A Conceptual Model and Metadata Schema for Video Games and Interactive Media (VGMS)

The primary objective of this research is to create a metadata schema that can capture the essential information about video games and interactive media in a standardized way which will allow for better navigation through a game collection as well as improved interoperability across multiple organizational systems. Previous research shows that despite increasing interest in and significance of video games, current descriptive practices are not robust enough to support searching, browsing, and other access behaviors from diverse user groups. Based on the data obtained from a comprehensive domain analysis and empirical user data obtained from various user studies, our end goal is to develop a metadata schema specifying the important information features, their definitions, and attributes. We hope to augment existing standards in the Library and Information Science (LIS) field, such as the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), and related standards as well as assisting organizations with video game collections by providing a formal metadata schema and encoding schemes that can be used across multiple game-related websites and other resources. Our work was awarded Research Bridge Funding from the University of Washington’s Office of Research.

Ongoing research opportunities include the development and testing of user-focused controlled vocabularies for metadata elements, creation and maintenance of a permanent game data repository, and development of sample applications. Students seeking game-related Capstone projects will find an amazing range of opportunities here, too. Contact gamerlab {at} for more information.


A Conceptual Data Model and Schema for Curating Collections of Video Game Development Artifacts

The University of Washington Information School will conduct a two-year research project to create a conceptual data model and metadata schema for describing and representing artifacts related to the development of digital games. Unlike most collections that focus on final, released games, these collections of artifacts preserve the often inaccessible historical contexts of one of the most important global media forms, and one to which the U.S. makes significant contributions. This work will result in a deeper understanding of how to represent entities and relationships in the domain of video games and interactive media development, contributing to national conversations about the description of complex, interrelated objects in library and museum collections. The results of this project will enable catalogers to describe video games and related materials more accurately and thoroughly, improving the quality of metadata shared among organizations and increasing access to the items.

Ongoing research opportunities include qualitative analysis of game development documents, as well as interviews with game company employees and memory institution professionals working with game collections. Contact gamerlab {at} for more information.


  • Frank Cifaldi (Founder and Director, VGHF)
  • Kelsey Lewin (Communications Director, VGHF
  • Co-Owner, Pink Gorilla Games), and Travis Brown (Technical Director, VGHF)
 Advisory Board
  • Andrew Borman (Digital Games Curator at the Strong National Museum of Play)
  • Henry Lowood (Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections and Film & Media Collections at Stanford University Libraries)
  • Jerome McDonough (Associate Professor at the School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Cynde Moya (Collections Manager at Living Computers: Museum + Labs)
  • Dr. Laine Nooney (Assistant Professor of Media and Information Industries at New York University)
GAME! (Game Accessibility Metadata, Excellent!)

One of the GAMER Lab’s enduring missions is to ensure that the future of video games will be accessible to all, and to meet all users where they are, working with them becomes imperative to that mission. With John R. Porter, an HCDE (Human-Centered Design & Engineering) Ph.D. candidate familiar with many of the accessibility needs of modern gamers, the GAMER Lab intends to focus on research that will further improve the VGMS (Video Game Metadata Schema) and examine important standards for accessibility in video games. In order to evaluate these standards, we will be performing interviews and surveys focusing on accessibility related to motor impairment.

  • If you would like to participate in the surveys, please follow this link:
  • If you would like to participate in an interview, please email John at
Ongoing research opportunities include conducting interviews with gamers facing accessibility issues and the qualitative analysis of interview transcripts. Contact John at for more information.
Understanding User Behaviors Related to Augmented Reality Games

Augmented Reality Games (ARG) which blend the reality and virtual world through the gameplay are becoming extremely popular, especially with the recent launch of Pokémon GO. With additional ARG titles in development, increased interest in the genre, and a growing player base, there is an increased urgency to understand the types of actions people will take to meet goals in these games. However, we are just starting to understand how these ARGs change the way we play games and also affect our daily life in multiple regards including information sharing, social aspect, privacy, safety, health, education, and more. We are interviewing, surveying, and observing Ingress and Pokémon GO players in order to better understand the player behaviors regarding the aspects above and also their perception of benefits and drawbacks of ARGs. The results of this research will be useful in shedding light on the types of behaviors that this type of gameplay can promote among players, which have real impacts on individuals and communities. This will have implications for not only game designers and players, but other stakeholders who will be affected by an increasing popularity of these kinds of games in ways that were not imaginable before.

If you play either of these games, please help us by participating in our surveys:

Crossmedia Advisory Services based on Appeal Factors

Providing readers’ advisory (RA) is widely acknowledge by the library community as a mission-critical service. However, current RA practices and tools focus heavily on the recommendation of books and audiobooks, excluding wide swaths of library collection in other formats. Additionally, librarians and RA recommendation engines currently relay on metadata fields related to topic and genre, which are limited in their ability to generate great recommendations. We are conducting a three-year research project investigating the common “appeal factors” across multiple types of media, including books, films, video games, graphic novels, and music, to support the provision of robust, 21st century readers’ advisory services in libraries. The goal of this research is to enable libraries to use appeal factors to provide crossmedia advisory services.

This project is partially funded by OCLC/ALISE Library and Information Science Research Grant.


Developing a Controlled Vocabulary for Video Game Visual Styles

The goal of this research project is to create a list of controlled vocabulary terms to thoroughly describe the visual styles of video games. Despite the increase in interest in video games across commercial and academic areas, organizational systems for classifying them remain inadequate, particularly in describing the visual styles of video games. Because video games are by and large a visual medium, the ability to describe their visual “look” coherently and consistently greatly contributes to their discovery through classification. A set of controlled terms would be instrumental in complementing game recommendation engines and search applications in digital libraries to meet users’ content-related information needs. It would also add an additional descriptive layer to the basic metadata, like title and publisher, already appended to video game resources in library collections.


  • Judi Windleharth at DigiPen

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