Date: 26-27 January 2012

Duration: 2 days

Venue:  Novotel, Cardiff, Wales


Digital and video games, which can be traced back to the very early days of digital computers in the 1950s, have rapidly become a major form of entertainment, pop culture and artistic expression, and have even contributed to other sectors, e.g. with serious games, through discipline-specific methods. Supported by a flourishing industry, academic research and dedicated players, they are now largely recognised as a valuable part of our cultural heritage. Preserving not only the artefacts themselves, but also appropriate contextual information is key to understanding the many facets of this new medium, both now and in the future. Given sufficient support and coordination, preservation of a large part of even the earliest part of gaming history is still achievable, a privilege that other modern forms of art such as cinema did not enjoy. Virtual worlds, the latest manifestation of this constantly innovating domain, offer an even greater preservation challenge as they rely on spontaneous and ephemeral worldwide social interactions.

The two-day symposium on Gaming Environments and Virtual Worlds provided a forum for participants to discuss these challenges, review and debate the latest developments in the field, witness real-life case studies, and engage in networking activities. The symposium promoted discussion of the following key topics:

Venue and Dates

The symposium was held in the Novotel, Cardiff on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 January 2012.


Registration is now closed 

Programme Outline (draft)

Day 1 - 26th January
08:45-09:15 Registration and coffee
09:15-09:30 Welcome and opening remarks
David Anderson (CiTECH Research Director, Univ. Portsmouth), POCOS Team
09:30-09:40 Neil Grindley

09:40-10:30 Opening Keynote Address:
Dan Pinchbeck
The Chinese Room, UK

Standing on the shoulders of heavily armed giants: Why history matters for Game Development
10:30-11:15 Keynote Address:
Jerome McDonough
The iSchool Illinois, USA

A Tangled Web: Metadata and Problems in Game Preservation

11:15-11:45 Coffee Break and Networking
11:45-12:15 Angela Dappert
The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and TIMBUS project, UK

Metadata for Preserving Computing Environments
12:15-12:45 Janet Delve
The University of Portsmouth, UK

Preserving Gaming Environments: The TOTEM Database (developed in the KEEP project)
12:45-13:45 Lunch
13:45-14:00 Introduction to break-out sessions

Break-out session

Choose one of the following subject groups:

A    The role of the developer in curating and preserving games and virtual worlds

B    The role of cultural institutions:
technical registries, software, hardware and online issues

C    The role of cultural institutions: Interpretation and Documentation (metadata)

D    The role of the community : abandonware, orphan works, greyware? Preserving second life - content owners permission issues

15:00-15:30 Coffee Break and Networking

Break-out session (continued)

16:15-16:45 Reporting from break-out sessions and discussion

Summary of Day 1

Day 2 - 27th January
09:00-09:30 Coffee and Networking
09:30-09:40 Review of day 1

Keynote Address:
Prof. Richard Bartle
University of Essex, UK

Archaelogy versus Anthropology: What can truly be preserved?

10:30-11:00 Tom Woolley
Curator of New Media, National Media Museum, UK

Curatorial Issues in Preserving Games for Museum Collections and Public Display
11:00-11:30 Coffee Break and Networking
11:30-11:50 Paul Wheatley
Digital Preservation Team, The British Library, UK

A National Library perspective on the preservation of games.

11:50-12:30 Keynote Address:
Ian Livingstone OBE
Co-founder, The Games Workshop, UK

12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:30 Break-out session

Subject (all groups):
Developing a Strategy for Preserving Digital Games and Virtual Worlds
14:30-15:15 Reporting from break-out sessions and discussion
15:15-15:45 Coffee Break and Networking

The POCOS Team

Wrap-up and thank you

16:30 End of Symposium