Digital Immersive Screen Colloquium for Unified Standards and Specifications (DISCUSS)

April 1st, 2010 - March 31st, 2012 | PROJECT

The DISCUSS (NSF-ISE 0946691) project enabled the White Oak Institute to address a key problem facing the science museum field – the need for open-access specifications for digital technologies that can transform the capacities of museum giant screen (GS) theaters from analog to digital, as analog film becomes obsolete. DIGSS (the “Digital Immersive Giant Screen Specifications”) is an open-access, field-based set of specifications, modeled on the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) that converted commercial cinema from film to digital. DIGSS addresses the superior image, theater geometry and size needed for museum-quality immersive learning. Until DIGSS, there were no digital specs to address museums’ unique need for a truly immersive learning experience. As of April, 2012, DIGSS was officially transferred to the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA), whose Technical Committee took over its stewardship. At least one system supplier now offers 3D and 2D giant screen digital projection systems designed specifically for DIGSS. The Peoria Riverfront Museum (opened October, 2012) included the first new DIGSS-compliant digital GS Theater (3D flat, 70’ x 52’ screen). The DISCUSS Colloquium (June 14-16, 2010, Marblehead, MA) convened experts in digital technologies, theater geometry, network economics, learning evaluation and museum leadership to develop initial consensus, resulting in the first draft of DIGSS (DIGSS 1.0). The specifications were then refined by professional comment on the DISCUSS wiki. The White Oak Institute partnered with key professional associations (GSCA, ASTC, IPS and IMERSA) to communicate DIGSS to their professional members, inviting field-wide input and review. DISCUSS collateral outcomes include: a bibliography of articles and publications related to giant screen theaters and films; a literature review of GS learning outcomes; a snapshot of the global GS theater network as of May 2010; an economic survey reporting on attendance, revenues, expenses and more; several scenarios calculating the network size needed to support the desired number of annual films; and a logic rationale that can serve as a research framework. These and other outcomes are integrated into the DISCUSS Proceedings, available with DIGSS 1.0 at

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

GSCA 2010 Conference Attendees Awareness and Attitudes Towards DIGSS
Giant Screen Professionals’ Awareness and Attitudes Towards the Development of Digital Immersive Giant Screen Specifications
Discuss Colloquium Evaluation

Team Members

John Jacobsen, Principal Investigator, White Oak Institute
Beatrice Stahl, Co-Principal Investigator, White Oak Institute


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0946691
Funding Amount: 249804


Audience: Evaluators | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Conferences | Films and IMAX | Media and Technology | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks