DAE
Organisation:Consortium "3D for Humanities"

Workflow Description[edit]

The long-term preservation of 3D digital objects raises some critical issues. Indeed, firstly, different kind of data can be archived: the original files depending on the method used to digitize; the final version, depending on the goal (simple acquisition or modelisation) and any relevant information (text, images, pdf , scenarios ...) added for a better comprehension of the 3D object (see 3D data life cycle )

Secondly it is important that metadata accompany the archive to ensure that the 3D object will be human-readable in the long-term. These metadata have to be completed in distinct files.

Preserving 3D digital objects.PNG

The Consortium "3D for Humanities" of Huma-Num developed a tool, aLTAG3D to easily produce metadata file for the full 3D archive. Lastly, a place to preserve 3D data in the long term has to be found. Many solutions exist, depending on the countries. In France, there are solutions such as 3D National Data Repository for 3D data research for mid-term preservation, and the CINES in the continuity for long-term preservation.

First step[edit]

Identify the files to be archived: any source files, final validated 3D results and documentation.
For any further information, see 3D data production workflow
Convert all these files to open file format accepted by the CINES
For more detailed information, see CINES file format information

Second step[edit]

Use aLTAG3D to build the archive:
Create as many boxes in the tool as 3D object in the archive
Add all selected files to the archive (drag-&-drop in the tool interface) either to 3D boxes or to sourceFile boxes

Third step[edit]

Annotate the archive:
Add information in the boxes for each 3D object/box and for each source file (semi-automatic process)

Forth step[edit]

Contact the official 3D data repository for archiving
Upload the archive to the repository


This workflow is a use case scenario designed to illustrate best pratices in the long term preservation of 3D digital objects with a final deposit at the CINES (National Computing Center for Higher Education), a public institution supervised by the French ministry for Higher Education and Research which offers services to the scientific community in the long term digital preservation.

Long term preservation of digital documents has three main objectives:

  • Keep the document
  • Make it accessible
  • Preserve intelligibility


The use case scenario for preserving 3D digital objects was produced by the team of the consortium “3D for Humanities” for (SSK) the Standardization Survival Kit (SSK), a toolkit for Humanities developed within the PARTHENOS project in order to stabilize knowledge on standards and good research practices, giving access to them in a meaningful way, by the mediation of research scenarios.


The workflow has been extensively tested since 2016 by members of the Consortium " 3D for Humanities", and is regularly improved. For any questions or suggestions, please contact

Further Information[edit]