Here is an opportunity for Cinemedia to take an important step towards becoming a primary and important curator of Australian digital work.
Curating Digital Media at Cinemedia
The demonstration of The DML at INFOG 97 showed very clearly that what is missing from the Digital Media Library is access to digital media . There seems to be some confusion about what is, in fact, old media in a digital form and what is digital media or digital work which is not derived from an analogue source.
Making a distinction between these is important because access and archival requirements are very different.
At this early stage of digital proliferation there are a number of opportunities and challenges for Cinemedia which can be addressed by including in its new web design - access to digital works. Clearly:
There are currently two forms of digital work each with its own difficulties: (see paper on digital preservation (Killing the Duck to Keep the Quack) *
- Someone must act as a curator.
- An web site needs to be built around the works themselves.
- Issues particular to digital media need to be addressed so that policies and positions can be formed.
- Closed or 'completed' works such as CD-ROM's or works stored on other digital storage media. These will increasingly have to be 'digitally refreshed' onto new storage media as the old becomes obsolete.
- Open 'evolving' works such as web sites and interactive installations. Where the most difficult challenge is the handling of continuous access for upgrade.
- Is funding available for the curation of digital media ?
- Should digital works be accessed through the Digital Media Library or through a separate Digital Gallery ?
- Should digital works be included in the existing access catalogue ?
- Is pay for access appropriate or possible ?
- What are the archiving responsibilities ?
- How can the security of the server be maintained while allowing access for upgrade. Is an intermediary required (current practice) or can the process be automated ?
Some SolutionsCinemedia has a strong relationship with RMIT's Center for Animation & Interactive Media (AIM) which has produced graduates of national and international acclaim. John Smithies has given approval, in principle, for Cinemedia to host a site for AIM Alumni where digital works and their creators can be accessed. Similarly, AIM's research program seeks to add to the body of knowledge about the medium through artistic, technical and intellectual investigation and reflection in ways that influence and define the future of New Media. Access to over 55 of these research projects provides a window into the scope of work being undertaken in Victoria.
Limited funding (200 hours) from RMIT is now available for me (Simon Pockley) to curate a site (see AIM Alumni On-line Project Proposal / David Atkinson) which will incorporate access to digital works and research projects.
This site will act as a core pilot project for the collection and curation of Digital Media within Cinemedia where the issues peculiar to digital media can be faced, policies formed, and positions created.
* See Killing the Duck to Keep the Quack : http://www.duckdigital.net/FOD/FOD0055.html