THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Digital scholarship blog

58 posts categorized "Games"

19 January 2021

The New Media Writing Prize collection is now available in the UK Web Archive

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For the past four years, the British Library has been researching, collecting and documenting complex digital publications produced in the UK. Born in response to the 2013 UK Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations, the Emerging Formats project looked at different examples of digital writing, analysed how these can be best preserved and given access to within the specific requirements of a library environment. As part of this work, we hosted a Postdoctoral Innovation Placement researcher, Lynda Clark, who helped us build an Interactive Narratives collection hosted in the UK Web Archive.

Building on from what we learned from Lynda’s work, we created a new collection of emerging media: The New Media Writing Prize collection. The New Media Writing Prize was founded in 2010 and over the past decade has attracted a diverse and innovative range of works from all over the world. Its aim is to showcase and celebrate new and often experimental forms of digital storytelling, crossing formats and genres.

The New Media Writing Prize logo comprising an N with a gamecontroller, M with a microphone, W with headphones and P with a pot of pens
The New Media Writing Prize logo

The collection features shortlisted and winning entries for different categories awarded through the years (main prize, student prize, journalism prize and DOT award), from 2010 to the present. There are over 100 works in the collection, written in a variety of formats: from web-based interactive fiction, to apps and augmented reality table top installations. This exciting variety is also a preservation challenge: some of the online works have already disappeared, or can only be captured partially with our web archiving tools, as they include live data or physical elements. For instances when archiving the work itself wasn’t possible, we tried capturing the documentation around the publication instead, archiving press reviews, blog posts and author’s websites.

While the collection is available online, most of its entries are only accessible on Library premises because of copyright restrictions. A few, however, can also be accessed remotely: for example, Serge Bouchardon’s Loss of Grasp, J.R. Carpenter’s City Fish, Alan Bigelow’s Life of Fly and Amira Hanafi’s What I Am Wearing.

Thumbnail images of six works, which are in the 2020 New Media Writing Prize shortlist
The 2020 New Media Writing Prize shortlist

The work on the collection is far from over: next steps include investigating how to best preserve and present Flash works, accurately describing and linking works in the catalogue and keeping the collection up-to-date. The 2020 shortlist has just been announced for both the main prize and the digital journalism award, so these new entries will soon be added to the collection. You can read the latest news about the New Media Writing Prize on their Twitter or Facebook channels – keep your eyes peeled for the 2020 winners announcement on the 20th January!

This post is by Giulia Carla Rossi, Curator of Digital Publications on twitter as @giugimonogatari.

16 December 2020

Faint Signals

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Winter may be here, but a walk in the woods is a lovely experience at all times of the year. Here in Digital Scholarship we are also interested in how technology can be used to create explorable virtual natural environments, which we can enjoy from home, and a few months ago we took part in an event about virtual walks. Furthermore, lead by our culture team in Yorkshire, the Library recently commissioned the fantastic Invisible Flock to create a wonderful online interactive woodland called Faint Signals for Light Night Leeds, an annual free multi-arts and light festival.

It is very pleasing to see this work recognised in the 2020 BL Labs Awards, where it is runner up in the artistic category. These awards were announced at the BL Labs Symposium yesterday, but if you missed the livestream you can watch a recording here. Congratulations Invisible Flock and all the other winners and runners up.

Group photograph of six people and a dog
The Invisible Flock team, who created Faint Signals

Please do explore Faint Signals, it is an interactive website, where you can wander through the woodland as it changes through all four seasons, and evolves from day to night. Each tile you move across unlocks narrative and data on the landscape, all of which are based on real life environments, with wildlife, weather and other nature sounds reflecting the diversity and complexity of ecosystems in the Yorkshire region. A rich variety of sounds can be unlocked by discovering particles of light lingering in the forest. It works best in browsers such as Firefox and Chrome, but is not currently optimised for mobile devices, please also note that it contains flashing images. 

