How Will We Preserve Virtual Worlds?
Interactive media are highly complex and at high risk for loss as technologies rapidly become obsolete. The Preserving Virtual Worlds project explored methods for preserving digital games and interactive fiction. Major activities included developing basic standards for metadata and content representation and conducting a series of archiving case studies for early video games, electronic literature and Second Life, an interactive multiplayer game.
Project partners were the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (lead), the University of Maryland, Stanford University, Rochester Institute of Technology and Linden Lab. Second Life content participants included Life to the Second Power, Democracy Island and the International Spaceflight Museum. The Preserving Virtual Worlds project was funded by the Preserving Creative America initiative under the National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program (NDIIPP) administered by the Library of Congress.
The Final Report of the Preserving Virtual Worlds project is now available through the University of Illinois IDEALS repository at http://hdl.handle.net/2142/17097. The report includes findings from the entire project team on issues relating to the preservation of video games and interaction fiction, including issues around library & archival collection development/management, bibliographic description, copyright & intellectual property, preservation strategies, metadata & packaging, and next steps for both the professional and research community with regards to these complex and important resources. My deep thanks go out to all of my colleagues on the project, the Library of Congress, and all of the people in the research and gaming communities who’ve contributed their time and assistance.