Recovering the London Stage Information Bank (1970-1978): Data Preservation Lessons from an Early Humanities Computing Project
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This paper traces the little-known history of the London Stage Information Bank, a digital initiative that ran from 1970 to 1978 under the direction of Professor Ben R. Schneider, Jr. at Lawrence University. With support from the NEH, the ACLS, and the Mellon Foundation, Schneider?s team produced a database from the multi-volume reference work The London Stage, 1660-1800 (Carbondale: SIU Press, 1960). Today, however, many of the project?s outputs have been lost or corrupted ? and despite an ongoing need for this resource, few theater researchers know that it ever existed. In detailing my archival and forensic efforts to recover the material artifacts of this nearly decade-long project, I present the London Stage Information Bank as an object lesson in crucial issues of access, preservation, and institutional memory facing digital humanities work today.