Over 300 wildlife and environmental recordings from the Library’s sound archive were used to create the audio element of the experience. All were handpicked and selected with both geography and habitat in mind - though Faint Signals invites the user to explore an imaginary Yorkshire woodland, we wanted to ensure that all species featured in the piece could actually be encountered either in or around the edges of a real live Yorkshire wood. A more relaxed approach was taken when choosing environmental components such as weather and water, however even here the sounds of background species were taken into account. Creating an engaging yet authentic digital experience was incredibly important and this was achieved in part thanks to the sheer breadth of audio content available.

To give you a bit of a taster, here are just a few of the recordings that are included in Faint Signals:

Blackcap song recorded in Shropshire England on 20 May 1977 by Richard Margoschis (WS5551 C1)

Song Thrush song recorded in Dyfed Wales on 29 October 1992 by Richard Margoschis (WS6075 C5)

Small stream on rocks recorded in Dyfed Wales on 7 May 1994 by Phil Riddett (W1CDR0000258 BD3)

Virtually all of the recordings had been digitised as part of the Library’s Unlocking our Sound Heritage project. Now in its fourth year, this UK-wide project aims to digitally preserve and provide public access to some of the nation’s most unique and at risk sound recordings. Thousands of wildlife recordings from all over the world have been digitised so far and you can keep up-to-date with the project’s progress by following @BLSoundHeritage.

This post is by Digital Curator Stella Wisdom (@miss_wisdom) and Wildlife and Environmental Sounds Curator, Cheryl Tipp (@CherylTipp).

14 December 2020

Shortlist and voting for BL Labs People's Choice: Public Awards 2020 announced! Last chance: Book BL Labs Symposium!

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Posted by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs.

British Library Labs Shortlisted Entries for the Public Awards 2020
Screenshots from the 10 BL Labs shortlisted entries for the Public Awards 2020

After much deliberation and intense discussion with key people from the BL Labs Advisory board and British Library we have come up with a fantastic shortlist for the BL Labs Public Awards 2020.

The official announcement of who has been awarded prizes for the Awards in each category (Research, Artistic, Educational and Community) will take place tomorrow between 1400-1700 (GMT), Tuesday 15 December 2020 at the online BL Labs Symposium 2020. We will also announce our Staff Awards there too.

There are still a few places available - so hurry and BOOK NOW to find out if the project you voted for won! Also, learn more about some of the amazing projects that were submitted this year and listen and be inspired by our fantastic range of speakers in our packed programme.

In this strange, difficult and remarkable pandemic year, we decided to do something really special.

We we want you, the public, to choose which shortlisted entry will be crowned overall the 'BL Labs People's Choice for the Public Awards 2020'. It's going to be difficult as the projects this year are so diverse and difficult to compare. Also, you only have today and tomorrow to decide (voting will close around 1615 GMT tomorrow, Tuesday 15 December 2020).

The winner will be announced near the end of the BL Labs Symposium 2020 tomorrow, Tuesday 15 December 2020, just before 1700 GMT.

How to vote for the BL Labs People's Choice for the Public Awards 2020?

It's really simple:

  1. Read the descriptions below and follow the links to learn more about each entry.
  2. Vote for your favourite (you can only chose one!) using our VOTING FORM which is now live.
  3. You will be asked if you wish to have the results emailed to you after you have voted. If you choose this option, all you will be able to see are the number of people who have voted.
  4. The form will remain open from 1100 GMT Monday 14 December to 1615 GMT Tuesday 15 December 2020 (that's just over 30 hours).
  5. The winner will be announced around 1655 GMT tomorrow on 15 December 2020 near the end this year's online BL Labs Symposium 2020.

Only have 5 minutes to look through the entries and vote?

No problem! We have created a BL Labs Public Awards YouTube shortlist 2020 which contains ten 30-second promotional videos for each shortlisted entry to give you their 'essence'. It's just over 5 minutes and then you can VOTE!

You can also ownload a .zip file with all the submissions for this year's BL Labs Public Awards 2020 (all entries) if you prefer.

The shortlisted entries for the BL Labs Public Awards 2020 this year are (in alphabetical title order):

  1. Afrobits
    An interactive installation of African music and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade .
    by Javier Pereda (Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design and Illustration and Researcher in the Experimental Technologies Lab, Liverpool John Moores University), Patricia Murrieta Flores (Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities, Co-Director of the Digital Humanities Hub at Lancaster University), Nicholas Radburn (Lecturer in the History of the Atlantic World 1500 – 1800, Co-Editor of the Slave Voyages Research Project, Lancaster University), Lois South (History Graduate, Liverpool John Moores University) and Christian Monaghan, Graphic Design and Illustration Graduate, Liverpool John Moores University.

    Links: Short video, longer video, full BL Labs awards' entry and further details.

  2. Afro Hair And Its Heritage
    A celebration of Black Heritage through Black Afro Hair.
    by Roslyn Henry (self-taught surface pattern designer, from Les Belles Bêtes, France)

    Links: Short video, full BL Labs awards' entry and further details(1) and (2)

  3. Asking questions with web archives – introductory notebooks for historians
    16 Jupyter notebooks that demonstrate how specific historical research questions can be explored by analysing data from web archives.
    by Tim Sherratt (Associate Professor of Digital Heritage at the University of Canberra and founder and creator of the GLAM workbench), Andrew Jackson (Technical Lead - UK Web Archive, British Library), Alex Osborne (Technical Lead Australian Web Archive - National Library of Australia) and Ben O’Brien (Technical Lead New Zealand Web Archive - National Library of New Zealand)

    Links: Short video, full BL Labs awards' entry and further details.

  4. Beyond the Rubric: Collaborating with the Cultural Heritage Sector in Higher Education Teaching and Research
    A project-based, research-led collaboration between the British Library and students of the Centre for Digital Humanities Research at the Australian National University.
    by Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller (Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)

    Links: Short video, full BL Labs awards' entry and further details

  5. Faint Signals
    Interactive artwork that generates an imagined Yorkshire forest, densely populated with sounds of nature from the British Library's archive.
    by the Invisible Flock team who are Ben Eaton (Technical Director), Victoria Pratt (Creative Director),  Klavs Kurpnieks (Studio Manager), Catherine Baxendale (Executive Producer), Amy Balderston (General Manager) and Simon Fletcher (Interactions Engineer).

    Links: Short video, full BL Labs awards' entry and further details.

  6. Flickr Georeferencing completed
    Volunteer georeferencers have added coordinates to all the images of over 50,000 maps from the British Library's Flickr Commons site.
    by 'Volunteer geo-referencers' nominated by Gethen Rees, Digital Mapping Curator, British Library

    Links: Short video, Full BL Labs awards' entry and further details.

  7. Inspiring computationally-driven research with the BL’s collections: a GLAM Notebooks approach
    Enabling cultural heritage institutions and (digital) humanities researchers to experiment with Collections as Data and GLAM notebooks by showcasing practical implementations from a wide range of GLAM institutions and digital collections. 
    by Gustavo Candela, Pilar Escobar, María Dolores Sáez and Manuel Marco-Such  from the Research Libraries Team, Department of Software and Computing Systems, the University of Alicante, Spain

    Links: Short video, full BL Labs awards' entry and further details.

  8. In the Spotlight volunteers
    Since 2017, thousands of volunteers have helped bring the British Library's historic playbills collection to life through the In the Spotlight crowdsourcing project.
    by 'In the Spotlight volunteers' nominated by Mia Ridge, Digital Curator, Western Heritage Collections, British Library

    Links: Short video, full BL Labs awards' entry and further details.

  9. Mapping the Reparto de Tierras in Michoacán, Mexico (1868 - 1929)
    Research in 19th-century Mexican sources and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based approaches underpinning the creation of an interactive web map that enables users to spatially explore the British Library's recently digitized Libros de Hijuelas collection.
    by John Erard (Undergraduate researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, USA).

    Links: Short video, full BL Labs awards' entry and further details.

  10. Unlocking our Sound Heritage - Artist in Residence 2019-2020: The Unearthed Odyssey
    Research project culminating in two performances, a genre-bending conceptual Afrofuturist album using 19 samples from the Sound Archive, three comprehensive blogs and work with three youth groups to unpack the themes and content.
    by AWATE (Awate Suleiman - rapper and multimedia artist, England)

    Links: Short video, full BL Labs awards' entry and further details

What happens to the projects not shortlisted?

