This paper explores the issues and criteria involved in developing a creditable documentary film collection about the Romani people for an academic library. Throughout their history, the Roma, or Gypsies, have dealt with biased, romanticized versions of their story, perpetuated by stereotypes found in legend, literature, song, and film. The expectation in the present undertaking is that the evidence coming from documentary films provides an effective antidote for misrepresentations. The paper reviews pertinent literature, suggests a selection process, and furnishes commentaries on individual titles as they relate to a framework based on the Romani historical and geographical narrative. A critical lens, namely, an awareness of the misrepresentations that abound in all media, is recommended as the instrument through which the films should be viewed. It is this dual approach – applying a historical framework and a critical lens – that can offer librarians a foundation upon which to build and grow a well-balanced collection.
Schiff, RA. The Roma and documentary film: Considerations for collection development. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. Prepublished February, 21, 2018, DOI: 10.1177/0961000618759592