Hello. My name is Bill Nehring. I am an intern for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting at WGBH and I am writing to introduce myself. I am currently a student in the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives Management and I am most interested in moving image archives.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help the American Archive of Public Broadcasting because I believe wholeheartedly in its mission to preserve American public radio and television programming and make it available for years to come.
My exposure to public television parallels my earliest childhood memories. I grew up in New Jersey, but every summer I would spend a few weeks of my school vacation with my grandparents in New Hampshire. Among the highlights of those visits were the days I spent on my great-grandparents farm. My great-grandmother, Nan, was a terrific baker, painter and keen observer of nature. We would spend hours looking through our magnifying glasses at insects or walking the old stone walls in her apple orchard, but when it was time for the Macneil/Lehrer Report (and later the Macneil/Lehrer Newshour) we dropped what we were doing and went inside. Nan would “fix” me a glass of Tang and we’d watch the news together. She would do her best to explain what the stories were about, and without fail she would praise the show’s format because they spent “more time on the stories that matter” and “don’t waste our time with those infernal ads!” For me, if Nan liked it, I liked it too.
It wasn’t until after I graduated from Monmouth College with a dual degree in History and Education that I got hooked on NPR. My first job after college was as a cataloger at the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation (now the USC Shoah Foundation). The Shoah Foundation collected over 50,000 videotaped interviews with Holocaust survivors. The cataloging staff was tasked with watching the interviews, adding time codes that marked the start and end points of subject-based segments, applying “keywords” from a controlled vocabulary of descriptive terms and summarizing each segment as well as the entire testimony. It was pretty heady stuff and pretty heavy content. This is when the seed of becoming an archivist was planted for me, and it was during my commute to and from work on the parched freeways of Los Angeles that I discovered the vibrant and informative programing of NPR over the airwaves of KCRW and KPCC.
NPR programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, On Point, On The Media, The World, Science Friday, and Marketplace as well as PBS shows such as The Newshour, Frontline, Nova, The American Experience, Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley have been the lens through which I have learned about and reflected upon the major events of my adult life.
Public broadcasting is also one of the places I go to first for entertainment. Shows like Austin City Limits, Nature, This Old House and Masterpiece on PBS as well as Morning Becomes Eclectic, Car Talk, This American Life, The Vinyl Café (CBC show) and A Celtic Sojourn on NPR keep me laughing and tapping my toes.
So, although you wouldn’t know it by the amount I contribute during pledge drives (blush), I am an unabashed zealot for public broadcasting. I am that seemingly strange guy with a grin and a faraway look sitting in his car in the grocery store parking lot (I’m probably trying to catch all of the unofficial sponsors of Car Talk. “Ornithology Expert, Luke A. Boyd. Figure Skating Coach, Landon McKeaster. Air Traffic Controller, Ulanda U. Lucky.” I love those!). I am also soon to be an archivist who recognizes that the programs public broadcasting has created over the past 60 years are an invaluable historical record that must be preserved.
As an intern I will help develop description guidelines that will help future interns navigate the AMS and PBCore metadata, create examples of the PBCore elements that will help users understand how to implement the metadata standard, ingest new material into the AMS and help develop guidelines for stations who are contributing material and write blog posts featuring highlights from the AAPB collection.
I look forward to working with you all. See you again in future blog posts!
Master’s Candidate, Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science
American Archive of Public Broadcasting Intern, Spring 2014