The University of Alabama Embarks on Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowships in Collaboration with the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

Four Graduate Students from the School of Library and Information Studies to Work with Public Media Organizations Across the Country

The University of Alabama and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) announced four preservation fellowships that will place Library and Information Studies graduate students at public broadcasting stations across the country. Fellows will spend the fall semester working to digitize and preserve at-risk media with local significance at one of the following stations: The Center for Public Television and Radio (CPT&R) at The University of Alabama, WSRE in Pensacola, Florida and WCVE in Richmond, Virginia. At the end of the semester, content digitized by the Fellows will be incorporated into the AAPB, a collaboration between the Library of Congress and Boston public media broadcaster WGBH and made available to the public.

“By tapping in to the expertise of professional archivists, we are preparing our Fellows for the critical work of protecting local media and ensuring that these records of our past are accessible in the future,” said The University of Alabama’s Director of Library and Information Studies James Elmborg. “We look forward to seeing what gems are revealed at CPT&R, WSRE and WCVE over the course of the semester.”

The Fellows will begin the program with an immersive training hosted at The University of Alabama, led by WGBH Media Library and Archives staff and Jackie Jay, a digitization expert from Bay Area Video Coalition. At the host stations, Fellows will work with station staff to identify programs that are most valuable to the station and currently residing on at-risk and obsolete videotape formats. With support from AAPB archivists and funding from The University of Alabama, each Fellow will catalog and digitize up to 60 hours of this content. The Fellows will further curate the digitized programs into Special Collections, which will be featured on the AAPB website.

“Public media stations have created community-focused, enriching programs for decades. Each of these programs is a unique snapshot that reflects what mattered to communities at a given time and is a rich historical resource for stations, scholars and the public,” said Karen Cariani, the David O. Ives Director of WGBH’s Media Library and Archives. “We’re thrilled to help guide the next generation of archivists and for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting to serve as a home for these programs from CPT&R, WSRE and WCVE.”

Now in its sixth year of service, the AAPB has preserved for posterity over 100,000 digitized and born-digital audio and video materials. Among the collections preserved are the past 50 years of episodes from Sesame Street; more than 14,000 episodes of the PBS NewsHour Collection, dating back to 1975; more than 1,300 programs and documentaries from National Educational Television, the predecessor to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS); raw, unedited interviews from the landmark documentary Eyes on the Prize; raw, unedited interviews with eyewitnesses and historians recorded for American Experience documentaries, including Stonewall Uprising, The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Riders and many others. The AAPB also works with scholars to publish curated exhibits and essays that provide historical and cultural context to the Archive’s content.

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About The University of Alabama’s School of Library and Information Studies

The University of Alabama’s School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) is a part of the College of Communication and Information Sciences and is a nationally-ranked program for library, information and book arts education. SLIS aims to develop creative and critical thinkers and leaders for the information world through a supportive teaching and learning environment, collaborative research and community engagement.

About the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation to coordinate a national effort to preserve at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity and provide a central web portal for access to the unique programming that public stations have aired over the past 70 years. To date, over 100,000 digital files of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been preserved and made accessible for long-term preservation and access. The entire collection is available on location at the Library of Congress and WGBH, and more than 47,000 files are available online at americanarchive.org.

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Pinkalicious & Peterrific, and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels WORLD and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black and High School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of programs for public radio (among them, PRI’s The World®), a leader in educational multimedia (including PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content), and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.

About The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

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