On 7 June 2022, I presented “Digital Iran Reloaded: Preserving Video Games and Ethnographic Data” at the Open Digital Collaborative Project Preservation in the Humanities Conference.
The intellectual legacy of preservation has mostly been the onus of institutions like libraries or museums. In these repositories, the user may have access to a plethora of collections, from physical or digital manuscripts to sound or image recordings. With the dawn of online technologies, there is an even greater responsibility to preserve these digital objects and data from projects to collections by individual groups or institutions. Because of (un)planned obsolescence, the works of digital humanities collaborative spaces becomes more exhaustive due to potential degradation of the objects overtime (Fitzpatrick 2011). How then does a set of collaborative individuals create and preserve complex materials that contain digital information and data sets that are inextricably linked to socio-cultural formations? What are the viable pathways to open scholarship that affords opportunities for multiple voices? And lastly, how can we amplify the voices of collaborators in a meaningful way to enhance the development of digital humanities projects? Digital Iran Reloaded is a proposed and re-imagined digital humanities project that seeks to dive into these questions through a set of collaborative initiatives via live-streaming video games on Twitch tentatively in summer 2022. Live-streaming games on Twitch–a competitive esports or leisure streaming website–is a way to collide broader cultures, collaborators, and viewer inputs on multimedia like games, or other potential researcher objectives, with digital outputs that recognize connecting with others. The project thus situates that through networked broadcasting an individual or group can create collaboratively sustainable content (Taylor 2018). At the same time, the project emphasizes outcomes by developing methods and tools not only through multimedia content on Twitch but also curating that information through other outputs vis-à-vis saving videos to YouTube for a forever URL, curating and analyzing the data with a sustainable URL from the researcher’s home institution or department, and then fortifying through further active coordination with external repositories (Ross and Hedstrom 2005).