News

Australian Government’s About-Face on Archives

posted July 1, 2021

In a startling about-face, Australia’s center-right government has announced that it will provide modest funding for emergency maintenance of the country’s National Archives.

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Let Them Preserve Cake: Government’s Dismissive Message to Australian Archivists

posted June 28, 2021

Australia’s National Archives is 1,400 years behind schedule if it is to preserve even its current holdings. Its users are not happy. More than 150 prominent cultural figures have addressed an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, urging his government “to stop the neglect of the National Archives and protect the nation's history.” They have been met by seeming scorn.

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How Will an Important Archive Ever Recover?

posted June 10, 2021

After a wildfire destroyed or severely damaged vast amounts of library holdings at the University of Cape Town, in South Africa, librarians and archivists — not just from UCT, but also from around the world — joined an effort to recuperate the losses, to whatever extent is possible. The losses included much of one of the largest collections anywhere of books, films, photographs, and other primary sources relating to African history, including a largely irreplaceable collection of journalists' film and other records from the Apartheid era.

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Looking Again at Eyes on the Prize

posted April 1, 2021

The civil rights era in the United States was a time of great upheaval, of continuing and at times intensified injustice, and of both triumph and tragedy. Now the Boston-based American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) has released a new online exhibit – Freedom Song: Interviews from Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954–1965 – that explores what went into making the groundbreaking 1987 television series, Eyes on the Prize, which famously depicted the era.

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A Lifetime of Movie Research, Digitized

posted February 2, 2021

For decades, Lillian Michelson performed research in support of Hollywood film producers, directors, designers, and other creatives. With material she gathered in the course of her work, in 1969 she began the Cinema Research Library that now bears her name. A new chapter in the vast collection has begun with Michelson’s donation of the material to the Internet Archive.

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47 Orphan Films To Be Preserved with Federal Grants

posted October 1, 2020

The National Film Preservation Foundation has announced annual grants to U.S. 34 institutions to allow them to preserve 47 “orphan” films from their collections. (“Orphan film” is defined as a film in any form that has been abandoned by its owner or caretaker.) Since 1998 the NFPF has provided preservation resources to 315 organizations in all 50 American states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to help save 2,547 films.

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Digitizing the First Days of Public Access Television

posted September 2, 2020

Public access to free-to-air and cable television resulted from a lot of activism by pioneers in the face of many obstacles. From 1971, the plucky New York state collective, Portable Channel, created some of the earliest citizen-made documentary television in the United States. Now Visual Studies Workshop, based in Rochester, NY, is digitizing and making available hundreds of video tapes created by members of Portable Channel.

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A Home Movie Day Unlike the Others

posted August 17, 2020

Home Movie Day won’t be quite the same, this year. But as sometimes happens, restrictions — in this case, imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic — will force changes that may turn out to be fruitful innovations. In 2020, Home Movie Day goes virtual, and with that the local becomes global.

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George Eastman Museum Offers Films from its Collection, Free

posted August 6, 2020

The George Eastman Museum is providing free online access to a selection of digitized films from its moving image collection. So far, it has released 23 digitized films for general viewing. Films by groundbreaking documentary maker Leo Hurwitz are among selections from the Eastman collection that you can now watch on the museum’s website.

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Film Archivists Preserve Accounts of What COVID-19 Has Wrought

posted June 12, 2020

How is the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting film archivists and archives? Christopher Dupin, who as Senior Administrator runs the day-to-day operations of the International Federation of Film Archivists, wants to know: “Being an historian, myself, I always think about the future and what we want historians in 20 or 30 years to remember about this."

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