11.0073 computing and film

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Wed, 28 May 1997 23:31:44 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 73.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 12:34:19 -0400
From: Maureen Donovan <donovan.1@osu.edu>
Subject: Re: 11.0071 KineJapan; Canadian copyright law

>[It would be helpful to know in particular what computing offers film
>studies. I can certainly guess, but a brief summary from someone actually
>involved in the field might help those of us in other fields. --WM]

Well, that's a big question, but I will respond by giving some background
about how I became involved working with Kinema Club, the group that is
initiating the KineJapan discussion list. For the period 1994-96 I
directed a US Dept of Education Title II-A and Japan-US Friendship
Commission funded project called: East Asian Libraries Cooperative World
Wide Web. (http://pears.lib.ohio-state.edu/ ) The project aimed at
establishing web sites at East Asian Studies library collections so that
librarians could scan tables of contents of materials in their collections
or create specialized bibliographies and post them to the web, thereby
promoting resource sharing, enchancing remote access to research
collections, increasing interdependence, etc. The funded phase of the
project extended to ten university libraries. Now that funding has ended,
the project continues to evolve in various ways.

Early on in the process of implementing the project I "bumped into" some
Japanese film scholars on the Internet - mainly (at that time) advanced
graduate students - who were at different universities. Since the research
materials they needed were scattered around at various libraries, they had
formed a "club" for sharing tables of contents with each other. In the
Fall of 1994 I met with some of them at a conference and offered them a web
site to use for sharing information. We also set up a small mailing list
for communication among the group developing the web site. Gradually the
mailing list became a place to discuss Japanese films and film studies.
Now they've decided to expand to a public list which will be archived at
the web site. The smaller mailing list will continue, as will the
development of the web site. The URL for the Kinema Club site is:


In the meantime, I have become interested in this as a model. As a
librarian, I see the project as a dynamic electronic resource that has been
"acquired" (= is supported ) by the library. The "library" that these
scholars are using is not physically at any one place (although there are
some collections that have particular strengths on Japanese cinema) and the
"field" that they represent is scattered across almost as many disciplines
as their own numbers (or their universities). However, the "resource" that
they are creating by participating in the project has lots of potential for
further expansion. In the meantime, everyone involved vascillates between
doing a bit for the project and then getting down to the work that
(hopefully) will lead to academic employment/tenure. (The web work is not
seen to have much benefit in that regard.....)

Well, to summarize: I think that computing can help film studies develop
as an academic field. But then, I am not in that field.....

I'm interested in knowing of other projects that support scholarly
collaboration through use of a small mailing list and a web site -- or any
other means, for that matter. I see this as the equivalent of an
electronic reference book -- or as a whole shelf of electronic reference
books. I suppose that it might evolve into a whole area of the stacks
eventually, with a journal, a newsletter, monographs, etc -- but by that
time I wonder what kind of "support" would be needed. As I librarian, I
would like to see academic libraries play a role in this kind of scholarly

Maureen Donovan
Japanese Studies Librarian/Associate Professor
The Ohio State University Libraries
Tel: 614-292-3502
Fax: 614-292-7859