Journal Feature: Radio

A couple special issues on radio are worth noting.

e16fcaa6130dae19fd5b0c30e4e314daThe Journal of Radio & Audio Media (Volume 23, Issue 2, 2016) features a 15-article symposium on preserving radio and audio culture, which grew out of the February 2016 Radio Preservation radioTask Force conference in Washington, DC. Issue editors are Drs. Amand Keeler, Josh Shepperd, and Christopher Sterling. Articles include “Networking the Counterculture: The 1970 Alternative Media Conference at Goddard College,”Illicit Transmissions: Engaging with the Study and Preservation of Pirate Radio,”Educational Radio, Listening Instruction, and the NBC Music Appreciation Hour,”Destination Freedom: A Historic Radio Series About Black Life,” “Tripping Down the (Media) Rabbit Hole: Radio Alice and the Insurgent Socialization of Airwaves,” “Archives, Advocacy and Crowd-Sourcing: Towards a More Complete Historiography of College Radio,” among others.


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Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media
 (Volume 14, Issue 1, 2016) devotes a special section to podcasting in which authors in the section offer “both similarities and differences in how we read and analyse podcasts compared to radio stories or shows.  In the words of Richard Berry, ‘radio is an evolutionary animal’ adapting to the world around it. Berry argues that using the term ‘radio’ might only be useful as familiar shorthand for our understanding of podcasting; however, he suggests we must also acknowledge the distinctiveness of podcasts as from and medium…one major difference is radio’s ephemeral nature, with its programmes designed for a single, often distracted, audition. Podcasts can be saved and heard many times over, with programmes that listeners seek out and which they give their full attention. Through technologies like smartphones and headphones, the listening experience has moved from a secondary to a primary exercise.” So observes editors Mia Lindren and Michele Hilmes in the Editor’s Introduction to RJ 14:1 Podcast 2016 (p. 4) Articles include “Podcasting: Considering the Evolution of the Medium and Its Association with the Word ‘Radio,” “Making ‘Maximum Fun’ For Fans: Examining Podcast Listener Participation Online,” “How Podcasting is Changing the Audio Storytelling Genre,” and “Personal Narrative Journalism and Podcasting.”

 

Publishers Weekly Digital Archive

pw3Publishers Weeklythe authoritative voice of the publishing industry in the United States (also Britain) since 1872, will soon be available in full digital format from its inception to the present. The collection will provide an historical record of the advancement of the publishing industry, with its famous mix of news, features, sales figures, and trends. Included in this trove are PW’s renowned book reviews, which began in the 1940s. The complete archive will include up to 400,000 book reviews, 5,000 author profiles/interviews, and bestseller lists from 1895 forward.

This primary source archive, to contain every page of Publishers Weekly published over its first 141 years, all in its original context, in full color, will be fully searchable “to support lines of inquiry into print media and digital culture, American studies, popular culture, history of the book, literature, history, humanities, and their many sub-disciplines” (NA Publishing). pw

While the full archive has been announced as available (and currently sits in our menu of Penn Library e-resources),  it’s actually still being rolled out with the project completion date announced for “the fourth quarter of 2016 or the first quarter of 2017.” A lot is still missing so I wonder if their estimated time frame  is not overly optimistic. Right now the only solid issue blocks are 1872-1884 and 1940-1954, and then a good sampling of material in the 2000s. (NOTE: Penn access will only include up to 2013 in this product but access to the more recent years is available in Lexis Nexis Academic, since 11/2004.)
“Providing students and scholars with access to the Publishers Weekly digital archive,” says Jeff Moyer, president of  NA Publishing, “supports a new level of research and understanding of America’s publishing industry. Every page, every article, every table and all of the advertisements will be reproduced as originally printed in full color.”  
Here’s to seeing more issues populate the platform in the next six months!  

May CommQuote

This month’s quote is brought to us by Abby Smith Rumsey‘s WE ARE NO MORE: HOW DIGITAL MEMORY IS SHAPING OUR FUTURE (Bloomsbury Press, 2016).  Notes Paul Saffo,9781620408025 Consulting Professor, Stanford University School of Engineering, “Rumsey takes us on a lucid and deeply thought-provoking journey into what makes the human species unique–the capacity to create external memory. This book will change how you think about our collective store of knowledge, and its future.”

“And so it is with our artificial memory. The more fragile the medium, the more redundancy we need. Nothing we have invented so far is as fragile as digital data. We began our attempt to cheat death by creating mighty artifacts of clay, stone, paper, and parchment that outperformed our memory by hundreds and thousands of years. Now we create storage media that maximize volume, not durability. The Sumerian scribes looking down on us from their imaginary perch in space-time would be surprised at how far we have gotten in documenting the world and its many transactions over time, how far beyond accounting, epics, and prayers we have extended the memory of humanity, and how many people can read, write, and circulate their ideas across the globe instantaneously. They would marvel at the trade-offs we so lightly make between volume and durability. But we may not have to make such trade-offs forever. We are entering now into an experiment with memory that was not even imaginable until a few decades ago–to take the first, most compact, and most enduring form of memory, the DNA molecule, and encode it with digital data…” –p. 162

LGBTQ Video Game Archive

It is my great pleasure to introduce LGBTQ Video Game Archive, a cool new resource on the scene as just tweeted yesterday by Adrienne Shaw @adrishaw: “Still a work in progress, but the first half of my digital archive of LGBTQ content in games is open to the public.” Ta-da!

