VRchive is an prototype executable virtual reality software platform for immersive user navigation through multi- media collections, archives, and databases via virtual- and-augmented reality, specifically utilizing visual meta-data-based organizational and finding tools. In its current state, VRchive acts like a highly- interactive VR-search engine interface. A user’s query returns media objects (in this case, videos) which surround the user in a seemingly infinite field of virtual screens. The user can then navigate through these screens using a commercial VR-device’s hand and head controllers. VRchive’s particular metadata navigation (which we believe is specifically new to the field and novel) translates traditional, screen-based search behaviors and conventions to a virtual, immersive environment, permitting users to experience media interconnections in unique, new, and valuable ways. Breaking out of list-based metadata usage affords the user a constellation of color coded information about their media, making immediately apparent the interconnections between different archival elements and speeding up media synthesis.
In practice, the application will work with a collection’s pre-existing database of entries to populate a virtual space with interactive media objects wherein a user will have access to the entirety of the collection’s holdings via unique haptic, gestural, visual, aural inputs and feedback systems.