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Section 1: Overview and Objectives#

1.1 Who is this Guide for?#

Creating and Using Virtual Reality is intended for those who are interested in how virtual reality can be used within the arts and humanities. This Guide to Good Practice concentrates on accessible desk-top virtual reality which may be distributed and viewed on-line via the World Wide Web. It is concerned with the variety of virtual reality models that may be produced and how to ensure that these can be delivered successfully to users and preserved for future reuse.

This Guide introduces virtual reality by considering its history, philosophy and theory and discusses good practice in planning virtual reality projects. It does not attempt to cover all virtual reality technologies – this is a rapidly developing field and new methods are continually emerging. The techniques that are introduced are those which are being used in the Arts and Humanities and for which standards are emerging. Ensuring that the models produced can be used and enjoyed by the audiences for which they are intended is the most important consideration for virtual reality projects. The data, management and documentation procedures required to enable models to be maintained and to continue to be enjoyed are introduced in this Guide. Preservation in the longer term is an emerging field; this Guide explores strategies for archiving and considers how to avoid the loss of virtual reality models as technology changes.

A virtual library of case studies is presented illustrating some applications of virtual reality in Archaeology, Architecture, Dance, Design, Fine Art, Heritage, History, Museum Studies and Theatre. Examples of worlds which allow users to interact with each other are also presented.

A wide range of organisations and individuals are both creating and holding virtual reality models. For this reason the Guide to Good Practice is aimed at:

  • Creators of virtual reality including artists, illustrators and computer scientists
  • Organisations and individuals commissioning virtual reality including national agencies, university-based projects and funding bodies
  • Curators who will receive virtual reality models including museums, galleries and archives.

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