Media Digitization + Preservation
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Presentations and Workshops

Media digitization and Access - University of East Anglia [2006]

One year before Netflix launched its streaming services, my pioneering research for my Master’s thesis in Film Studies and Archiving, was the first to identify the unique challenges of film to mass digitization efforts that had previously been limited to books and photographs. I used surveys and qualitative research methods to argue that Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand (2006) should be the model for all media digitization efforts.

My thesis foreshadowed the successful implementation of said model to Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, Facebook Video, the Johnny Carson Archive and the non-profit work of British Pathé on Youtube, the British Film Institute's Unlocking Film Heritage project, and most recently with Indiana University’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative where I am the Director of Technical Operations for Film.  

Accessing Film Media: Users, e-Commerce & Archives in Cyber-Space Carla Arton, University of East Anglia, Norwich, uk [2006]


David Francis predicted in 2002 that the film archive must “accept now that it cannot sustain the film experience because technology will eventually force a change.” Internet. Digitization. Usability. With multiple advances in digital technology over the last fifteen years, the internet has evolved into an interactive visually-based information service, commonly referred to as web 2.0. This interactive media service has in turn affected the way moving images are being consumed by the general public. 

Online viewable access to material increases awareness of the archive and the industry. It also encourages more interaction between the user and the material, and promises increased commercial sales of footage. The easier the archive is to access as a public institution and a private business, the more frequent its collection will be viewed and utilized. While digitization does require an initial investment, within an additional increase in the annual budget for migration and long-term maintenance, the social and economic opportunities that arise theoretically outweigh the preliminary costs.

The moving image archive must be prepared to move forward in technology with the rest of the commercial economy. Change is part of being a business. While users presently will continue to access archives that will not have invested in digitization projects, business will eventually begin to slow as users increasingly utilize archives that have made their collections accessible online. As the internet continues to change the way that images are consumed, the archive must also change in order to access the popular consumer culture through digital technology; the sooner this happens the sooner the archive will profit from the rewards of increased awareness, business, and access to its collections.