One central thrust of this project will be the use of digital technologies to support project research aims relating to documentation and narration. We will deploy a FARO 3D scanners to scan structures and material objects discovered on-site – including the Canal schooner James Norris. Its application to industrial landscapes is ideal, where the size of objects make it often impractical to remove, curate and preserve them off-site. To enable future study of these objects we intend to generate high-resolution 3D scans, and then re-bury these timbers.
Our second digital aim will be to generate multi-modal narratives expressed in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. These narratives will describe the respective histories of the shipyard site and of our fieldwork. To realize these aims, we are aligning with Brock University’s HistorySpace Project, to create software that will support the generation of scholarly 3D models (Complex Objects), spatial narratives expressed in VR and AR (Narrative Objects), and multi-modal documentation that will describe the data and workflow underlying all 3D scholarly content (Documentation Objects). This software will enable scholars to create spatial narratives, where the viewer must travel through space to multiple designated locales, locales where they will receive content; it will also enable digital authors to annotate textual, audio, photographic and other forms of 2D evidence to the virtual space, and to specify the sequence and duration of the narrative’s content items. The Shipyard project will provide a real-world context to assess the software’s utility, whilst enabling HistorySpace to revise the software, enhance its ease of use, and ensure that it can be used by scholars in multiple disciplines, ranging from theatre history and urban history to maritime history and virtual heritage.