- Ludic Cartography. Mapping Gamespaces
- Past Projects
- Preserving Virtual Worlds
- Research and Publication
The Institute for Museum and Library Services announced its September 2013 grant awards yesterday. You can read the announcement here. I am very pleased that the IMLS awarded a three-year National Leadership Grant for Libraries to a project called, "From Descriptive Metadata to Citation: Building a Framework for Search and Communication in Game Studies" that will be carried out by a team from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Stanford.
This project continues the close collaboration between these teams that began earlier this year with a Digital Humanities Startup grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a methodology for archiving software development, with a focus on the special archival and documentation requirements for software developed in universities and other research-centered institutions.
The IMLS-funded project will be a major activity of the How They Got Game project over the next three years, in close collaboration with the lead team led by Noah Wardrip-Fruin at UCSC. In a nutshell, the project will deliver a metadata scheme for digital game software, including ontology and terminology, in the first two years. Year three will focus on related scholarly apparatus, especially citation (including citation of in-game events). Obviously, this will be an ambitious undertaking, but it is also a necessary one for a whole host of activities from game acquisition and preservation, through discovery and access and on to scholarly use.
Here are the specific tasks we will be working on:
As many readers of this blog certainly know, How They Got Game @ Stanford was involved in both of the Preserving Virtual Worlds projects, along with teams at the University of Illinois, the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (U. Maryland), and the Rochester Institute of Technology. The projects were funded by the U.S. Library of Congress-National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, respectively.
I am pleased to announce that the digital collections created over the course of this (roughly five years) of scoping work, research and reporting were preserved - as befits a preservation project! These collections have been gathered together and are now available through the Stanford Digital Repository, the digital "wing" of the Stanford University Libraries (so to speak). Note that we are not at this time able to provide open access to all of the materials, due to rights restrictions. The good news is that you are free to use many of the digital items; if you can see it, you can use it. The collections cover eight cases investigated over the course of the two PVW projects: Spacewar!, Adventure, Star Raiders, Mystery House, SimCity, DOOM, Arteroids, and the Corrupted Blood incident in World of Warcraft.
Two-year project will image one of the largest pristine historical collections of microcomputing software in the world for historical and cultural research.
Read the full article here.
I will be on the program of this year's GameCity festival in Nottingham, England. I will have a couple of chances to talk about PVW/PVW2 and will be having conversations with James Newman, Iain Simons and some other people at NTU (Nottingham Trent University, where the UK National Videogame Archive is located) about projects.
The two public events for me are:
Monday, 9am. GameCity Breakfast talk. "You're All Going to Die." This is a panel with James, me, and Stella Wisdom of the British Library. I expect that one theme will be the link between web archiving and game preservation.
Monday, 2.30pm. "Before It's Too Late: The National Videogame Archive Four Years On." This is a "keynote" with James giving the main talk about the NVA, and I will respond. Yes, the title has a familiar ring, and I'm sure that's intentional.
Tips for Nottingham and the Midlands are welcome.
The Computer History Museum has just released the oral history I conducted with Al Alcorn back in 2008. The transcript can be found here. The two interviews (both about two hours long) were also videotaped, and I am sure CHM will be releasing clips from the interview for various purposes.
Here is a short excerpt to whet your appetite.
"Lowood: You made a quick comment in there. Do you think Steve Jobs was influenced by Bushnell?
Alcorn: Absolutely. Absolutely. Again, my personal belief-- remember, Steve was an adopted child, right. And I don't think the relationship with his parents was that good, and and he was, what, 18, 19 years old? To all of a sudden see this weird relationship between Nolan and myself, how the dynamics worked and how, you know, we already were known to be a pretty innovative company. He came to us because it was clearly a fun place to work. And then to see that process and the very nature of what happened with the Breakout story, you know, that Nolan would get him to go do this thing. You heard the Breakout story. You know.
Alcorn: And not even tell me about it, you know, to get things done. I mean, look at how things happened with the Macintosh and things at Apple later on, the same kind of thread, just flat out not taking no for an answer. I think that Steve was affected by that [relationship with Bushnell.] Yeah."
The History of Games International Conference
The Stanford University Libraries have acquired the photographic archives of "Bay Area Video Arcades: Photographs by Ira Nowinski," 1981-1982." The collection consists of approximately 650 35mm images, with contact sheets, as well as prints and digitized images for approximately 50 selected images.
Ira Nowinski is an acclaimed documentary photographer who has created extraordinary photo essays in a variety of areas of recent history, including North Beach in San Francisco, the evacuation of elderly citizens in San Francisco's SOMA district, aspects of Southeast Asian, Jewish, and Native American culture, and an important photographic study of Holocaust Memorials.
This photo was taken just after the installation of the restored (to working condition) Ampex Model 200a in the Stanford Library's Information Center, in Green Library. It stands alongside the VRX1000. These two machines are the highlights of the hardware portion of our Ampex historical collection, showing off key artifacts from the early history of audio and video recording, respectively. The gentleman standing next to the machine is Larry Miller, a former Ampex engineer who did a marvelous job of restoring the machine to near-pristine condition. Interestingly, Larry's father ran an electronics shop in the 1940s and probably produced a number of prototype components for this very piece of equipment.
The text below is from "Project Xanadu: Loss and Recovery," a side-bar I wrote for the AIMS (An Inter-Institutional Model for Stewardship) Project Final Report on the building of framework for archival processing of born-digital materials. The report was issued in Jan. 2012. You can read about the project and get the final report here.
“What we're actually building at this point is only a part of Ted's original conception, though it's designed to be the first stepping stone to the whole thing.”
– Chris Hibbert, post to comp.multimedia newsgroup, 30 March 1992 (from file on XOR hard drive).
Ted Nelson’s Project Xanadu provided the original vision of hypertext as a system for document management, publication, linking and citation. Begun in 1960, the project to build Xanadu continued well into the 1990s. From 1989 to 1992, Autodesk funded Nelson’s Xanadu Operating Company (XOC) to complete software development. However, when a new group of programmers primarily from Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) joined the group in 1991, they abandoned the earlier version of Xanadu written largely by Roger Gregory and began a new version rewritten from scratch in PARC’s new programming language, Smalltalk. This forking of the project eventually led to the collapse of the Autodesk-funded effort. Keith Henson, an XOC investor, encouraged the Palo Alto-startup, Memex to pick up the project In 1994. Memex licensed Xanadu from XOC and brought the Xanada project to its office space on California Avenue. Before long, however, the arrangement collapsed. The team disintegrated, with Nelson and Gregory regaining control of Xanada, which would finally be released as the open-source Udanax system in 1999.
The April 2011 special issue of Journal of Visual Culture devoted to machinima is out now. Published by Sage Press, it was co-edited by Susan Rojo, Matteo Bittanti (former SHL), and me. So pretty much a HTGG-organized effort. You can read the issue here.