another point for discussion
a recent report chaired by Noah Wardrip-Fruin highligts the urgency of
in conservation and restoration of new media art
they emphasise that the problem or archiving and restoring new media
is not specific
to art works but applies also now to gaming, educational technology
systems, and other
applications that use the same software and hardware systems as artists
incidentally they use the term 'computational media' which i think is
a much better
term than 'new media" !!
We have just published the final report of the Media Systems project ?
including a set of 12 key recommendations for building the future of
This report is the result of bringing more than 40 field leaders
together for a meeting made possible by an unprecedented set of
organizations: the U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. National
Endowment for the Humanities, U.S. National Endowment for the Arts,
Microsoft Studios, and Microsoft Research. We followed the meeting
with more than a year of additional analysis, conversation, and
Our report, ?Envisioning the Future of Computational Media,? starts
with the fact that the future of media is increasingly computational ?
video games, smartphone apps, ebooks, social media, and more.
As media evolve and change, the stakes are high, on many fronts ? from
culture and the economy to education and health.
To create media capable of continuing the expansion of computational
media?s impact, we need to combine technical research that develops
media possibilities with innovations in the creation and
interpretation of media projects and forms.
Instead, today, we generally separate these activities. Technology
research organizations generally don?t have disciplinary, funding, or
organizational support for making media. Media making organizations
generally lack support for long-term technology research.
Our report is focused on recommendations for how to fix this. We hope
that it will provide one part of the foundation for a set of new
approaches to computational media ? from industry, higher education,
government and non-profit funders, professional organizations, and
If you wish to discuss the ideas in the report further, please contact
me directly, reply on this list, or take to Twitter with the
Support for Collections and archives
AddreSSed To: Industry; independent and non-profit creators;
libraries, archives, and museums; universities
and colleges; federal and private funding agencies.
IMpleMenTATIon: Industry, independent and non-profit creators,
collecting organizations, and research
organizations collaborate to develop strategies for collecting and
making accessible final works, the resources
from which these works were created, records of the development
process of works, records of reaction and
contribution by audiences, and records of marketing and reception.
Supporting basic and applied research in
fundamental questions ranging from information organization (e.g.,
ontologies and metadata) to preservation and
access (e.g., emulation and migration).
exAMple: Developing industry best practices around archiving current
"closing kit" materials with third
parties, expanding to include records of the development process.
As discussed in the Challenges section, current practices of
collecting computational media are a significant
field weakness. The resources used to create many landmark works are
lost, and in some cases the works
themselves are in significant danger of being lost (e.g., existing
only on aged, volatile floppy disks). Some
companies have maintained relatively good archives (at least of final
products), important work has been
done by amateur archivists, and some attention is now being paid by
institutions that collect traditional
media, but the field has much ground to make up.
One important area of work is the development of collections of
computational media works, both in their
final forms (as experienced by audiences) and in the forms used to
create these (e.g., the source code and
data files for software). It is also important to begin to collect
deeper records of the design and development
processes for computational media works — this is often the most
telling material both for designers and
scholars seeking to learn from past works. Developing stronger
approaches to collection access is also
necessary, ranging from legal issues of copyright to technical issues
such as emulation/migration, digital
rights management, and required connections to servers that are no
longer online. The field must find
ways to address often-ephemeral, but historically key, elements that
exist "outside" computational media
works, such as the work of fan and modification communities as well as
marketing materials and critical
reviews and responses. Finally, the field must address significant
issues in the entire pipeline of cataloging
and description of digital files, the creation of discovery metadata,
the provision of access tools, and the
development of a scholarly apparatus to deal with issues such as citation.
A number of these are issues where it is particularly important for
industry and collecting institutions to
work together. Without such collaboration the issues are simply
intractable, and the computational media
industry will be an active force in the destruction of its own
historical record. On the other hand, if the work
suggested in this recommendation is successfully pursued, we can
imagine a future in which authors can
make citations to specific states of computational media works and
readers can "follow" those citations to
versions of the work, in the same state, running in emulation. Though
the research and legal challenges
are great, the resul
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