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Cinema Journal Archival News - 50.4
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Archival News 50:4

Edited by Jennifer Peterson


1. Preservation

2. Institutions and Organizations

3. New DVDs

4. On-Line Resources

5. Technology


•National Film Preservation Foundation Receives "Save America’s Treasures” Grant to Preserve "Lost” American Silent Films Discovered in New Zealand

The National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) has received a $203,000 federal grant to preserve and make available 40 American silent films repatriated last year from New Zealand—films unseen in the United States for close to a century. The award, one of 61 announced in February 2011 by Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service, is part of the Save America’s Treasures program, a national initiative to preserve culturally significant collections, structures, and historic sites that epitomize the creativity and innovation of the American people.

The American films to be preserved through the SAT grant are among the cache of 75 motion pictures from the 1910s and 1920s returned to the United States through a partnership between the National Film Preservation Foundation and the New Zealand Film Archive. Some 90% are thought to be the only surviving copies.

"In the late 1910s and 1920s America became the world’s leading film-exporting nation,” explained Dr. Leslie Lewis, the expert who inspected some 120,000 feet of nitrate film in New Zealand on behalf of the American team. "Often distributors abandoned exhibition prints at the end of their commercial runs. We are fortunate that in New Zealand some of these highly flammable nitrate prints were saved by collectors and found their way into the archive.”

In 2010, at the invitation of the New Zealand Film Archive, the NFPF shipped back the most culturally and artistically significant American titles. When announced last June, the discoveries were hailed by theNew York Timesas a "treasure-trove.” Among the finds areMaytime(1923), a feature starring Clara Bow, and a wide-ranging assortment of shorts ranging from an industrial profile about making Stetson hats toHappy-Go-Luckies(1923), a cartoon about two mutts who crash a dog show. The Library of Congress estimates that only 20% of the American features made before the coming of sound exist today. Shorter films—newsreels, cartoons, comedies, and documentaries—are thought to have an even lower survival rate.

Thanks to the Save America’s Treasures grant, the 40 rare films will be preserved over the next two years and made available through the five major American silent film archives: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, and UCLA Film & Television Archive, which are collaborating with the NFPF on this project. Copies of many works will also be sent to the New Zealand Film Archive and viewable on the NFPF Web site. For a description of the New Zealand Program, a slide show, and a list of the films to be preserved, see:

Among the other American treasures receiving preservation support through the SAT program are Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, the personal papers of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and the home of General Robert E. Lee in Arlington Cemetery. Each grant requires a dollar-for-dollar match of private monies.

Already a number of contributors have stepped forward to help the NFPF make the one-to-one match in private funds and services required for the grant. Among them are Turner Classic Movies, which will save the political satireAndy Gump’s Stump Speech(1924), the Monte Banks comedyBrilliantino the Bullfighter(1922), and three other films; Sony Pictures, which has pledged support forMary of the Movies(1923), the earliest feature from Columbia Pictures known to survive, and several other features; and Colorlab, which is donating preservation services to the project.

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Since starting operations in 1997, the NFPF has helped save more than 1,706 films at archives, libraries, and museums across 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

More information about the Save America’s Treasures program, including a database of winning projects, can be found at

• Washington University in St. Louis Receives Mellon Grant to PreserveEyes on the Prize

Washington University in St. Louis has received a four-year, $550,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to preserve Henry Hampton’s award-winning civil rights documentaryEyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965as well as Hampton’s complete, unedited interviews recorded on film for the documentary.

Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965is a six-episode documentary on the American civil rights movement. Originally broadcast in 1987 on Public Broadcasting Systems stations throughout the country, the documentary uses both archival footage of the events depicted and contemporary interviews. The original documentary film and interview footage were donated to the University Libraries in 2001 as part of the Henry Hampton Collection. The collection is one of the largest archives of civil rights media in the United States and contains materials on other topics as well.

"Hampton’sEyes on the Prizeremains the definitive work on the American civil rights movement, even more than 20 years after its release,” says Shirley K. Baker, vice chancellor for scholarly resources and dean of University Libraries. "With the generous assistance of the Mellon Foundation, Washington University can continue to protect and preserve these priceless archives for students, scholars and the general public for generations to come.”

