2016 – a year online

The Old Flag (Texas, 1864), from https://handwrittennews.com

It’s the time of year for reviewing the year. As with last year, I’m going to put up a short series of posts on some of the cultural things that distracted my attention from the news, if only for a while (not that I’m actually complaining about the news – for a news archivist these are good times, honest). To start with, my year online. Here’s a selection of some of the websites and the like that were published, or which I discovered for the first time, in 2016, and which are well worth sharing. In alphabetical order…

  • Aeon – consistently interesting online magazine on ‘ideas and culture’
  • The Battle of Jutland Animation – a highly accomplished animation of the Battle of Jutland (1916), designed and narrated by the grandson of Admiral Jellicoe, who led the British fleet
  • Ben Jonson’s Walk – following in the footsteps of Ben Jonson, who in 1618 walked from London to Edinburgh, with interactive maps, blog, tweets and so on
  • The Bob Dylan Archive – there’s not much to see online as yet, but The University of Tulsa’s Helmerich Center for American Research holds Bob Dylan papers and it looks like they are going to make a good job if it
  • Early African American Film – a database of silent films made for African American audiences, 1909-1930 – vital cinema archaeology
  • Edwardian Postcard Project – a bit clunky to use, but this academic project on the Edwardian postcard does bring together over 1,000 digitised examples of probably the most beautiful of all personal communication media
  • First World War on Film – splendid blog accompanying the book American Cinematographers and Films of World War I by Ron van Dopperen, Cooper C. Graham and James W. Castellan, with copious information and great enthusiasm
  • Ghostsigns – a haunting photographic archive of the fading remains of painted advertising on walls
  • The Handwritten Newspapers Project – A thrilling annotated bibliography and historical research guide to handwritten newspapers worldwide – from 59 BC onwards
  • Napflix – a compellingly soporific selection of YouTube videos most likely to send you to sleep
  • 1000 Londoners – a polished digital portrait of a city and its people through video interviews – I can almost forgive it for allowing the user to search people by star signs. Actually, no, I can’t forgive it
  • Radio Garden – a Google Earth-like app created in the Netherlands enabling you to tune into live streams from radio stations via a spinning globe. The archive feature will be exciting, if the resource can last
  • Radiooooo.com – pick any country from the map, and decade, and sample the lucky dip music selection from this ingenious and compulsive audio archive
  • St Helena News – since writing a blog post about St Helena, I’ve greatly enjoyed the tweets from St Helena News, What the Saints Did, St Helena in Focus and others, showing that just because you are remote doesn’t mean you can’t lead a great online life. And I’ll get there one day
  • Shortcut – a tool from the people behind the influential US podcast This American Life enabling clips to be made from podcasts and shared on social media. We need tools like this to help audio go viral
  • Television Explorer – keyword analysis tool for the mind-boggling 2 million hours of American TV news from the past six years, produced by Internet Archive and the GDELT project
  • Television in the cinema before 1939 – tremendous listing of feature films with television scenes in them, dating from before 1939. Part of the growing academic interest in the largely lost world of 1930s TV
  • Thngs – a digital archive of physical junk
  • Treasures from American Archives – The original selection of outstanding preserved films from American archives released in 2000 by the National Film Preservation Fund as Treasures from American Film Archives has been made available online
  • Ugly Renaissance Babies – a Tumblr site bringing together images on a subject that must trouble anyone who visits an art gallery
  • Yarn – find video clips from feature films by quotes – a clever application whose legality is going to get questioned by some, but it points to what can be done when we dig out the words behind videos. Expect more of this in 2017…


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2 thoughts on “2016 – a year online

    1. I know the arguments in favour of them – that they shouldn’t be seen as realistic, that they were supposed to imbue adult qualities etc – but they still don’t make sense. Of course, it may have something to do with the painters all being men.

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