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A personal introduction by David Fisher, compiler and chronomediator

Chronologies can be regarded as condensed history, the equivalent of the sound-bites of time. This can so easily strip away the narrative of its connecting threads, which makes cross-referencing an essential element. On the other hand, some threads may be tenuous at best and will snap if stretched too far. Einstein taught us that time is relative. Weaving the threads into tapestries can mix time-weft with time-warp.
        The eclectic approach of the chronologist, breaking an holistic overview into tiny fragments, allows others the opportunity to gain new insights into connections and to reconstruct history in new ways.

Perhaps inevitably the United Kingdom and the United States are best represented, although every effort has been made to set as wide an international horizon as possible. No reference has been excluded simply because it relates to a country that has played little part in media history, as many entries testify. There is at least one reference to virtually every country in the world. (We leave it to others to conduct the interesting experiment of actually counting references by country.) But arguably the UK and the US have consistently made greater, or at least more pioneering and influential contributions to media history than other countries; that factor alone would give them some predominance in a work of this kind and the argument is perhaps reinforced by the growing number of references to Japan, especially on matters of technology, in the last three decades of the 20th century.

This chronology has itself a lengthy history. It began as a small set of hand-written 5x3 record cards around 1970 when I was working on a book called The Craft of Film (Attic Publishing, 1970—long since out of print). It gradually grew over the years, notably after I became editor of the international media journal Screen Digest in 1974—a position I still enjoy (well, usually enjoy). Some time in the mid 1980s it was copied onto computer (probably a Sinclair QL to begin with, if memory serves rightly). And still it went on growing.

If you have any comments or questions, please send them (Contact us). In particular, I am keen to resolve puzzles and queries of my own, notably where different sources give conflicting information—or where I've simply got it wrong. Lots of people out there have first-hand knowledge of the events in this register. If you are one of them, or if you have any comments on the topics recorded here, please contact us
        My aim is to make this the most thorough chronological log of events in the media world. There are still many gaps (and stacks of material waiting to be sifted). Chronomedia will continue to grow; indeed, by definition, a chronology of living, dynamic activity can never be finished.

Many sources have been used in the compilation of the chronology. Whenever possible events have been traced to sources as close to the original time as possible or to the most reliable historical studies available. A few dates may be challenged but those given here will usually be defended as the more credible. Nonetheless, I would be glad to receive any comments about accuracy, points of clarification or suggestions for improvement, the potential for which is no doubt considerable (click on Contact us).

See also References.

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Page updated 6 November 2008
David Fisher