Historical Issues #2: Soviet Film

There are such treasures hiding in the stacks, and really, they don’t make journal covers like they used to.  I coincidentally found these journals the same week that the Russian Film Symposium is happening in Pittsburgh, so I knew it was fated that I should share some of the images.

Soviet Film cover 1978 number 10

1978:no. 10 (257) Actor Oleg Yankovsky

Soviet Film 1978 number 9

1978:no. 9 (256): Actress Svetlana Toma

Soviet Film 1977 number 8

1977:no. 8 (243): Komaki Kurihara and Yuri Solomin in “Melodies of the White Night”, a Soviet-Japanese co-production.

Soviet Film 1976 number 11

1976:no. 11 (234): Sergei Bondarchuk on location during the shooting of “Steppe” based on the story of the same title by Anton Chekhov.

Soviet Film 1975 number 8

1975:no.8 (219): Actress Natalia Varley

Soviet Film 1972 number 2

1972:no.2 (177): Asanali Ashimov, the Kazakh actor who played in “Crossroad”, “The End of the Ataman,” “Kyz-Zhibek”

Soviet Film 1975 number 4

1975:no.4 (215): Film actress Ludmila Gurchenko (“Carnival Night”, “Girl with a Guitar”, “Baltic Sky”, “Factory Town”, “Open Book”, “Vaniushin’s Children”, “Old Walls”, and others)

Soviet Film 1972 number 1

1972:no.1 (176): the Ukrainian actress Larisa Kadochnikova

Soviet Film 1969 number 7

1969:no.7 (146): Actress Tatyana Doronina

Sorry about the weird image quality.  If anyone knows how to fix that or make it so the scanner doesn’t put those wavy lines in, please tell me for next time!

See also: my previous “Historical Issues” posts

(I provide a link because, for some reason, WordPress insists on the “Filed Under” link below not linking just to my blog, but to the entire world. psh.)

“Beauty is Poland’s winter”

From a 1970s Polish nature journal.

[warning: google translations…yet they can be poetic in their own way]

“Are spruce, children,
sleigh bells,
snow holy night,
clearer from the candles.
Beauty is Poland’s winter.

-Mieczyslaw Jastrun, Tale of Our Land (fragment)”

“the mountain mist crawled. Pregnant clouds rain down […] August.
Gray fumes cling to steep slopes. Light clouds floated
airily to the winds, which smoked the white clouds of steam as the tops of volcanoes …

And somewhere behind the mist reverberating from afar – pathetic (?) deer roar and hum eagerly advances in the gulf stream.
Fearless was grazing, releasing the occasional thick grunts, not a challenge to
fight the unworthy, but rather a warning to them, and there resides the Lord of the forest, crowned
in a wonderful wreath of twenty branches…

-Julian Ejsmond, In the forest”

No one cares about alumni

One of my favorite past-times is looking up university websites on the Internet Archive and laughing at what they looked like in the beginning. Ironically, it was probably easier to find the information you needed back when things looked like this:

Pitt website from 1996

University of Michigan website in 1996

The Web Marketing Association has an award for Best University Website.  The Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s site won in 2007, but that version of the site seems to have disappeared.  I remember using it once to try to find information about their library.  I was impressed by how unconventional the site was, but I couldn’t find basic information I needed.  Now the design is different – more structured but still attractive.  This is unfortunate, though:

If you need to tell people to use your menu, you've got a problem. And why not just hyperlink all those programs on the main page if you're going to have them there?

I see university websites as portals that must also contain a lot of content themselves, in addition to making a visual statement that conveys whatever the university is trying to emphasize about itself and enhances its brand.  Ideally it should be impressive from a technological standpoint, since that in itself is (in my opinion) a statement about the quality of the institution.  So basically university websites are probably one of the most challenging type of sites to design. This article from the blog of a design consultancy in Singapore sums it up quite nicely, covering issues of web standards, information architecture, and branding.  An excerpt:

University websites tend to be more complicated than corporate websites. Here are some reasons why:

* Difficultly in defining a common vision: unlike corporate websites, it is difficult for a university to get all of its schools, divisions, centers, etc., to agree on a common vision for communicating on the web. This is a classic example of a house-of-brands or a branded-house conflict. Only the administrative offices are under the fold for obvious reasons. Thus, it is not uncommon to come across a school or a division crafting their own vision, often citing the hyper competitive education marketplace as their main reason (e.g. business schools).
* ‘Not invented here’ syndrome: because of the above, web design tends to fall into the hands of many different local webmasters who make decisions based on local directives – usually motivated by one-upmanship. This results in the hotchpotch that users finally get to see, and unfortunately, to experience.
* Lack of knowledge in user-centered design: this is crucial one. Because the needs of the user (or as Don Norman would say, people) does not take center stage, as the above two points show, design decisions are based on varying principles and random rationales leading to haphazard design outcomes. Unless there’s common understanding of user needs this is going to be a problem area for some time to come.