Among those interviewed for the documentary were Curtis Jones, cousin of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy murdered in Mississippi in 1955; Coretta Scott King, wife of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.; and Burke Marshall, head of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the Kennedy administration. The footage from all these interviews and many more is held at the Film & Media Archive, a unit of the University Libraries’ Department of Special Collections.

Preservation: Why and How?

Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965was shot entirely on acetate-based film, which is highly susceptible to decay, says Nadia Ghasedi, WUSTL film and media archivist. As part of the preservation process, the film will be transferred to a more stable, polyester-based film. Once transferred to a more stable medium, the footage will be more accessible to students, researchers and any other interested viewers, Ghasedi says. "Preservation is the crucial first step in making these priceless materials freely and widely accessible for scholarly and public use,” Ghasedi says. "The university’s ultimate goal is to have the interviews digitized and available online, but preservation must happen before the materials can be digitized,” Ghasedi says. Ghasedi says WUSTL’s Film & Media Archive will seek funding for the digitization phase once preservation is under way.

The Film & Media Archive will preserve all six one-hour episodes of the documentary, which include 13,000 feet of picture footage and 13,000 feet of soundtrack. Also to be preserved will be 75 hours of original footage, which includes 160,000 feet of picture footage and 160,000 feet of soundtrack. Added together, that is approximately 65.5 miles worth of film — enough to drape over the St. Louis Gateway Arch 549 times.

Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965is the first part of theEyes on the Prizedocumentary series, which also includesEyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads, 1965-1985.Eyes on the PrizeandEyes on the Prize IIran during primetime on PBS stations in 1987 and 1990, respectively, attracting an audience of more than 20 million viewers.

The series garnered international acclaim, winning more than 20 major awards. Among the recognitions were two Emmy awards, two Peabody Awards and a 1988 Academy Award nomination for best documentary.Eyes on the Prizewas rebroadcast in the fall of 2006, attracting a new generation of viewers. It has been widely used in educational settings.

The footage used to create bothEyes on the Prizedocumentaries is part of the university’s Henry Hampton Collection. BecauseEyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads, 1965-1985was edited using videotape, which created accessible video copies of each interview, the university is focusing on the preservation of theEyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965first, Ghasedi says.

About WUSTL’s Henry Hampton Collection

Hampton (1940-1998), the creator and executive producer forEyes on the Prizeand other documentaries, is a St. Louis native and 1961 graduate of Washington University. Through his Boston-based film production company Blackside Inc., Hampton chronicled the 20th century’s great political and social movements, focusing on the lives of the poor and disenfranchised. Hampton’s other documentaries includeThe Great Depression(1993);Malcolm X: Make It Plain(1994);America’s War on Poverty(1995);Breakthrough: The Changing Face of Science in America(1997);I’ll Make Me a World: A Century of African-American Arts(1998);Hopes on the Horizon(1999); andThis Far by Faith(2003).

The materials used to create Hampton’s films were donated by Civil Rights Project Inc., Blackside’s nonprofit affiliate, in 2001 to Washington University’s Film & Media Archive, which is housed in the university’s West Campus Library, as the Henry Hampton Collection. It took more than four semi-tractor trailers to transport the massive collection to St. Louis.

The 35,000-plus items in the Henry Hampton Collection include film and videotape (570 hours of original footage and 730 hours of stock footage), photographs, scripts, storyboards, producers’ notes, interviews, music, narration, posters, study guides, books and other materials.

For more information about the Henry Hampton Collection, visit call (314) 935-8679.

About the Film & Media Archive

The Film & Media Archive was established in 2001 and is a unit of Special Collections. It is open to the public for research and viewing purposes from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Reservations, which can be made by calling (314) 935-8679, are not required but recommended because space in the archive is limited. For more information about the Film & Media Archive, visit

• 36 New National Film Preservation Grants Awarded

On June 15, 2011, the National Film Preservation Foundation announced on grants to save 64 films, including Lowell Thomas’s 1919With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia, the phenomenally popular silent-era documentary that made T.E. Lawrence a household name, and director John Ford’s home movies. Awards went to 36 institutions. With these grants, the NFPF has enabled museums and libraries in every state to rescue and make available historically significant American films that would have been unlikely to survive without public support.

