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Library Of Congress To Preserve Games, Virtual Worlds

Library Of Congress To Preserve Games, Virtual Worlds

August 6, 2007 | By Jason Dobson

August 6, 2007 | By Jason Dobson
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Federal cultural institution The Library of Congress has announced its Preserving Creative America initiative, which targets preservation issues across a broad range of creative media, including movies, digital photography, and video games.

According to a statement announcing the program, many of the included projects will involve “developing standardized approaches to content formats and metadata (the information that makes electronic content discoverable by search engines), which are expected to increase greatly the chances that the digital content of today will survive to become America’s cultural patrimony tomorrow.”

The program is funded by a $2.15 million investment to provide “added impetus for collaborations within and across industries, as well as with libraries and archives.” Writes Stanford University's Henry Lowood in a post to the IGDA Preservation SIG mailing list, a “a nice portion” of this money is being put towards the program's games project, which is called 'Preserving Virtual Worlds' and aims to “explore methods for preserving digital games and interactive fiction” that the directors feel are in danger of being lost as “technologies rapidly become obsolete.”

The Library of Congress announcement further notes that Linden Lab's popular virtual world Second Life will play a vital role in the project, with online communities such as Life to the Second Power, Democracy Island and the International Spaceflight Museum tapped to participate in the project. In addition to virtual worlds such as Second Life, Lowood notes that the 'Preserving Virtual Worlds' project will also include historical games such as those in the Digital Game Cannon, and electronic literature.

“America’s creativity is unrivaled in the world, and it is among our most important exports," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The Library is pleased to be able to bring together creators of such diverse content for the sake of saving our nation’s heritage, which is increasingly being created only in digital formats."

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