2017 – the year online

Caliban (1846) by Kenny Meadows, from Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive

Once again, it is time for some reviews of the year. As with last year, and the year before that, I’m publishing a series of posts on what caught my eye, or ear, over 2017. To begin with, here’s a listing of some of the websites, databases and web services which I spotted during the year which were of interest. Some new, some older but I only just came across them. In no particular order…

  • Science Plays – a nicely-presented blog from Denise Gillman and colleagues on plays about science, one post per play with descriptions, categories, performance links and illustrations
  • BFI Filmography – the British national filmography (well, partially so – it’s mostly limited to feature films), organised to generate visualisations and make political points (particularly regarding gender and race)
  • United States National Church Shooting Database – only in America, as we say – a database of church shootings, limited to 1980-2005, but even so…
  • Archive-it – DIY web archiving
  • The Conversation – the news site to which I have turned every day – informative, readable, up-to-the-minute and always relevant background articles on news issues from volunteer academics and researchers
  • Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive – excellent collection of images from Victorian editions of Shakespeare’s plays, gathered together by Michael John Goodman of Cardiff University and nicely categorised by play, character and subject
  • Art of the Title – handsome site celebrating, and illustrating in rich detail, the art of the film title
  • Japanese Animated Film Classics – some mindboggling early Japanese animated films, published in 2017 by the National Film Center, Tokyo, to mark the 100th anniversary of Japanese animation. Excellently presented, highly informative, and in both Japanese and English
  • The Printshop Window – richly illustrated and knowledgeable blog on caricature and graphic satire in 18th-century prints, produced by Matthew Crowther
  • Fakecheck – yes, RT (Russia Today as was) has produced its own fake news checker
  • Visual Hunt – don’t know how I’d not known about this before now – a search engine for high quality free stock images
  • Lost Plays Database – wiki for scholars to share information about lost plays in England, 1570-1642. Just the titles alone are a joy: Hard Shift for Husbands, or Bilbo’s the Best Blade; Woman Monster; Give a Man Luck and Throw Him into the Sea
  • Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library – there’s not that much that’s special about the site, but I’m just so glad that such an institution exists
  • Vinyl Post – why not send someone you love a single track on a 5″ x 7″ vinyl postcard?
  • Beyond Words – crowdsourcing tool for identifying and improving information on images in the Library of Congress newspaper collections
  • In the Spotlight – more crowdsourcing, this time the British Library is asking for our help in transcribing, enhancing and discussing 100,000 historic playbills
  • The Bob Dylan Archive – there’s barely anything here as yet, and it’s really jut advertising the physcal archive at the University of Tulsa, but it’s just so styloish and authoritative already
  • Theatregoing – OK, this site is one of mine, but I launched it this year. Eyewitness accounts of theatrical performances. Hardly anyone reads it, yet I shall persevere
  • Mediestream – yes, you can only see any of the items on this if you are in the Royal Danish Library or the Danish Film Institute, but here is the dream – radio and TV broadcasts on Danish stations, commercials from TV and cinema and Danish newspapers, all searchable and playable in the one place. Just add web sites too and we’ll really be getting somewhere
  • And finally, the online video of the year, or who knows maybe any year. How did we get here?


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