Juhani_Force_persuade-620x352Dr. Shaw (Gr’10), is Assistant Professor at Temple University’s Department of Media Studies and Production and author of Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture. She describes the archive as a “curated collection of information about LGBTQ and queerly read game content.” The archive is organized around lists of games by decade, characters, locations, actions, mentions, and themes such as Homophobia/Transphobia, to name a few. All categories are clearly defined so there’s no confusion (ex. “Mods: Game modifications (mods) are player-made additions to games that alters the visuals or operation of a game. In this archive that includes mods that allow for same-sex relationships, change gender presentation options, or enable other LGBTQ content”).

The site also includes a bibliography, an “ongoing collection of academic writing about LGBTQ video game content, designers, players, or related topics.” All over the site you will find invitations for any and all feedback–questions, suggestions for additions and corrections. Indeed, the description of whole enterprise in the About section leads with “A work in progress and a labor of love.” It will be fun to watch it grow!

 

In the Life Archive at UCLA

Over the summer The UCLA Film and Television Archive launched a new digital portal of LGBT media materials in concert with the trailblazing TV series In the Life. In addition to a complete collection of In the Life episodes (actually all of the over 190 episodes aren’t up yet), the portal features “other contextualizing material, including a commissioned essay, “The Time of Our Lives: In the Life – America’s LGBT News Magazineinthelifepapers1,” by Stephen Tropiano, Ithaca College; an oral history with seminal indie filmmaker Pat Rocco; a lecture by LGBT scholar  Lillian Faderman; and a list of LGBT media, history and advocacy resources…Jayne Baron Sherman, a board member of In the Life Media, said, ‘This living legacy of ‘In the Life’ provides generations with documentation and history that exists nowhere else and helps chronicle and explain the LGBT movement over the past 20-plus years.'” –UCLA Newsroom

In the Life ran from 1992-2012 and for most of those years followed a news magazine format that provided award-winning journalism for and about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  Eventually it aired in over 200 public TV markets.

 

Update on Film and Television Databases

Penn Libraries has recently re-subscribed to two important current film and television databases, the Film & Television Literature Index and The FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals, complimenting ongoing subscriptions to Film Index International (British Film Institute) and the AFI (American Film Institute) Catalog.  The title similarities makes it all a bit confusing so here’s a little rundown. poptv

The most centrally situated database is Film & Television Literature Index, which is now, conveniently, an EBSCO product.  On the EBSCO platform users are met with a familiar interface and can search related files at the same time, namely (but not only) Communication Source insuring very solid interdisciplinary coverage of their topic. The file includes over 400 scholarly journals as well as non-peer reviewed glossy film magazines. Subjects covered are wide-ranging–film and television theory, preservation and restoration, screenwriting, production, cinematography, technical aspects of film and television, entertainment law, and film and television reviews. While our subscription is for the index and abstracts only, full text for a lion’s share of results will be just a click away via PennText which connects to hundreds of source files (Sage, Wiley, etc.).  While the bulk of material in F&TLI comes from the 70s to the present, articles from as far back as 1913 may surface.

The FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals brings together contributions from experts around the world dedicated to film preservation, cataloging and documentation. The main database contains citations from more than 345 periodicals, offering  in-depth coverage of the worlds foremost academic and popular film journals. In addition to indexing film periodicals, this resource also contains several other databases: the International Index to Television Periodicals (1979-1998), Treasures from the Film Archives, the FIAF Affiliates’ Publications, the Documentation Collections, which describe the holdings of film archives and libraries around the world, as well as and FIAFs Reference Works, which includes keyword-searchable access to 5 works: Critical Ideas in Television Studies, Encyclopedia of Early Cinema, Film Analysis: A Norton Reader, Oxford History of World Cinema, and Routledge Companion to Film Studies. A strength of FIAF is its coverage of animation journals and European film magazines.

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Then there is BFI’s Film Index International which provides unmatched coverage of literature on international film and film personalities. Its Summary of Film and Television (SIFT) database is collated by the BFI and reaches back 70 years. It includes bibliographies that, unlike freely available resources such as the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), point to scholarly and academic work in the field of Cinema Studies. Entries include full cast and crew lists, searchable plot synopses, filmographies, biographical details, important dates, awards and prizes, and thorough bibliographies, with citations for original reviews from the time of a film’s release as well as interviews, historical surveys and obituaries. Includes works of films from blockbusters to art house films from the present day back to early cinema and the first silent movies. This, more than any other comparable index, is the place for world cinema (and television)–European, Asian, Latin American, and African.

