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.

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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!

40 Years, 40 Films, 40 Weeks: In the Light of Reverence

This week’s award-winning Vision Maker Media film looks at the conflicts that surround America’s sacred spaces.

The Colorado Plateau in the Southwest, Mount Shasta in California, and Devil’s Tower in Wyoming are all holy sites to tribal nations — but they’re also rich in natural resources, not to mention beloved by recreational users such as mountain climbers and New Age practitioners. “In the Light of Reverence” delves into the culture clashes that play out along these embattled landscapes.

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Watch “In the Light of Reverence” 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+.

World Health Day

Over the years, public media has had a lot to say about health — not surprising, given that few issues are more universally important to the American public. For World Health Day, we’re highlighting some health-related programs and series available in the Online Reading Room.

Our collection goes back to 1947 and the last-ever outbreak of smallpox in America, documented by WNYC in “MUNI: Smallpox in New York City” and “MUNI: Dr. Israel Weinstein Smallpox Message.” A decade later, WNYC brought in a more high-profile guest to make the pitch for public health in “MUNI: Eleanor Roosevelt as a Disk Jockey for WNYC,” a musical fundraiser for the March of Dimes.

Public media has often reported from the forefront of medical science. From 1960-1961, WUOM and the National Association of Educational Broadcasters ran a series of programs “developed from interviews with men and women who have the too often unglamorous job of basic research.” Covering topics from “Epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis” to “Emotional Health and Aging” the series provided a thoughtful look at medical issues of the time. For a more modern take, WEDU’s “Smart Health” series from 2008 offered upbeat stories about medical advances in bite-sized magazine segments.

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Not all coverage of America’s healthcare community has been so positive. Pacifica Radio Archives’ “People’s Health and Fascism,” recorded at the Black Panther Party’s United Front Against Fascism conference, begins “We’ve seen how the medical community in this country is the embodiment of all that is evil!” While that’s an opinion on the extreme end of the spectrum, public media has frequently debated hot-button healthcare issues and given voice to America’s fears and worries about their health care system.

Concerns about pharmaceuticals and drug abuse appear in programs such as “The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs” (WILL’s Focus) and “The Medicine Cabinet Addict” (WUED’s Woman.) Programs like “Foreign Immigrants and US Health Care” (WGBH’s Forum Network) and “What Are the Healthcare Problems in the African American Community?” (WHUT’s Evening Exchange) provide voices to those who frequently slip through the cracks of the healthcare system. And, of course, there’s the longstanding and ongoing debate on health care reform, discussed in practically every state in the union: “We the People: Health Care Reform on Trial,” from Wisconsin Public Television; “Health Care Reform: A Louisiana Perspective” from Louisiana Public Broadcasting; “Civic Dialogue: Health Care Crisis” from KUED; and “Health of the Nation: Coverage for All Americans” from WGBH Forum Network, just to name a few.

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For those who want a break from the stresses and messes of western medicine, public media has you covered on DIY options too: WERU’s “Herbal Update” provides short overviews on the health and nutrition benefits of specific herbs and plants (though only the ones legal in Maine in the 1990s.)

And don’t forget to check out this week’s featured Vision Maker Media film, “The Creek Runs Red,” which portrays the conflict that arises when the place you call home becomes deeply hazardous to your health.

Visit our site to browse through all 1100+ currently available health-related items in the AAPB.

Forty Years, Forty Films, Forty Weeks: The Creek Runs Red

With lead in the water and towering piles of waste covering 25,000 acres of land, the EPA calls the mining town of Picher, Oklahoma the most toxic place in America. Still, the town’s inhabitants, including the local Quapaw Tribe, call it home.

“The Creek Runs Red,” this week’s featured Vision Maker Media film, goes into a divided community to reveal the complexity of human reactions to environmental disaster, and tells a story that remains deeply relevant in the wake of contemporary discussions about health risks, environmental politics, and racial injustice.

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Watch “The Creek Runs Red” 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 – Seasoned With Spirit: Food Upon the Water

This week, Vision Maker Media takes a culinary journey with Loretta Barrett Oden, a renowned Native American chef, food historian and lecturer, and proud woman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

“Seasoned with Spirit: Food Upon the Water” combines Native American history and culture with delicious, healthy recipes inspired by indigenous foods. Much more than simply a cooking series, “Seasoned with Spirit” is a visually stunning, cultural adventure across the American landscape where viewers meet Native American peoples, see their breathtaking environs, learn their history and traditions, and, best of all, taste their cuisine.

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Watch “Seasoned with Spirit: Food Upon the Water” 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 – Kinaalda: Navajo Rite of Passage

In this week’s featured Vision Maker Media film, filmmaker Lena Carr documents her niece’s Kinaaldá — a Navajo celebration of the transition from childhood to womanhood that the filmmaker herself was unable to experience.

In documenting the four-day coming-of-age ceremony, Carr provides a rare insider’s look at Navajo culture and the complexities of growing up Navajo in contemporary times, while telling a deeply personal story about herself and her family.

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Watch “Kinaaldá: a Navajo Rite of Passage” 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: Rocks With Wings

In 1980, Jerry Richardson, a 24-year-old black man from East Texas who had just finished college in Louisiana, took a job coaching the varsity girls’ basketball team in the depressed Navajo town of Shiprock, New Mexico. The Lady Chieftains launch themselves on a journey towards victory — but success comes at a cost, and behind-the-scenes conflict over Jerry’s methods builds to an explosive finale.

This week’s featured Vision Maker Media film, “Rocks With Wings,” is a story of winning and losing, of struggling with race, heritage and societal expectations for the players, their coach and the entire Navajo community.

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Watch “Rocks With Wings” 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+.