Among the other works pegged for preservation are filmed performances by Duke Ellington and Mahalia Jackson at the first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival; the Yiddish-language featureCatskill Honeymoon(1950); George Wallace’s 1968 presidential campaign film created for the California primary;Fidel!(1969) by Saul Landau; a 1926 tour through the Anaconda Copper Mining Company’s operation in Great Falls, Montana;Diary of an African Nun, adapted by Julie Dash from the Alice Walker short story; Robert Gardner’s portrait of the 1964 Boston Marathon; andOperation Breadbasket(1969), the story of a successful Southern Christian Leadership Conference job training program, produced by actor Robert Culp.

The NFPF preservation grants target newsreels, silent-era films, documentaries, culturally important home movies, avant-garde films, and endangered independent productions that fall under the radar of commercial preservation programs. The awards provide support to create a film preservation master and two access copies of each work. Films saved through the NFPF programs are made available to the public for on-site research and are seen widely through screenings, exhibits, DVDs, television broadcasts, and the Internet.

Since created by Congress in 1996, the NFPF has provided preservation support to 232 institutions and saved more than 1,800 films and collections through grants and collaborative projects. The NFPF also publishes the award-winning Treasures from American Film Archives DVD series, which makes available rare films preserved by public and nonprofit archives that have not been commercially distributed. The NFPF receives federal money through the Library of Congress to distribute as grants but raises all operating and project funding from other sources.

For a complete list of the 36 grant recipients, see

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. For the complete list of projects supported by the NFPF, visit the NFPF Web site:


•Paolo Cherchi Usai Returns to George Eastman House

George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film has announced the appointment of Dr. Paolo Cherchi Usai to the position of senior curator of motion pictures, a title he held from 1994 to 2004. He is currently Curator Emeritus of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and director of the Haghefilm Foundation in the Netherlands. The appointment of Cherchi Usai, a leading figure in film preservation, marks his return to Eastman House, where he began working in 1989 with what is the third largest film collection in the United States.

He assumes his George Eastman House post in September 2011, also resuming the position of director of the Eastman House’s L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, the country’s first school of film preservation. Cherchi Usai served as director of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) from 2004 to 2008, and in 2009 established the Haghefilm Foundation to support research on film preservation technologies and curatorship. The NFSA Board of Governors appointed him as Curator Emeritus in 2010.

Cherchi Usai will oversee the development, preservation, and exhibition of the motion picture collection at Eastman House. The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation was co-founded by him and Mr. Selznick in 1996. The school has teamed with the University of Rochester to offer a two-year master’s degree program, the Selznick Graduate Program in Film and Media Preservation, the first museum and university collaboration of its kind encompassing both curatorship and film studies.

"I take my return to Eastman House as a great honor and, yes, as a great surprise. But there is a beautiful symmetry in this turn of events,” Cherchi Usai said. "Quite literally, I toured the world of film preservation in seven years. Having worked in three different continents and in very different contexts, I now have a 360-degree view of the challenges and opportunities offered by our field at a time of dramatic change. "George Eastman House has never ceased to be my spiritual ‘home’ and I intend to honor this new responsibility with a renewed commitment to work with the museum as a whole – a single, united cultural force in the national and international community,” he said, "There are endless creative possibilities to be explored through a fresh, responsible approach to new technologies. Digital and analog don’t need to be in mutual opposition; tradition and innovation always go hand in hand. This principle, I think, is the essence of George Eastman House’s future as a collecting institution.”

Cherchi Usai co-founded in 1982 the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, the major annual event dedicated to the rediscovery of the early cinematic heritage. He is also Resident Curator of the Telluride Film Festival — together with theater director Peter Sellars, filmmaker Godfrey Reggio, and film critic Pierre Rissient — co-founded in 1974 by Eastman House’s first film curator, James Card.

Cherchi Usai’s extensive publication record includes a 12-volume monograph on film director D.W. Griffith andFilm Curatorship: Archives, Museums, and the Digital Marketplace(2008). He is the author of the experimental feature filmPassio, presented with live music performances in the official selection of the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, following its U.S. premiere at Telluride.

Among the awards received by Cherchi Usai are the College Art Association/Heritage Preservation Joint Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation from the College Art Association and Heritage Preservation (CAA) in 2005, and the Mel Novikoff Award at the San Francisco Film Festival in 2004. He was knighted in 2002 by the French Ministry of Culture as "Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” for his achievements in the development and advocacy of film culture.

