Let your Geek Archivist flag fly!

Recently, the source code for the popular, nay INLFUENTIAL video game Prince of Persia was ‘found’ by its creator Jordan Mechner and posted on GitHub, now available for public access and use. But why is this so important? We can still play the game, remakes have been created, and very few of us would even recognize the code if we fell over it. According to Mechner, who is a programmer-not an Archivist, providing access to the original is the key to an object’s sustainability in this world of technological evolution:

[on needing an original musical score] You don’t, if all you want is to listen and enjoy the music. But to a pianist performing the piece, or a composer who wants to study it or arrange it for different instruments, the original score is valuable.

It’s possible, up to a point, to reverse-engineer new source code from a published video game, much as a capable musician can transcribe a musical score from listening to a performance. But in both cases, there’s no substitute for the original document as a direct line to the creator’s intentions and work process. As such, it has both practical and historical value, to the small subset of the game-playing/music-listening community that cares.

Just as the Archival community gradually embraces and incorporates linked data, online finding aids, and digital exhibits into their everyday workflow, they understand that maintaining the life of the original item-that very origin of idea-is essential to the longevity of any other surrogate.

ALA member?

If you are a member of the American Library Association, please consider joining the LibraryLab, BoingBoing’s latest partnership with the ALA and Librarians everywhere!

Oh, the glorious geekdom venn diagrams that can be formed between these two powerful groups!


From the Library BoingBoing ALA member page:

Proposed Mission:

To bring librarians and Boing Boing readers (aka, Happy Mutants) together to generate support for and raise interest in libraries via projects at local libraries.

Proposed Goals:

  • Help find and propose content about libraries that could be posted to Boing Boing.
  • Provide active ways for Happy Mutants to support and get involved with their local libraries (eg, toolkits, best practices, ideas for local projects).
  • Create dynamic programming at library conferences that Library Boing Boingers can then take outside of the library community to promote libraries (eg, SxSW, local community events, etc.).
  • Work together to help Happy Mutants advance our shared interests (eg, copyright reform, net neutrality, game culture, digital divide issues, open government, etc.).
  • Coordinate an international community of librarians working with their own Happy Mutant groups.