This page is a list of resources associated with videogames accumulated over time by the UTVA. This page will be updated as new resources are discovered.

Literature resources:

Note: all links were checked on November 16, 2015.

Videogame Preservation:

Before It’s Too Late: A Digital Game Preservation White Paper
Written by the Game Preservation Special Interest Group, International Game Developers Association and published in March 2009, this white paper can be described as a call to action as the authors address the problems of game preservation.

Digital Preservation of Console Video Games by Mark Guttenbrunner
In this paper published in October of 2007, Guttenbrunner writes about digital preservation of video games in light of hardware failure and obsolescence. He discusses various digital preservation strategies including the “museum approach”, maintaining the original software and hardware. He lists the UNESCO Guidelines for the Preservation of Digital Heritage.

Grand Theft Archive by Paul Gooding & Melissa Terras
In this 2008 article, the authors describe a quantitative analysis of the state of computer game preservation. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the authors argue for the use of ‘less academic’ sources of information like Wikipedia, message boards, and blogs.

Playing History with Games: Steps Towards Historical Archives of Computer Gaming by Henry Lowood
Lowood, Stanford’s lead on the Preserving Virtual Worlds project, presented this paper at the Electronic Media Group annual meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Lowood makes the case for preserving video games and lists recommendations for cultural heritage institutions with video game collections.

Guidelines for the Preservation of Digital Heritage (UNESCO)
Authored by the National Library of Australia for UNESCO and published in 2003, the goal for creating these guidelines was “to improve access to digital heritage for all the world’s peoples.” Similar to the Guttenbrunner paper, the guidelines describe and evaluate digital preservation strategies including technological preservation.

Preservation of the Video Game by Allison Hudgins
In this 2011 article, the author discusses the problem of and need to preserve video games and the gaming experience. Video games require “complex, obsolete hardware, which faces its own preservation challenges.”

Collecting and Preserving Videogames and Their Related Materials: A Review of Current Practice, Game-Related Archives and Research Projects by Megan Winget & Caitlin Murray
In this 2008 article, the authors provide a review of then-current efforts underway to preserve video game and discuss four digital preservation strategies including emulation.

Preserving Videogames for Posterity by David Watson
Multimedia Information & Technology, May 2012, Vol. 38, Issue 2, p. 30-31
In this short resource, the author touches upon both hardware preservation and why it is only a short-term strategy for video preservation. This article was one of the first I encountered that mentioned deterioration of the plastics in hardware casings.

Preserving Virtual Worlds
This collaborative research project was conducted as part of Preserving Creative America, an initiative of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library of Congress. The project investigated issues surrounding the preservation of video games.

“How Do I Preserve an Unused Computer?” – SuperUser Community Blog
This resource is an example of research-by-analogy. The blog authors and its reading community talk about different environmental hazards that can negatively impact a computer and its internal components.

Vintage Computing and Gaming Blog by Benj Edwards
Mr. Edwards runs a blog about “computer, video game, and technology history” and frequently writes about retrogaming.

Plastics: Identification, Preservation, Conservation

Tulane University Libraries – Preservation Resources: Computer and Video Game Preservation
This resource presents information with respect to preserving the physical carrier of video games, such as plastics, and the digital information the carrier contains.

Plastics Historical Society
The Plastics Historical Society was formed in 1986 “to draw attention to the heritage of the plastics industry and to celebrate all things plastic.” One can find information about caring for, conserving, and identifying plastics.

Preservation of Plastic ARtefacts research project was initiated by the European Commission in 2008 to develop “a strategy for the preventive conservation and maintenance of modern material artefacts.” Most of the project’s main results are found in this resource. Perhaps the best find during the literature review.

Getty Conservation Institute
The mission of the Getty Conservation Institute includes advancing “conservation practice in the visual arts, broadly interpreted to include objects, collections, architecture, and sites.” Their newsletter, Conservation Perspectives, covers the Institute’s projects and activities related to conservation practices.

Metadata and Cataloging

GAMECIP – GAme MEtadata and CItation Project
This resource is the digital presence for the GAMECIP project, a project that investigated “metadata needs and citation practices surrounding computer games in institutional collections.” The resource provides links to different projects and publications. Their metadata schema can be found on the Open Metadata Registry.