During his tenure at Eastman House, the museum earned awards for its preservation efforts from the International Documentary Association and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and sciences.


•Treasures 5: The WestDVD Box SetReleased September 27

BeforeHigh Noon,Unforgiven, andTrue Grit, there was a wilder, wider West on film. The National Film Preservation Foundation’s newest DVD box set,Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938, was released on September 27, 2011.Treasures 5: The Westis a 10-hour, 3-DVD box set celebrating the dynamic, gender-bending, ethnically diverse West that flourished in early movies but has never before been seen on video.

Treasures 5presents the American West as it was recorded and imagined in the first decades of motion pictures. Among the 40 selections areMantrap(1926), the wilderness comedy starring Clara Bow in her favorite role; W.S. Van Dyke’s legendaryThe Lady of the Dugout(1918), featuring outlaw-turned-actor Al Jennings;Salomy Jane(1914), with America’s first Latina screen celebrity Beatriz Michelena; Gregory La Cava’s sparkling Old West–reversalWomanhandled(1925); Sessue Hayakawa in the cross-cultural dramaLast of the Line(1914); one-reelers with Tom Mix and Broncho Billy, Mabel Normand inThe Tourists(1912), and dozens of other rarities.

Treasures 5showcases both narrative and nonfiction films. In addition to early Westerns, fascinating actuality films abound: travelogues from 10 Western states includingSeeing Yosemite with David A. Curryand the Fred Harvey Company’sThe Indian-detour; Kodachrome home movies; newsreels about Native Americans; and documentaries and industrial films about such Western subjects as cattle ranching in Santa Monica, riding the rails along the Columbia River, how vaqueros made horsehair ropes, the birth of the canned fruit industry, and the beginning of the water wars. There are even vivid docudramas by crime-fighting lawmen: Bill Tilghman restaging his capture of the Wild Bunch and a Texas sheriff reliving his fight against ammunition smuggling on the Mexican border. For full list of films, see

The motion pictures are drawn from the preservation work of the nation's foremost early film archives―the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Archives, and UCLA Film & Television Archive—and include movies recently repatriated from the New Zealand Film Archive. Many of the films have not been screened in decades. None has been available before in high-quality video.

Released by Image Entertainment,Treasures 5is playable worldwide and has special features for DVD audiences:

  • Audio commentary by 23 experts
  • Illustrated catalog with film credits and essays
  • More than 400 interactive screens
  • Newly recorded music

The fifth in the award-winningTreasuresseries, the set reunites the curatorial and technical team from the NFPF’s previous DVD anthologies. The project is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.Treasures 5retails for $59.98. Net proceeds will support further film preservation. A brochure can be downloaded at

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America's film heritage. Since opening its doors in 1997, the NFPF has supported film preservation in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and has helped save 1,800 films. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

•Screening the Poor: 1888-1914

Screening the Poor 1888-1914(Edition Filmmuseum 64) is a 2-disc DVD set curated by Martin Loiperdinger and Ludwig Vogl-Bienek. The set includes 21 films and 11 Magic Lantern sets, with English and German subtitles.

Around 1900, the issues of poverty and poor relief were the source of heated controversy.Screening the Poorillustrates in seven chapters how examinations of the "Social Question” were presented in magic lantern slide sets and early films. On the screens of auditoriums, Sunday schools, music-halls, cinemas and churches, visitors could witness orphans freezing to death in the snow, drunkards plunging their families into misery and helpless old people begging for a scrap of bread. Audiences experienced poignant moving pictures in performances with music, singing and recitations. The photographic and film industries delivered glass slide sets and films in very large runs on a variety of themes relating to poverty.

This DVD set recalls the forgotten art of projection and presents it anew on the modern electronic screen: drawing on original images and using authentic projection equipment, Ensemble illuminago shows enchanting Victorian slide shows and films in a live musical performance at the Munich Film Museum. Digital slideshows reconstruct the interaction between slide sets und text recitals, and early silent films are accompanied with music as they were a century ago: piano and violin underscore the moods that find visual expression in the films.

Nowadays it is rather unusual to find both films and slide sets presented on one DVD set. Around 1900 it was common knowledge that the "moving pictures” in a film had evolved from photographic slide sets. Showmen, touring lecturers, music-hall entrepreneurs and cinema operators often used both projection media alternately in their live shows.

