Blog Post

"This is the new research library"

We are deeply grateful and humbled by the tremendous feedback we've received about the Media History Digital Library's website. Since we launched last week, we've received messages from enthusiastic users in Australia, England, Canada, Ireland, Germany, and across the United States. Thank you to everyone who sent us a note, blogged about us, "liked" us on Facebook, or simply went to the site and opened a magazine.

One of my favorite e-mail replies was, "I am now trying to lift my jaw from the floor." The response came from Katherine Spring, a dynamic young media historian at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Katherine Spring's research into the relationship between the film industry and popular music industry in the late-1920s is exemplary of the type of detailed, cross-industry research we hope to enable more of as our collection grows. Her work also shows how the writing of film history depends not simply on preservation and access to films, but also to the documents, periodicals, and other materials of the era.

We're also thrilled by our response so far in the blogosphere. We've received complimentary coverage on the New Yorker blog, Film Studies for Free, and Metafilter.

Our greatest praise of all comes from Luke McKernan, the Moving Image Lead Curator at the British Library. Writing on his blog The Bioscope, Luke McKernan wrote:

The Media History Digital Library represents a real tipping point for film research. We’ve gone beyond the point when it was quite fun to find a few texts available online, to supplement our visits to research libraries and perusing through microfilms. This is the new research library. This is where the bread-and-butter research documentation upon which we all depend is going to be found from now on. This is where we will now make our discoveries, and new kinds of discoveries too, as online research tools leads to new forms of analysis, new associations, and new conclusions. And we’ve only just started.

This is high praise, the sort that makes you blush. We're not sure if we're worthy of such distinction, but we promise to work tirelessly and do everything in our power to earn it.

Cross-posted on Media History Digital Library and


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