Explore C-U explores CUZine, etc.

We’ll admit it. From time to time, we search ‘round the World Wide Web for references to C-U Blogfidential and related properties just to see where the information stream takes us. On occasion we’re genuinely surprised at what we find, such as this MICRO-FILM/C-U Confidential mini-history posted right before this year’s Roger Ebert’s Film Festival. Needless to say, we were flattered!

Since then we’ve met briefly with Sarah Christensen, who works for the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois, and Kara Brehm, at the time a graduate assistant at the UIUC University Library, about their project Explore C-U, designed to provide citizens and visitors a curated visual history of Champaign-Urbana through photographs, text, maps, and interactive media. In this succinct Smile Politely overview written by Lauren Laws, Christensen stresses community members are invited to contribute resources and guidance in developing the “tours” guiding users ‘round the C-U and outlying towns. Tours collect together subject-specific “stories” related by common themes; the current set includes “Robert Allerton Park,” “Urbana Park District,” “Railways and Electric Transit,” and “Public Art League,” for instance. The MF/CUZine story resides under C-U At the Movies! with good company: Roger Ebert, “Ebertfest,” the silent film star Virginia Sale, the UI electrical engineering pioneer Joseph Tykociner, and the lost C-U featurette THE CITY BEYOND. In our humble estimation, it is an effort which seeks to find that happy medium between aggregated wikis and edited compilations a la journals.

In the coming weeks, CUBlog will be helping the Explore C-U folks shore up our page – to their credit, we found the summation of our history relatively accurate – as well as brainstorm and implement logical ways to fit local movie culture better in the tour/story conceit. Casual browsing of the companion tours will reveal how heavily they rely on public monuments and structures for cohesion. With theaters the only easy-to-find movie presence in our communities, this provides a distinct challenge in the “CUAtM!” milieu.

If you have questions or would like to contribute to the Explore C-U project, developed by the University Library and the Visual Resources Center at FAA, hit the “About” page at their Web site or write Christensen at explorecu [at] Illinois [dot] edu. (Of course, they’ve established Facebook and Twitter accounts.) If you wish to discuss how the Movie tour might be improved or expanded, feel free to write your humble editor at cuconfidential [at] gmail [dot] com. This could be an exciting companion to our efforts here at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters so we’ll keep you abreast of any progress!

~ Jason Pankoke

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