Sunday, 21 December 2008

Looking Forward: Film + Library = Hollywood Librarian?

Those who know me know that the in-laws are very heavily involved in the local film industry which is why I was flicking through the December / January issue of IF: Inside Film magazine. In this issue there is an article on the top tech trends for the film industry in 2009 and guess what? Some (though not all) of the predictions could be talking about libraries.

This should not come as a big surprise, as both film makers and librarians are increasingly concerned with how to present online content in ways that the target audience will use. By 'use', film makers and librarians are interested in how audiences / patrons engage with content rather than just passively consuming content. Film makers and librarians are also interested in building online loyalty or stickiness.

Though the following quote from the article is about the film industry, it could easily apply to libraries in 2009: "The by-products of digitisation has allowed the convergence of all traditional media formats, and as audiences grow more multimedia savvy by the day, producers will be challenged to create encompassing visual content."

Where librarians have traditionally focused on presenting (for the most part) linear narratives - be it fiction or non fiction, AND where film makers have been traditionally focused on presenting film narratives; both are now more involved in exploring ways of presenting bits of multimedia information in nonlinear ways. Examples include blogs, wikis, and other interactive Web 2.0 offerings wrapped around film and television program web sites in the way that libraries are increasingly wrapping blogs, wikis, and other interactive Web 2.0 offerings around library catalogues and portals. Libraries and the film industry are also looking at how they can incorporate elements coming out of the online game industry into their own online products. Needless to say, both libraries and the film industry are concerned with issues of online copyright as well as environmental sustainability.

I suspect that if there are avenues and opportunities to share ideas, both librarians and independent film makers could learn from each other. By international standards the Australian film industry is small and there is less money floating around, so the industry has to (and often does) work smarter, doing more with less. What is there to lose by getting librarians and independent film makers to share ideas?

As of late December 2008 the text of the IF: Inside Film article on the top tech trends is yet to be posted onto the IF web site. So to summaries, the overlap between the issues faced by the film industry and libraries in 2009 is:

• Increasing Digitisation,
• Film Game Convergence,
• Environmental Sustainability, and as always
• Funding.

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