NYC Theater Archives

This week we are retiring two of NYTE’s elder websites – nytheatre.com and nytheaternow.com. We’re giving them each gold watches and thanking them for years of service. We’ll miss them! But it’s time to move on from them — each has outlived its useful life, with no new content being added anymore.

Which leaves the question: What should we do with the accumulated material that’s been on our NYC theater websites over the past two decades? We’re hoping that some of you reading this might be able to help us figure this out.

Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • More than 10,000 reviews of shows in the NYC area, from 1997 through 2015, including reviews of every show in every FringeNYC festival from 2002-2014.
  • More than 250 hours of podcasts featuring interviews and excerpts from great indie theater works from 2005-2013.
  • Interviews with dozens of theater artists.
  • A lot of factual information about the theater scene in NYC that resides in the various databases that we’ve used to operate our websites.

Taken together, there’s some great stuff here. To properly archive it online, with all of the content fully searchable and properly displayed, would cost (I estimate) about $150,000 for data review and preparation and at least another $2000+ per year to operate (depending on how popular such an online archive might prove to be). (And note that, given other projects of interest to us at this time, even if we got all that money right now, I’m not sure this is a project we’d want to pursue here at NYTE.)

What are people’s thoughts about this?

 

5 comments

  • A complete archive may not be financially feasible, but two options come to mind:
    1) You could conduct an email and social media campaign to reach producers, writers, directors, and others involved in productions referenced on the sites, with instructions for saving the pages as HTML or PDFs. I’m sure many link to there today: to update those links to pages they hosted instead would allow them to keep providing the articles without NYTE providing the hosting. Collected across many artistic and institutional sites and portfolios, the reach of the two NYTE sites would remain visible.
    2) Reach out to archive.org or review their list of other entities trying to preserve the web. This seems like a project they should be interested in. https://archive.org/about/

  • I had absolutely no idea how much something like that would cost. I think the preservation of reviews and all that is important, but I wonder if such efforts should be put toward ensuring the survival of all the original works on ITN. As for a way to do both or either of those things, im not sure, but with all the people who have benefited from these websites, maybe a good chunk of them would be more than willing to contribute. Taking a collection might not be a bad idea. I certainly would be happy to help. If there is anything else I can do to help, anything at all, please let me know.

  • Martin,

    My 2 cents: I don’t think $150k is worth it. You probably can use your time and crowdfunding towards something better. However, is there a way to have people request certain documents from the site? Like, let’s say I wanted the review of VCR Love at The Brick Theater that Ed Malin did in 2011, I could put in a request and then receive a PDF of it on a per request basis? Is this do-able?

    David

  • Hi, I work at Internet Archive and this was passed along to me. We would love to archive and keep online a preserved copy of the site. No costs associated. If you contact me at jefferson at archive dot org we can discuss more.

  • I do think it’s important to have this record preserved. This is important.