Monday, September 24, 2012

Your daily timesink: The Moving Image Archive

The Internet Archive is a terrific website that hosts repositories of old websites, public domain audio, and other abandoned media. One of the most fascinating is their Moving Image Archive. It's a diverse collection of videos, ranging from stop-motion Lego films to World War II propaganda reels. Take caution if you decide to click on that link: you could lose hours in there.

A few interesting highlights worth investigating:
  • Understanding 9/11: A Television News Archive: Television played a critical role in how we understood the events of September 11. This collection includes over 3000 hours of international television taken during the week of the attacks, annotated by time. You can watch the events of the day unfold in real-time on over a dozen channels. This is perhaps the most complete collection that will ever be assembled of such a major event.
  • Film Noir: An assemblage of 90 public domain film noirs, including the classic Detour (in our collection as HU DVD 931).
  • Prelinger Archives: Founded by Rick Prelinger, this collection includes thousands of "ephemeral media" – videos that have been forgotten or abandoned by time, like commercials, public access television, and amateur documentaries. Good examples include Dinner Party, a terrifying instructional film that guilts children into proper table manners, and pro-capitalism cartoon It's Everybody's Business.
  • Archiving Virtual Worlds: Several major universities have banded together (with the help of the Library of Congress) to produce this video series that investigates how to preserve digital spaces and worlds. Of particular focus is Tabula Rasa, a huge online role-playing game that was discontinued shortly after it began.
There are nearly one million videos in the collection. One person cannot possibly watch all of them. Have fun!

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