ASIFA-Hollywood Starts Virtual Archive

During the living tribute to voice over master Daws Butler at the ASIFA-Hollywood meeting July 30, 2003 in Glendale, the animation society announced it has embarked on an ambitious project to expand the offerings of the current ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Center in Burbank to include a virtual archive, museum, library and research facility for the benefit of the animation community and general public.

The first step in achieving our goals involves the establishment of a computer system capable of documenting, cataloging, and retrieving images and sounds related to the art of animation, said Stephen Worth, director of the ASIFA-Hollywood Archive Project. There are many archives dedicated to preserving this history of and artifacts of animation, but the ASIFA-Hollywood archive will be unique, he continued. First of all, the archive will be primarily dedicated to the use of artists, voice actors and other creative people working in the art form of animation. It will function as theultimate artist's "clip file," gathering together hundreds of thousands of digital files.

Worth says access to the materials will be much quicker and easier than with most research facilities because this will be a digital archive, not a collection of hard copies. A central server will house hundreds of thousands of digital images, movies and soundfiles, all searchable through a keyword database. This central server will be connected to satellite workstations at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Center, accessible by ASIFA-Hollywood members. Eventually, the Animation Database will be brought online, so ASIFA-Hollywood members will have instant access to the Animation Database the world over.

ASIFA-Hollywood members will also have the opportunity to arrange to digitize important artwork and research material in their own personal collections for inclusion in the database. ASIFA is in an unique position to be able to quickly pull together a broadarray of valuable information, and provide it to the animation community as a whole, said Worth. In a short period of time, we are confident that the database will become the pre-eminent digital collection devoted to animation in the world.

The database will contain a wide range of materials such as illustration and print cartoons categorized by subject and artist plus all kinds of animation art from character designs and model sheets to animation drawings and background paintings. Movies of pencil tests and key scenes by famous animators will be included, as will audio files documenting the work of major voice over artists. All of the digital files will be accessible by a simple keyword search. Artists will be able to quickly see different approaches to the design of a specific subject and research artists.

The first phase of the project involves purchasing the necessary equipment and building a prototype Animation Database, which will be available to members at kiosk workstations in the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Center. The fundraising goal is $50,000.If every artist who stands to benefit from this resource contributed to the cause, the Animation Archive will be a reality in a very short period of time, said Worth, who passed a donation box at the Butler Tribute meeting.

Over the next three years, ASIFA-Hollywood will be staging numerous fundraising events to fund this ambitious project. Donations, may be sent to:ASIFA-Hollywood721 S. Victory Blvd.Burbank, California 91502

Make the check out to ASIFA-Hollywood and write ARCHIVE PROJECT on the note line of the check.

If you would like to volunteer to help ASIFA reach its goals, said Worth, please plan to attend one of the monthly Act of Membership meetings, which are held at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Center on the last Wednesday of every month. For more information visit www.asifa-hollywood.org.

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