Forty Years, Forty Films, Forty Weeks: Hand Game

This week’s featured Vision Maker Media film, “Hand Game,” explores the mythic and historic roots of contemporary gambling in the Northwest Native Society through a look at the traditional hand game (also called “stick game” or “bone game”).

Traveling from reservation to reservation and meeting engaging and colorful players, the filmmakers show how traditional ways of thinking are alive today in Indian country and offer an inside view of an ancient form of gambling that combines strategy, wit and skill.

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Watch “Hand Game” on the American Archive of Public Broadcasting website.

Check back here every Tuesday, or follow us at @amarchivepub on Twitter to keep up with featured streaming films over the 40 weeks of the celebration. You can find the complete schedule here.

About Vision Maker Media

Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality American Indian and Alaska Native educational and home videos. All aspects of Vision Maker Media programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media – to be the next generation of storytellers. Vision Maker Media envisions a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate.

With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Vision Maker Media’s Public Media Content Fund awards support to projects with a Native American theme and significant Native involvement that ultimately benefits the entire public media community. Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) empowers and engages Native People to tell stories. For more information, www.visionmakermedia.org

Each week for the next forty weeks, a different film featuring Native voices from Native producers will be available to stream free online, in celebration of Vision Maker Media’s 40 years supporting American Indian and Alaska Native film projects.

Follow Vision Maker Media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Pinterest, or Google+.

Join Current for “Get with the program!: Shows that shaped public television”

2017 is the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act. Join Current for Get with The Program!: Shows that Shaped Public Television, a series of online events looking at some of the most influential public TV programs of all time. First up: Firing Line, the legendary public affairs program hosted by conservative intellectual William F. Buckley. Watch clips of Firing Line, courtesy of the Hoover Institution Archives, and discuss the impact of this groundbreaking show on American culture and public TV itself. Guests include Heather Hendershot, author of “Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on The Firing Line” and former ABC News analyst Jeff Greenfield. This free event is Wednesday, May 24 at 1 pm ET. Reserve your spot here: bit.ly/pba50-firingline.

FiringLine
Image courtesy Hoover Institution Archives

Forty Years, Forty Films, Forty Weeks: Looking Toward Home

This week’s featured Vision Maker Media film, “Looking Toward Home,” looks through the eyes of Native Americans who left the reservation for life in major cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Beginning with a look at government relocation programs of the 1950s and 1960s, the film tells the stories of those who left and their descendants as they maintain their tribal identity far away from the culturally nurturing climate of the reservation.

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Watch “Looking Toward Home” on the American Archive of Public Broadcasting website.

Check back here every Tuesday, or follow us at @amarchivepub on Twitter to keep up with featured streaming films over the 40 weeks of the celebration. You can find the complete schedule here.

About Vision Maker Media

Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality American Indian and Alaska Native educational and home videos. All aspects of Vision Maker Media programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media – to be the next generation of storytellers. Vision Maker Media envisions a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate.

With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Vision Maker Media’s Public Media Content Fund awards support to projects with a Native American theme and significant Native involvement that ultimately benefits the entire public media community. Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) empowers and engages Native People to tell stories. For more information, www.visionmakermedia.org

Each week for the next forty weeks, a different film featuring Native voices from Native producers will be available to stream free online, in celebration of Vision Maker Media’s 40 years supporting American Indian and Alaska Native film projects.

Follow Vision Maker Media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Pinterest, or Google+.

A Day In the Life of NET

Hi there! We’re part of the National Educational Television (NET) collection at the Library of Congress’s National Audiovisual Conservation Center (NAVCC) – maybe you’ve heard of us? Recently, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded the AAPB to complete the NET Collection Catalog Project, whereby some nifty catalogers are working to create fabulous descriptions of programs distributed by NET (1952-1972, which makes up some of the earliest public television content!). People know so little about us because, up until now, we’ve been stored in unprocessed collections! So we’re looking to get makeovers, too. We are happy here, NAVCC has optimal storage facilities for us – we’re stored at a cool 50 degrees with 30% relative humidity – but we would like it if people could find us more easily.

To give you a better idea of just what processing a film title in the collection entails, we’re going to give you an inside look. The first part of our journey? Getting pulled from the stacks, of course! When we’re pulled, we make our way down from the shelves, onto an obliging cart, and are rolled out of the vaults. Yippee!

But because we like it chilly, we don’t appreciate temperature shock. So we get wheeled into the acclimatization room, where we can get adjusted to the new climes.

After gradually thawing out, we get picked up. Today’s the big day, we’re getting processed today!

Quick, time to make a break for it!!

We find our way here, to a work bench, where the magic happens.

All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up. We get pulled, one by one from the cart. But you can find a lot of great metadata on us, so all that info gets written down first for input into our collection database system later.

Sometimes when you open us up, there’s a prize inside! No, not of the Cracker Jack variety – these prizes come in the form of broadcast histories and/or condition assessments. They get re-foldered and stored safely away, too, but hey, this is about us, the NET film!

We get placed up on the spindle, ready to wind! (Good thing Sleeping Beauty isn’t a film archivist, whew.)

We’re going to transfer from an old reel onto a slick, plastic “core.” The core (you can see cores stored in the boxes below the bench) is fixed inside the split reel on the right.

When we’ve been wound through, I end up on the right now, wrapped around a core.

How embarrassing! Look away!

Like a beautiful butterfly, now that we’ve been transformed, we shed the old reel and accompanying film can (that is, they are promptly disposed of).

Ouch!

I’m then rehoused into a – blue, blue, ‘lectric blue (that’s the color of my room) – plastic can.

And I’m taken over to a computer, to complete my cataloging in the collection database system MAVIS.

And now for my favorite part! I get labeled with a Library of Congress item barcode, new rack number, and a snazzy title label so people can find me again!

Now I’m all set! Ahhh 1331 – I’ve always liked the sound of a palindrome. Now I’m headed back to the vaults to get some well-deserved shut-eye. Later!

This post was written by Susie Booth, NET Cataloger at NAVCC, on behalf of the NET film.

Forty Years, Forty Films, Forty Weeks: The Thick Dark Fog

“I didn’t know the medical words, so I called the problem what I felt it to be – the thick dark fog.”

Up through the 1970s, Native American children were frequently removed from their families and sent to federal Indian boarding schools in an attempt to “civilize” them – “kill the Indian, and save the man.” Children were not allowed to speak their language or express their culture or Native identity in any way. In this week’s Vision Maker Media film, Lakota author Walter Littlemoon wrestles with the memories of his boarding school days, embarking on a journey to heal himself and his community, and reclaim his heritage.

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Watch “The Thick Dark Fog” on the American Archive of Public Broadcasting website.

Check back here every Tuesday, or follow us at @amarchivepub on Twitter to keep up with featured streaming films over the 40 weeks of the celebration. You can find the complete schedule here.

About Vision Maker Media

Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality American Indian and Alaska Native educational and home videos. All aspects of Vision Maker Media programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media – to be the next generation of storytellers. Vision Maker Media envisions a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate.

With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Vision Maker Media’s Public Media Content Fund awards support to projects with a Native American theme and significant Native involvement that ultimately benefits the entire public media community. Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) empowers and engages Native People to tell stories. For more information, www.visionmakermedia.org

Each week for the next forty weeks, a different film featuring Native voices from Native producers will be available to stream free online, in celebration of Vision Maker Media’s 40 years supporting American Indian and Alaska Native film projects.

Follow Vision Maker Media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Pinterest, or Google+.

Forty Years, Forty Films, Forty Weeks: Racing the Rez

“If it’s not the best running movie ever made, it’s damn sure in the fight.” (Christopher Marlowe, author of Born To Run.)

This week’s Vision Maker Media film, “Racing the Rez,” focuses on the lives of five Navajo and Hopi teenagers from rival high schools as they compete for state championship glory in cross-country running. The camera follows the runners over the course of two seasons, combining interviews with vérité style shooting for a complex look at contemporary reservation life and a powerful portrait of transformation and hope.

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Watch “Racing the Rez” on the American Archive of Public Broadcasting website.

Check back here every Tuesday, or follow us at @amarchivepub on Twitter to keep up with featured streaming films over the 40 weeks of the celebration. You can find the complete schedule here.

About Vision Maker Media

Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality American Indian and Alaska Native educational and home videos. All aspects of Vision Maker Media programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media – to be the next generation of storytellers. Vision Maker Media envisions a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate.

With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Vision Maker Media’s Public Media Content Fund awards support to projects with a Native American theme and significant Native involvement that ultimately benefits the entire public media community. Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) empowers and engages Native People to tell stories. For more information, www.visionmakermedia.org

Each week for the next forty weeks, a different film featuring Native voices from Native producers will be available to stream free online, in celebration of Vision Maker Media’s 40 years supporting American Indian and Alaska Native film projects.

Follow Vision Maker Media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Pinterest, or Google+.

 

40 Years, 40 Films, 40 Weeks: The Great American Footrace

This week’s Emmy-nominated Vision Maker Media Film, “The Great American Footrace,” tells the story of a small-town Cherokee boy who competes in one of history’s wildest publicity schemes — and takes home the gold.

199 runners left Los Angeles on March 4, 1928; only 55 crossed the finish line in New York City 84 days later, with 19-year-old Andy Payne in the lead. The film tells the full story of the 3,422-mile race down the entirety of the just-completed Route 66, and the boy who used it to change his life, save his farm, and launch his career.

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Watch “The Great American Footrace” on the American Archive of Public Broadcasting website.

Check back here every Tuesday, or follow us at @amarchivepub on Twitter to keep up with featured streaming films over the 40 weeks of the celebration. You can find the complete schedule here.

About Vision Maker Media

Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality American Indian and Alaska Native educational and home videos. All aspects of Vision Maker Media programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media – to be the next generation of storytellers. Vision Maker Media envisions a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate.

With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Vision Maker Media’s Public Media Content Fund awards support to projects with a Native American theme and significant Native involvement that ultimately benefits the entire public media community. Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) empowers and engages Native People to tell stories. For more information, www.visionmakermedia.org

Each week for the next forty weeks, a different film featuring Native voices from Native producers will be available to stream free online, in celebration of Vision Maker Media’s 40 years supporting American Indian and Alaska Native film projects.

Follow Vision Maker Media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Pinterest, or Google+.

AAPB Launches Crowdsourcing Game

WGBH, on behalf of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) and with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is excited to announce today’s launch of FIX IT, an online game that allows members of the public to help AAPB professional archivists improve the searchability and accessibility of more than 40,000 hours of digitized, historic public media content.

fixit

For grammar nerds, history enthusiasts and public media fans, FIX IT unveils the depth of historic events recorded by public media stations across the country and allows anyone and everyone to join together to preserve public media for the future. FIX IT players can rack up points on the game leaderboard by identifying and correcting errors in machine-generated transcriptions that correspond to AAPB audio. They can listen to clips and follow along with the corresponding transcripts, which sometimes misidentify words or generate faulty grammar or spelling. Each error fixed is points closer to victory.

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Visit fixit.americanarchive.org to help preserve history for future generations. Players’ corrections will be made available in public media’s largest digital archive at americanarchive.org. Please help us spread the word!

40 Years, 40 Films, 40 Weeks: Standing Silent Nation

Industrial hemp is illegal in the United States due to its relationship to marijuana; it’s also one of the few profitable plants which can grow in South Dakota’s inhospitable soil. In 2000, Alex White Plume and his Lakota family came up with a plan to farm hemp on their home of Pine Ridge Reservation, relieving the 85% unemployment rate and bringing new life to local economy. Although they believed their tribe’s legal ordinance separating non-psychedelic industrial hemp from marijuana would protect them, the DEA came anyway — but the White Plume family refused to give up on their future.

“Standing Silent Nation” tells the story of one family caught in between tribal sovereignty, federal law, and economic survival.

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Watch “Standing Silent Nation” on the American Archive of Public Broadcasting website.

Check back here every Tuesday, or follow us at @amarchivepub on Twitter to keep up with featured streaming films over the 40 weeks of the celebration. You can find the complete schedule here.

