Dartmouth signs MOU between Shanghai University and The Media Ecology Project

The Memorandum of Understanding between The Media Ecology Project at Dartmouth and Shanghai University is official!

After years of development and several enthusiastic in-person meetings between Prof. Mark Williams and the principal partners at Shanghai University, Shanghai Film Academy, and Huaxia Film Restoration Technology Company, the path toward the MOU agreement was imperiled by the tragic rise of the COVID pandemic. With strong collaborative energy from Prof. Liping Qu at SHU, the agreement has been finalized and publicized by SHU and the Shanghai Film Academy:

Shanghai Film Academy announcement of strategic collaborative agreement (English translation available!)

Many thanks to Director of Global Initiatives Lisa Adams and Tammy Hickox in the General Counsel’s Office for their help in making this so!  Very grateful for the many efforts on our behalf that have contributed to the realization of this significant opportunity to bridge international artistic and scholarly communities.  We will pursue a better understanding of film and media history and culture in the context of new interdisciplinary 21st-century research goals and methods.


Dartmouth Signs MOU Between Sherman Grinberg Library and Media Ecology Project


Delighted to announce that The Media Ecology Project now enjoys an unique collaborative agreement with The Sherman Grinberg Library to provide historic newsreel footage for courses and student projects at Dartmouth.

The Sherman Grinberg Film Library, located in Los Angeles, California, is the world’s oldest and biggest privately held film archive with over 40 moving image libraries, serving Hollywood and the world film community for more than 75 years.

The Film Library has more than 20 million feet of classic 35mm B&W film with content dating mostly from 1895 to 1957, just before the television era began. The archive includes the historic Paramount Newsreels, first called Eyes of the World (silent era) and later Eyes and Ears of the World (the “talkies”). It also includes the entire American Pathé newsreel library, which is America’s oldest collection (1895-1956), the Industry on Parade series, Allied Artist Scenic stock footage, and over 3,500 mid-century television and movie theater commercials.

This agreement has already been utilized to create new editing assignments in a variety of History/Theory courses at Dartmouth, including a new course sponsored by The Dean of the Faculty at Dartmouth for courses on Racial Inequality, Racial Justice, and/or Anti-Racist Activism.  That course, “The Idea of Africa: Deconstructing Race in the Iconography of a Continent” is currently being co-taught by Professor Ayo Coly, chair of AAAS at Dartmouth and Prof. Mark Williams, director of The Media Ecology Project.

Grinberg materials will also inform the two NEH grants that MEP has received and will bring to culmination later this calendar year.

Many thanks to Lance Watsky at Grinberg for his guidance and enthusiasm in realizing this important project to help understand how these archival materials can be best used in higher education.

We look forward to additional curricular and research projects at Dartmouth that utilize this extremely generous collaboration with The Sherman Grinberg Library!



MEP Essay Published in Digital Humanities Quarterly

Delighted to announce that the detailed overview essay about  The Media Ecology Project written by Mark Williams and John Bell has been published in a special issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly (15:1, 2021) on the topic of “AudioVisual Data in DH.”

The issue is co-edited by Taylor Arnold, Jasmijn van Gorp, Stefania Scagliola, and Lauren Tilton.  We are grateful for their diligent efforts to make this issue a reality!


“Excavating Footage” international conference March 11-12, 2021

Excavated Footage, US Archives, and Alternative Historiography
A Virtual Workshop Conference, March 11-12, 2021 EST / March 12-13 KST

Organized by Prof. Mark J. Williams (Dartmouth College) and Prof. Han Sang Kim (Ajou University)
Sponsored by National Research Foundation of Korea, “South Korea – U.S. Cooperation Program in Humanities”

A Two-day Workshop
March 11 and March 12, 2021 [7pm to Midnight EST]

During the past decade, emerging scholarship in the fields of history, media studies, qualitative social studies, and area studies have featured new approaches to historiography by excavating, collecting, and analyzing historical film footage and film documentation from archives. However, attention to what new types of historiography will be made possible via archival film footage has rarely been discussed among the scholars involved from diverse geographical and disciplinary backgrounds. This collaborative and international workshop conference aims to establish first steps toward a more comprehensive dialogue among film and media scholars, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and area studies scholars, regarding their approaches and critiques toward alternative historiography through excavated film footage. A key theme of the conference is to raise questions about the positionality of US archives regarding the hierarchy of global archival knowledge regimes.

Conference Schedule: https://footage.ajou.ac.kr/schedule

To register: https://dartgo.org/excavatedfootage


MEP Receives “South Korea-US Cooperation Program in Humanities” Grant

Thanks to the efforts of our colleague Han Sang Kim, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ajou University in South Korea, Prof Mark Williams and MEP have been awarded a “South Korea-US Cooperation Program in Humanities” grant that is funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF). In November, 2019, Prof Kim was a member of our panel about USIA/USIS studies at the American Studies Association conference in Honolulu.