Order via internet at


• Margaret Herrick Library’s Production Art Database Launched

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library has launched its latest online research tool, the Production Art Database. The database contains records for more than 5,300 items from the library’s collection, including motion picture costume and production design drawings, animation art, storyboards and paintings. Nearly half of the records include images, making this an invaluable online resource for researchers interested in motion picture design. The database can be accessed here:

The Production Art Database allows users to search, view and study motion picture design materials from the 1920s to the present. One of the earliest items featured is a costume design drawing by Howard Greer for the 1923 filmThe Spanish Dancer.Other notable pieces in the collection include a Hans Dreier production design drawing forWings(1927), animation cels for the Pepe Le Pew cartoonFor Scent-Imental Reasons(1949), Albert Whitlock’s matte painting study forThe Birds(1963), Steven Spielberg’s rough storyboard sketches forPoltergeist(1982) and Jeannine Oppewall’s drawing of the Victory Motel forL.A. Confidential(1997). The collection also includes materials on very recent films, including drawings by Academy Award® nominee Eve Stewart forThe King’s Speech(2010).

For information on additional materials, or to make an appointment to view an item that does not yet include a reference image, contact Anne Coco, graphic arts librarian, at For more information about the Margaret Herrick Library, visit

The Academy’s website provides access to several other online databases as well, including the Academy Awards Database, the Academy Awards Acceptance Speech Database and the Margaret Herrick Library catalog, which includes bibliographic records for the library’s holdings of books, periodicals, scripts, posters and archival collections. Links can be found at

• Bray Animation Project Launches Online

The Bray Animation Project is a research tool devoted to the 1913-1927 output of animated films from the Bray Studios. Combining imagery, videos, essays, and the most complete filmography published to date, the Project pays overdue homage to an early New York City film studio whose product has been painfully understudied. Noted film and comics historians David Gerstein, Charlie Judkins, Mark Newgarden, Ray Pointer, Tom Stathes and Jack Theakston have provided informative texts for the site. The animated cartoon filmography can be viewed either chronologically or by series. It establishes whether each film is lost or survives (to our present knowledge), as well as noting whether an element has yet been collected for the Bray Animation Project proper. There is also a discussion board included in the site. Film scholars, historians, fans and surfers are encouraged to post messages and connect with others through the site. See

• Library of Congress Launches the National Jukebox, an Online Destination for Historical Sound Recordings

On May 10, 2011, the Library of Congress and Sony Music Entertainment unveiled a new website of over 10,000 rare historic sound recordings available to the public for the first time digitally. The site is called the "National Jukebox” (

Developed by the Library of Congress, with assets provided by Sony Music Entertainment, the National Jukebox offers free online access to a vast selection of music and spoken-word recordings produced in the U.S. between the years 1901 and 1925.

The agreement for the National Jukebox grants the Library of Congress usage rights to Sony Music’s entire pre-1925 catalog—comprising thousands of recordings produced by Columbia Records, OKeh, and Victor Talking Machine Co. among others – and represents the largest collection of such historical recordings ever made publicly available for study and appreciation online.

Works by Fletcher Henderson, Al Jolson, George M. Cohan, Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, Alberta Hunter, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leopold Stokowski, Arturo Toscanini, and opera stars Enrico Caruso, Nellie Melba and Geraldine Farrar are all covered, as are such original recordings as the Paul Whiteman Concert Orchestra's "Rhapsody in Blue” with George Gershwin on piano, and Nora Bayes’ "Over There.”

Visitors to the National Jukebox will be able to listen to available recordings on a streaming-only basis, as well as view thousands of label images, record-catalog illustrations, and artist and performer bios. In addition, users can further explore the catalog by accessing special interactive features, listening to playlists curated by Library staff, and creating and sharing their own playlists.

At launch, the National Jukebox features recordings exclusively from Sony Music’s Victor Talking Machine Co. catalog, and include songs and other materials such as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band performing "Livery Stable Blues”—considered the first jazz recording ever released—Lena Wilson singing "T’aint Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do” (1923), and the famed Ziegfeld Follies star Fannie Brice singing "My Man.”

