about the project

You’ve arrived at the online home for a research project, “Directions for Archival Interfaces in Virtual Reality,” and its associated documentation. The project explores the potential applications for virtual reality (VR) in the design of interfaces for accessing archival materials.

Numerous scholars in the archival field have commented on the barriers to access inherent within the spaces of archival institutions. VR offers a new modality through which to provide access to archives that promises to engage non-traditional audiences. Through the proposed project, I hope to explore how VR might enable the development of user-friendly and user-sensitive interfaces to archival materials while being attentive to the possibility of reinscribing existing power dynamics and to the normative values deeply encoded into the technology itself.

On the site, you’ll find:

Development maps the trajectory of the project: where it started, where it’s at and where it’s headed. It speaks to both the conceptual and technical progression of the project.

Bibliography casts a wide net, including annotated entries relating to archival interfaces, archives & affect, archival spaces & power, user experience in virtual reality, critical praxis in user experience design, and museum studies. It’s a tad on the dry side, but hopefully useful to others working in the area.

Resources contains a collection of practical tools and tips for archival professionals working in VR.

To get a chronological overview of the project, All Posts provides in ascending order… well, all posts.

Comments and feedback are welcomed, as are longer contributions (please get in touch with me if you’d be interested in writing a guest post).



“Directions for Archival Interfaces in Virtual Reality” is being undertaken by Devon Mordell, a graduate student in the final term of her Master of Archival Studies program at the University of British Columbia, in fulfillment of the requirements of ARST 592:  Directed Research Project. The project is being supervised by Dr. Jennifer Douglas.

The first phase of the project will culminate in a VR prototype built in the Unity game development platform.