Glossary terms

Accessioning is the process of bringing in new materials into an institutional collection for preservation and access. The process begins by confirming and verifying the information object; describing it and preparing it for the catalog; transferring it to a permanent storage infrastructure; and making it or preservation copies available for access.

Digital projects labs (also known as digital media labs, digital scholarship labs, or sometimes digital humanities labs) have emerged in research universities and academic libraries in the past 20 years. Digital media labs typically provide hands-on, experimental research opportunities for researchers to do experiential research using hardware and software, and to work with obsolete computing technologies.

Documentation strategy is a method developed by archivists that guides the selection and retention of information about specific communities, topics, events, or places. An important feature of documentation strategy is working with subjects to develop a strategy for identifying gaps or areas that are not well-represented by archives.

Emulation is the use of one system to reproduce the functions and results of another system. Some emulators simply aim to recreate a digital document’s look and feel; while other emulators aim to reproduce a complete software environment, replicating the functionality of the system on which a document was created or with which dynamic media was accessed.

A game hack takes an existing video game and modifies it in ways so that it differs from the original title. Game hacks can be simple (like changing graphics or colors) or involve complex variations with completely new themes. Game hacks are also known as “homebrew games” which are developed by users for proprietary gaming systems.

Mapping is used to emulate peripheral controllers with keyboards. Each input from pressing a button, triggering an action, or moving an axis of a controller is ‘mapped’ to a keyboard so that the keyboard can be used as a controller instead of the peripheral.

Oral History is an interview that captures a subject’s personal experiences or recollections of the past. Oral history interviews can be captured with audio, video, or transcripts, and may include other materials associated with the interview.

Preservation through use model prioritizes the use of collections over ‘pristine’ preservation approaches that may inhibit access or direct contact with objects. This access model prioritizes users physically accessing the materials and guides the selection of promising software to be emulated.

Preservation workflows are the processes, tactics, and steps that individuals and teams undertake in order to provide access to collections. When implementing new technologies or information services, such as software emulation, preservation workflows are often embedded in larger organizational workflows such as metadata and description, processing archival collections, or technical services. Examining workflows as complex social interactions can reveal how these methods become formalized in place; understanding them can enable transparency, accountability, and articulate how an organization supports preservation services.