Shame of a Nation
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Order 9066: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World
War II, a CD-ROM produced by the UCLA Film and Television Archive
in cooperation with L.A.'s Japanese American National Museum (JANM),
with financial support from Mitsui and Co., tells that story completely
and honestly for the first time. It is also an artistic achievement.
Awarded second prize for CD-ROMs by the American Association of
Museums, Executive Order 9066, which took 18 months to complete,
was christened by the Library Journal, "one of the most powerful
and well-produced titles we've ever reviewed."
interactive CD-ROM is an unblinking account of the incarceration,
the events that led up to it and its aftermath. In addition to hundreds
of photographs, artwork, personal accounts, chronologies, maps,
documents, news clippings and historical essays, the CD-ROM includes
more than 30 minutes of archival footage - including sections from
UCLA's Hearst Metrotone Newsreel Collection as well as rare home
movies taken secretly inside the camps, where cameras were forbidden
impetus for the CD-ROM, as well as the source of much of the material,
had its roots in a 1994-'95 JANM exhibit, "America's Concentration
Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience." (The exhibit,
including an installation of the CD-ROM, is currently on display
at Ellis Island through January 5.)
I first saw the exhibit, I was knocked out," says Steve Ricci '76,
M.A. '79, Ph.D. '96, head of research and study and director of
new media for the Archive. "This was a subject that has been covered
so lightly in books and classrooms that it seemed to me there needed
to be a way to document it more fully for a wider audience." The
way, Ricci concluded, was through interactive technology. He proposed
a collaboration in which the Archive would offer its technological
expertise to produce and direct the CD-ROM and the curators at JANM
would oversee the content.
are not like books. They are not like films or documentaries. They
are their own media, their own form," Ricci says. "Do you organize
the information in a linear fashion, like a book? As a film, with
a more temporal unfolding of events? Where do you put the photographs
in relation to the text? How do you display video so there is context?
These are all design issues which have serious implications for
how people digest the information.