DIGIFIL: Digital Film Listings

DIGIFIL aims to digitise the Dutch Filmladders and contextual information about the wider movie landscape as reported in historical newspapers. The screenings constitute the focal point of film culture: they are the place where distributors, exhibitors and audiences meet.

Hoofdonderzoeker
  • Thunnis van Oort
Disciplines
  • Geschiedenis
  • Muziek, theater, uitvoerende kunsten en media
Resource types
  • Tools
Filmladders

DIGIFIL aims to digitise the Dutch Filmladders (the weekly listings of movie showtimes at local cinema theatres or other venues) and contextual information about the wider movie landscape as reported in historical newspapers (such as movie reviews and descriptions). The screenings constitute the focal point of film culture: they are the place where distributors, exhibitors and audiences meet. Collecting information about these encounters, and embedding them in their wider discursive context, yields an invaluable resource for linguists, socioeconomic historians and media scholars to study the ways in which cinema-going contributed to the formation of modern societies.

DIGIFIL continues and extends the work of film historian Karel Dibbets on ‘Cinema Context’, an online database that emerged out of an NWO-funded project. Cinema Context comprises digitised programming data until 1940, as well as extensive information about distributors, cinema theatres and the people and companies behind them. The database stands out internationally as one of the earliest examples of open access and has greatly facilitated data-driven research in media history.

DIGIFIL builds upon the digitization effort of the National Library. Their current collection, available via Delpher, already contains an impressive set of digitized, segmented and enriched newspapers. The point of DIGIFIL is to improve digitization and enrichment of specific sections in the newspaper corpus. The participants use the available digitized materials as a starting point but refine and extend them wherever that is required, using existing tools developed by CLARIAH Work Package 3 (PICCL, TICCL, FROG). DIGIFIL demonstrates how semi-structured text converted to entries in a database. It showcases the power of computational techniques for extending existing databases such as Cinema Context. In doing so, this project provides scholars who work on similar sources with various computational tools and best-practices to transform their own sources to machine readable and manipulable data.