Florence Smith Nicholls

PhD Student - Queen Mary, UoL

Playthroughs as Contextual Collecting for Emerging Formats

This talk will focus on contextual collecting as a strategy to aid the long-term preservation of emerging formats at the British Library. In particular, we will discuss the process of recording playthroughs at City Interaction Lab for three interactive adventures (two mobile apps and one VR experience), which will be showcased as part of the Digital Storytelling exhibition at the British Library (2 June – 15 October 2023).

Contextual collecting refers to the act of collecting information surrounding a publication, to ensure that future researchers will have access to material describing the context in which something was originally developed and published (especially if the publication itself is no longer accessible on its intended device). Within this context, playthrough videos constitute valuable documentation on the original ‘look and feel’ of an artefact, as well as provide instructions on use whenever a format has become obsolete.

In this presentation, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities of preserving emerging formats and how both collecting and creating contextual information can contribute to enhancing the collection.

About the speaker:

Florence Smith Nicholls is a game AI PhD researcher based at Queen Mary University of London, focusing on archaeological approaches to procedurally generated content. They undertook a placement in the Department of Contemporary British and Irish Publications at the British Library between October 2022 and March 2023, collecting contextual information for two narrative mobile apps. They were also commissioned to produce gameplay footage for the Library’s Digital Storytelling exhibition.