I've been gone from the HASTAC blog for several months. I had a good excuse (two actually). I am a recent father of twins! Fortunately, the kids are doing great, we've all found a good rhthym, and I can spend time again on more things, including HASTAC.
I also have a good reason to dive back into HASTAC at this moment. Earlier this week, I helped launch the Media History Digital Library's new website. On the site you, you will find access to over 200,000 digitized pages of public domain media industry trade papers and fan magazines, including Moving Picture World (1912-1918), Film Daily (1918-1936), Photoplay (1917-1940), Radio Broadcast (1922-1930), and much more. Film and media historians are used to looking through these publications on microfilm, issue by issue, just hoping they come across something relevant to their research project. Needless to say, it's a huge improvement to be able to search by keyword and read the periodicals while sitting on the couch in your pajamas, rather than hunched over the microfilm machine.
A little more background on the project: The Media History Digital Library digitizes collections of classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain for full public access. The project is supported by owners of materials who loan them for scanning, and donors who contribute funds to cover the cost of scanning. Our sincere thanks go to the owners, donors, and Rick Prelinger, who has allowed us to incorporate scanned material from his collection into our project. David Pierce is the founder and director of the MHDL. I am the digitization coordinator and collaborated with Wendy Hagenmaier, a talented young archivist at the University of Texas Information School, on building the website. We're currently digitizing more materials and developing an Advanced Search function that will allow you to perform customizable searches across multiple publications, volumes, and years. In the meantime, you can perform searches within individual volumes (which span anywhere from 3 months to 2 years, depending on the publication).
I hope you will try out the Library, pass along the link, and let us know how we can improve the experience. We all still have a long way to go in making the public domain accessible and building digital resources that will enable scholars to ask new questions and write new histories. But, I hope you will agree, this is a good step forward!
I'm looking forward to blogging more about this project in the coming months. Glad to be back!