Announcing the AAPB National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR)

For more information about AAPB NDSR, visit ndsr.americanarchive.org

WGBH, on behalf of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), is pleased to announce that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has funded the AAPB National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) Project, creating eight 10-month digital stewardship residencies in public media organizations across the country. The AAPB NDSR Project will build upon and enhance the already existing NDSR program by 1) testing a geographically distributed virtual cohort model; 2) focusing the curriculum and residency program topically on audiovisual digital preservation; and 3) placing residents at public media entities participating in the AAPB. The AAPB began the project’s planning phase in June 2015, with residencies beginning in Summer 2016.

The NDSR is a post-graduate digital stewardship residency program that was originally spearheaded by the Library of Congress in partnership with IMLS. In that program, residents were placed at institutions in Washington, D.C., to develop, apply, and enhance digital archive stewardship knowledge and skills in real world settings. Additional NDSR programs, also funded by IMLS, have recently begun in New York and in Boston, led by Harvard University and MIT (Boston), and Metropolitan New York Library Council in partnership with the Brooklyn Historical Society (New York). WGBH served as one of five host institutions for the NDSR Boston program.

The need for the AAPB NDSR project is threefold. First, there is an urgent need for more hands-on training in digital preservation. “[T]he demands for individuals skilled in the area of digital preservation greatly exceeds the supply…. Further, because digital preservation strategies continue to evolve, training of those responsible for the care of digital records needs to be an ongoing commitment.”[1] This is particularly true for digital audiovisual materials. Digital preservation of audiovisual materials presents unique challenges as compared with digital photographs, documents, and other static born digital materials. Audiovisual materials typically have large file sizes, making the transfer from one storage medium to another prone to error, and often are stored in proprietary file formats and contain multiple codecs, presenting additional immediate and long-term preservation challenges.

Few graduates of library and information science and archival graduate programs complete their degrees with any practical digital preservation experience, yet the amount of digital audiovisual materials created every day is enormous. Because many analog formats of audiovisual materials are becoming obsolete, content stored on these formats must be migrated to a digital format in order to be preserved. With the exception of UCLA’s Moving Image and Archives Program and New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, training for audiovisual materials is generally a minute piece of the classroom experience in library and information science degree programs.[2] Many students graduating from these programs have little knowledge of media carrier formats and are even less familiar with digital file formats and the complexities faced with digital media.

Advanced certificates in digital curation and stewardship are available at a few graduate programs (e.g., Simmons College and the University of Arizona), but these programs do not focus specifically on complex digital media. There is, however, a strong interest in audiovisual preservation among digitally-focused graduates of archival master’s degree programs. In fact, 41% of the applicants for the NDSR Boston program selected WGBH Media Library and Archives as their first choice for their residency out of the five institutions. Yet very few were qualified for the audiovisual-specific WGBH residency.

The second need for this project is to address the lack of staffing of professional archivists at public television and radio organizations across the country. For nearly 60 years, public media (television and radio) stations and independent producers have been creating educational and cultural content. Since the early 1950s, the American public has invested more than $10 billion in this programming, which after its initial broadcast often is never seen nor heard again. Program tapes have sat on shelves and in closets for years, deteriorating and inaccessible to scholars, researchers, producers, educators, and the general public. Without migration of these historical objects to digital formats, we may be in jeopardy of losing some of the most important programming that makes up our national audiovisual heritage.

The born digital video and audio files created on a daily basis at public media organizations nationwide also must be actively managed and preserved. Most of these organizations, however, do not have formal archives or professional archivists on staff. Most public television and radio personnel do not know how to start a digital preservation program or how to handle the overwhelming amount of media content created digitally at their stations every day.

Finally, the third need for this project is to test the feasibility of expanding the NDSR model to a national scale with residents distributed across the country who will communicate with each other virtually. The NDSR model has been shown to be beneficial at the local level (e.g., Washington D.C., Boston, and New York City) but has not yet been tested as a geographically dispersed model. This project will develop ways for residents to successfully use virtual networking to benefit individual projects and to support the cohort. It will challenge residents working in different geographic locations but with the same type of archival materials to communicate with each other in meaningful and beneficial ways. This project will provide the groundwork for a successful national virtual residency program. The results of this national virtual residency program will be especially informative for replicating the NDSR model in regions of the U.S. that have relatively low population densities or that do not have public transportation networks, making virtual interaction necessary.

Through the AAPB NDSR Project, residents will be immersed in digital audiovisual stewardship, establishing for each resident a path toward a successful career in audiovisual archives. Graduates of master’s programs who seek careers in audiovisual digital archives will have the opportunity to develop skills and gain experience working in this setting, combining intensive work in the field with focused curriculum, professional development, and mentorship. The residencies will further improve residents’ qualifications for future jobs in audiovisual and/or digital archives. As a result of the residencies, the number of qualified professionals with specific digital audiovisual archival experience will increase.

Public media organizations serving as host institutions each will be granted one archivist position funded for ten months, a position that most stations have never had. Many public media organizations are not aware of standard archival practices. Many must find ways to accommodate for limited resources, time, and effort. In the archival field, hands-on experience often is necessary for students to build skills and knowledge. Library and archival theory is difficult to implement to the fullest extent in real-life situations without prior practical training. Bringing together a graduate of a master’s program who has theoretical knowledge of best practices with a station having a need for those practices will mutually benefit the residents and the host institutions.

