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Tracing Traces: A Document-Centred Approach to the Preservation of Virtual World Communities
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.
2013 (English)In: Information research, ISSN 1368-1613, E-ISSN 1368-1613, Vol. 18, no 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction. The aim of this paper is to form a framework capable of theorizing how virtual communities are entangled with their new media environments, thereby contributing to the understanding of present-day virtual communities and how to preserve them.

Method. An extensive bibliography on virtual worlds, virtual world preservation, document- and practice theory, and virtual communities forms the conceptual basis of the paper.

Analysis. The proposed framework was formed by the way of qualitative and synthetic conceptual analysis of the collected literature. Results. Virtual world communities can be fruitfully conceptualized as distinct domains with specialized documentary practices. In each domain of practice, the virtual world’s related new media ecology functions as a central hub where the configuration of shared routinized sayings, doings, and knowings specific to that virtual world are negotiated. 

Conclusion. By theorizing the activities of virtual communities in new media environments as documentary practices, and blog posts, comments, and tweets as documents, the framework accentuates new media as infrastructures that do not solely carry informative traces of the activities of virtual communities, but in effect are an active and formative part of them. As such, they merit high preservational priority.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 18, no 3
Keyword [en]
Documents, Practices, New Media, Digital cultural heritage preservation, Virtual worlds
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-213410ISI: 000329310400018OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-213410DiVA, id: diva2:681971
Conference
Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark, 19-22 August, 2013
Available from: 2013-12-20 Created: 2013-12-20 Last updated: 2018-01-14
In thesis
1. Documenting Videogame Communities: A Study of Community Production of Information in Social-Media Environments and its Implications for Videogame Preservation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Documenting Videogame Communities: A Study of Community Production of Information in Social-Media Environments and its Implications for Videogame Preservation
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Drawing on the disciplines of library and information studies and archival studies, this study seeks to explore the production of information in online videogame communities and to elucidate how such insights can offer practical and conceptual support to the knotty issue of how to preserve those sociocultural aspects of videogames that exist 'beyond' the code and audiovisual data resources of the videogame itself. This is accomplished in two principal moves: (i) by delving into the current state of socioculturally-focused videogame preservation and; (ii) by inquiring into the production of information carried out by videogame communities in what arguably is one of their most important interfaces of interaction—discussion forums, wikis, and other social-media services. The study is based on four papers (I–IV). Paper I develops the theoretical framework of the study on the basis of practice theory and document theory. Papers II and III report on field-studies of videogame-community information production in the context of two processes of importance in community social life: memory-making (II) and knowledge production (III). Paper IV offers a qualitative systematic review of videogame-archiving literature, allowing Papers I–III to be situated in an archival context. The study employs multiple methods and encompasses several empirical sites of inquiry and was inspired by the framework of exploratory research and of 'bricolage' research strategies.

The results of the study add to the present state of knowledge on how information in the social-media environments of the large and influential present-day videogaming domain emerges as a result of community practices of production, and how videogame-community social life is entangled with information production in such spaces. The study also furthers archival inquiry on the topic of videogame preservation by providing a description and analysis of what information objects videogame-related social media plausibly hold, and by what communal practices and processes they have been brought into existence. Furthermore, the study examines the consequences of collecting community-produced social media and framing it as documentation of the sociocultural aspects of videogames—a key issue in videogames preservation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of ALM, 2018. p. 164
Series
Skrifter utgivna vid institutionen för ABM vid Uppsala universitet, ISSN 1652-5353 ; 7
Keyword
Videogames, Videogame preservation, Practice theory, Documents, Documentation, Memory-making, Knowledge production, Social media, ALM
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-336748 (URN)978-91-506-2676-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-03-02, Humanistiska Teatern, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-02-09 Created: 2018-01-05 Last updated: 2018-02-13

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Sköld, Olle

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