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Processing film collections labelled in non-Latin alphabets: The Indian cinema collection
The George Eastman Museum is one of the oldest and largest archives of motion picture and still photography in the USA. In 2015, the museum acquired the largest collection of contemporary Indian cinema held by any museum or archive in the world. Although the procurement of this collection aroused immeasurable excitement, the nearly 800 prints of 35mm motion picture film contained labels with many unfamiliar, non-Latin languages. As the ultimate goal of acquiring the collection was to ensure future scholars, researchers, programmers and students would have easy access to both the digital and physical representations of the collection, the process of ingesting the collection into the museum was less than straightforward. By formulating a dynamic workflow from an illustrative perspective, however, it was possible to streamline accessibility to the collection. This paper describes the ingestion of the Indian cinema collection into the museum and will discuss the efforts undertaken to ensure easy access for the future. The paper covers not only the creation of diverse metadata categories, but also the laborious physical arrangement of the film elements and their housings.
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