Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire

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Type: 

Project

Topics: 
 
Tags: 
Metadata, Cataloguing, Digital repository, Access
Although the result looks like an online collection of films, the project at its heart is about building a catalogue. As the films (6000 in the catalogue) come from several different archives, the major problem was creating a union catalogue from diverse, incompatible bibliographical sources. Although the result will interest anyone trying to 'create access' to audiovisual archives, the core technology is about metadata.
 
Building a common catalogue from diverse sources is a central problem in the (successful) ingest of materials into a digital repository, which in turn is central to the very idea of digital preservation.
 
From the website:
This website holds detailed information on over 6000 films showing images of life in the British colonies. Over 150 films are available for viewing online. You can search or browse for films by country, date, topic, or keyword. Over 350 of the most important films in the catalogue are presented with extensive critical notes written by our academic research team.

The Colonial Film project united universities (Birkbeck and University College London) and archives (British Film Institute, Imperial War Museum and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum) to create a new catalogue of films relating to the British Empire. The ambition of this website is to allow both colonizers and colonized to understand better the truths of Empire.