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Library of Congress: free films

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:33 am
by John F
The Library of Congress Lets You Stream Hundreds of Free Films
By Sara Aridi
Oct. 23, 2018

Cinephiles, rejoice. The Library of Congress has unveiled its new National Screening Room, a free collection of digitized historical films, commercials, newsreels and other clips. According to the library, most of the movies are in the public domain and are available for downloading; others are only available to stream.

The National Screening Room is something of a time capsule: The videos cover the period from 1890 through 1999, capturing a broad range of American life. Notable films include home movies by the songwriters George and Ira Gershwin; issues of the “All-American News,” a newsreel intended for black audiences in the mid-20th century; and a selection of instructional films about mental health from the 1950s.

New Yorkers might get a kick out of a short silent film shot in 1905 that shows a new subway chugging along from 14th Street to 42nd Street, months after the underground line had opened. And before the Stonewall riots shook Manhattan, protesters in Philadelphia were filmed during “Reminder Day Picket,” one of the earliest Gay Pride demonstrations.

The project is meant to “enrich education, scholarship and lifelong learning,” said Mike Mashon, a curator who leads the library’s moving image section.

The library says it has the largest archive of moving images in the world, amounting to more than 1.6 million materials. Nearly 300 videos are online, and new content will be added to the website on a monthly basis. ... -room.html

Re: Library of Congress: free films

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:34 am
by jbuck919
My first experience of the greatest library was when I was six years old and my father was a member of the US Air Force Band, which I believe is still stationed at Bolling Air Force Base. We live on First Street SE, and assuming one could walk across the Anacostia on the John Philip Sousa Bridge, It was within walking distance of Capitol Hill, where the L of C is located, though perhaps not for a six-year-old in the middle of winter. So Dad and I took the electric us. (For those who don't know, this is like a regular bus except that it receives its power from an electrical connection with an overhead line, just as a subway car receives its power from the third rail.) Dad was on some kind of research mission, the nature of which I cannot remember. It took what seemed like forever to get there and back.

The Librarian of Congress is a political appointee. The previous one apparently ran the place as though modern technology had not changed everything. Apparently the new one knows better. I guess Trump either has bigger fish to fry, or does not care anything about libraries, or both. Incidentally, both John F and I attended universities with great research libraries. Washington has a couple of fine universities, but none has more than a decent library. West Point had a better library than any of them do, and it is not because any student can just scoot down to the L of C to find everything. The stacks are not open, and the procedure for finding what one needs not easy.

Re: Library of Congress: free films

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:15 pm
by John F
One of CompuServe's Music Forum's members was in the Library of Congress's IT division, fairly high up, but that was in the 1990s and t hey were concerned with the catalog system, not what jbuck919 is talking about. I did some research in the recorded sound division and got to know some people in other offices. These were quality people doing what I'm sure was quality work, unaffected by anything the Librarian of Congress might have concerned h imself with.

Some of the longest-serving librarians have been distinguished authors - Daniel Boorstin and James Billington, for example - and it's surely for that reason that they were chosen, not for any previous experience in administering a great library or anything else. This may understate their influence on what LOC does and how it operates, but I think not by much. With a president who doesn't read books or much of anything else, I imagine the current Librarian Carla Hayden - who actually had run a major library before coming to LOC - is being pretty much to her own devices. Except maybe at budget time.