Though we have criteria to decide which projects should be shortlisted it was still incredibly difficult to choose which ones should be. Judging can be so subjective! Remember it's a point in time with a specific group of people in a particular mood and set of lenses. At a different time, with another group of people I am sure they would probably come up with another selection.

So if you were not chosen this year, please do not be disheartened. The whole point of the BL Labs Awards is to shine a light and showcase uses of our digital collections through innovative projects and activities. These projects have often gone on to be developed further such as someone happened to have come across it and connected with individuals involved and ended up collaborating with them. Many projects have also inspired others to develop their own using the British Library's as well as other institution's cultural heritage digitised and born digital collections.

Details of all the projects entered this year are contained in the BL Labs Digital Projects Archive.

BL Labs can promote your work through our various communication channels (if we haven't already!). Who knows where that might lead? For some of these entrants, I would definitely recommend that they re-submit next year when the projects have been developed further and have had a chance to have further impact.

So for now, a quick thank you to the following people who took the time enter (we have also provided links for those who would like to read further about these entries), we really, really appreciate it:

  1. Drawings inspired by the British Library's Sound Archive of Wildlife Recordings by Viv Youell (England)
  2. Curatr: A Data Interface for the British Library Nineteenth Century Corpus by University College Dublin's Insight team and Centre for Cultural Analytics, Ireland
  3. Reconstructing Early Circus: Entertainments at Astley’s Amphitheatre, 1768-1833 by Leith Davis, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada
  4. Surfacing the impact of doctoral research: working with the EThOS collection by Catherine Montgomery, Craig Stewart, Tom Roberts, Sharon Riddle and Jinjie Huang from Durham University, England
  5. Baking in Better Catalogue Data by Sara Wingate Gray, University College London, England
  6. The Samtla (Search And Mining Tools for Labelling Archives) holographic search and browsing interface for cultural heritage photogrammetry models by Martyn Harris (Birkbeck) and Mark Levene (University College London), England
  7. Visualizing Space by Tara McDarby, United Kingdom
  8. The Interpreter and You Are Not An Island by Noriko Okaku, England (2 entries)
  9. Librorum: the British Library Edition by Janet Luk (Australian National University (ANU), Man-Ting Hsu (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Canberra, Australia), Billy Nam Cheng (ANU), Jingyi Lai (Haiwan Middle School (Shenzhen, China), Mengfei Liu (Access Canberra (Canberra, Australia) and Xiaohan Jiang (China Maritime Museum (Shanghai, China))
  10. BL Illuminated Glyphs CAPS: Typographic System of Illuminated Manuscript Letterings by Michelle Devlin , England

I look forward to seeing some of you tomorrow at the BL Labs Awards Symposium 2020 and seasons greetings to you all, Mahendra.

03 December 2020

New PhD Placements Opportunities: Born-digital Legal Deposit and the New Media Writing Prize Collection

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Applications for the British Library 2021/22 PhD Placements are now open, with 16 different placement projects happening across the Library. Contemporary British Collections have advertised two placements for opportunities to work with born digital collections: “The “Long Tail” of Born-Digital Publications in the UK: What can we learn from Legal Deposit Data?” and “Interactive Digital Media and Web Archiving: Helping Develop the New Media Writing Prize Online Collection”.

The first placement will investigate the use of the ‘Publisher Submission Portal’, which provides a simple method for small publishers to deposit digital-only works with the Library under Legal Deposit Regulations. Legal Deposit provides the regulation for our collecting of contemporary UK publications, and this lies at the heart of many British Library’s collections. The placement student will analyse the data relating to deposit to help us understand the digital activity of small publishers and support the Library engagement with publishers and creators, especially ones that might be less well represented within our legal deposit collections.

