What is Ephemera?

Three answers:

1.

ephem·era
Pronunciation: \i-ˈfe-mər-ə, -ˈfem-rə\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural ephemera also ephem·er·ae \-mər-ē, -rē\ or ephemeras
Etymology: New Latin, from Greek ephēmera, neuter plural of ephēmeros
Date: 1650
1: something of no lasting significance —usually used in plural
2ephemera plural : paper items (as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles.

from Merriam Webster Dictionary

2.

Listmania Books on Ephemera

 from Amazon.com,a list of reference books

3.

Ephemera is transitory written and printed matter not intended to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day. Some collectible ephemera are advertising trade cards, airsickness bags, baseball cards, bookmarks, catalogues, cigarette cards, greeting cards, letters, pamphlets, photographs, postcards, posters, prospectuses, stock certificates, tickets and zines. Decks of personality identification playing cards from the war in Iraq are a recent example.

In library and information science, the term ephemera also describes the class of published single-sheet or single page documents which are meant to be thrown away after one use. This classification excludes simple letters and photographs with no printing on them, which are considered manuscripts or typescripts. Large academic and national libraries and museums may collect, organize, and preserve ephemera as history. A particularly large and important example of such an archive is the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

 

Contents

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Etymology

Ephemera is a noun, the plural neuter of ephemeron and ephemeros, Greek and New Latin for epi = one and hemera = day with the ancient sense extending to the mayfly and other short lived insects and flowers and for something which lasts a day or a short period of time.

Video and Audio Ephemera

By extension, Video Ephemera and Audio Ephemera refer to transitory audiovisual matter not intended to be retained or preserved. Surprisingly, the great bulk of video and audio expression has, until recently, been ephemeral. Early TV broadcasts were not preserved (indeed, the technology to preserve them postdates the invention of television). Even if radio and television stations preserve archives of their broadcasts, those backcatalogs are inaccessible in practice to the general public, leaving it to a small underground of tape traders to exchange the rare, lucky moments when something unexpected or historical came across the air.

An article on the Ephemera Society of America website notes

Printed ephemera gave way to audio and video ephemera in the twentieth century. … These present even more of a preservation problem than printed materials. Although seldom made available for libraries, when videotapes are acquired for archival preservation they are found to be made on low quality tape, poorly processed, and damaged from abuse by users.[1]

The large capacity and reach provided by resources such as the Internet Archive and YouTube have made finding and sharing video ephemera (past and present) dramatically easier.

See also

References

External links

 

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