Let there be Community Arcades!
We had a very productive meeting today. Around the table were Jessie, Michael, Kalervo, Valérie, Scott, Fabio and your humble servant (some people had to run in or out, but most were around for the duration). Hope I didn’t forget anyone!
Of the many things we discussed, I wanted to flag that we are “rebranding” the initiative as “Community Arcade” rather than Indie Games for Libraries. The goal is to make it more meaningful for non-librarians (ahem) and open up the boundaries of our action. Of note, Jessie is working on “discoverabilitty” of games and it dovetails nicely on the metadata work Michael and Valérie are involved with (more on that in a second). Scott is looking at games in community centers, also close to libraries but not quite the same. So, the focus is not only on libraries, but settings where games are contextualized beyond the consumer… other institutions (like museums, archives) or groups (the idea of sharing). I have to admit that libraries are a strong focal point still, but I’m happy to broaden it up a bit. I also love the concept of the “commons” as a non/post-proprietary field of research (yeah, like “creative commons” but with an institutional twist). Tip of the hat to Prem for this very interesting tweak.
Now, Michael and Valérie reported on their research around metadata standards for describing games & preservation. They are compiling an annotated bibliography of papers on this thread and will look into migrating it to Zotero (if you don’t know what that is, that means you are creating your bibliographies manually… Zotero is a citation managent tool and used correctly, it can really accelerate the citation process – let me know if you want some training on this!)
I reported on some news: I am co-applicant on a successful SSHRC partnership grant! The project entails looking at digital book publishing in Québec with threads about interactivity and thinking at the “edges” or “boundaries” digital objects including installations or experiences. As you would suspect, I’ll be picking up a lot of the copyright and law-of-the-book research (yeah, that’s a thing), which intersects directly with digital games and our work with libraries and other institutions/contexts. I’m speaking next week at a conference on school (K-12) digital book publishing and will be at the kickoff meeting of the partnership grant the following week. More on this soon…
Another thread involves contacting devs at indie studios and librarians to talk about needs, prospects, possibilities… The group will start compiling the names of people we want to contact but first, I have to submit ethics approval forms . I’ll be sharing the ones we had worked on during the 2015 Knight Foundation project (remember Alice, that video game console we created then?) to expedite the process.
We also started to dig around “getting games in libraries” – specific next steps & action items. There was sone discussion of a process to select games, describe them and similar threads. Of course, this implies talking to devs and librarians so we need ethics approval should we want to write about all of this (and we do). So, next meeting we will work on the “indie pitch” – essentially, the 2-3 page document we would use to explain the project once the ethics-approved protocol is completed. We would want a selection that is diverse, local and interesting, amongst other dimensions. But right now, we are aware that we’ll probably focus on studios which are “close” to TAG… Tip of the hat to Kalervo for suggesting this.
Another salient thread is training of librarians and school teachers. They have different needs but this is seen as a meaningful activity to further our goal of launching & curating Community Arcades.
So, our next meeting is Tuesday May 21st 4-6pm at TAG. We’ll probably go share a beverage afterwards on a yet-to-be-determined location.