Digital Film Historiography – A Bibliography

As digitisation of film heritage occurs at an increasing pace, the past decade has seen an array of digital formats of access and reuse emerge – in scholarly as well as in museum contexts – that are becoming central to the production, contemplation and validation of film historical knowledge: video essays, data visualizations, DVDs, online platforms and museum installations are formats that increasingly permeate sites of film historical knowledge.

As pointed out by film and media scholars Vinzenz Hediger (2008), Malte Hagener (2011) and Katherine Groo (2012) with regard to this development, it becomes increasingly urgent to understand how and if the analyses of digitised films and related sources produced in these formats confirm, challenge or recast understandings of film history.

To address such concerns, I began developing the bibliography below in 2014 with the aim of creating a clearer overview of emerging digital methods and publication formats in film historical research among film and media scholars. I have called it “Digital Film Historiography – A Bibliography” to align it with the sub-field of Digital Historiography which has existed in the discipline of history for well over a decade and which has already seen the publication of several pioneering monographs. As historian David J. Staley puts it in his 2003-monograph Computers, Visualization and History – How New Technologies Will Transform Our Understanding of the Past (M.E.Sharpe, 2003):

“Without our recognizing them as such, visual secondary sources do exist in our profession in the form of diagrams, maps, films, dramatic recreations, and museum displays. While these visual secondary sources surround us daily, historians accord them supplementary status to the ‘real history’ we believe is written” (p. 59-60)

My hope in making this bibliography is that the aforementioned formats can indeed be recognized as secondary sources of film history and nurture a critical scholarly discussion about their theoretical implications. The bibliography is updated regularly.

Last updated: July 13, 2019.


Audiovisual Essays, Found Footage and Remix Culture

Video Annotation, Enriched and Historical-Critical Editions

Stylometry, Cinemetrics and Authorship Attribution

New Cinema History: Databases, GIS and 3D Visualization

Online Collections, Databases, Presentation and Curation

Digital Film Restoration and Historiography

Computer Vision, Visual Studies, Deformative Criticism & Epistemology

Digital Exhibition Design and Museology

  • Keidl, Philipp Dominik, “Toward a Public Media Archaeology: Museums, Media, and Historiography”, in The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, Vol. 17, No. 2 (Fall 2017), pp. 20-39
  • Olesen, Christian Gosvig, “Panoramic Visions of the Archive in EYE’s Panorama: A Case Study in Digital Film Historiography” in Cinema & Cie, Vol. XIV, No. 22/23 (2014): 145-160
  • Smith, Caylin, “Extending the Archival Life of Film: Presenting Film History with EYE Film Institute Netherlands’ Panorama” in Exposing the Film Apparatus: The Film Archive as a Research Laboratory, edited by Giovanna Fossati and Annie van den Oever. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016.

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