Metadata is essential to the success of your project. The best approach is to capture the information needed as your project progresses through its data capture, post-processing, visual enhancement and publishing stages.
The key information that you need to capture in your metadata includes:
Project or event - details of the project that produced the 3D datasets, its scope, goals, date, methods and techniques, and the people, organisations and funding bodies involved.
Cultural heritage object - the museum object, archaeological monument or historic building that has been captured in 3D, its type, characteristics, cultural associations, date, geographic location or the museum in which it is held, and references
Digital data - the 3D model name, description, subject, type, its technical characteristics and provenance, the sources from which it was elabourated (datasets, research, archive sources), rights and access licences, and where the data can be found.
Your project may produce several digital objects/datasets - ranging from the raw data to different versions of your 3D model (light-weight, heavy-weight, printable models, etc.) and including complementary media files and text reports. It is good practice to create a metadata record for the entire collection, which describes the project and lists the digital objects that were created.
Individual digital objects (such as your project report and 3D models) will need individual metadata records when they are uploaded to a repository or to an online service such as Sketchfab.
To make the most of the metadata that you create, it should support discovery of your 3D objects by portals (such as Europeana) that can promote it to a broad range of users. Two key issues face 3D content creators:
Differences in the metadata specified for different services (e.g. between Sketchfab and Europeana)
The need to find an efficient way of storing metadata describing the digital provenance with the 3D model itself.