Four SLIS master degree students have had a class project implemented for real world use. Stacey Doyle, Asik Pradhan, Rebecca Reed, and Jane Shin completed their class project (a database) for Dr. Ying Ding's class (SLIS S511: Database Design) during the Spring 2011 session. Dr. Ding recently emailed: "Just got great news from our last year database design class - their group project is now being used on the Black Film Center/Archive’s website."
Database Design is a course concerned with teaching students how to use various database models, understanding theory surrounding databases, as well as creating a database of their own. Dr. Ding is currently teaching the class again this semester (Spring 2012).
Included here is an excerpt from the description of the students' project:
The Black Film Center/Archive was founded by Dr. Phyllis Klotman in 1981 and was the first repository for the collection and preservation of African American film and film-related materials in the United States. Dr. Klotman served as professor emerita of Afro-American Studies and Film Studies for many years and was a driving force behind the department and the film archive and center. Dr. Klotman started the collection and served as the director of the Black Film Center and Archive for eighteen years, until she passed her duties over to Audrey McCluskey (1998-2006), who then passed her duties over to the current director Michael Martin. Since the creation of the archive and center, the BFC/A has broadened the scope of materials and genres that it collects and now includes films, filmmakers, producers, actors, directors, musicians, and others included in film production from not only the United States but from all over the world. The BFC/A is a non-circulating collection that consists of over 2,000 individual film titles on various formats (VHS, 16mm, DVD, ¾” U-Matic, 35mm, 8mm, and Laserdiscs) dating from the 1890s to present day. Besides films, the collection features director and actor interviews, press kits, posters, lobby cards, photographs, audio materials, articles, event materials, and other film related papers. Mary Huelsbeck, the current archivist, has just taken over the archive within the last few years. Her goal is to make the BFC/A collections more accessible to users. Currently, the website has lists of the films, actors, musicians, and events available online; however, the BFC/A lacks a searchable database. They are in especial need of one for their photograph collection. Currently, there is a word document that has a searchable table for the photograph collection, which consists of about 1,500 individual items.
The clients seek a database that allows them to successfully search and cross-reference their photograph collection, one that they can add data to and that has the potential to include their scanned digital copies of the photographs. Currently, the website only contains a list of individual actors and films without cross-references. The archivist and staff at the Black Film Center/Archive would be among the primary users, but the user base would also include researchers, scholars, production companies, students, and members of the general public, so the database needs to be also accessible to someone outside of the archive. Reference queries will be done by both the archivist and the patrons themselves, so in many ways their needs are similar. In addition to requiring something that is easy to search, both the clients and users require the database to include all the information that is in the current Word catalog, as well as the descriptions that are attached to the physical copies of the photographs themselves. The database will not only support the instructional and research needs of the patrons, but it will also encourage personal interests in the history, meaning, and aesthetics of black film via the photograph collection. The purpose of the database is to create something that will streamline the clients’ photograph acquisition and retrieval process and make it easier for them to cross reference. Also, it is intended to allow access to all photograph information in one place instead of having the users to browse it through the Word-based catalog. Ultimately, the clients would like a framework that would make it easy for them to transfer it to the web. The database will fulfill clients’ goals and user requirements through a more efficient and uniform method of entering, storing, accessing, and updating photograph information. The main objectives of the archive and center are to preserve and promote the scholarly resources. Users of the archive, whether they are the archivists and staff, scholars, researchers, students, faculty members, or the general public will have to come to the BFC/A to access materials, either by coming in person or by asking reference questions remotely.
Posted February 23, 2012