AHRC Innovation Placements allow researchers who have recently completed their PhDs to work with a host organisation outside the Higher Education sector. Placement holders offer their specialist skills to the organisation in exchange for experience of collaborative research in a professional environment. Having recently submitted my PhD thesis on interactive narrative, I was keen to join the Library’s pioneering Emerging Formats project to help shape collections policy surrounding interactive web-based works.
My PhD investigated which works might be considered interactive narrative, and the methods creators of interactive fiction (IF) employ in order to build a relationship with their audiences. My thesis included a critical analysis which traced aspects of interactivity from Victorian serials through to modern videogames, plus the creation of an interactive novella with a reader-guided story.
My knowledge of IF creators, works and platforms provided me with a good starting point for collecting works to add to the Library’s UK Web Archive. As well as ongoing work on developing an overview of interactive fiction in the UK (which I blogged about for Digital Scholarship), I’ve also been exploring web-archiving tools to determine the options and possibilities available to curators collecting complex digital works.
It was here that my skills as a creator were put to use as I was able to experiment with archiving my own works, making adjustments to them to explore how this affected capture quality. I also received training in web archiving which has made me more aware of the need to ensure my own creative work is archivable. Most recently I’ve been working on a Twine piece which indicates the importance of and challenges associated with archiving through the story it tells.
I’ll be giving several presentations on archiving interactive works for British Library colleagues, and at the 2019 International Internet Preservation Consortium at the National and University Library of Croatia.
I have particularly enjoyed developing new knowledge of the Library’s web archiving work, and learning about other related projects through the Library’s vibrant program of guest and staff talks.