[Air-L] archiving virtual worlds for social science research

Jeremy Hunsinger jhuns at vt.edu
Wed Aug 29 09:24:19 PDT 2007


On Aug 29, 2007, at 11:12 AM, Scott MacLeod wrote:

> Thanks.
>
> The value of archiving this development of 'real' virtuality and
> virtual worlds is very high, I think. I

what do you mean by value here?   and how do you measure that on a  
scale that would relate to high and low?

for instance... when i was a kid and really bored... i would pursue  
the art of penny stacking... and building penny bridges... i would  
claim that to archive those, one only needs to take a picture... but  
as the materiality of the object is replicable by anyone with enough  
pennies and enough intuition about weight, even the pictures can be  
valueless ephemera.  how are virtual worlds different from penny  
stacking?

> compare this time in the
> information technology revolution, of which virtual worlds are a very
> fascinating aspect, to the cultural, artistic, and intellectual
> flourishings that occurred in ancient Greece, where now only about 3%
> of texts, etc. remain from that time. Many people in the future may
> well try to reconstruct any elisions in data from the early
> development of virtual worlds to understand this amazing developments.

but you see... the scholarship is in the puzzle, the translation, and  
the inferences.  if we had complete records from greece and a total  
picture of it... would there be any scholarship?

> So the more successful we are at preserving the beginnings of
> information technology (thank you, Brewster Kahle -
> http://www.c-span.org/congress/digitalfuture.asp - see Monday,
> December 13, 2004, for example), the more we will be able to learn
> about how cultural innovation and change work.

Really?  and how might that inference be constructed?  I've been  
reading literature in that field for ages, and while you often find  
solid scholarship that maps an example well, the competing theories  
generally are not read through all examples, and thus we don't, and  
likely won't ever make a theory of how they work.  What we tend to  
have is a theory of how they might work in a highly situated context  
if we examine the parts in just the right way.  The question then  
becomes if we have all these things changing that add up to something  
modelable in society, are we talking about culture anymore?


> How to virtualize the
> idea of the library? Does anyone know how the internet archive -
> http://www.archive.org/index.php - is approaching these questions?

hmm, i don't think it is.  i think the ELO is.
>
> Scott
>
>
>
> On 8/29/07, Jeremy Hunsinger <jhuns at vt.edu> wrote:
>>
>> On Aug 29, 2007, at 9:44 AM, Scott MacLeod wrote:
>>
>>> How would an organization like webarchive.org or someone
>>> archive all of Second Life, in the aggregate in real time, as  
>>> well as
>>> the rest of the virtual worlds.
>>
>> well in sl... you would have to just have the complete object
>> database with all object properties, the scripts, etc.   the movement
>> database and the conversation/avatar dbs.   from there you could
>> likely recreate a live archive...
>>
>> but really, do you really want to do that?  and what makes you think
>> it should be done?
>>
>>> Might one be able to create a record
>>> of all emerging virtual worlds from day 1?
>>
>> nope, much is lost.
>>
>>> Is there a way to retrieve
>>> an online SL conversation with actions from years ago?
>>
>> no, not unless someone saved it in logs
>>> Some virtual
>>> world web-page centric archives exist, but do other kinds of  
>>> archives
>>> exist?
>>
>> i am unaware of them.  there are a few projects to preserve some
>> thing... however.. i do not know of any large project.
>>
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>
>
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jeremy hunsinger
Information Ethics Fellow, Center for Information Policy Research,  
School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee  
(www.cipr.uwm.edu)

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