Between 2008 and 2010, MITH partnered with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Linden Lab (creators of Second Life) for a project funded by the Library of Congress’s National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) on Preserving Virtual Worlds. The two-year $590,000 award under NDIIPP’s Preserving Creative America program was shared among the project participants.
The Preserving Virtual Worlds project explored methods for preserving digital games, interactive fiction, and shared real time virtual spaces. Major activities include developing basic standards for metadata and content representation and conducting a series of archiving case studies for early video games and electronic literature, as well as Second Life, the popular and influential multi-user online world.
According to Fraistat, “This award from the Library of Congress places MITH and its partners at the forefront of those addressing a range of increasingly urgent questions involving the preservation of creative works that are “born digital”—from interactive electronic literature, to digital games, to virtual worlds such as Second Life. We are especially pleased to have as an industry partner, Linden Lab, the creator of Second Life itself.”
In addition to contributing to the work on Second Life, MITH took the lead on interactive fiction/electronic literature as a sub-domain of the project, and is occupied with all aspects of scoping, metadata, intellectual property, evaluation, and archiving of these materials. MITH initially focused on a small number of targeted works of recognized cultural and literary significance, including former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s 1984 interactive novel Mindwheel, Will Crowther’s ADVENTURE (written in 1975 and widely considered the earliest interactive text of its kind), and selected items from a large private collection of 1980s-era hardware and software recently gifted to MITH.