BONNIE G. ROWAN FILM RESEARCH
1849 California Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
202-265-1081 FAX 202-265-1234
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WORKING WITH A WASHINGTON RESEARCHER
WHY YOU NEED A PROFESSIONAL RESEARCHER
- Washington area institutions hold the world's largest collections
of motion pictures, stills, audio recordings and newspaper files.
- Many collections are unique and often rights-free.
- None are accessible in simple databases. Only portions of the
holdings of the National Archives and Library of Congress can be
searched on-line and each database has quirky problems.
- Ordering broadcast-quality copies is confusing and turn-around
time is usually related to the skills of the person placing the order.
- Some institutions will answer research requests but these are low
priority and often done under pressure by ill-trained staff.
WHAT THIS RESEARCHER BRINGS TO THE PROJECT
- My brain is filled with years (in my case 15) of images and my
file cabinets are filled with notes from hundreds of previous searches.
- I understands the collections, finding aids, databases,
personnel, ordering system, and rights situation.
- I am a media historian with academic work in film history and
- I have written the best and in most cases only descriptions of
the collections of the National Archives and Library of Congress.
- I have the experience and equipment to search films, tapes,
audio, stills, and newspaper collections and supply you with viewing
copies when the institutions permit copying.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
- Inform me as soon as you know anything about your subject. Even
before you hire me for an hour, I will be thinking about possible
materials and making notes when images pop up in the course of
researching other people's projects.
- Searches for a list of images to match an already completed
script can be accomplished but you have wasted the greatest potential
of these vast collections. Work with me at the idea stage!
- BEWARE! Use the on-line databases of the Library of Congress and
National Archives but do it in consultation with me. You will know more
about the subject and may be able to try various terms in your searches
but I am very familiar with the quirks and limitations of both the NARA
and LC on-line information. I always consult these databases but it is
only the beginning of my search. I don’t waste time on those reels that
are not “get”able. Many items on ARC (NARA's database) and LC's
databases are held by commercial stock
film and photo houses or the networks. You can locate copyrighted or
on these databases but why spend time locating materials claimed by
stock houses when the folks who will be charging you thousands of
dollars in use fees will often do the research for you without charge.
- Use FEDEX. All other express services take more of my time and
often mean that materials get to you a day later. FEDEX in my
neighborhood stays open until 8:45pm.
- Reaching me can be a problem since I am away from my home office
most days doing research. If there are questions, perhaps we can make a
phone appointment. Fax (202-265-1234), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and
voice mail (202-265-1081) are all in place. Mention the name of your
project so that I can give your queries first priority. Mornings
between 8am and 9:30am and evenings from 9pm to 10pm are the best times
to find me in my office. 800 or 888 numbers or permission to call
collect make midday return calls more likely.