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Henry E Lowood

Curator, History of Science & Technology Collections: Film & Media Collections


  • (650) 723-4602
321C, McDermott Suite

Henry's role in the library

I am the Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections and Film & Media Collections in the Stanford University Libraries. You can find me in the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Group in Green Library.

You will find more information about the History of Science & Technology and Film & Media Collections elsewhere on the Libraries’ website.

Course Guides by Henry

Course number Term Guide Instructor
FILMSTUD 4 Winter 2014 Introduction to Film Studies Levi, P.

Professional activities

Since 2000, I have headed a project first funded by the Stanford Humanities Laboratory and, since the demise of SHL, continued in the Libraries: How They Got Game: The History and Culture of Interactive Simulations and Videogames. The results of this project have included courses such as History of Computer Game Design or The Consumer as Creator in Contemporary Media. The main focus of the project is the history and preservation of digital games, virtual worlds and interactive simulations as emerging new media forms.

Other accomplishments of the How They Got Game project thus far include two significant museum exhibits that took place in 2003 and 2004, featuring installations from the worlds of computer games, art and military simulation; the Machinima Archive , a digital archival repository for this new game-based medium; the 73 Easting archives at Stanford University, which documents the most important military simulation of the 1990s; and numerous panels, conferences, and publications.  We also completed two  three-year projects with HPS Simulations related to the development of  historical conflict simulations using HPS' new Point of Attack 2 game, funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Our contributions included an extensive program of historical map scanning and the creation of an historical archive of HPS records and player activities.

Since the beginning of 2008, I have been leading the Stanford group in a project first funded by the U.S. Library of Congress called "Preserving Virtual Worlds." We worked with the University of Illinois, University of Maryland, Rochester Institute of Technology, Linden Lab, the Internet Archive, and others on this exciting project. The final reportof this first Preserving Virtual Worlds project has been completed. We have also started Preserving Virtual Worlds II with the same group of partners; this project is funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services and is currently underway.

More information about my research, writing, teaching and speaking about the history of technology and game studies is on my c.v. page. One highlight: MIT Press published The Machinima Reader, which I co-edited with Michael Nitsche, last year. It makes a great gift for just about anyone.

For some twenty years, I was editor of the "Current Bibliography in the History of Technology" of the Society for the History of Technology. This bibliography is one of the components of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine database available through the Libraries' database page.

Selected publications

Recent publications (since 2009):

"High-Performance Play: The Making of Machinima." Revised version submitted for 2d ed. of Videogames and Art: Intersections and Interactions , eds. Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell (Londaon: Intellect Books; Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, orig. ed. 2007).

"Game History," draft submitted to The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media and Textuality, ed. Marie-Laure Ryan. 

"Animation Technology and Computer Graphics in the United States," draft submitted to Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology in America, ed. Hugh Slotten. 

"Documenting Mixed Reality Performance: the Case of CloudPad." (With Gabriella Giannachi, et al.) Submitted to Digital Creativity.

"Forbidden Areas: The Hidden Archive of a Virtual World.” Submited to MediaCommons special issue ed. by Kari Kraus. 

"Galaxy Game." To be published in: Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology and Art of Gaming, ed. Mark Wolf (ABC-Clio, expected 2012) 

"'Beyond the Game": the Olympic Ideal and Competitive e-Sports," draft submitted to: Play and Politics: Games, Civic Engagement, and Social Activism, eds. Douglas Thomas & Josh Fouts. 

"A Tecnologia Encontrada: Jogadores como inovadores na producao de machinima." In: Machinima. Colecao CINUSP, eds. Patricia Moran and Janaina Patrocinio. (Sao Paulo: Pro-Reitoria de Cultura e Extensao Universitaria da USP, 2011): 10-51. Trans. of "Found Technology." 

“Memento Mundi: Are Virtual Worlds History?” In: Digital Media: Technological and Social Challenges of the Interactive World, eds. Megan Winget and William Aspray. (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2011): 3-25. 

Co-Editor and "Introduction" (with Michael Nitsche), The Machinima Reader (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2011)

"Video Capture: Machinima, Documentation, and the History of Virtual Worlds," The Machinima Reader, eds. Henry Lowood and Michael Nitsche (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2011): 3-22. 

Co-editor (with Susan Rojo and Matteo Bittanti), "The Machinima Issue" of Journal of Visual Culture 10: 1 (April 2011).

"A 'Different Technical Approach'? Introduction to the Special Issue on Machinima," Journal of Visual Culture 10: 1 (April 2011): 3-5.

"Perfect Capture: Three Takes on Replay, Machinima and the History of Virtual Worlds," Journal of Visual Culture 10: 1 (April 2011): 113-24. 

"Wirklichkeitssituation = State of Reality," (with Tim Lenoir), in: Serious Games: Krieg, Medien, Kunst, eds. Ralf Beil and Antje Ehmann (Ostfildern: Hathe Cantz Verlag, 2011): 185-86. Excerpt from "Kriegstheater" (see below). 

"Preserving Virtual Worlds: Final Report" (with Jerome McDonough, Robert Olendorf, et al.), deposited in the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship, 31 August 2010. 

"The Future of Virtual Worlds," (with William Sims Bainbridge, Wayne Lutters and Diana Rhoten," in: Online Worlds: The Convergence of the Real and the Virtual, ed. William Sims Bainbridge (London: Springer, 2010): 289-302.

Guest editor, July-Sept. 2009 issue of IEEE Annals of the History of Computing.

"Video Games in Computer Space: The Complex History of Pong," IEEE Annals in the History of Computing (July-Sept. 2009): 5-19. [An earlier online version was available via "pong.mythos: Ein Spiel und seine Geschichte," accompanying exhibit of the Computerspiele Museum (Berlin), 11 Feb.-19 March 2006. This version has been superseded. Please do not cite it.] 

 "Memento Mundi: Are Virtual Worlds History?," iPres 2009: The Sixth International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects (5 Oct. 2009).

"Putting Politics Into Play: Three Recent Books on Virtual Worlds," American Journal of Play 2:1 (Summer 2009) 

"Players are Artists," in: The Art of Games: Nuove Frontiere tra Gioco e Bellezza, ed. Debora Ferrari and Luca Traini. (Aosta: Regione Auonoma Valle d'Aosta, 2009): 190-93. Also in Italian trans. as "I giocatore come artisti," pp. 194-97.

 Editor, Before It's Too Late: A Digital Game Preservation White Paper (N.p.: International Game Developers Association, 2009; distributed by Lulu Press) Also published in American Journal of Play 2:2 (Fall 2009). 

"Warcraft Adventures: Texts, Replay and Machinima in a Game-Based Story World," in: Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives, ed. Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009): 407-27.

"Digital Curation of Humanistics, Multimedia Materials: Lessons Learned and Future Directions" (Panel abstract, with Megan Winget, Caroline Frick, Jerome McDonough, and Allen Renear), Proceedings of DigCCurr 2009: Digital Curation - Practices, Promise & Prospects, ed. Helen R. Tibbo, et al. (Chapel Hill: School of Library and information Science, Univ. of North Carolina, 2009; distributed by Lulu Press): 42-43. 

"Game Counter," in: The Object Reader, eds. Fiona Candlin and Raiford Guins (Abingdon, Eng., and New York: Routledge, 2009): 466-69.


More about Henry

For full C.V. go here.


PhD, History (History of Science & Technology), UC Berkeley, 1987
MLIS, UC Berkeley, 1983
MA, History, UC Berkeley, 1977
BA, History (minor: Physics), UC Riverside, 1975