A Digital Archive Is Born : Revisiting the 'Cinema Culture in 1930s Britain' Collection

McDowell, Julia and Nissen, Annie (2021) A Digital Archive Is Born : Revisiting the 'Cinema Culture in 1930s Britain' Collection. Alphaville (21). pp. 144-159. ISSN 2009-4078

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This paper explores the opportunities and challenges faced in digitising, presenting and preserving materials on cinemagoing collected during Cinema Culture in 1930s Britain, a pioneering inquiry led by Professor Annette Kuhn in the 1990s. Cinema Memory and the Digital Archive (CMDA) is tasked with archiving and digitising these extensive materials, including over a hundred audio-recorded interviews with 1930s cinemagoers and a wealth of related correspondence, documents and other memorabilia donated by participants. The primary focus of CMDA is to make these materials available online, applying the most appropriate formats to make them accessible and engaging to a global audience of both scholars and the wider public. Drawing on our experiences as a close-knit team, we describe the development of the project from two perspectives, that of web developer and that of archivist. Identifying key issues, we detail ongoing experiences and knowledge gained in the field, examining decisions taken in the early stages of the project that have enabled progression towards its goals. The challenges inherent in bringing such a valuable and unique set of resources into the realm of digital humanities are immense; we conclude by reflecting on lessons learned and offering fresh perspectives and insights to researchers undertaking similar work.

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04 Aug 2021 13:55
Last Modified:
30 Jun 2024 00:28