The following publications provide information on access to dance and dance-related materials, the continued documentation of dance, preservation of existing dance documentation, and education regarding methods, standards, and best practices.
Strengthening Living Archives: A Plan for Empowering Artists and Communities
“Strengthening Living Archives” was a collaborative, multi-disciplinary initiative to understand the goals and challenges of active performing artists in documenting and preserving their work, and to develop strategies to create systemic change in how artists save and share their legacies.
The project partners were Dance Heritage Coalition, Independent Media Arts Preservation, International Guild of Musicians in Dance, and Theatre Library Association; project activities included four regional focus groups, a national survey, and a national forum.
This white paper presents findings from the project and proposes strategies and recommendations for implementation. The “Living Archives” project was generously funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
From Preservation to Access: A Fellowship Program to Develop the Next Generation of Dance Archivists
“From Preservation to Access: Dance Heritage Coalition Fellowships for Master’s Candidates”, a program developed and administered by Dance Heritage Coalition, demonstrated a successful model for jointly addressing two key needs of the cultural heritage field: the need for more subject-specialist archivists and librarians in the field of dance and the performing arts, and the need for significant “hidden” collections to be made accessible through processing and digitization.
The three-year program, generously funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, provided job training and mentorship to 22 students or recent graduates of accredited library science programs, helping them gain skills and experience working with multi-format dance collections.
The program not only benefited emerging professionals but advanced dance studies since Fellows performed work that increased preservation and access to significant research materials. This white paper presents findings and outcomes from the program and proposes the next steps to build on this successful and high-impact program.
The Dance Preservation and Digitization Project: The Technology Summit and Beyond
In November 2013, Dance Heritage Coalition convened a set of technologists, archivists, librarians, AV preservation experts, and others in a Technology Summit hosted by UCLA Library; this two-day meeting provided feedback on DHC’s Dance Preservation and Digitization Project (DPDP).
The DPDP includes several components, including digitization of analog video for preservation and access, a prototype website for streamable digitized assets with security features that prevent unauthorized copying, and a vision for a network of regional video digitization stations (or “digi hubs”) to accelerate the digitization of obsolete format tapes. Dawn Schmitz, Ph.D., was invited to provide an account of the Technology Summit’s discussions and impact on the DPDP.
Most significant is her analysis of the digi hubs as a strategy of community or grassroots archiving. Her paper, available here, is also being submitted for publication.
Dawn Schmitz is the Digital Programs Archivist at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has worked professionally in academic libraries for nine years, including as an Archivist at the University of California, Irvine (2009-2011) and as a Council on Library and Information Resources Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2004-2007). She has also served as a researcher for CLIR and the Association of Research Libraries and as an archives consultant. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies and an MLIS specializing in archives and records management, both from the University of Pittsburgh (2004).
America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100
In the fall of 1999, the DHC solicited nominations for an initiative to name 100 irreplaceable dance treasures. Over 900 nominations from across the full range of American dance artistry, forms, and traditions were submitted and vetted through a three-stage process of selection committees. This publication consists of a narrative about each treasure and is enhanced by numerous photographs.
Published in 2000, the contributors to the booklet include Elizabeth Aldrich, Laura Brown, Ilene Fox, Lynn Garafola, Camille Hardy, Monica Moseley, Fred Nahwooksy, Norton Owen, Sali Ann Kriegsman, and Loras John Schissel.
The DHC is pleased to announce that America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: the First 100 is now a touring exhibition. Consisting of fifty still images and a similar number of moving images that can be accessed on an interactive kiosk, the first venues included San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum; Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; Columbus (Ohio) Cultural Arts Center; and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Beginning in the fall of 2005, the DHC will make this exhibition available to qualified venues.
Beyond Memory: Preserving the Document of our Dance Heritage
This publication on documentation and archival planning is geared to the dance community and is divided into two sections. Part one covers methods of documenting dance and how to improve this process; part two discusses the organization and care of the documentation.
Documenting Dance: A Practical Guide
This guide offers an introductory guide to documenting and preserving dance works by describing seven contexts within which dance may be documented. By making dance documentation a conscious process, dance companies, and communities can find more effective ways to document their work.
Case studies are provided to show that thoughtful and successful documentation can occur even when there are limited funds or access to technology.
Securing Our Dance Heritage: Issue in the Documentation and Preservation of Dance
Written by Catherine Johnson and Allegra Fuller Snyder and edited by Michelle Forner, Securing Our Dance Heritage was published by the Council on Library and Information Resources in 1999.
The publication focuses on the management of the resources that document our dance heritage.
Sustaining Americas Dance Legacy: How the Field of Dance Heritage Can Build Capacity and Broaden Acces to Dance in the Next Ten Years
During 1999-2000, the DHC conducted a major leadership initiative that put forward a new vision and plans for celebrating and sharing America’s dance. The National Dance Heritage Leadership Forum involved dozens of prominent professionals from both inside and outside the field of dance heritage who reviewed the field’s achievements in the past decade and articulated the outcomes that are needed in the next ten years.
This publication is the final report for the National Dance Heritage Leadership Forum.
Dance Video Tapes at Risk
Dance Videotapes at Risk outlines some basic steps to safeguard and preserve videotape collections in the face of tape deterioration and obsolescence of format and equipment. Since this booklet was written in 2003, technology changes and digital best practices may make some of the recommendations obsolete, so please use this document with care.
A Copyright Printer for the Dance Community
A Copyright Primer for the Dance Community provides a brief overview of copyright issues, especially those relating to videotape production and use. Written in 2003, this booklet should be used in conjunction with the 2009 Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use because changes in technology and information-sharing in the last decade have influenced practices and court decisions on copyright.
Leading Applications to Document Dance
A project of the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum, Bay Area Video Coalition, Theater Artaud, and World Arts West, the LADD report, which was published in 1997, suggests standards for quality videotape production and documentation.
Magnetic Storage and Tape Handling
Published in 1995 by the Commission and National Media Laboratory, St. Paul, MN, this publication details long-term storage requirements and guidance on care for magnetic media.
Digital Video Preservation Reformatting Project: A Report
In July 2002, the DHC called a meeting to design an experiment to determine the most appropriate method of transferring analog videotapes to digital for preservation purposes and using dance videotapes as the testing focus. In the spring of 2003, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the DHC a grant to complete this work.
The report, which includes recommendations, is now available in an electronic version.
Technology has changed in the past seven years, and the DHC has sponsored other work on Video Preservation Reformatting.