Welcome to Rick Prelinger and Prelinger Archives' almost-all-text website. This site contains both current and historical information; current information is at the top of this page.
Rick Prelinger (brief biography)
Rick Prelinger is an archivist, filmmaker, writer and educator. He began collecting "ephemeral films" (films made for specific purposes at specific times, such as advertising, educational and industrial films) in 1983. His collection of 60,000 films was acquired by Library of Congress in 2002. Beginning in 2000, he partnered with Internet Archive to make a subset of the Prelinger Collection (now over 6,900 films) available online for free viewing, downloading and reuse. His archival feature Panorama Ephemera (2004) played in venues around the world, and his feature project No More Road Trips? received a Creative Capital grant in 2012. His 26 Lost Landscapes participatory urban history projects have played to many thousands of viewers in San Francisco, Detroit, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere. He is a board member of Internet Archive and frequently writes and speaks on the future of archives. With Megan Prelinger, he co-founded Prelinger Library in 2004. He is currently Professor of Film & Digital Media at University of California, Santa Cruz.
Some of my recent lectures and presentations are here.A full CV/resume is here.
Prelinger Archives actively collects home movie material (35mm, 16mm, Super 8, 8mm and other film formats) and is pleased to connect with families and individuals who may have materials to donate to the archives. We can be reached via email at the address at the bottom of this page.
Access to Prelinger Archives
Prelinger Archives is now a collection consisting of approximately 17,000 home movies; 2,000 "useful" films (advertising, educational and industrial films); and several thousand cans of miscellaneous unedited footage. Most material that has been digitized is available online.
Prelinger Library, co-founded with Megan Prelinger in 2004, is an appropriation-friendly collection of books, periodicals and print ephemera, open to the public in downtown San Francisco.
Blackoystercatcher blog (presently inactive)
Upcoming Events (not current, shown for historical value)
View or download Panorama Ephemera (2004), a feature-length collage film
News of Panorama Ephemera
6,941 films from Prelinger Archives are online at the Internet Archive. More are frequently added.
My "Points of Origin" piece, published in The Moving Image 9 (No. 2, 2009) here:
Prelinger Collection Acquired by Library of Congress
The Landscape Coin Project and my spouse Megan Shaw Prelinger's website
What's New (updated 14 July 2004; my blog is much more current)
Archives FAQ (updated October 2008)
Approximately 6,935 Prelinger titles presently available for free viewing and downloading from Internet Archive.
Access to Products
Intellectual Property Issues
About Ephemeral Films
Watch the Prelinger Archives official orientation video:
View or download This Is Prelinger Archives (2001)
Producer: Prelinger (Rick)
Sponsor: Prelinger Archives
Official Prelinger Archives corporate video, describing its contents and mission. With excerpts of many films in the collection and rare scenes shot inside the New York vaults.
Descriptors: Motion pictures: Ephemeral; Motion pictures: Archives; Prelinger Archives
Run time: 10:45 Color/B&W: B&W/C Silent/Sound: Sd
P.O. Box 590622
San Francisco, CA 94159-0622
CV (downloadable PDF)
April 20, 2019