(image from NWFA 6163 [NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY]. Producer: Arthur Laycock, 1965)
Happy New Year from the North West Film Archive!
It’s out with the old and in with the new for the Film Archive’s website: www.nwfa.mmu.ac.uk
We have spruced up the design and improved the reliability of our online catalogues so that it’s now easier than ever to explore our collections.
One of the UK’s largest and longest established public film collections, the NWFA preserves moving images made in or about the North West of England and offers a variety of access services to users in the public, academic and commercial sectors.
Our main Film & Video Catalogue contains text records of over 6,600 titles, from the early days of film in the 1890s through to 21st century video productions. The new catalogue search section now enables you to see if a film can be viewed online, matching text records with our growing presence on the video-sharing site Vimeo, or on one of our Viewing Pods at Archives+ here in Manchester Central Library. If that’s not the case then you can still contact us to arrange to come in and watch a film by appointment. There’s no charge to members of the public for this service.
A similar facelift has been given to the BBC NW Collection catalogues that hold records of regional television news programmes and documentaries from the 1960s to the 1980s. Again, viewings can be arranged on-site by appointment without charge for enquiries made by individual members of the public.
Why the change? Well, back in the late 1990s the North West Film Archive was one of the first regional film archives to make its catalogue of film and video records available to search online. The software that ran this served us well for many years but, as is the nature of the ever-changing digital world, it has been looking rather dated in recent years. Worse still, there were increasing compatibility problems with new versions of internet browsers such as Internet Explorer and the ever-stricter firewall policies of security-conscious major organisations, including Manchester Central Library itself. In short, users were increasingly finding that “This page cannot be displayed”, “The server returned no data” or (the shame of it!) “Access denied.” A major project to re-code the site and migrate our records to brand new database software was undertaken in 2014 and our new website went live in December.
We’re hoping that users can now search our collections with ease wherever they are, so do let us know what you think.