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Kari Kraus

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Associate Professor, English

(301) 405-3783

3217 Tawes Hall
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Research Expertise

Textual and Digital Studies

Kari Kraus is an associate professor in the College of Information Studies and the Department of English. Her research and teaching interests focus on new media and the digital humanities; textual scholarship, print culture, and the history of the book; digital preservation; game studies; transmedia storytelling; and speculative design. She was a local Co-PI on two grants for preserving virtual worlds; the PI on an IMLS Digital Humanities Internship grant; and, with Derek Hansen, the Co-Principal Investigator of an NSF grant to study Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and transmedia storytelling in the service of education and design. Her latest transmedia work is likewise funded by the NSF. Currently she is Co-PI on “Exploring Invisible Traces in Historic Recordings,” a collaborative project with Min Wu (PI) and Doug Oard funded by an ADVANCE seed grant at UMD. The project applies audio forensics techniques to help recover provenance information about undated recordings.

Kraus has written for the New York Times and the Huffington Post, and her work has been mentioned in the Atlantic, Baltimore Public Radio, the Huffington Post, Gamasutra, Wired, and the Long Now Foundation. She is writing a book about how artists, designers, and humanities researchers think about, model, and design possible futures. A copy of her CV can be found here.

Publications

Bibliocircuitry and the design of the alien everyday

This essay describes, models, and advocates for the role of reflective design in bibliography and textual studies.

English

Lead: Kari Kraus
Dates:
Popularized by Donald Norman, reflective design promotes critical inquiry over usability and exploratory prototyping over fully realized productions. We highlight four projects undertaken by the authors that embody reflective design, including three that explore the crossed codes of print and electronic books. A larger aim of the essay is to position bibliotextual scholarship and pedagogy as design-oriented practices that can be used to imagine the future as well as reconstruct the past.

Alternate Reality Games as platforms for practicing 21st-century literacies.

Alternate reality games (ARGs) are a new genre of transmedia practice in which players collaboratively hunt for clues, make sense of disparate information, and solve puzzles to advance an ever-changing narrative that is woven into the fabric of the real w

English

Lead: Kari Kraus
Dates:
This paper highlights the potential for ARGs to promote 21st-century literacy skills. We propose a meta-level framework for 21st-century literacies composed of seven core literacies: gather, make sense, manage, solve, create, respect, collaborate. We then describe how the unique properties of ARGs can be used to teach these core literacies, drawing upon expert interviews and examples from numerous ARGs. Finally, we outline the major challenges and opportunities for using ARGs in the service of education, focusing on reuse, budgetary issues, scale, and improvisation. We end with an outline of key research questions that need to be addressed to merge ARGs and education.

“Do you want to save your progress?”: The role of professional and player communities in preserving virtual worlds.

Almost since the inception of the industry, the player community has been instrumental in preserving video games and other variable media art.

English

Lead: Kari Kraus
Dates:
Drawing on a combination of primary and secondary sources of information, including the Preserving Virtual Worlds project (an academic investigation into viable models of preservation for videogames and 3D virtual worlds based on a series of archiving case studies) and the results of a game documentation survey conducted by Donahue, we examine how players are taking responsibility for collecting, managing, curating, and creating long-term access to computer games. Because our interest lies with the contact zone between players and information professionals, we also describe and analyze how we and other scholar-archivists are collaborating with or relying on the user community to preserve virtual worlds, with an eye to how these relationships might eventually be codified within a larger preservation framework.