The second placement will focus on the forthcoming New Media Writing Prize collection in the UK Web Archive. The New Media Writing Prize is awarded annually to interactive works that use technology in innovative and often quite experimental and exciting ways. The collection includes highly-interactive digital publications that cross genres, languages and formats, sometimes blurring the line between video games and literature. They were collected using different web archiving tools: the process itself is quite experimental, and will take several attempts to generate a good quality copy (instance) in our Web Archive. The placement student will help us identify the best instance for each publication, and have the chance to create a creative response to the collection.

The New Media Writing Prize logo: showing NMWP with a games controller, microphone, headphones and pens
The New Media Writing Prize logo

These placements offer an opportunity to learn more about contemporary collecting and curating at a cultural heritage institution, in the context of Legal Deposit and Emerging Formats. Both placements are expected to start after May 2021 and to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, both can be undertaken remotely, as well as part-time.

Applications for all 2021/22 PhD Placements close on Friday 18 December 2020, 5pm. Further information on eligibility, conditions and how to apply is available on the British Library website: https://www.bl.uk/news/2020/october/phd-placement-adverts-2020.

This post is by Giulia Carla Rossi, Curator of Digital Publications on twitter as @giugimonogatari.

13 November 2020

Reflections during International Games Week and Transgender Awareness Week

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This week is International Games Week in libraries - “an initiative run by volunteers from around the world to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games.”

As a volunteer, participant and collaborator on game events organised by Stella Wisdom in the British Library's Digital Scholarship Team, I’ve particularly enjoyed the International Games Week events held at the Library during previous years, including Adventure X and WordPlay. It’s fitting that a national library acknowledges the value of narratives in games and interactive fiction, as well as those held in books and other formats.

International Games Week logo with a games controller, 2 dice and a meeple

In this post, I wanted to highlight some things that cut across projects I’ve been involved in with the British Library. These include curating UK websites and running online game jams, in addition to the game events mentioned above.

Back in 2018, I co-organised the online Gothic Novel Jam with Stella. In terms of the gothic and supernatural, it’s appropriate that this blog post is published today on Friday the 13th! We’ve blogged about this jam previously, but in summary, the intention was to encourage participants to create games, interactive fiction and other creative outputs using the theme of the gothic novel and British Library Flickr images as inspiration. The response was fantastic, and resulted in a large number of great narrative games being created. I particularly liked As a Glow Brings Out a Haze for the creative reuse of British Library images.

In addition to co-running game jams, I'm a volunteer curator for the UK Web Archive, and as representative for CILIP’s LGBTQ+ Network, I’ve been co-lead on the LGBTQ+ Lives Online project with Steven Dryden from the British Library. This project has focused on identifying UK LGBTQ+ websites, blogs etc. for inclusion in the collection, as a way to preserve them for future generations. To a lesser extent, I’ve also been supporting the curation of the Video Games collection and also Interactive Narratives, which is part of the broader E-publishing trends/Emerging formats collection.

I find it interesting to see where different seemingly unrelated projects overlap, and in this instance, the overlap is an online game called The Tower created by Freya Campbell, which she originally created for Gothic Novel Jam. The game itself is a piece of interactive fiction combining both text and images. For me it was a great example of a narrative that is clearly gothic and dark, but takes a new focus to frame that genre. 

This week is Transgender Awareness Week, and as more UK content is published online about transgender issues and experiences, these sites will be added to the UKWA LGBTQ+ Lives collection. The Tower includes subject matter that is particularly high profile in UK media discussions surrounding LGBTQ+ lives at the moment - transgender identities. As the creator of The Tower is based in the UK, this game is now part of the Interactive Narratives and LGBTQ+ Lives collections in the UK Web Archive.

Anyone can suggest UK published websites to be included in the UK Web Archive by filling in this online nominations form: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/nominate. As part of both International Games Week and Transgender Awareness Week, why not nominate UK websites for inclusion in the Video GamesInteractive Narratives, and LGBTQ+ Lives Online collections. 

Another overlap connected to The Tower, is that Freya exhibited two other games (Perseids, and Super Lunary ep.1) at AdventureX, when it was held at the British Library during International Games Week in 2018 and 2019. Sadly AdventureX is cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19, but if you make games and interactive fiction, why not consider taking part in AdvXJam, which starts tomorrow.

