Nevada Library Association Annual Conference - 2019; November 2-4, 2019

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Monday, November 4 • 2:00pm - 2:45pm
Building Bridges With Virtual Reality

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The University of Nevada, Reno Libraries' @One Digital Media Technology department has been working on a cultural preservation project that includes the scanning and photographing of a portion of the UNR Anthropology Department’s collection of Native American baskets, which are housed in a secured and condition-monitored vault and are rarely seen, handled or interacted with, especially by the public. The scans will comprise a Virtual Reality museum--developed entirely in-house, and both the scans and photographs will comprise a digital collection hosted in the Libraries’ digital asset management system: Islandora. Thus, the delicate and sacred baskets can be digitally seen, researched, and virtually touched and interacted with far more broadly than ever before. A compliment to this will be a documentary highlighting the Native American tradition of basket weaving, featuring interviews of several Native American basket weavers from a variety of Northern Nevada/regional tribes, sharing their feelings/impressions about and experience(s) with the tradition. This project has organically created opportunities to build relationships between the University and a variety of Native communities and individuals throughout the region. Several of these relationships have additionally led to collaborations with said communities/individuals in relation to various aspects of the overall project--one of which includes reuniting interested parties with the baskets housed at UNR. Many Natives who have put on a VR headset and seen the 3D scans of the baskets have been surprised and impressed by how realistic they look, as well as by the fact that they offer a way for this integral part of their culture to be shared with a broader audience, while simultaneously preventing the physical baskets from being damaged and digitally preserving them. The project will be discussed in full detail--genesis, process (workflow, relationship-building, obstacles along the way, reception, lessons learned,) and technical aspects--and those interested will get to put on the VR headset to see the baskets for themselves.

avatar for Luka Starmer

Luka Starmer

VR Specialist, University of Nevada, Reno
Luka is a VR Specialist on the multimedia team for the @One Digital Media Technology department in the University Libraries. He has a masters degree in interactive journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism where he learned about immersive storytelling and 360 video. Now he... Read More →
avatar for Laura Rocke

Laura Rocke

Digital Humanities Project Manager, University of Nevada, Reno
Laura was born and raised in Reno, Nevada and received her Master of Arts in History from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), focusing her studies on Early American History, Race and Ethnicity with an emphasis on slavery in Colonial America, and Public History. Currently, she is... Read More →

Monday November 4, 2019 2:00pm - 2:45pm PST
Topaz Room