Digital Archive Rescuing Classic Cartoons (Audio!)

NPR recently ran an interesting report on the International Animated Film Society‘s plans to build a digital archive of classic animation. Give it a listen!

Here’s some info on the project from the ASIFA website:

The International Animated Film Society: ASIFA-Hollywood has embarked on an ambitious project to expand the offerings of the current ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Center in Burbank to include a virtual archive, museum, library and research facility for the benefit of the animation community, students and general public. The first step in achieving our goals involves the establishment of a computer system capable of documenting, cataloging, and retrieving images and sounds related to the art of animation.

There are many archives dedicated to documenting the history and preserving the artifacts of animation, but the ASIFA-Hollywood archive will be unique. First of all, the archive will be primarily dedicated to the use of artists, voice actors and other creative people working in the artform of animation. It will function as the ultimate artist’s “clip file”, gathering together hundreds of thousands of digital files.

Access to the materials will be much quicker and easier than with most research facilities because this will be a VIRTUAL ARCHIVE, not a collection of hard copies. A central server will house hundreds of thousands of digital images, movies and sound files, all searchable by topic through a keyword database. This central server will be connected to satillite work stations at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Center. ASIFA-Hollywood members and the general public will have access to the system for personal reference and research at the Animation Center. Once the system is up and operating smoothly, the Animation Archive database will be brought online, so ASIFA-Hollywood members will have instant access to the Animation Database the world over.

ASIFA-Hollywood members will also have the opportunity to arrange to digitize important artwork and research material in their own personal collections for inclusion in the database. ASIFA-Hollywood is in an unique position to be able to quickly pull together a broad array of valuable information, and provide it to the animation community as a whole. In a short period of time, we are confident that the database will become the pre-eminent digital collection devoted to animation in the world.

The database will contain a wide range of material… illustration and print cartoons catagorized by subject and artist; all kinds of animation art from character designs and model sheets to animation drawings and background paintings. Movies of pencil tests and key scenes by famous animators will be included, as will audio files documenting the work of major voice over artists. All of the digital files will be accessible by a simple keyword search. Artists will be able to quickly see different approaches to the design of a specific subject, research the work of artists who interest them, and gain inspiration from the rich history of animation.

The first phase of the project involves purchasing the necessary equipment and building a prototype Animation Database which will be available to members at kiosk workstations in the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Center. The fundraising goal to make this start is $50,000. Once that goal is reached, we will begin to search for sponsorship and grants to allow the archive to be brought online. If every member of ASIFA-Hollywood contributed to the effort, the Animation Archive will be a reality in a very short period of time. Once the Animation Archive is established and operating, ASIFA-Hollywood will begin work on establishing the ASIFA-Hollywood Museum of Animation.

Over the next three to five years, ASIFA-Hollywood will be staging numerous fundraising events to fund this ambitious project. We encourage all animation professionals and fans to participate and become a part of this project. If you would like to make a donation to the Archive Project, you can send them to the ASIFA-Hollywood Office…

The International Animated Film Society
721 S Victory Bl
Burbank, CA 91502

Please write ARCHIVE PROJECT on the note line of your check, and we will make sure it gets into the project account. Your support will be clearly visible in the growth of the project over the next few years. We will keep you informed as the project moves forward.
If you would like to volunteer to help ASIFA reach its goals, please plan to attend one of the monthly Act of Membership meetings. They are held at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Center on the last Wednesday of every month.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of ASIFA-Hollywood, I thank you for your support.

Stephen Worth
Director, ASIFA-Hollywood Archive Project
Member Board of Directors of ASIFA-Hollywood