In addition, the collection will include early jazz, many blues songs and novelty songs meant to evoke laughter (such as the 1908 "Cat Duet” that simulated the sounds of cats yowling in the night), and recordings made for distinct ethnic groups, such as Irish songs or home-nation music beloved by immigrants to the U.S. Not just limited to music, users also can access political speeches by Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, William Jennings Bryan and William Howard Taft, recitings of famous popular poems such as "Casey at the Bat” and "Wynken, Blynken and Nod,” readings from the Bible and early sound-effects records such as a collection of snores and sneezes.

The website will showcase special interactive features as well, including a digital facsimile of the 1919 edition of the famous opera guide "Victrola Book of the Opera,” which describes more than 110 operas, including illustrations, plot synopses and lists of recordings offered in that year. Features include the book’s original text, a comparison of the different interpretations of the most popular arias of the period, and streamed recordings of nearly every opera referenced in the book.

The National Jukebox additionally will include playlists annotated by Library staff, focusing on different genres, time periods, themes and artists. Users also will be able to create their own playlists to post on their own webpages and social networking sites or submit them to the Library for posting on the National Jukebox site. Other features include pages of background information on both the creation of the National Jukebox and audio-preservation practices.

The recordings featured in the National Jukebox were made using what is known as the acoustical process, which predates the use of microphones. Speakers spoke into, or singers sang into, cones which vibrated an attached diaphragm and stylus, etching sound waves onto a rotating wax disc. These original discs later could be converted into masters used to mold the records sold for home use.

Metadata for the website’s Victor content will be cataloged and controlled by comprehensive discographic data compiled by the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) for their online "Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Records” The Library’s association with UCSB will provide users with an easily searchable database of every recording in the National Jukebox.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.govand via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at

Sony Music Entertainment houses the libraries of both Columbia and Victor (now RCA), the two oldest record companies in existence, and many historical recordings are contained in its archives. The very first label, Columbia, was started in 1887 by men working in partnership with the inventors of the wax cylinder, the first successful sound reproduction format, and in 1890 released the first musical entertainment recording, the John Philip Sousa band's "Washington Post March.” The Victor Talking Machine Company, founded in 1901, was created by the inventors of the first successful sound-on-disc reproduction system.


• Google News Archive Shuts Down

Google’s ambitious effort to digitize the world’s newspaper archives and make them available online has come to an end. The Google News Archive project launched in 2008, and it currently has digitized material from about 2000 newspapers. But rumors had been circulating that this move was coming, and a Google spokesperson gave a statement confirming the shut down on May 20:

"We work closely with newspaper partners on a number of initiatives, and as part of the Google News Archives digitization program we collaborated to make older newspapers accessible and searchable online. These have included publications like theLondon Advertiserin 1895,L’Ami du Lecteurat the turn of the century, and theMilwaukee Sentinelfrom 1910 to 1995. Users can continue to search digitized newspapers at, but we don’t plan to introduce any further features or functionality to the Google News Archives and we are no longer accepting new microfilm or digital files for processing.”

For more information, see

• National Archives Reveals Its Social Media Hits and Misses

Whether the National Archives and Records Administration is doing better with social media depends on which social media you consider. The agency’s latest statistics indicate that its traffic on Facebook and its blogs is dropping, while numbers for its Flickr and YouTubeofferings have risen sharply.

NARA has just released its May 2011 dashboard report of social media channel views for the eight months from Oct. 1, 2010, to May 30, 2011, along with figures for the previous fiscal year. (Report available here:

The data shows that Flickr is by far is the most popular social media tool for NARA fans, averaging more than 219,000 views per month in the first eight months of fiscal 2011. The Flickr content involves photographs and images of historic documents from the archives’ extensive collection, including the popular Today’s Document feature.

The data on NARA’s Flickr views ( suggests those accounts are experiencing strong growth, with the average number of views per month more than doubling from 101,000 in fiscal 2010.

NARA’s YouTube account ( is making a strong showing in second place, averaging 54,000 views per month in fiscal 2011. That is more than triple the 17,000 average monthly views in fiscal 2010.

For more information, see:


"Archival News” reports recent news highlights from the media archive community for theCinema Journalreadership. Some information in this column comes courtesy of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) listserv, along with institutional newsletters, websites and press releases. This column is updated quarterly. Readers seeking more frequent news updates are encouraged to visit the AMIA news blog at Contributions to this column are welcomed. Information should be sent to Jennifer Peterson, Assistant Professor, Film Studies Program, 316 UCB, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, 80309-0316; phone 303-735-2694; email:

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