Gen Con 50th Anniversary Programs Project
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:26 pm 
 

The official announcement from both Gen Con and us at Temple just went out, so I can actually talk about this project now!  I hope you all have fun going through the database and the content we produce from these programs, and a special thanks out to the Acaeum members that have helped make it possible by contributing their programs for scanning.

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The Temple University Digital Scholarship Center announces the creation of an online database of events for all 50 years of the Gen Con gaming convention.  The database will be available for use by the public with an accompanying exhibit site for hosting articles related to the information that is gleaned from the gaming history of the database.  The database and exhibit site are expected to go live in July of 2017.

Gen Con, which first took place in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin 1967, has close ties to gaming culture and popular culture.  Founded by Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, Gen Con began as a wargaming convention.  Following the release of Dungeons and Dragons in 1974, Gen Con expanded to include table top role-playing games; a genre that has heavily influenced the video game industry and popular media.  The convention continued to grow expanding to other forms of gaming and an ever larger crowd.  The first Gen Con consisted of only a handful of games and people, but has now grown to an annual attendance of more than 60,000 and over 17,000 events.

For this project, DSC staff are digitizing programs from Gen Con's past.  With the programs in digital form, we are able to convert the event information into CSV files for research use and ultimately a publicly searchable database.     The event information from most of the programs contains a wealth of information including game descriptions, who ran the games, and game genre.  With the events broken down by their different information fields and normalized across the years researchers will be able to apply a variety of digital scholarship techniques, including textual and network analysis, to learn more about how gaming has grown and changed over the years as reflected through Gen Con.  Articles and exhibits based on the research performed on the database and on the content of the programs will be made available through the accompanying exhibit site.

For questions regarding this project please email [email protected].

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Post Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:22 pm 
 

nesbit37 wrote in Gen Con 50th Anniversary Programs Project:The official announcement from both Gen Con and us at Temple just went out, so I can actually talk about this project now!  I hope you all have fun going through the database and the content we produce from these programs, and a special thanks out to the Acaeum members that have helped make it possible by contributing their programs for scanning.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Temple University Digital Scholarship Center announces the creation of an online database of events for all 50 years of the Gen Con gaming convention.  The database will be available for use by the public with an accompanying exhibit site for hosting articles related to the information that is gleaned from the gaming history of the database.  The database and exhibit site are expected to go live in July of 2017.

Gen Con, which first took place in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin 1967, has close ties to gaming culture and popular culture.  Founded by Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, Gen Con began as a wargaming convention.  Following the release of Dungeons and Dragons in 1974, Gen Con expanded to include table top role-playing games; a genre that has heavily influenced the video game industry and popular media.  The convention continued to grow expanding to other forms of gaming and an ever larger crowd.  The first Gen Con consisted of only a handful of games and people, but has now grown to an annual attendance of more than 60,000 and over 17,000 events.

For this project, DSC staff are digitizing programs from Gen Con's past.  With the programs in digital form, we are able to convert the event information into CSV files for research use and ultimately a publicly searchable database.     The event information from most of the programs contains a wealth of information including game descriptions, who ran the games, and game genre.  With the events broken down by their different information fields and normalized across the years researchers will be able to apply a variety of digital scholarship techniques, including textual and network analysis, to learn more about how gaming has grown and changed over the years as reflected through Gen Con.  Articles and exhibits based on the research performed on the database and on the content of the programs will be made available through the accompanying exhibit site.

For questions regarding this project please email [email protected].


WOW! Very cool news!  8O  8O  8O  8O  8O

  


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Post Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:05 am 
 

8O  :D

Great news! This will be a boon for historical research. I have hardcopies of several of the programs, and they are chock full of info. Thanks for letting us know, nesbit.

Just to clarify, will the database will be searchable over the internet, or only available on site at Temple U?


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Post Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:34 am 
 

The database will be available over the Internet and i also plan to have a download option for the CSV files so people can get copies easily to do their own text analysis with. If any of you have suggestions I would love to hear them. We have a lot on our plate to get done by July but the goal here is to have something useful so the more ideas the better.

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Post Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:11 pm 
 

Thanks for the clarification, nesbit. I'm really looking forward to this. Just looking through the old Gen Con listings and reading the game descriptions is a treat. The titles alone are often very evocative. Lots of TSR modules were playtested at Gen Con. Plus there are all the unpublished scenarios run by TSR employees that give the feeling of lost modules.


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Post Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:58 pm 
 

nesbit37 wrote in Gen Con 50th Anniversary Programs Project:The database will be available over the Internet and i also plan to have a download option for the CSV files so people can get copies easily to do their own text analysis with. If any of you have suggestions I would love to hear them. We have a lot on our plate to get done by July but the goal here is to have something useful so the more ideas the better.


Do you already have a standardized taxonomy for the games, editions, systems, companies, etc., Matt, as well as the metadata you want to associate with them?  If not, I'd be happy to help with that.  

Allan.


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:59 am 
 

The taxonomies are not fully set yet and they probably won't be until late spring/early summer so help there would be appreciated.  Right now we are wrapping up scanning (one program left) and getting the data OCRed and into spreadsheets.  It isn't going to be 100% clean, at least not at first.  I don't have enough people to cross check all of the OCR with the scanned copies of the programs to make sure all OCR errors are fixed.  I also don't want to massage the data to the point where we are making assumptions on some things and thereby altering things the programs tell us.  I want the researcher to read between the lines of the data, not the database to do that job.

Not all of the data is created equal either.  For example, the 1977 program gives us these fields:
Code:
TIME | EVENT |        LOCATION        | APPROX. TIME |        NUMBER OF PLAYERS |        JUDGE & SPONSOR |        PRIZE


Where the 2016 program gives us
Code:
Game ID        Group        Title        Short Description        Long Description        Event Type        Game System        Rules Edition        Minimum Players        Maximum Players        Age Required        Experience Required        Materials Provided        Start Date & Time        Duration        End Date & Time        GM Names        Website        Email        Tournament?        Round Number        Total Rounds        Minimum Play Time        Attendee Registration?        Cost $        Location        Room Name        Table Number        Special Category        Tickets Available        Last Modified


We are going to normalize as much as we can through taxonomies but we definitely want the site up in July, so its possible it will go up without everything being perfectly clean and then we will just continue the normalization process and push out updates as we go from August on.

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Post Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 11:48 pm 
 

Makes sense.  When you're ready to talk through the taxonomies' structure and metadata, let me know.  I'm happy happy to help :D


Allan Grohe ([email protected])
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Post Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:44 am 
 

Will do.  Thanks, Allan!

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