Here is the latest abstract for my chapter for the Oxford Handbook of Virtuality, edited by Mark Grimshaw. The chapter was written and sent to OUP some time ago, no doubt there will be changes, but I am happy to take comments or suggestions etc.
History and Heritage in Virtual Worlds
Keywords: History, heritage, games, evaluation methods, cultural heritage, HCI, multi-user interaction, virtual worlds, virtual reality, 3D interfaces.
Applying virtual reality and virtual world technology to historical knowledge and to cultural heritage content is generally called virtual heritage, but it has so far eluded clear and useful definitions, and it has been even more difficult to evaluate. This article examines past case studies of virtual heritage; definitions and classifications of virtual environments and virtual worlds; the problem of convincing, educational and appropriate realism; how interaction is best employed; issues in evaluation; and the question of ownership. Given the premise that virtual heritage has as its overall aim to educate and engage the general public (on the culture value of the original site, cultural artifacts, oral traditions, and artworks), the conclusion suggests six objectives to keep in mind when designing virtual worlds for history and heritage.