Thursday, June 23, 2011

Media Center Awarded Friends Grant

The Media Center has been awarded a grant to simultaneously screen, digitize, and broadcast orphaned films from the Educational Media Collection. The project, called Films From The Vaults, will begin in the Fall Quarter, 2011. Check back to this site for more information about the project, including a schedule of films to be screened and digitized.

In the meantime, here's more information from the grant proposal:

A. OVERVIEW: Archives are rarely sexy. There's dust, mold, metadata conventions, and copyright entanglements. And each format we aim to archive brings with it a unique mash-up of preservation ills. In the world of vintage 16mm films, we find vinegar syndrome, color dye fading, warping, and shrinkage.

Though rarely sexy, some archival collections do emanate historical significance, not just clouds of vinegar-scented off gassing. The Educational Media Collection (EMC) is such an example. Its holdings cover a broad array of rare and deteriorating 16mm titles, many of which were produced by UW departments.

With this project the Media Center is asking for funds to hire a student to digitize and simultaneously screen dozens of EMC films. We will use an existing telecine—which converts the film signal into a video signal—to project the film onto a screen in Odegaard 220. We also take the video signal from the telecine and plug it into an existing portable computer, where we digitize and later burn it to DVD-R for access through the Media Center.

Since 2009 the Media Center has hosted four of these “Films from the Vaults” sessions. Each one allowed us to preserve and make accessible rare films, while also performing outreach to community members on and off campus. With the last one, in conjunction with Poetry Month and Preservation Week, we also webcasted the screenings live via As we had more people watch the screenings via than we had show up in person, we expect to webcast all 18 events proposed here.

We have given the issue of copyright considerable thought in regards to this project. Section 108 of the Copyright Code allows libraries and archives to preserve unique and rare materials for preservation purposes. Therefore, digitization of the films raises no copyright issues. In terms of screening the films, we will only choose films that we have explicit permission from the copyright holder to screen or are orphaned works (i.e., works for which a copyright holder cannot be identified). We have already identified numerous orphaned films in the EMC. These await digitization.

This project supports the following three criteria:

· Research and Scholarship: Many researchers and scholars—from UW and beyond—have already expressed interest in many of the films in the EMC. There is simply nowhere else to get this material. It will be lost without digitization. A small sampling of the EMC films we have already digitized is available on the Media Center’s Youtube Channel.

· Teaching and Learning: As many UW instructors have used EMC films in their classrooms, we still receive requests to make these films available on DVD. By supporting the digitization of these films, more titles will be available for these and future instructors. Additionally, the digitization process itself provides a learning opportunity for screening participants. On several occasions participants have asked about the process and we have provided a step-by-step overview of how we project, digitize, and make accessible these relics.

· Engagement and Sustainability: This project has a key outreach component and is, therefore, focused on engaging community members both in-person and online. Furthermore, since this project is also a preservation project, it is committed to the long-term sustainability of the knowledge and heritage captured in these films.

B. GOALS: We expect to digitize and screen—both in person and online—dozens of films over the course of 18 sessions. If we are able to do this and also make the digital files accessible via the Media Center’s collections, we have succeeded.

C. WORK PLAN: In order to raise maximum awareness about the project, we will coordinate all 18 of these screening/digitization sessions (6 per quarter) with AC Peterson, Libraries Communications Officer. Each session will be 3 three hours in length and will enable us to digitize anywhere between 2 and 8 films per session (depending on the length of the films). The student hired to complete this work will also spend an equal amount of time prepping the films prior to the sessions and processing them for access following the sessions. John Vallier—Head, Distributed Media—will coordinate and be responsible for the work. No other units will be impacted by this work.

1 comment:

James R Gibbs said...

Great to hear about the grant!