Metadata for Digitally Distributed Video Games at the Seattle Interactive Media Museum
Jin Ha Lee, University of Washington, Information School, USA, Rachel Ivy Clarke, University of Washington, USA, Andrew Perti, Seattle Interactive Media Museum, USA
As video games play an increasingly widespread role in society, museums and related institutions are launching various initiatives to catalog, preserve, and exhibit video games and related media. Collecting and preserving physical video games comes with challenges. Furthermore, with the advent of smartphones, tablet computers, and social networking, many games are increasingly released digitally—having no physical component and accessible only through download or streaming from “the cloud.” Digitally distributed games are problematic to collect, catalog, and preserve.
This paper discusses the challenges the Seattle Interactive Media Museum (SIMM) and other museums face when attempting to catalog digitally downloadable, streaming, and “cloud-based” media as part of their collections. Using the metadata schema for physical games at SIMM as a springboard, each metadata element was analyzed and revised to accurately represent digitally distributed games. The schema was then tested through the actual cataloging of samples of digitally distributed games in order to determine where breakdowns occur. In addition to revealing the necessary information elements for digitally distributed games, our work offers insight for other institutions facing the challenge of collecting and cataloging born-digital materials in other domains and media.