Until the museum employs or designates a Archivist/Registrar and a Lead Curator, the Director assumes the responsibility for all collections decisions.
All digital material will be copied and stored in digital format on site and in an off site repository, including games, operating systems, digital photographs, audio, and scans. Original hard copy will be stored by the museum as artifacts. Digital records will be treated as archives. All items which exist in both forms must be cross referenced. Regular backups will be done on a schedule developed by the Director of Information Technology. Artifacts are stored in the best conditions available, including temperature, humidity and light control, and in archival or inert storage media. Appropriate museum storage and handling practices apply.
Only legally produced original materials can be accessioned. Copies of games, photo copies of game related materials, and other copies may not be accessioned. Only materials which the museum has accessioned may be displayed, unless they are part of a loan (which see).
An exception may be made with the approval of the Director and the Board’s legal committee if ALL of the following apply:
- There are not known extant copies of the material in original format.
- The material has been abandoned by its creator and it is not possible to get legal title (abandonware).
- The material is of unusual importance to the history and/or evaluation of games.
- Such material is further subject to the following regulations:
- The material may added to the collection for study only and must be clearly marked as non-original. It may not be used for display or made publicly available other than to recognized scholars.
- The material for display must have a separate review. An explanation of the significance of the item must be prepared by the Lead Curator, exhibit designer or Archivist/Registrar and presented to the Director and the Board, either of whom may reject the item for display.
Items which are overly represented in the collection may be deaccessioned after a revue by the Lead Curator and Archivist/Registrar. Items to be deaccessioned will be disposed of in the following sequence:
- Offered to another museum (at no charge) which might have a particular interest in the item.
- Offered to other museums (at no charge) but which may not have a specific connection to the item.
- Put up for public auction. Funds realized from the auction will be used to purchase other items for the collection or on expenses relating to the care of the collection.
The collection will be valued according to prices currently paid in online auctions and by collectors. Values will be tied to the condition of the materials. Values will be updated by developing an valuation increase index for “collectibles” based on changing auction prices, and insurance coverage will be updated annually to reflect the changes.
Items may be accepted on loan from other museums or individuals. Items may be accepted for study or display.
Upon receipt, and before accepting delivery, the item will be opened and photographed by a person in authority. Items not as represented by the loan agreement, either as to condition or authenticity, may be refused.
The DGM will provide insurance coverage and will accord the same level of care to the artifact as it would to its own material of a similar nature.
Loan agreements are the responsibility of the Archivist/Registrar, who will prepare loan agreements specifying all required documentation (provenance, etc.), responsibility for return shipping costs and methods, disposition after 90 days uncollected, etc. All loans will be of a limited duration which will be tracked..
Institutions receiving loans from our collection will be responsible for paying shipping charges to DGM. DGM will pay return shipping charges. Before the loan is accepted, the following must be agreed on in writing:
- The value of the item(s) for insurance purposes.
- The duration of the loan.
- The provenance of the item(s)
- Provision for unclaimed loans: reversion to DGM after 90 days. with no restrictions on use and disposal.
- Additional policies will be developed by the Archivist/Registrar and the Director.
Digital gaming is a field in which the true experts are not the product of academic training; they are the people who have been playing, designing, developing and/or collecting games for many years. They are members of the gaming culture that we seek to serve. To that end, the DGM will rely on the public for our initial curation of games and the related materials.
Curation will begin with a Wikipedia style database which can be edited by anyone. Anyone can add information to the database. Eventually, a tiered curation system will be developed, with entries locked at certain levels except to community curators of a certain level. Community information curators will be given privileges at upper levels by will of the group; all participants will have a vote in moving guest curators to the next level. The structure will be:
- level A – alpha – hobbyist level
- level B – beta – develop coherent story from level A
- level C – gold – checks sources, accuracy of level B
It will probably take several years before lead curators are designated. Community curators will advance in levels based on the thoroughness and reliability of the information they provide, as well as their ability to provide citations for the sources of their information. We will promote the use of our community curators in all traditional areas of curatorial activities, including exhibit design, text writing, etc. Format and management of the database is the responsibility of the IT Coordinator.
The collection will be cataloged and available for viewing online.