Saving Second Life: Issues in Archiving a Complex, Multi-User Virtual World

  • Jerome McDonough
  • Robert Olendorf


Virtual environments, such as Second Life, have assumed an increasingly important role in popular culture, education and research. Unfortunately, we have almost no practical experience in how to preserve these highly dynamic, interactive information resources. This article reports on research by the National Digital Information Infrastructure for Preservation Program (NDIIPP)-funded Preserving Virtual Worlds project, which examines the issues that arise when attempting to archive regions from Second Life. Intellectual property and contractual issues can raise significant impediments to the creation of an archival information package for these environments, as can the technical design of the worlds themselves. We discuss the implication of these impediments for distributed models of preservation, such as NDIIPP.
Research Papers