UCSC receives National Leadership Grant for Libraries

computer games on library shelf
UC Santa Cruz has been awarded a grant of $418,540 from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for a project titled “From Descriptive Metadata to Citation: Building a Framework for Search and Communication in Game Studies.”

The project was one of 40 funded in a field of 137 applications for $33 million in IMLS grants. Awards were made based on a project’s potential for broad impact and significant innovation.

The University Library and the Games and Playable Media group at UCSC will partner with Stanford University Libraries to investigate creating modern, standardized methods of describing computer games.

This project continues the close collaboration between these teams that began earlier this year with a Digital Humanities Startup grant awarded to UCSC by the National Endowment for the Humanities--to develop a methodology for archiving software development--with a focus on the special archival and documentation requirements for software developed in universities and other research-centered institutions.

“Computer games are increasingly important---culturally, economically, in education, in technology research, and more---but they lag far behind other kinds of library collections in our ability to find them and to cite them,” said the project’s principle investigator, UCSC associate professor of Computer Science Noah Wardrip-Fruin.

“This is crucial to enable researchers to include them in scholarly discussion and debate,” added Wardrip-Fruin. “Our goal with this project is to work together with a group of high-profile advisors from libraries, game studies, and the game industry to build a foundation for rapid improvement in how games are handled by libraries, and also to prototype next-generation ways of working with game collections.”

Wardrip-Fruin noted that digital games are among the most complex digital objects in existence, and that this project is therefore applicable to other classes of software and new media collections in libraries. He said the resulting framework for description of the games, and the accompanying citation system, will be a complete bibliographic solution for an ever-growing segment of modern digital culture.

“Our proposal was particularly strong because of our planned diverse collaboration among computer scientists, game design experts, librarians, and archivists,” added Librarian Christy Caldwell of UCSC’s Science & Engineering Library.

“We’ve also gathered an impressive advisory board of game design experts and game scholars,” said Caldwell. “We are excited to be working together to produce a standard way of describing and citing complex digital objects as a means to furthering research and creating knowledge.”

For more information, contact Noah Wardrip-Fruin at nwf@soe.ucsc.edu or Christy Caldwell at caldwell@ucsc.edu.