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What format questions to ask and considerations to make in acquisition of born digital architectural drawings?

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Libraries and Archives that collect and aquire in architicture and design often collect both finished architectural drawings and archives containing drafts and revisions of those drawings as well as prints and photographs. Given that drafting has become a principly digital afair, with its own set of special formats, what kinds of formats should libraries be seeking? Spesifcially, in what situations does it make sense to aquire original files from idyosyncratic production formats (DWG,DXF, etc), and in what cases does it make sense to try and get exports of computer aided design documents into other formats, like PDF?

In particular, I would be interested in what questions and considerations a curator should think through regarding 1) sustainability of formats and 2) richness of the documentation of the architectural/design record?


asked Jul 7, 2014 by tjowens (2,360 points)
retagged Aug 13, 2014 by tjowens

2 Answers

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Functionality factors: accuracy and precision.
answered Jul 15, 2014 by Carl Fleischhauer (200 points)
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You may want to consider ISO 10303, "Automation systems and integration — Product data representation and exchange", known informally as 'STEP', which stands for "Standard for the Exchange of Product model data". It's not simple (in fact, it's very complex), but it's widely supported by an array of Big-Time Players.

Also, ISO TC171 will be publishing PDF/E-2 (the second version of PDF/E, as in "Engineering") next year (2015). It will have enhanced support for digital preservation.

There's a set of metadata standards for architectural, engineering and construction drawings:  ISO 82045 (Parts 1, 2, and 5) you may want to look at.

Best regards.
answered Jul 15, 2014 by FredGrevin (200 points)