This post is by Ash Green (@ggnewed) from the CILIP LGBTQ+ Network.

11 November 2020

BL Labs Online Symposium 2020 : Book your place for Tuesday 15-Dec-2020

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Posted by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs

The BL Labs team are pleased to announce that the eighth annual British Library Labs Symposium 2020 will be held on Tuesday 15 December 2020, from 13:45 - 16:55* (see note below) online. The event is FREE, but you must book a ticket in advance to reserve your place. Last year's event was the largest we have ever held, so please don't miss out and book early, see more information here!

*Please note, that directly after the Symposium, we are organising an experimental online mingling networking session between 16:55 and 17:30!

The British Library Labs (BL Labs) Symposium is an annual event and awards ceremony showcasing innovative projects that use the British Library's digital collections and data. It provides a platform for highlighting and discussing the use of the Library’s digital collections for research, inspiration and enjoyment. The awards this year will recognise outstanding use of British Library's digital content in the categories of Research, Artistic, Educational, Community and British Library staff contributions.

This is our eighth annual symposium and you can see previous Symposia videos from 201920182017201620152014 and our launch event in 2013.

Dr Ruth Anhert, Professor of Literary History and Digital Humanities at Queen Mary University of London Principal Investigator on 'Living With Machines' at The Alan Turing Institute
Ruth Ahnert will be giving the BL Labs Symposium 2020 keynote this year.

We are very proud to announce that this year's keynote will be delivered by Ruth Ahnert, Professor of Literary History and Digital Humanities at Queen Mary University of London, and Principal Investigator on 'Living With Machines' at The Alan Turing Institute.

Her work focuses on Tudor culture, book history, and digital humanities. She is author of The Rise of Prison Literature in the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2013), editor of Re-forming the Psalms in Tudor England, as a special issue of Renaissance Studies (2015), and co-author of two further books: The Network Turn: Changing Perspectives in the Humanities (Cambridge University Press, 2020) and Tudor Networks of Power (forthcoming with Oxford University Press). Recent collaborative work has taken place through AHRC-funded projects ‘Living with Machines’ and 'Networking the Archives: Assembling and analysing a meta-archive of correspondence, 1509-1714’. With Elaine Treharne she is series editor of the Stanford University Press’s Text Technologies series.

Ruth's keynote is entitled: Humanists Living with Machines: reflections on collaboration and computational history during a global pandemic

You can follow Ruth on Twitter.

There will be Awards announcements throughout the event for Research, Artistic, Community, Teaching & Learning and Staff Categories and this year we are going to get the audience to vote for their favourite project in those that were shortlisted, a people's BL Labs Award!

There will be a final talk near the end of the conference and we will announce the speaker for that session very soon.

So don't forget to book your place for the Symposium today as we predict it will be another full house again, the first one online and we don't want you to miss out, see more detailed information here

We look forward to seeing new faces and meeting old friends again!

For any further information, please contact labs@bl.uk

05 November 2020

World Digital Preservation Day 2020

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World Digital Preservation Day (WDPD) is held on the first Thursday of every November, providing an opportunity for the international digital preservation community to connect and celebrate the positive impact that digital preservation has. Follow #WDPD2020 for discussion throughout the day. Our colleagues in the UK Web Archive (UKWA) have already blogged earlier for WDPD about their Coronavirus Collection, which includes preservation of the ‘Children of Lockdown’ project website.

 A number of WDPD online events are taking place, including a book launch party for Electronic Legal Deposit Shaping the library collections of the future, for which our collaborative doctoral research student Linda Berube co-wrote chapter 9; Follow the Users: Assessing UK Non-Print Legal Deposit Within the Academic Discovery Environment

World Digital Preservation Day logo

WDPD is also when the annual Digital Preservation Awards are announced, #DPA2020, and we wish to offer our warmest congratulations to all today's winners, including our wonderful UKWA colleagues who have won the The National Archives Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy, recognising 15 years of web archiving work. You can read more about the UKWA's 15 year anniversary in 2020 here and watch a recording of the online Digital Preservation Awards ceremony in the video below.

