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How Visible Will our History be?

By Julia Knight


This paper explores some of the factors that determine what cultural material becomes available and visible on the internet via the example of moving image culture. It does this in two ways. Firstly it offers an overview of the shift\ud from analogue to digital moving image distribution. This is based on an AHRC funded historical research project which examinedartists and independent moving image distributors in the UK. All distributors studied were non-commercial and\ud committed to expanding the diversity of moving image culture. The aim of the research project was to explore both the constraints they operated under and the strategies they developed for building audiences for the work they distributed. An unanticipated outcome of the research was the identification of many parallels with emerging online distribution practices – contrary to claims for a digital\ud distribution revolution, many of the promotional strategies are very similar to those employed in the analogue era and equally need resourcing. At the same time, the rapidly developing abundance of online resources, artifacts, collections and information has led to the internet being compared to a massive archive. Drawing on the experience of setting up an online Film and Video Distribution Database, the paper goes on to examine how whatever is made available online is only ever a selection from what is available offline. It discusses the factors that impact and shape that process of selection, including selection criteria, digital\ud rights management issues, the time consuming nature of digital resource creation, and resourcing levels. Finally the paper concludes by examining the problem of ensuring the sustainability of online resources once they have been created

Topics: CATaC Conference 2012
Publisher: Murdoch University
Year: 2012
OAI identifier:

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