It’s said that to a carpenter, everything eventually looks like a nail. I just finished an MLIS degree, so everything I see needs to be organized and preserved.
Over the last year or so, and especially in the last few months, I have wondered if the OSR needs a digital archive/library of gaming rules (spells, monsters, house rules, window dressing) that has been published under and OGL and/or CC license.
By digital archive, I mean a website, but I don’t mean a wiki or a list of links to the sites where the materials originated (although that is certainly a good thing). I mean a database that houses the information (each distinct piece of work) and the metadata necessary for users to browse and search for materials by theme, ruleset, inspiration, etc.
Why would this be useful? Well-designed archive would serve two purposes:
- A digital archive would make it easier to find good materials. It could be a single place to find that awesome centaur statblock or the quick and easy kung-fu system no matter who made it up. It would also separate the material from any bloggy stuff before, after or around it.
- And of course it would preserve it against the day when the website that houses it disappears. By providing a means of easily setting up a mirror archive, it would ensure even against its own doom.
I would prefer something like this as a community-supported non-profit effort, by the way. Members (preferably the authors themselves) would need to enter content and make sure the metadata is accurate.
I am not proposing this project just now–I’ve got lots to take care of as it is. I just want to test the waters to see if it’s worth even thinking about. It seems to me that there’s enough good stuff out there that merits some sort of organization and backup.
What do y’all think?