Here in Digital Scholarship we enjoy collaborating with the British Library's Digital Preservation and UKWA teams. Last year we hosted a six month post-doctoral placement; ‘Emerging Formats: Discovering and Collecting Contemporary British Interactive Fiction’, where Lynda Clark created an Interactive Narratives UKWA collection and evaluated how crawlers captured web hosted works of interactive fiction.

This research project was part of the Library’s ongoing Emerging Formats work, which acknowledges that without intervention, many culturally valuable digital artefacts are at risk of being lost. Interactive narratives are particularly endangered due to the ‘hobbyist’ nature of many creators, meaning they do not necessarily subscribe to standardised practices. However, this also means that digital interactive fiction is created by and for a wide variety of creators and audiences, including various marginalised groups.

Two reports written by Lynda during her innovation placement are publicly available on the BL Research Repository; https://doi.org/10.23636/1192 and https://doi.org/10.23636/1193. Furthermore, a long paper about the Interactive Narratives collection is part of the proceedings of this week's International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS).[1] This event is a great opportunity to meet both scholars and creative practitioners who make digital stories. I was delighted to be a reviewer for the ICIDS 2020 online art exhibition, which has the theme "Texts of Discomfort" and presents some very thought provoking work.

This post is by Digital Curator Stella Wisdom (@miss_wisdom)

1. Clark L., Rossi G.C., Wisdom S. (2020) Archiving Interactive Narratives at the British Library. In: Bosser AG., Millard D.E., Hargood C. (eds) Interactive Storytelling. ICIDS 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 12497. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-62516-0_27  ↩︎

30 October 2020

Mind Your Paws and Claws

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I’m not a summer creature, autumn is my favourite time of the year and I especially love Halloween. It is a perfect excuse for reading ghost stories, watching folk horror films and playing spooky videogames. If this sounds like fun to you too, then I recommend taking a look at the games created for Gothic Novel Jam.

Screen capture of the Gothic Novel Jam itch.io website with thumbnails of the games made as part of this jam

One of my favourite entries is The Lady's Book of Decency, A Practical Treatise on Manners, Feeding, and Etiquette, by Sean S. LeBlanc. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that it is a real howl! - also remember that this year there is a full moon on 31st October.

Game makers taking part in Gothic Novel Jam were encouraged to use images from the Ghosts & Ghoulish Scenes album in the British Library's Flickr site, which are all freely available for artistic and commercial reuse.

It is always a pleasure to see how creatives use the Flickr images to make new works, such as animations, like The Phantom Monk shown below, made by my talented colleague Carlos Rarugal from the UK Web Archive. He has animated a few spooky creatures for Halloween, which will shared be shared from the WildlifeWeb Archive and Digital Scholarship Twitter accounts. My colleague Cheryl Tipp has been Going batty for Halloween, making a Flappy Bat online game using Scratch, and the UK Web Archive have been celebrating their crawlers with this blog post.

Video created by Carlos Rarugal, using a British Library digitised image from page 377 of "The Lancashire Witches. A novel". Audio is Thunder, Eric & May Nobles, Wales, 1989 (W Thunder r3 C1) and Grey Wolf, Tom Cosburn, Canada, 1995 (W1CDR0000681 BD9)

If you enjoy making games and works of interactive fiction, then you may want to sign up to participate in AdventureX Game Jam, which is taking place online, during 14-28 November 2020. The jam's theme will be announced when AdvXJam opens on the 14th November. You are invited to interpret the theme in any way you choose, and AdventureX are very open-minded about what constitutes a narrative game. All genres, styles and game engines are welcome, as they are very keen to encourage participants to get involved regardless of background or experience level. 

Sadly the AdventureX Narrative Games Convention event is cancelled this year due to Covid-19, but we are hoping that the online AdventureX Game Jam will bring some cheer, creativity and community spirit during this year's International Games Week in Libraries in November. So keep your eyeballs peeled for blog posts about this jam next month.

This post is by Digital Curator Stella Wisdom (@miss_wisdom)