About Vision Maker Media

Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality American Indian and Alaska Native educational and home videos. All aspects of Vision Maker Media programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media – to be the next generation of storytellers. Vision Maker Media envisions a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate.

With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Vision Maker Media’s Public Media Content Fund awards support to projects with a Native American theme and significant Native involvement that ultimately benefits the entire public media community. Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) empowers and engages Native People to tell stories. For more information, www.visionmakermedia.org

Each week for the next forty weeks, a different film featuring Native voices from Native producers will be available to stream free online, in celebration of Vision Maker Media’s 40 years supporting American Indian and Alaska Native film projects.

Follow Vision Maker Media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Pinterest, or Google+.

PBS NewsHour Digitization Project Update: Ingest and Digital Preservation Workflows

In our last blog post (click for link) on managing the PBS NewsHour Digitization Project, I briefly discussed WGBH’s digital preservation and ingest workflows. Though many of our procedures follow standard practices common to archival work, I thought it would be worthwhile to cover them more in-depth for those who might be interested. We at WGBH are responsible for describing, providing access to, and digitally preserving the proxy files for all of our projects. The Library of Congress preserves the masters. In this post I cover how we preserve and prepare to provide access to proxy files.

Before a file is digitized, we ingest the item-level tape inventory generated during the project planning stages into our Archival Management System (AMS – see link for the Github). The inventory is a CSV that we normalized to our standards, upload, and then map to PBCore in MINT, or “Metadata Interoperability Services,” an open-source web-based plugin designed for metadata mapping and aggregation. The AMS ingests the data and creates new PBCore records, which are stored as individual elements in tables in the AMS. The AMS generates a unique ID (GUID) for each asset. We then export the metadata, provide it to the digitization vendor, and use the GUID identifiers to track records throughout the project workflow.

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Mapping a CSV to PBCore in MINT

For the NewsHour project, George Blood L.P. receives the inventory metadata and the physical tapes to digitize to our specifications. For every GUID, George Blood creates a MP4 proxy for access, a JPEG2000 MXF preservation master, sidecar MD5 checksums for both video files, and a QCTools report XML for the master. George Blood names each file after the corresponding GUID and organizes the files into an individual folder for each GUID. During the digitization process, they record digitization event metadata in a PREMIS spreadsheets. Those sheets are regularly automatically harvested by the AMS, which inserts the metadata into the corresponding catalog records. With each delivery batch George Blood also provides MediaInfo XML saved in BagIt containers for every GUID, and a text inventory of the delivery’s assets and corresponding MD5 checksums. The MediaInfo bags are uploaded via FTP to the AMS, which harvests technical metadata from them and creates PBCore instantiation metadata records for the proxies and masters. WGBH receives the digitized files on LTO 6 tapes, and the Library of Congress receives theirs on rotating large capacity external hard drives.

For those who are not familiar with the tools I just mentioned, I will briefly describe them. A checksum is a computer generated cryptographic hash. There are different types of hashes, but we use MD5, as do many other archives. The computer analyzes a file with the MD5 algorithm and delivers a 32 character code. If a file does not change, the MD5 value generated will always be the same. We use MD5s to ensure that files are not corrupted during copying and that they stay the same (“fixed”) over time. QCTools is an open source program developed by the Bay Area Video Coalition and its collaborators. The program analyzes the content of a digitized asset, generates reports, and facilitates the inspection of videos. BagIt is a file packaging format developed by the Library of Congress and partners that facilitates the secure transfer of data. MediaInfo is a tool that reports technical metadata about media files. It’s used by many in the AV and archives communities. PREMIS is a metadata standard used to record data about an object’s digital preservation.

Now a digression about my inventories – sorry in advance. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I keep two active inventories of all digitized files received. One is an Excel spreadsheet “checksum inventory” in which I track if a GUID was supposed to be delivered but was not received, or if a GUID was delivered more than once. I also use it to confirm that the checksums George Blood gave us match the checksums we generate from the delivered files, and it serves as a backup for checksum storage and organization during the project. The inventory has a master sheet with info for every GUID, and then each tape has an individual sheet with an inventory and checksums of its contents. I set up simple formulas that report any GUIDs or checksums that have issues. I could use scripts to automate the checksum validation process, but I like having the data visually organized for the NewsHour project. Given the relatively small volume of fixity checking I’m doing this manual verification works fine for this project.

