The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), the College of Information Studies, and the Department of English at the University of Maryland are very pleased to announce their participation in a $785,000 National Leadership Grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the next stage of the Preserving Virtual Worlds project which has just concluded its initial two year phase under sponsorship from the Library of Congress.
Preserving Virtual Worlds II: Methods for Evaluating and Preserving Significant Properties of Educational Games and Complex Interactive Environments (PVW2) will be conducted in partnership with the University of Illinois (lead institution), the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Stanford University. PVW2 plans to help improve the capacity of libraries, museums, and archives to preserve computer games, virtual worlds, and interactive fiction.
The research team at Maryland, led by Matthew Kirschenbaum (Associate Professor of English and Associate Director of MITH) and Kari Kraus (Assistant Professor of Information Studies and English), will have a major role in all aspects of the new project, including content analysis work, interviews with game players and producers, and conducting double-blind studies to help evaluate the “significant properties” of games and other interactive media.
Kraus states,”Preserving Virtual Worlds II proposes a novel methodology for studying the significant properties of video games and other complex interactive environments. By focusing on the temporal transitions between developer versions and player mods, we hope to identify patterns of stability and change in game attributes–such as graphics, text, sound, items, and sprites–that can help us infer how different communities of practice interpret their relative significance.”
Jenny Preece, Dean of the iSchool at Maryland, notes “In an age of complex interactive media this project offers a unique opportunity for capturing digital cultural heritage.” Kent Cartwright, Chair of English, adds “It is thrilling to see two of our brilliant young faculty members deeply involved in this major project.” Neil Fraistat, Director of MITH, comments “This innovative project provides an important bridge not only between iSchools and the Humanities, but also between archival studies and textual scholarship. MITH is pleased to be continuing the very fruitful partnership begun in the first phase of the project.”
This grant news caps off a remarkable trifecta of achievements for this multi-institutional interdisciplinary research group, which also includes being shortlisted for the prestigious Digital Preservation Coalition prize (winner to be announced in December) and the release of a 200-page final report on phase one of the project, available here: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/17097.