Mediaworks Resource

Short article about archival database models by Nina Czegledy (1996).

In East Europe, - even in countries which have a long experimental media tradition, such as Hungary -, both restoration and documentation of mediaworks are largely underdeveloped. The lack of infra-structural models present further problems in this regard. In order to overcome some of the difficulties and to avoid lengthy experimentation, the adaptation of procedural experiences might be very useful. Since the beginning of the eighties comprehensive data keeping exist in Canada and serious efforts are made to restore and preserve early videotapes. I would like to utilize the Canadian experience with a view to contribute to the establishment of resource systems in East Europe.

The first step toward a database is the methodology and specifically developed forms for collecting and organizing data on independently produced videotapes and artists. In addition to detailed organizational procedures, the examples presented will include forms for individual files as well as methods toward a computerized cataloguing and archival database. Depending on local requirements, the individual files will provide information for scholarly research, curators and can also be publicly accessible. The archival databases serve as a continuing survey of local and international collections. Examples of a library database will be presented with a specific focus on media art literature.

In clear recognition of the fact that the history of mediaworks varies from country to country the model presented is intended to serve only as a useful guide-line towards constructing an operational resource and archival system.

The aim of the presentation is two fold. The factual information presents pragmatic information for East European media organizers who are either initiating or have already been working with media art documentation and distribution. The other and equally important goal is to foster interaction and exchange between the Canadian centers and East Europeans. All of the three organizations discussed offer international distribution and consequently offer opportunities for media artists and organizers.

Two of the organizations, Videographe in Montreal and Video Inn located in Vancouver, celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. They offer production, training and distribution, while V Tape based in Toronto, the largest and most comprehensive media art information service in Canada, emphasizes distribution and related activities. In addition to the regular operation and services offered by these organizations, some special features will be discussed such as partnerships programs, volunteer / production compensation etc. membership aspects, tape-distribution, database organization, staffing, archival collections, library facilities, restoration programs and financial support.

Various operational and database forms used by the organizations will be available for reference.

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