iSchool students complete practicum at IDEA Lab

Yingying Han
Yingying Han

In the fall semester, three iSchool students worked on a 3D scanning service project and software development project as part of their practicum experience at the Innovation, Discovery, Design, & Data Lab (IDEA Lab). Located in Grainger Engineering Library, the IDEA Lab serves as a demonstration and prototyping site for exploring the interface between design learning, informatics, visualization, and data analytics. Students who completed the practicum include PhD student Yingying Han, MS/IM student Xiaohan Yin, and MS/LIS student Nathan Moore. In addition to the three students working on the projects as part of their practicum experience, MS/LIS student Greta Heng worked part time on the 3D Digital Scholarship Scanning Service project, 3DS3.

3DS3 is a University of Illinois Library-funded project that aims to create an online collection of high-quality 3D models, leveraging existing digital infrastructure for storage, preservation, and distribution. In addition, the project will provide a 3D scanning service to faculty, students, and researchers to support digital scholarship. According to Rob Wallace, IT technical associate at Grainger Engineering Library, the iSchool students he supervised at the IDEA Lab contributed to the project team’s knowledge of 3D modeling, digital preservation best practices, and descriptive and technical metadata.

PhD student Yingying Han worked on the 3DS3 team, investigating how 3D scanners are used in other libraries, museums, and archives; creating descriptive and provenance metadata elements for the 3D repository; and identifying potential copyright issues in the digitizing project. She felt prepared for the practicum after taking Digital Preservation (IS 543), Metadata in Theory and Practice (IS 575), and Copyright for Information Professions (IS 541).

"The Digital Preservation class with Professor McDonough introduced in detail what a preservation workflow looks like and some reference models like OAIS, as well as some strategies for selecting file formats," said Han. "In my practicum, I applied the related knowledge while discussing with my teammates on what formats we should use for access copy and preservation copy. Also, the knowledge of OAIS was helpful when we designed a workflow for this project."

IDEA Lab entrance

The software development project, Komodo, is in partnership with VR@Illinois, a collaborative initiative to support virtual, augmented, and extended reality teaching, research, and exploration at the University of Illinois.

"Komodo is an open-source platform that provides turn-key functionality to deploy immersive teaching and research environments directly via a web browser," said Wallace. "Xiaohan brought to the project her expertise in technologies such as HTML/vanilla JS, Vue.js, Node.js, MySQL, Docker, WebRTC, nginx, and Git. IDEA Lab has had a consistently positive experience working with practicum students from the iSchool, and this semester is no different."