Classic Mexican Cinema
Classic Mexican Cinema is a small, specialized digital collection of around 40,000 pages issued as one of the Brill Primary Sources collections. The five periodicals featured are from the Archives of the Filmoteca of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
Sources for this review include information publicly posted or obtained directly from the publisher, data collected by CRL staff and members, and examination of the digital collection when possible. Other sources are noted where cited.
Classic Mexican Cinema is a small, specialized digital collection of around 40,000 pages issued as one of the Brill Primary Sources collections. Brill notes that “many of our primary source collections are unique, as they are often the only source of rare documents outside of the source library itself.” The five periodicals featured in Classic Mexican Cinema are from the unique Archives collection of the Filmoteca at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). The titles have been selected to represent the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema from the 1930s to 1960, when Mexican films were distributed throughout Latin America as well as the U.S. and Europe. The extent of holdings varies but is not extensive for any of the five titles. El Cine Gráfico is rarely found, and issues are presented here for 1935 and 1957 only. El Mundo Ilustrado is the earliest title, with holdings provided from 1902 to 1910.
In addition to the periodicals, the database includes “dozens of film flyers” and images from the scrapbooks of filmmaker Fernando de Fuentes (1894-1958).
The interface functions are basic. Text is searchable as full text, not indexed by type of text such as article title. Results can be sorted by relevance or date. Search terms are shown in excerpted context, and then highlighted in the PDF display. But it can be difficult to determine results context for several reasons: the results excerpt displays raw OCR text, often with transcription errors; if one returns to search results from the PDF page display, no highlighting differentiates which result link has been followed; in two of six results checked, the search term was not actually displayed on the page.
The page imaged documents are presented in a standard PDF window that unfortunately does not expand to full screen. The publisher indicates that all pages were scanned in color, and it is quite valuable to have featured graphics depicted in their original color format. But low contrast levels optimized to reveal details in the numerous half-tone movie publicity photos result in murky presentation of text, often compromising legibility. The image sharpness also varies, and the presentation images are not high resolution files. They can be downloaded as PNG files from the document PDFs.
Strengths and weaknesses
These are unique materials preserved through digitization. The collection should have varying uses for study and research of popular Latin American culture and the history of film media up through the mid-twentieth century. At the same time, it is a rather expensive investment in a relatively small group of materials. It is fortunate that MARC records have been provided, but wide indexing of the text in web scale discovery tools is recommended (despite inconsistent results in full text searching) in order to avoid these materials becoming isolated from more extensive research collections.
Direct from Publisher
|Subjects covered||Films, popular culture|
|Geographic coverage||Mexico, Latin America, some North America|
|Chronological coverage||Primarily 1930s to 1960|
|Content types||Periodicals; handbills; scrapbooks|
|P||Total pages||c. 40,000|
|Digital collection launch date||December, 2011|
|Completion date||December, 2011|
|Major languages||Primarily Spanish; some English|
|Browser compatibility||IE 7+; Firefox 2.0+|
|P||Authentication options||IP, username/ password|
|P||Archiving solution – master files||NA|
|P||Archiving solution – derivative files||NA|
|P||Availability in web discovery tools||N|
|P||Open URL target||N|
|P||Federated searching, z39.50||N|
|P||Local host option||N|
|P||Usage statistics||Y (Counter)|
|Full text displayed||N|
|Color images||Y (100% including color reproduction of bw pages)|
|Search full text||Y|
|Search within results||N|
|Limit results by dates and/or document types||N|
|Display highlighted search terms||Y|
|Display snippet -- search term in context||Y|
|Print full document||Y|
|P||Restrictions on use||No limit on concurrent use; fair use policy|
|Publisher / Distributor||Brill|
|Address||151 Milk St., Boston, MA 02109|
|CRL Profile of Publisher|
|P||Multiple year payments option||N|
|P||List of purchasers available||Available upon request.|
|Sample license available||Y|
|MARC records purchase fee||N|
|Price tier basis||NA|