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Excel “checksum inventory” sheet page for NewsHour LTO tape #27.

The other inventory is the Approval Tracker spreadsheet in our Google Sheets NewsHour Workflow workbook (click here for link). The Approval Tracker is used to manage reporting about GUID’s ingesting and digital preservation workflow status. I record in it when I have finished the digital preservation workflow on a batch, and I mark when the files have been approved by all project partners. Partners have two months from the date of delivery to report approvals to George Blood. Once the files are approved they’re automatically placed on the Intern Review sheet for the arrangement and description phase of our workflow.

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The Approval Tracker in the NewsHour Workflow workbook.

Okay, forgive me for that, now back to WGBH’s  ingest and digital preservation workflow for the NewsHour project!

The first thing I do when we receive a shipment from George Blood is the essential routine I learned the hard way while stocking a retail store – always make sure everything that you paid for is actually there! I do this for both the physical LTO tapes, the files on the tapes, the PREMIS spreadsheet, the bags, and the delivery’s inventory. In Terminal I use a bash script that checks a list of GUIDs against the files present on our server to ensure that all bags have been correctly uploaded to the AMS. If we’ve received everything expected, I then organize the data from the inventory, copying the submission checksums into each tape’s spreadsheet in my Excel “checksum inventory”. Then I start working with the tapes.

Important background information is that the AAPB staff at WGBH work in a Mac environment, so what I’m writing about works for Mac, but it could easily be adopted to other systems. The first step I take with the tapes is to check the them for viruses. We use Sophos to do that in Terminal, with the Sweep command. If no viruses are found I then use one of our three LTO workstations to copy the MP4 proxies, proxy checksums, and QCTools XML reports from the LTO to a hard drive. I use the Terminal to do the copying, which I leave run while I go to other work. When the tape is done copying I use Terminal to confirm that the number of files copied matches the number of files I expected to copy. After that, I use it to run an MD5 report (with the find, -exec, and MD5 commands) on the copied files on the hard drive. I put those checksums into my Excel sheet and confirm they match the sums provided by George Blood, that there are no duplicates, and that we received everything we expected. If all is well, I put the checksum report onto our department server and move on to examining the delivered files’ specifications.

I use MediaInfo and MDQC to confirm that files we receive conform to our expectations. Again, this is something I could streamline with scripts if the workflow needed, but MDQC gets the job done for the NewsHour project. MDQC is a free program from AVPreserve that checks a group of files against a reference file and passes or fails them according to rules you specify. I set the test to check that the delivered batch are encoded to our specifications (click here for those). If any files fail the test, I use MediaInfo in Terminal to examine why they failed. I record any failures at this stage, or earlier in the checksum stage, in an issue tracker spreadsheet the project partners share, and report the problems to the vendor so that they can deliver corrected files.

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MDQC’s simple and effective user interface.

Next I copy the set of copies on the hard drive onto other working hard drives for the interns to use during the review stage. I then skim a small sample of the files to confirm their content meets our expectations, comparing the digitizations to the transfer notes provided by George Blood in the PREMIS metadata. I review a few of the QCTools reports, looking at the video’s levels. I don’t spend much time doing that though, because the Library of Congress reviews the levels and characteristics of every master file. If everything looks good I move on, because all the proxies will be reviewed at an item level by our interns during the next phase of the project’s workflow anyways.

The last steps are to mark both the delivery batch’s digital preservation complete and the files as approved in the Approval Tracker, create a WGBH catalog record for the LTO, run a final MD5 manifest of the LTO and hard drive, upload some preservation metadata (archival LTO name, file checksums, and the project’s internal identifying code) to the AMS, and place the LTO and drive in our vault. The interns then review and describe the records and, after that, the GUIDs move into our access workflow. Look forward to future blog posts about those phases!