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Documenting Virtual World Cultures: Memory-Making and Documentary Practices in the City of Heroes Community
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Documentation, ISSN 0022-0418, E-ISSN 1758-7379, Vol. 71, no 2, p. 294-316Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose. The purpose of this paper is to explore how virtual world communities employ new media as a repository to record information about their past.

Design/methodology/approach. Using the notions of documentary practice and memory-making as a framework, a case study of MMORPGCity of Heroes’ (CoH) virtual community on Reddit discussion board “/r/cityofheroes” was conducted. The study consists of an interpretative analysis of posts, comments, images, and other materials submitted to /r/cityofheroes during a period of approximately seven months.

Findings. The principal finding of the study is that the CoH community, with varying levels of intentionality, documented a range of pasts on /r/cityofheroes, relating to CoH as a game world, a site of personal experience, a product, a nexus of narratives, and a game. The analysis also lays bare the community’s memory-making processes, in which the documented conceptions of CoH’s past were put to work in the present, informing community action and viewpoints.

Originality/value. Games and gaming practices are increasingly prevalent in leisure and professional settings. This trend, which makes virtual environments and online media proxies for or augmentations of “real life”, makes it necessary for information scholars to understand how the full range of human information behaviours, including documenting, and memory-making, emerge or are replicated online. Additionally, few studies have examined the interplay between new media affordances, documentary practices, and memory-making in the context of virtual world communities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2015. Vol. 71, no 2, p. 294-316
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247471DOI: 10.1108/JD-11-2013-0146ISI: 000352716700007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-247471DiVA, id: diva2:796230
Available from: 2015-03-18 Created: 2015-03-18 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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Publisher's full texthttp://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/JD-11-2013-0146

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Sköld, Olle

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