Here, have a disaster plan for archives - Emergency Response: Zombies and Risks to Repositories. The responses to this on the preservation listserv were priceless, too. For instance:

"Incorporating appropriate responses for Zombie emergences (a Zombie Emergence precedes the actual emergency status) and biblio-attractions has been on my mind since Zombies began to manifest themselves in Earnest several years ago (that's Earnest, TN, by the way). Their self-insertion into many formats has increased and become very troubling.

For years we had been able to restrict Zombies to moving image formats, and especially to black-and-white and early color film. Now, with surprising finesse, we begin to see them in what is commonly called 'classic literature,' for instance, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I can only suppose that some doctoral student was studying both the classics and popular culture or cinema, and his/her brain served as the bridge, as well as the meal.

Needless to say, this leap has been troubling. Not simply because of the leap to so-called classic literature, but because the ingest of a doctoral student's brain can open gateways to a variety of formats and approaches. I know you share my horror at the thought of Zombies ingesting Marxist or postmodernist approaches: how does one deconstruct the notion of "Undead?" Given comebacks by so many people we believed departed--Richard Nixon springs immediately to mind, but there are others--and the continuing release of music by the Beatles, Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix, what does undead actually mean in today's culture? While this gives life and hope to those working in intellectual property, it remains a concern for those of us laboring with authorial intent."

Winston Atkins, Preservation Officer, Duke University Libraries

Zombies aside, the latest thing to come to me through a listserv is Archives Hulk. "HULK ARRANGE! HULK DESCRIBE! HULK DEACCESSION!"

Oh archivists, never change. Well, except stop telling me how screwed I am when it comes to getting a job after graduation. I know I'm screwed. I don't want to hear it.
For those who don't know, the National Film Registry here in the USA is a list of films selected for preservation in the Library of Congress. Each year, twenty-five films are chosen and given priority, with the current total at five hundred and fifty. An effort is made to select films from a variety of eras and genres, with selections made based on the cultural or artistic relevance of the films rather than the personal taste of those involved in choosing them. Just about any film can be selected--I know of at least two home movies listed in the registry (Disneyland Dream and the film of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse), and I'm always surprised (almost always pleasantly) by the year's selections. This year's twenty-five films, arranged in alphabetical order:

1. Airplane (1980)
2. All the President’s Men (1976)
3. The Bargain (1914)
4. Cry of Jazz (1959)
5. Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB (1967)
6. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
7. The Exorcist (1973)
8. The Front Page (1931)
9. Grey Gardens (1976)
10. I Am Joaquin (1969)
11. It’s a Gift (1934)
12. Let There Be Light (1946)
13. Lonesome (1928)
14. Make Way For Tomorrow (1937)
15. Malcolm X (1992)
16. McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
17. Newark Athlete (1891)
18. Our Lady of the Sphere (1969)
19. The Pink Panther (1964)
20. Preservation of the Sign Language (1913)
21. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
22. Study of a River (1996)
23. Tarantella (1940)
24. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
25. A Trip Down Market Street (1906)

Am still cracking up about Airplane! being included--I had to double check to make sure that there wasn't a second film with that title. It makes sense, though--the disaster film was a big trademark of the 1970s, and the disaster film parodies that followed it deserve to be remembered as well.
So here's the deal: The Film-makers' Coop is being evicted from the space where they have had their archive and their offices for about nine years for the sake of a new project headed by one Alanna Heiss, who just plain doesn't seem to get that kicking these guys out is a move that could bring an end to this organization. As of now, they don't have the funding they would need to support relocating thousands of 16mm prints and a massive paper archive. Articles about the situation are here, here, and here.

At this time the Film-makers' Coop is often the only resource available for exhibitors in need of prints of rare independent works, or for independent filmmakers in need of some form of distribution. As at least one of the articles mentions, in some cases the Coop possesses the only known copy of a film. Losing this resource would be a massive blow to organizations like TIE, who rented films from them for their 2008 fundraising event, and also any museums wanting to expose the public to alternate cinemas.

Here's the part that requires effort on our part: going to this page and sending a message to NY Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin asking for support for the Coop, either in remaining where they are or in moving to another location. Even if you're not into experimental film, think of the potential loss in terms of art history. No way should we lose this collection just because some nitwit wanted to start an online radio station.

Please spread the word to your flists and to any relevant communities, too.
The folks over at Berkeley have just digitized the only known footage of Mark Twain, shot sometime between 1900 and 1910. See him toddling around in a stately manner! Thrill as he eats breakfast! Squint at the sadly unrestored film!

No, but seriously, this is pretty much awesome.

The account is confirmed by Martin Koerber, a curator in Berlin, who posted a response on the AMIA listserv after someone asked whether the article (and this second article) was a hoax. According to Koerber, one scene (the monk in the cathedral) remains missing due to excessive damage (it was on the end of a reel, and got badly torn), but holy crap YEY. And yeah, the refound footage isn't in the best of shape, but considering the fact that no one really expected that it would ever be found at all...holy poo. I is a happy Spoofie.

(besides being a very significant film of the late silent era, Metropolis was the first silent non-comedy I ever saw. I view it as one of those films that helped me realize what I wanted to do with my life)

I is going to be cheerful at work today.

ETA: More news sources confirming the story:



The Guardian


Ahh, the awesomeness of being a lurker on an archivist listserv.



November 2012



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