Transcoding authenticity: preserving unreleased gaming software outside of memory institutions
Journal of Documentation
This paper aims to introduce new criteria for evaluating authenticity in digital preservation, particularly in cases related to unreleased software projects and preservation work that occurs in non-institutional settings.
Interpretive visual and formal analysis of image files is performed on three overlapping preservation efforts to understand the ways that self-appointed preservationists reframe content in varied settings. The unreleased mid-1990s console game Sonic X-Treme is used as a case study because assets from the development process have been widely preserved among former developers and enthusiasts alike.
The findings indicate that non-professional preservationists transcode original production files into a variety of formats, ranging from lossy compressed images to contemporary three-dimensional (3D) modeling files. Materials are presented in settings that range from colorful webpages mimicking the appearance of commercial software to browsable file systems. These results show that non-institutional preservation practices embody notions of authenticity that diverge significantly from those of professional archivists.
The study is limited by its focus on a single case study, but helps to facilitate ongoing research concerning preservation of unreleased projects insofar as it surveys the current status of existing projects.
Existing studies within preservation literature have established the need for increased attention paid to unfinished digital works. This study introduces new data and interpretative findings that outline such preservation efforts as they already occur in non-institutional settings.
Design, Communities, Archives, World Wide Web, History, Audiovisual media
James A. Hodges. "Transcoding authenticity: preserving unreleased gaming software outside of memory institutions" Journal of Documentation (2021): 320-333. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-02-2021-0040