Archive Zones

I have been a regular contributor to the Archive Zones, the house magazine of the Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries (FOCAL), since 2007.  Below is a selection of some of my recent articles.  They were written primarily for a non-academic readership of archivists, footage researchers and technicians working mainly in the private sector.

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The State of the Archive

This article discusses the technological landscape facing audiovisual archives.  It argues that we are currently in the middle of a “digitization gold rush”, caused in part by the impending obsolescence of photographic film.


In Archive Zones no. 81 (Spring 2012), pp. 33-34.


Download 'The State of the Archive' (PDF, 341KB)

Ken Loach Save the Children Film

This article discusses the ethical issue raised by the preservation and recent screening of a documentary made by Ken Loach in 1969, commissioned by the charity Save the Children (STC) in order to promote its work. Upon completion, STC believed that the film portrayed them negatively, and the resulting court case ended in the film being preserved by the British Film Institute, but suppressed completely from public access.


In Archive Zones no. 80 (Winter 2011), pp. 12-13.


Download Ken Loach article (PDF, 380KB)

Preservation of Optical Discs

This piece discusses the challenges of preserving the contents of CDs and DVDs in archival storage. Although this article was written before the BD had been commercially launched, general the principles and approaches covered in this article also apply to them.


In Archive Zones no. 74 (Summer 2010), p. 14.


Download optical disc preservation article (PDF, 168KB)

Moving Image Archive Education

This article provides an overview of the formal education and training opportunities available for moving image archivists, including a survey of the five full-time postgraduate programmes available worldwide, and a range of smaller-scale, more specifically focused provision. Please note that since it was published, the University of East Anglia’s MA programme has closed (the last cohort was in 2010-11), and a new MA program has opened at Ryerson University in Toronto.


In Archive Zones no. 73 (Spring 2010), pp. 13-14.


Download archivist education article (PDF, 468KB)

FIAF – Moving Image Archiving’s First Professional Body

This article explores the origins and initial development of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), and the careers of its four founding protagonists, Iris Barry, Frank Hensel, Ernest Lindgren and Henri Langlois.


In Archive Zones no. 68 (Winter 2008), pp. 22-23.


Download FIAF article (PDF, 169KB)

FIAF’s Declaration on Fair Use and Access

This piece examines the controversy within the moving image archiving profession caused by the Declaration on Fair Use [of film archive collections] and Access issued by the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) in 2007. The declaration’s authors defended it as being a necessary step in countering what they perceived as copyright holders’ morally illegitimate restrictions on, and profiting from, access to films preserved in taxpayer-funded archive institutions. Its detractors characterised it as an incitement to break the law, thereby jeopardising private sector preservation and restoration activity.


In Archive Zones no. 65 (Spring 2008), pp. 32-33.


Download Fair Use article (PDF, 338KB)

Please feel free to comment on this page below, or to contact me if you have any comments or queries. This main text of this page was initially written and last updated on February 16, 2014.