If your interest is feature-length films produced in America or financed by American production companies the AFI Catalog of Feature Films is a great database for authoritative information on cast, crew, plot summaries, subjects, genres and historical notes. So far it includes nearly 60,000 American feature-length films and 17,000 short films produced from 1893-2011.

You will often find overlap in these files but they are varied enough that it’s usually worth checking into more than one.  And we have many more film and television resources to recommend than these four databases!  Check out these Research Guides if you want to get an even fuller picture.

Cinema Studies 

Historic Film Archives Online

Online film archives

Introduction to Film History (Pre-1945)

Hollywood Film Industry

Television Studies

Wrapping up with a human resource is in order. Meet Penn Libraries’ very own Cinema Studies Librarian, Charles Cobine. You can reach him at:

cobine@pobox.upenn.edu or @cobine

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New Propaganda and Activism Collections from Archives Unbound

Students and researchers working in the areas of media activism and propaganda studies may want to check out these recent additions to the Penn Libraries website. They all conveniently live on the Archives Unbound platform, a growing digital repository of topically-focused primary source material gathered to support the research needs of scholars and students.

New activism archives:

Politics, Social Activism and Community Support: Selected Gay and Lesbian Periodicals and Newsletters archives unbound
This collection of periodicals focuses on newsletters issued by gay and lesbian political and social activist organizations throughout the country and on periodicals devoted to gay and lesbian political and social activist agendas.

Black Liberation Army and the Program of Armed Struggle
Sourced from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Library, this collection consists of a wide range of materials, including FBI surveillance and informant reports and correspondence from a variety of offices including, New York City, Baltimore, New Haven, San Francisco, Detroit, Miami, Atlanta, Newark, Kansas City, and Cleveland; intercepted correspondence; Justice Department memoranda, correspondence and analyses; news clippings and articles; and more.

Ralph J. Bunche Oral Histories Collection on the Civil Rights Movement
This collection from the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center contains transcriptions of close to 700 interviews with those who made history in the struggles for voting rights, against discrimination in housing, for the desegregation of the schools, to expose racism in hiring, in defiance of police brutality, and to address poverty in the African American communities

Rastafari Ephemeral Publications From The Written Rastafari Archives Project
The Written Rastafari Archives Project (WRAP) involves an exclusive collection of the most well-known Rastafari ephemerals – newsletters, magazines, newspapers, booklets, statements, letters, articles and assorted literature—written and published by a number of Rastafari Mansions, organizations, groups and individuals over the past four decades.

 New Propaganda archives:

Psychological Warfare and Propaganda in World War II: Air Dropped and Shelled Leaflets and Periodicals
Rare leaflets, pamphlets and periodicals created and disseminated by the Allied Forces during World War II.

German Anti-Semitic Propaganda, 1909-1941
This collection comprises approximately 200 books and pamphlets; many directly connected with Nazi groups from the 1920s and 1930s.

While I was preparing this post on new acquisitions I noticed some other files in this resources that would also contribute to good communication history projects:

“Through the Camera Lens:” The Moving Picture World and the Silent Cinema Era, 1907-1927

Electing the President: Proceedings of the Democratic National Conventions, 1832-1988

Electing the President: Proceedings of the Republican National Conventions, 1856-1988

Hollywood, Moral Censorship, and the Motion Picture Production Code, 1927-1968

Japanese-American Relocation Camp Newspapers: Perspectives on Day-to-Day Life

The Archives Unbound search engine allows one to query across collections which, of course, becomes of greater value as we subscribe to more files.

Internet Television News Archive

It’s hard to keep up with all that the Internet Archive has to offer these days.  When it comes to TV news The Vanderbilt Television indexNews Archive may be what first comes to mind (and their coverage goes back to 1968, nothing to sneeze at) but for more recent news the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive is worth looking at.  Open to all, it includes over 600,000 clips from news shows since 2009.  One can filter by networks which, in addition to ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, and CNN (Vanderbilt turf) also include MSNBC, Al Jazeera America, Comedy Central, Estrella TV, and others.

It works like this. Search on a topic (keyword, phrase, name, etc.) and select the clip you are interested in viewing. Then you can further edit with the accompanying transcript to extract the exact quote you want to embed in a document or share on Facebook, Twitter and the like. Material others find significant enough to “quote” in this fashion is saved for subsequent archive users, creating an organically grown archive of popularity within the larger archive. There is an option to borrow full DVDs of the shows from which the search-result segments derive.

Search-result metadata, which appears on the lefthand side of the screen, offers breakdowns by years, networks, programs and also throws up a useful timeline of results.  I thought I’d try a simple search on “nurses” since the nursing profession has been front and center in the news due to the recent Ebola scare in the United States. Sure enough, the spike for mentions of nurses in the news is dramatic.

Search on "nurses" since 2009.

Search on “nurses” since 2009.