GAMECIP – Hardware Platforms (Spin off project through Stanford University)
One of GAMECIP’s goals is to create controlled vocabularies for different aspects of computer games. This spin-off project developed a controlled vocabulary for platforms.

Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC)
OLAC is an organization for catalogers concerned with non print materials including digital. This resource is their online presence with links to the group’s publications and training guides.

Best Practices for Cataloging Video Games Using RDA and MARC21
These best practices were created by GAMECIP and OLAC to help cultural heritage institutions catalog video games uniformly as RDA was rolled out by the Library of Congress.

Archival Reference

Archival Intelligence and User Expertise by Elizabeth Yakel and Deborah Torres
The American Archivist, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Spring – Summer, 2003), pp. 51 – 78
The authors conducted interviews of archival users to generate a model of researcher expertise. They use this model to discuss ways curatorial and reference archivists can help a potential guest transition from an archival novice to an expert.

Archival Reference Knowledge by Wendy Duff, Elizabeth Yakel, Helen Tibbo
The American Archivist, Vol. 76, No.1, (Spring – Summer 2013), pp. 68-94.
The authors interviewed archival users and surveyed archival staff to investigate the types of knowledge needed to be a proficient reference archivist.

Educating the Reference Archivist by Janice Ruth
The American Archivist, Vol. 51, No. 3, Summer 1988, pp. 266 – 276
Ruth discusses two ways to increase researcher use of collections – improved finding aids (and other navigational documentation) and increased reference staff expertise and ways to enhance them both.

For Love of the Game: An Ethnographic Analysis of Archival Reference Work by Ciaran Trace
Archives and Manuscripts 34 (1) (May 2006): 124 – 143
Trace conducts an ethnographic study at an archives to help archivists better understand archival reference and the interaction between researcher and reference staff.

‘You’re a Guide Rather than an Expert’: Archival Reference from an Archivist’s Point of View by Wendy Duff & Allyson Fox
Journal of the Society of Archivists, Vol. 27, No. 2, October 2006, 129 – 153.
The authors conducted interviews with reference archivists in an effort to understand barriers to providing reference services and the skills and knowledge needed for quality reference interactions with guests.


Similar Collections

List of similar collections held by various institutions. These collections engender similar, and likely shared, problems. As a result, there is potential for future collaboration with partners in the quest to forge ‘best practices.’ Please note that all links were checked on November 17, 2015.

Stephen M. Cabrinety Collection, Department of Special Collections at Stanford
Stanford’s Cabrinety Collection contains, among other materials, computer hardware, peripheral devices, handheld devices, and legacy gaming systems.

University of Michigan: Computer and Video Game Archive
The CVGA serves dual purposes for the University of Michigan community. Visitors can use and play a wide variety of games from the 1970s onward in dedicated room in the library and the games are available for academic inquiry and research. Essentially, their games are meant to be played by both researchers and gamers.

National Videogame Archive (National Media Museum – UK)
The UK’s National Videogame Archive is held in the National Media Museum and includes some legacy gaming systems. Some of the archive’s materials have been used in a newly opened National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham.

Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities – Vintage Computers
Vintage computers have similar preservation issues as video game systems. This resource contains description schemes and a model for preservation.

Media Archaeology Lab (MAL) – University of Colorado, Boulder
The MAL has hardware “still functioning from the past” such as computers and gaming systems which allows them to maintain access to digital objects made by or rendered on these hardware devices. They use one of the most extensive hardware metadata descriptions we can find.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Video Game Archives
UIUC has a vintage gaming collection that is available to UIUC faculty for research purposes. The collection also contains the hardware and peripherals needed to render the vintage games.

The Computer History Museum
The museum is “dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history.” They collect artifacts such as hardware and ephemera.

International Center for the History of Electronic Games – The Strong National Museum of Play
The ICHEG has quite an extensive collection of video games and related materials, some 55,000 items. One of the museums blogs, CHEGheads, “explores the past, present, and future of electronic games.”

Computerspielmuseum – Germany
The museum is billed as the “first European museum for video and computer games.” They collect both games and the hardware and peripherals necessary to render the games.

Retro Computer Museum – UK
From their website: “The Retro Computer Museum is a registered charity dedicated to the benefit of the public for the preservation, display and public experience of computer and console systems from the 1960’s onwards.”

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