IBM gets leading role in global film database

More than 100 years of motion pictures, TV broadcasts and other images, now scattered in museums and collections around the globe, have never been catalogued in one massive worldwide database.

That will change next year when three U.S. universities and the U.S. Library of Congress begin work on an online catalog of the world's movie and broadcasting treasures for researchers, historians, educators and the public. The database will initially include information on the images, such as when they were made, who created them and where they are kept, but some of the material will be available for viewing online.

In an announcement Wednesday, IBM Corp. was named the lead hardware vendor for the database project, which will use the company's line of eServer pSeries servers, which use IBM's Power processors.

Jim DeRoest, assistant director of computing and communications at the University of Washington in Seattle, which is helping to develop the database, said the project has long been a goal of researchers and is coming together now with help from a US$900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Until now, the only catalogs of films and broadcast images have covered individual private collections or museums, he said, which has hindered knowledge about what remains from the early days of the industry. "There are some large (collections), but there hasn't been this cross-genre type of catalog," DeRoest said.

Also participating in the project are Rutgers University Libraries in New Jersey and the Georgia Institute of Technology Media Center. The National Science Foundation grant was commissioned by the Association of Moving Image Archivists in Hollywood through a grant from the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

The database will run on SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 on the IBM hardware, along with a collection of open-source software used to keep costs down, DeRoest said. The Power processor servers were chosen, he said, because each of the participating universities has had good experiences with them. "All of us were fairly satisfied with the scalability," he said.

One problem for Linux on Intel-based hardware, DeRoest said, has arisen when vendors made hardware changes and Linux didn't include the proper device drivers. Using the pSeries servers should solve that problem through a "consistency of hardware," he said.

Barbara Humphrys, who works in the Library of Congress motion picture, broadcast and recorded sound division and was a member of an early Association of Moving Image Archivists subcommittee for the project, said the database will solve many problems for historians and researchers. "We're kind of starting at the beginning," she said. "You'd be surprised where some things are held."

Once the database is built, links directly to the content can be added so that images and movies can be viewed, Humphrys said. And users who find the images they're seeking will be able to contact the collection owner to try to obtain viewing rights or more information.

In addition to motion pictures, TV broadcasts and other images, the database will feature archives from the Smithsonian Museum, including video from the Hubble Space Telescope and other notable or historical images.

The Library of Congress will be the host Web site for the catalog next year when it debuts the Moving Images Collection after it is created. An early version of the Web site is already online.

The Moving Images Collection databases and Web portal will be run on two IBM eServer p630 and two IBM eServer p610 servers under SuSE Linux and IBM directory server.

The University of Washington and Rutgers University are designing and developing the directory and catalog databases of digital images, and the Georgia Institute of Technology is developing the Web portal for the project.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Todd R. Weiss

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?