The grant is designed to support the organization of an academic event by the two persons named in the grant, one based in South Korea and one in the US. Based on the work Prof Williams has undertaken with MEP in South Korea and in relation to the history of the USIA, he is the designated US scholar.  The event will feature The Media Ecology Project and work to establish long-term approaches to teaching and research in South Korea via MEP.  The grant will enable the invitation of 4 scholars from the US to participate, including Dr. Bret Vukoder (Carnegie Mellon University), and Dr. Hadi Gharabaghi (New York University), Prof Williams, plus multiple scholars from South Korea and Southeast Asia.  The conference will be scheduled for late 2020 or early 2021.

Read More about MEP’s U.S. Information Agency Study here.


Digital Tools for Moving Image Analysis Symposium: May 8-10, 2019

symposium header

The Neukom Institute for Computational Science & The Media Ecology Project at Dartmouth
Digital Tools for Moving Image Analysis Symposium

May 8-10, 2019

This three-day symposium brings together scholars, librarians, archivists, and technologists to discuss current computational methods of research on video and film and brainstorm about future interdisciplinary research. Participants will discuss current research tools and methods for time-based markup of moving images, formal analysis of film properties, machine learning software for object classification and facial tagging, and linguistic analysis of media paratext. This symposium is an extension of two NEH-funded projects underway at MEP: The Accessible Civil Rights Heritage project and the Paper Print and Biograph Compendium. Digital Tools for Moving Image Analysis Symposium: May 8-10, 2019


MEP receives NEH grant to build online resource exploring early cinema history

Paper Print and Biograph Compendium Poster

Dartmouth College’s Media Ecology Project (MEP) has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities Advancement to research and publish a diverse set of perspectives on critical films from the late 19th and early 20th century. This research will be led by Prof. Mark Williams (Dartmouth Film & Media Studies), an expert in film and media studies, and Dr. John P. Bell (Dartmouth Research Information, Technology and Consulting), an expert on digital curation. Prof. Williams is the director of and Dr. Bell is the associate director for the Media Ecology Project at Dartmouth.

The Paper Print and Biograph Compendium will produce a collection of data on over 400 select films from the early silent cinema era that document the transition of visual culture from stage to screen. It will combine highly influential and rare works archived in the Paper Print collection of pre-1930 cinema at the Library of Congress with additional American Mutoscope and Biograph Company (Biograph) films preserved at the Library of Congress and the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, plus a digitized version of the Biograph Exhibitors Catalog from The Museum of Modern Art, in order to create a digital resource for film scholars around the world. MEP receives NEH grant to build online resource exploring early cinema history


MEP receives NEH grant to make archival civil rights footage accessible

ACRH Poster

Dartmouth College’s Media Ecology Project (MEP) has received Research and Development funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation and Access office to build an accessible collection of newsfilm covering the civil rights movements of the 1950s-1980s. This research will be led by Prof. Mark Williams (Dartmouth Film & Media Studies), an expert in film and media studies, and Dr. John P. Bell (Dartmouth Research Information, Technology and Consulting), an expert on digital curation. Prof. Williams is the director of and Dr. Bell is the associate director for the Media Ecology Project at Dartmouth.

Newsfilm–often shot on site by local television news crews that only broadcast a fraction of what they recorded–is a largely untapped source that captured powerful moments throughout the emotionally-charged American civil rights era. The Accessible Civil Rights Heritage (ACRH) project will develop a test corpus of culturally significant American civil rights newsfilm compiled from moving image archives and regional historical societies across the U.S. ACRH will then explore new cataloging and access procedures that deliver high-quality, meaningful experiences to blind and visually impaired (BVI) users. Participating scholars include Jacqueline Stewart (U Chicago), Matthew Delmont (Dartmouth), and Desirée Garcia (Dartmouth). In addition, MEP will continue previous work with the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction Lab (VEMI Lab) at the University of Maine to assess adaptive technology. MEP receives NEH grant to make archival civil rights footage accessible


New version of Waldorf.js video annotation plugin released

MEP is happy to release Waldorf.js v1.2 today. v1.2 adds a navigable annotation index feature and documents previously-dark hooks and callbacks that can be used to customize annotation rendering and display. It also introduces new features supporting integration with host content management systems that allow the host system to pass user identification through Waldorf and use it for annotation attribution.

Waldorf.js v1.2 is being developed as part of MEP’s annotation efforts around a new set of films that cannot be made publicly available due to copyright restrictions. By integrating Waldorf with Dartmouth’s institutional single sign-on system (CAS), MEP can provide a secure environment for small groups of scholars to collaboratively annotate video in a web browser.

For more information on how you can use Waldorf.js and the Semantic Annotation Tool in your own work, see Waldorf’s GitHub page or contact us with questions.

Onomy v1.2 Minimum Viable Annotator example


MEP Working on International Video Annotation Exchange


MEP Associate Director John Bell recently spent two days in Amsterdam working with an international team of video annotation experts to help develop a common format supporting data exchange between tools used in a variety of disciplines. The workshop was convened by the Common Lab Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (CLARIAH), a Dutch program to create distributed research infrastructure for the humanities and social sciences. Dr. Bell discussed how MEP’s Semantic Annotation Tool uses the W3C’s Web Annotation (WA) format to transmit and store text and tags and helped map the broad array of tools represented at the workshop to an extended version of the W3C’s standard. MEP Working on International Video Annotation Exchange