[game_preservation] New Year's Greeting and Preservation SIG news

Henry Lowood lowood at stanford.edu
Fri Jan 5 20:20:46 EST 2007

Dear Preservation SIG members (and a few others I have included):

First, this is not spam. It's a real message to the list. Sorry,
it's a long one!

Second, Happy New Year!

Now that I have all that out of the way, let me start off the new
year with three blocks of news about the IGDA Preservation SIG.
Here's a table of contents, so to speak:

1. Plans for moving the SIG forward in 2007.
2. SIG events at GDC.
3. Some preservation news.

1. Plans for moving the SIG forward. Beginning with this new year,
I've agreed to chair the Preservation SIG. Many thanks to Simon
Carless and Kieron Wilkinson for starting and leading the group since
its inception, I believe, at the 2004 GDC.

Following up on the roundtable meetings at 2006 GDC, we are going to
try to start up some ambitious activities this year in game
preservation and history, and the first order of business is to
solicit some help from you. We need volunteers for several SIG projects:

* Blog author(s). See http://www.igda.org/preservation/ for a sample
* Wiki editors and contributors. See
http://www.igda.org/wiki/index.php/Game_Preservation_SIG for some
stubs and
for a start on an important page.
* Mailing list moderator.
* Forum moderator. See start here:

The first two roles in the SIG team are especially important, as the
blog and wiki can play important roles in fulfilling the SIG's
mission as far as being a meta-resource and clearing house for
information. Oh, we have a mission statement here:

There are a number of projects about to get underway in game
preservation, game library collections, etc. I know of several of
these, but I'm sure that the group collectively has a wealth of
knowledge to share. Let's use the blog and wiki to establish a
presence both in the industry and in academic and cultural resource circles.

Ok, so part 1 ends with this appeal: Please help out by volunteering
for one of these posts, and we can get started!

Also, please spread the word about the SIG to anyone you think may be
interested in either game preservation or history.

2. SIG events at GDC.

There will be three important events for us in the IGDA tracks at
GDC. This is a heads-up to let you know about them.

The first is a panel called "10 Games You need to Play," with Warren
Spector, Christopher Grant, Steve Meretzky, Matteo Bittanti and
myself. (The math works: 2 games each ...) Matteo has dubbed this
the "canon fodder" session. Here is the description:

This will be mentioned at the panel, but it's closely linked to the
U.S. Library of Congress' interest in funding a major project towards
game preservation as part of this program:
http://www.digitalpreservation.gov, specifically this call for
http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/partners/creative_rfei.pdf. I can
tell you that a consortium consisting of Stanford, U. Maryland and U.
Illlinois has put together an expression of interest for a major
preservation project, though we do not know yet if it will be
funded. However, we hope that it will be, and that the panel will
play a role in defining an initial project focus around a canon of
important titles in game history. Anyway, this is just to let you
know about this context; the event will surely be fun and interesting
on a number of levels.

The other two events are roundtable meetings under the title,
"Preserving Games: Saving the Past and Setting Safeguards for
Today." As has become traditional at GDC, we will have two meetings
of this roundtable, I believe. Perhaps one will focus on "saving the
past" and the other on "setting safeguards" but we'll see how that
works out. The roundtable is described here:

Please plan on attending these events at GDC, if you can.

3. Some preservation news.

Well, I already spilled the beans about the NDIIPP proposal, which
was my major piece of news. If anyone is interested in more news
about this, please let me know and perhaps I'll add a wiki page for
it to the SIG. Any interest in seeing the Expression of
Interest? If so, I'll ask my colleagues for permission to circulate that.

Another piece of news is that Machinima Archive -
http://www.archive.org/details/machinima - has archived nearly 500
movies and will probably hit that number before GDC. So that project
has proven itself.

Last, I am hearing from a number of libraries that are starting up
game collections. It's amazing for me to compare this to the
situation in the late 1990s when Stanford acquired the Cabrinety
Collection. At the time, I feared (not really) that acquiring such
materials was as likely a professional death wish as a bold,
visionary move. Not even a decade later, libraries are moving
quickly into this area. If any of you individual collectors,
metadata creators (hello Mobygames!) or those with experience in
museums, libraries or companies would be willing to post about your
experiences with such collections, that would be a great use of the
blog or esp. the wiki. It would be wonderful to be able to refer
institutions or individuals to this information; maybe we could try
to assemble three sets of resources for individual collectors,
institutional repositories, and metadata/folksonomy projects.

That's all for now. Please volunteer for one of the areas I have
mentioned or just feel free to dive into the wiki and start working
on it. Also, please direct anyone interested in our topics to IGDA
and encourage them to join the SIG. And do feel free to forward this e-mail.

See you at GDC,


Henry Lowood
Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections;
Germanic Collections; Film & Media Collections
HRG, Green Library, Stanford University Libraries
Stanford CA 94305-6004
lowood at stanford, edu; 650-723-4602
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