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Project Homepage:

http://mppda.flinders.edu.au

Project Members:

Liz Milford (Project Manager, liz.milford@flinders.edu.au)

Professor Richard Maltby (Data Source Administrator, richard.maltby@flinders.edu.au)

ANDS Contact:

Andrew Williams (Andrew.Williams@ands.org.au)

Reforming the Movies: the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc. database

Flinders University

Project Description:

"The ANDS SC22B MPPDA project has succeeded in making available a dataset of international significance developed during an ARC Large Grant project entitled Reforming the Movies: A Political History of the American Cinema, 1908-1940, held from 2001 to 2003. The dataset comprises 35,000 digital images (18GB, in JPEG format) of documents digitised from a microfilm copy of the General Correspondence files of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc. (MPPDA), Hollywood?s industry trade association, covering the period from 1922 to 1939.

The MPPDA documents, transcribed from the original 16mm negative microfilm in the MPPDA files, represent an immensely rich source of information about the political history of the American film industry and a number of its key activities and decisions. They include extensive correspondence and other documentation relating to industry policy, public relations, trade practices, external censorship and self-regulation. The great majority of this material is unavailable from other sources, and a substantial part of the original material has since been lost. Although the remaining original material is now securely stored at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? Margaret Herrick Library in Los Angeles, it remains effectively inaccessible to researchers because its storage material and the absence of a catalogue.

The newly developed ANDS SC22B project funded MPPDA database now makes the material acquired by Professor Maltby available in an enhanced form, providing equitable but secure access to this valuable resource and a vastly improved way to browse and search for specific MPPDA records. Records in this dataset have been transformed to a format that is not only machine-readable and standards-compliant to support scholarly use but also make the complete MPPDA dataset, including digital images of archival material, available to authorised academic clients.

Specific work delivered through this project has focussed on the:
- design and implementation of a suitable web based framework using a SilverStripe CMS for the MPPDA records;
- extensive review and revision of individual record details, including formal transcription of pertinent records;
- establishment of appropriate Flinders University storage mechanisms for the MPPDA database;
- discussion and provision of a mechanism and process for authorisation of scholarly access to the MPPDA dataset in collaboration with the Flinders University Library Special Collections;
- description of the MPPDA dataset using RIF-CS Collection, Party, Activity and Service metadata, created on the ANDS online Services Sandbox and published to Research Data Australia;
- provision of RIF-CS Collection, Party, Activity and Service metadata for storage on the Flinders University research data metadata store;
- collaborative development of university-wide data management policies and procedures relating to the set up of a Flinders University research data repository, using the MPPDA dataset as one of three pilots (the other two include SC22 Reformatting the AusStage dataset to support access and re-use by researchers and DC23A Automated measurement of the responses of wildlife populations to climate change).


A number of institutional benefits and implications can be noted as a result of the MPPDA project. These included an increased understanding of policies, processes and systems, training around management of research data at Flinders University, increased recognition of Flinders University as the agent for the preservation and curation work undertaken to make the MPPDA dataset available and consistent (and persistent!) moves to upgrade technical infrastructure to facilitate storage of Flinders University research data and creation and storage of metadata describing Flinders University research data.

The wider academic and humanities research community now have the opportunity to discover and re-use this fine MPPDA data resource via Research Data Australia with specific key research areas to directly benefit from the project including ANZRC coded topics:
- 190201 Cinema Studies
- 190204 Film and Television
- 200104 Media Studies
- 200212 Screen and Media Culture
- 210312 North American History


Special interest areas relating to Hollywood industry policy, public relations, trade practices, external censorship and self-regulation can also be readily accessed via the MPPDA data. This will, in turn, lead to increased citation of the MPPDA data sets, and the publications associated with those datasets, and enhanced access by Flinders researchers to research data in Screen Studies.

The published RIF-CS metadata for the MPPDA dataset has been created on the ANDS online Services Sandbox and published to Research Data Australia. The MPPDA records will be moved to the Flinders University research data metadata repository (ReDBoX) when implemented and both editing and harvesting to the ANDS registry will be possible from this system.
"

Data Type:

"35,000 digital images (18GB, in JPEG format) of documents digitised from a microfilm copy of the General Correspondence files of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc. (MPPDA), Hollywood?s industry trade association, covering the period from 1922 to 1939."

High Level Software Functionality:

Features: ;

ANZSRC-FOR code:

19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY