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ECHO (Early Cinema History Online)

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How to Read ECHO's Data

The filmographic records you see on this site are the result of forty years of work by multiple scholars, starting with Einar Lauritzen and Gunnar Lundquist's American Film Index (1976) and moving through work done by Paul Spehr and Susan Dalton for American Film Personnel and Company Credits, 1908-1920 (McFarland, 1996), before being digitized for this project.

Most of the records are fairly self-explanatory, but the dataset does have some quirks that require elaboration and explanation.

First, there is no guarantee that all the titles listed here correspond to films that were actually produced. Some are quite obscure, and may only have been mentioned on a single page of Moving Picture World. Expanding and specifying our knowledge of such films is one goal of this site.

Second, the dates here, despite their labels, do not necessarily correspond to exact release dates. In most cases, the dates designate the date of an issue of Moving Picture World, but some records include actual release dates, while others designate other associated dates. You should look to the "DTSC" field to understand exactly what kind of date is indicated.

Key (see American Film-Index, vol. 1, page x):

r - Verified release date.

m - Weekly issue of Moving Picture World where the story of the film is given.

a - Weekly issue of MPW where film is advertised.

c - Title only mentioned in the Library of Congress' copyright catalogues, 1894-1912 and 1912-1939.

t - Title only mentioned in the edited text of MPW.

p - Title only mentioned in Motion Pictures from the Library of Congress Paper Print Collection, 1894-1912, by Kemp R. Niver.

u - Date uncertain. Generally - though not necessarily - accurate to the year.

As this project moves forward, additional date associations may be added in subsequent date fields.

The "COMPANY" field generally indicates a production company, but Lauritzen and Lundquist sometimes listed a distributor when the producer was not known. In some cases, distributors are listed as named entities in each record rather than in the company field. There is now a specific field for "DISTRIBUTOR" as the data is modified going forward - specifying producers and distributors is another primary goal as the data expands.

"LAURITZEN VOLUME" and "LAURITZEN PAGE" indicate the original source of the data for a title in the Film-Index.

Finally, while every attempt has been made to consistently designate the names of credited personnel, there are almost certainly variations in names across the set. Please feel free to suggest corrections to records with such variations - and, in the case of consistent variations, email drlong@wisc.edu. It is fairly simple to batch modify and correct named entities and tags.