Från massmedium till mikrosurrogat. Några reflektioner kring den mikrofilmade dagstidningen som källa
2011 (Swedish)In: Scandia, ISSN 0036-5483, no 2, 155-170 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Since the end of the 1970s, those wishing to consult newspaper archives in research libraries are referred to copies on microfilm. Despite the fact that microfilm is in many respects a problematic source-medium, there has been no academic discussion of this fact in Sweden. A series of official government inquiries (in 1949, 1972, 1975, and 1976) acknowledged that the substitution of microfilmed copies for the originals could have a detrimental effect on research, yet the switch to microfilm went ahead nevertheless. The decision to microfilm contemporaneous newspapers and to retroactively microfilm older material was justified on financial and conservation grounds: microfilm was thought cheaper to handle than bulky originals, and newsprint would be destroyed if handled too much or would disintegrate because of the poor quality of the paper. In normal circumstances, reading a newspaper involves holding it, feeling the paper in one’s hand, turning the pages, viewing double-spreads that are never definitively in black and white, glancing through in a non-linear fashion, and then folding the paper and putting it down. Reading newspapers on microfilm involves pressing buttons, scrolling queasily down a stream of single pages, the black and white images blurring into one. The substitution of microfilm for newsprint hampers the semiotic analysis of the older daily press, and the striking difference between microfilm-reading and the type of newspaper-reading described in the major theories of the emergency of modern society, for example Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, are two aspects that illustrate the deficiencies of microfilmed newspapers as a source. The digitalization of older newspapers from their microfilm copies serves merely to cement the disadvantages of the latter medium. Recently, however, microfilm producers have embarked on a constructive discussion that promises to address some of the problems.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. no 2, 155-170 p.
microfilm, historical method, daily newspaper, source material, substitute medium
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-14559ISI: 000298533300009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-14559DiVA: diva2:475259