An Inspector Calls. by J.B. Priestley

By J.B. Priestley

The Heinemann performs sequence bargains modern drama and vintage performs in sturdy lecture room variants. during this play an inspector interrupts a celebration to enquire a girl's suicide, and implicates all the party-makers in her demise.

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Though not actually an archive, the ‘Lost Museum’ project, funded through US university research centres, uses web technology to present artefacts found in P. T. Barnum’s American Museum and to recreate the spaces within which they would have originally been found – a nineteenth-century American dime museum. It bears a general resemblance to a computer game both in appearance and in terms of the experience of using it (Augst 2005). indd 26 01/03/2011 12:01 t he imp e r a t i v e o f t h e a r c h i v e 27 demand substantial funding, and certainly the development of online archives has been prohibited by cost since digitising uses labour to shape, maintain and build resource.

Gale The following case study illustrates the ways in which problematic indexing/ cataloguing and processes of chance can impact on archive research. No matter how well prepared, researchers have to be able to mediate the realities of the relationship between assumptions about and actual results of findings. When I was recently researching for a book on British mid-twentiethcentury playwright J. B. Priestley, it was very exciting to find holdings listed at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin, Texas, although at the outset there was an ‘issue’ with the spelling of his name (it was listed both under Priestly and Priestley: each list turned up different holdings).

However, the idea of ‘spatial exploration’ (Brown 2004: 262) is one around which we can map onto a discussion of the different approaches to traditional paper and building based archives and those available through the Internet. Many of the online theatre/performance archives provide simple ‘collection level’ descriptions – that is descriptions of archive items in clearly identifiable groupings or ‘spaces’ – of a very small proportion of their holdings. What they offer is an increased access to the general public and a listed grouping of materials such as ‘periodicals’, ‘costumes’, ‘posters and playbills’, ‘performers’ and so on, with search facilities and guidance as to how to access information from the collection on these specific holdings.

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