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The British Library Interested In Archiving Games

by Meagan Marie on Nov 05, 2010 at 05:08 AM

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The British Library – the national library of the United Kingdom – has shown interest in helping to preserve the legacy of UK game design by collecting and archiving video games within its walls. This is a sizable show of support for the industry considering that the facility is one of the leading research libraries in the world, and currently houses over 150 million items including books, journals, manuscripts, maps, photographs, newspapers, patents, sound recordings, and more.

“The games publishing industry recognizes the value in preserving their computer games,” said Paul Wheatley, digital preservation specialist at the British Library, “and many in the industry that I've talked to could relay horror stories about old material disappearing or being left to gradually decay in a box under someone’s desk.”

Currently, the British Library is given a copy of each and every publication produced in the UK and Ireland, adding 3 million new items per year to the massive collection.

Wheatley feels that efforts made by the British Library could help to augment and support the work already done by the National Videogame Archive, a project created within the National Media Museum back in 2008. The National Videogame Archive is already doing solid work, its scope encompassing games on a global scale and efforts to document the life cycle of games from prototype to polished product.

Showing genuine concern for the preservation of gaming history, Wheatley continued to explain that "at the very least I would like the British Library to provide support to the NVA based on this digital preservation expertise and I'm hoping we can collaborate further."

The United States has several collections of interest to video game fans, such as the American Classic Arcade Museum, the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, and the pending exhibit at the Smithsonian.

[Via Gamasutra]