Re: evaluation of 16 mm collection

James C. Scholtz (
Tue, 9 Apr 2002 18:48:07 -0700 (PDT)

Jeffrey, I think that the listserv needs a little more information in order
to evaluate whether anyone can help you or not. First, is the collection
composed of feature films or educational/documentary or a mixture? The
"best" features are easy - AA, etc., the educational/documentary are quite a
bit harder. Do you have films of social significance - old television
shows, etc. You might check back index volumes of Lander's Film Review( I'm
not sure if Lander's went back this far - I know that Multi-media Review
Index and Film Review Index only date from 1970- ) for rated titles. The
Educators Guides to... date from 1941, however, they are not evaluative.
You may have to consult some film history bibliographies/histories. You
might also get in touch with Filmic Archives (800) 366-1920 to see if they
have a notable list of old films. You could also contact the National
Archives in Washington, DC - Moving Picture Division.Also, you mention
possible reformatting and I'm sure that you know that most of the 1940's
films will still be under copyright and can't be reformatted (i.e. put onto
another medium, like VHS video or DVD) without permission of the copyright
holder - you'll need to do a copyright search for each title - even
government films. For example, Frank Capra's "Why We Fight series" is under
the public domain but there is also a version containing director interviews
that is copyrighted. To tell you the truth, almost all of the films of
educational interest would be out-of-date, except for the historical value
films. Also, films in the 40's were made primarily of silver
nitrate/acetate and should be nearing disintigration by now - are the films
in a well-preserved state? Sorry - probably no help. Jim Scholtz, Yankton
(SD) Community Library
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeffrey W. Pearson" <>
To: "Multiple recipients of list" <>
Sent: Tuesday, April 09, 2002 3:53 PM
Subject: evaluation of 16 mm collection

> I need to come up with a plan to evaluate our 6,000 title 16 mm film
> collection, started in the 1940's, for weeding, preservation, and
> possible reformatting. If anyone has tackled this kind of project I
> would appreciate any advice you can share. I've got ideas for an
> approach and a general plan, but what I would love to know of is any
> already compiled list of what are considered the "best films of all
> time". I'm hoping to find help with identifying the hidden treasures
> in our collection. I know I'm asking for the grail here, but any help
> would be greatly appreciated.
> Thank you,
> -Jeff Pearson
> --
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Jeffrey W. Pearson Phone: (734) 763-3758
> Librarian, Film & Video Library Fax: (734) 764-7087
> University of Michigan e-mail:
> Shapiro Library, Room 2178
> 919 S. University
> Ann Arbor MI 48109-1185