Digital moving image and recorded motion studies

Bradley Hall A/B

Friday, July 13, 2012

1:30-3:00 PM

Presenters: Karen Gracy, Tonia Sutherland and Lindsay Mattock

Karen Gracy

“Ambition and Ambivalence:  A Study of Professional Attitudes Toward Digital Distribution of Archival Moving Images.”

Abstract: This study continues research begun in 2011, which aims to gather data on how cultural institutions, specifically archives, libraries, and museums, are making archival moving images available online via institutional websites and videosharing services such as YouTube.   Archival moving images, whether they originate as analog motion picture film or video, or were born-digital, can be distinguished from other types of moving image collections by their perceived long-term value; they are materials “intended to be kept so that they may be available for future generations, regardless of their age at the time of acquisition” (see http://www.afana.org/mic.htm).  Laptops, cell phones, iPods, and iPads all offer users the opportunity to download, upload, view, and use moving images from library and archival collections in myriad ways and settings, making video consumption an anytime, anyplace phenomenon. This research aims to document current practices, attitudes, and future plans of moving image curators and managers regarding digitization and on-line distribution of archival moving images in the wake of increasingly ubiquitous mobile technologies.

In the first part of the study, librarians, archivists, and curators responsible for development of digital collections at their institutions were identified and asked to participate in a short 20 question survey aimed at assessing the extent to which their institutions have engaged in or plan to engage in digitization of analog moving image material and acquisition of born-digital moving image material for long-term access and preservation. Questions also explore how digitized/digital moving image material has been made available to users (i.e., through institutional websites, via online catalogs, on videosharing sites, or through institutional repositories such as DSpace or Fedora).  Results of this study were first reported at AERI 2011, and an article summarizing findings will appear in American Archivist in 2012.

This presentation will relate the most recent findings from the second part of the study, which provides a more in-depth investigation of archival engagement in moving image digitization projects.  For this qualitative study, the investigator conducted ten in-depth interviews with key informants to document more fully current digitization and digital distribution practices of interviewees’ institutions, explore archivists’ attitudes toward access in the digital environment, identify perceived barriers to launching such projects and programs, and discover their ambitions and plans for future work with digitized and born-digital archival moving images.

Tonia Sutherland and Lindsay Mattock

To the Pointe: Emerging Opportunities for Archives and Digital Humanities in Dance Preservation

The digital humanities represent an area of scholarship within the archival profession that continues to engage both theorists and practitioners. As archivists and archival scholars work to navigate the points of intersection between archival theory and practice in an increasingly digital world, opportunities continue to emerge that allow for the development of new modes of collaboration. At the same time, archivists are continuing to struggle with methods for preserving intangible cultural heritage, including live performance such as dance. As a temporal and ephemeral event, dance eludes traditional archivy and presents unique challenges for choreographers, dancers and archivists alike. Digital performance, including instances of digitized dance objects, is an emerging area in performance studies, one that has enjoyed great technological strides over the past decade. Digital motion capture technology may provide another opportunity to capture and improve, or make more robust, performance and dance preservation practices. The Merce Cunningham Foundation has embraced similar digital technologies in their Legacy Plan to create “Dance Capsules,” or digital records of performances that include video, sound recordings, lighting and stage instruction, design notes, costumes, production notes, as well as interviews with dancers and support staff. While the Capsules are an attempt to preserve the subtleties of performances for future generations, they are also simply a digital representation of the traditional array of materials preserved in dance archives. This paper explores existing methods of capturing and preserving dance (including film/video, photographs, notation and transmission) and seeks to explore the potential for future intersections among archives, dance, and the digital humanities.

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