The xkcd comic above apparently started enough of an uproar to merit an article on Inside Higher Ed about the problems with university websites. And university websites don’t have half the problems library websites do thanks to all our different services which may require different interfaces, databases that require authentication which may have to occur on a page that isn’t the library’s, and the entirely separate (though maybe it shouldn’t be) beast that is the OPAC. But those are topics for another day.

Historical Issues #1: the international women’s movement

WIDF publications in 6 languages

At work last week my world was illuminated by the appearance of some decrepit yet lovely issues of Women of the Whole World, the journal of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF). According to a UN Chronicle article on the history of the struggle for women’s rights, “the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF), established in Paris in late 1945 with an anti-fascist, left-feminist orientation, was the third major international women’s organization involved in the UN.” In her article “From Rosie the Riveter to the Global Assembly Line:
American Women on the World Stage
“, Leila Rupp mentions that the launch of the WIDF “challenged the traditional transnational women’s organizations such as the International Council of Women, the International Alliance of Women, and the WILPF and competed with them at the United Nations over who really represented the world’s women.” For a description of the WIDF as it exists today, see this 2008 interview with the organization’s president.

Women of the Whole World was published in 6 languages (as illustrated above, in an image from the History section of the current WIDF website). My library owns issues of this journal from 1952-1990, but I only had contact with issues from 1957-1969. I was struck by the snazzy cover images; something about them just caught my eye, and I wanted to scan all of them because of how striking they are as a collection. Unfortunately I could only scan a few. Work to do, etc. The cover images of this journal form a diverse and rather artistic snapshot of women from that time period. In the 1950s the covers usually featured children, but for most of the 1960s the images are like those below. I wish these journals could be digitized. Aside from the interesting cover images (which might only be interesting to me) their content would be relevant to scholars of 20th century progressive movements, communism, international politics, and women’s history.

There are some archival collections of WIDF documents, but I don’t know how to find out if anyone has digitized them, actually. It’s possible…but is there some sort of search engine for such things (other than Google)? If libraries don’t create records for their digital collections and submit them to something like WorldCat, the only other thing I know to do is to look for subject portals or webliographies and hope I get lucky. All I found was that you can search the text of some of the issues via the HathiTrust, but full view isn’t available because of copyright. Google has some of the issues from the 1980s-90s available just with snippet view. And for some reason many of them are categorized under “Health and Fitness”. :-/

The captions below are those that were included in the original issue of the journal.

women of the world cover image no1 1960
1960: no. 1. “The new advancement of women resulting from the last fifty years of struggles and successes is admirably personified in this young chinese woman worker. Throughout the entire world women have access to or are fighting for access to every field of public, economic, and social life of their country. Their numbers are particularly great in the field of production and in this regard China has shown the most spectacular example of recent years.”

women of the world cover image no3 1960
1960: no. 3. “Ursula Blau, 23, graduate in agriculture, is the youngest deputy in the German Democratic Republic. Since 1956 she has been one of those in charge of a nationalised agricultural enterprise, and has been busy with the training of apprentices.”

women of the world cover image no3 1962
1962: no 3. “This Korean girl was a member of the folk song and dance ensemble of the Korean People’s Democratic Republic at the World Youth Festival in Moscow in 1957.”

women of the world cover image no4 1962
1962: no. 4. “Dimitra Georgesco is a leading worker of the spinning mill “Romineasca de Bumbac” in Bucharest (Rumanian People’s Republic).”

women of the world cover image no5 1963
1963: no.5. “The young actress Margit Bara, of the Hungarian People’s Republic, is part of the Budapest National Theatre troupe. She was also the star of numerous films some of which have received favourable mention in various international festivals.”

women of the world cover image no12 1963
1963:no.12. “Maria Han-Nandaundo of Angola.”

women of the world cover image no2 1964
1964: no 2. “This young Guatemalan student was part of her country’s delegation to the World Congress of Women.”

women of the world cover image no8 1964
1964: no 8. “Mrs. Lambrakis is the widow of the Greek peace fighter, Gregoris Lambrakis assassinated by fascists in May 1963. Thanking the World Peace Council when they presented her with the Gold Medal (posthumously awarded to her husband) Mrs. Lambrakis said:

‘As a wife and mother, who has suffered the terrible blow of seeing her husband assassinated, I wish to raise my voice from this great platform to people of the world, above all to every woman and mother not to stand by passively, but to play their part in the endeavours to preserve peace, so that their homes and their children, and the homes and children of all countries, may be spared the very real disaster threatening the whole world.'”

As the title of this post indicates, I might try to make a series of blog posts out of the interesting historical tidbits I will inevitably find while working with the periodicals collection. Maybe/hopefully. But not with scans every time. Because that is TIME CONSUMING.