Evaluation of the Washington, D.C., NDSR program revealed that cohorts appreciated having meetings among themselves and host institutions. Through this project, residents will gain great experience in learning how best to network virtually, a skill they will need in their future careers. Virtual meeting has become the norm in the working world. The residents at some point in their careers will be working at institutions and partnering with other organizations at great distances where extensive face-to-face networking will not always be possible. This residency program will give the residents hands-on experience with virtual networking and collaboration to accomplish their projects.

This project will build upon the mentor component of the Washington, D.C., Boston, and New York NDSR programs. Each resident will have two official mentors throughout their residency: a Station Mentor and an Advisory Board mentor. The WGBH Project Team also will seek to connect residents with an informal, third mentor — an Archivist Mentor — local to the town/city where the resident is stationed. The Station Mentor will immerse the resident in the world of public media and will provide guidance on production workflow and mentality. The Advisory Board mentor, an expert in digital preservation, will provide virtual guidance throughout the residency. The Archivist Mentor will help the resident become connected with the local archival community.

The AAPB Project Team at WGBH is looking forward to working with the residents, stations, and the Advisory Board to continue stewardship of this important program, cultivating digital stewards of audiovisual archival materials among residents and public media organizations. We’ll continue to provide updates as the project moves forward, and for more information about the project, visit ndsr.americanarchive.org.

[1] Wendy M. Duff, Amy Marshall, Carrie Limkilde, and Marlene van Ballegooie, “Digital Preservation Education: Educating or Networking?” American Archivist 69 (2006), 188-89,http://www.jstor.org/stable/i40011850.

[2] UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, “Moving Image Archive Studies,” http://mias.gseis.ucla.edu/; NYU Tisch, “Moving Image Archiving & Preservation,” http://cinema.tisch.nyu.edu/page/miap.html.

Meet Lily Troia, AAPB Cataloging Intern & Public Media Junkie

The following is a guest post by Lily Troia, AAPB Cataloging Intern.

Exploring the WGBH Vault!
Exploring the WGBH Vault!

Hi. My name is Lily Troia and I am a public media junkie. I will admit, it is a bit of a problem. The first thing I do when traveling to any new town is find the local radio affiliate for my fix of daily news. I frequently cry along to This American Life, sit in my parked car laughing hysterically to Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me’s antics, and I am certain Antiques Roadshow curtailed more than one family fight over the remote during my childhood.

I blame my mom and dad, ultimately, for a northern Wisconsin upbringing entrenched in public media. In the expanse of the rural Northwoods, commercial radio and static occupied most of the airwaves, with one local NPR-affiliate, WOJB, broadcast off a nearby Ojibwe reservation, serving as a beacon of independent thought and music for our small community. Cable was a luxury not yet accessible to remote country residents in the 1980s, and since my back-to-the-lander family couldn’t entertain the idea of a satellite dish, our viewing options included only NBC and PBS, with the occasional blurry-screened ABC when snowmobile traffic was reduced (seriously). Thus, I was the kid carrying my parents’ Wisconsin Public Television member tote bag to the summer pool, raised on a diet of Sesame Street, Square One, and 3-2-1 Contact in an era of Nickelodeon.

Decades later I found myself collaborating professionally with Minnesota Public Radio and Twin Cities Public Television on a regular basis. A classical music performer throughout my youth, I studied ethnomusicology at Northwestern University, yet felt disconnected from the cloistered world of academia, and eventually turned my musical interests to the business world. While running my own music management firm in Minneapolis, I produced numerous live and recorded projects, and frequently contributed content to MPR as a music and arts culture commentator. These experiences further solidified my lifelong love of and dedication to public media. Now back in school, pursuing a Masters in Library and Information Science at Simmons College, I have the unique opportunity to apply my music and humanities background in the arena of preservation and access, synthesizing my passion for scholarship and public service.

Life occasionally delivers instances of perfect serendipity; joining the American Archive of Public Broadcasting feels like such an instance. It truly is a professional dream to work on such a socially vital, dynamic project. Already in my brief time cataloging archival content from member stations across the country, I have learned about an influx of Mexican immigrants to Wyoming in the 1990s, listened to a decades-old KUT broadcast featuring Eliza Gilkyson, and discovered that Oregon hipster culture began long before Portlandia, in the form of a 1985 municipally-sponsored beard-growing contest. In a time when public media is forced to fight for basic funding–my Wisconsin stations are currently facing potential demise–ensuring the longevity and availability of this immeasurably valuable, cultural material has never been more important. What an inspiration to be at an organization like WGBH, committed to protecting and providing access to these historical gems that document our diverse American stories.

Apply to Join the AAPB as Digital Conversion Specialist!

Passionate about archives and public broadcasting? Want to join a team of individuals who are preserving and providing access to 60 years worth of audiovisual cultural heritage?

Then this announcement is for you!

The Library of Congress is seeking to fill the position of Digital Conversion Specialist for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

For the full job description, qualifications, and to apply go to: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/409512200.

This position is located in the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS) at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. The incumbent provides analysis, reporting, planning, overall coordination, and oversight activities for the American Archive Project, comprised initially of 40.000 hours of digitized audio and video content received from public broadcasting stations to be supported for preservation and access. Individually and in collaboration with MBRS stakeholders, staff from the Library’s Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) and Information Technology Services (ITS), and other American Archive Project staff, the incumbent assists with program components that include the design, implementation, and evaluation of the project, the review of metadata and related policies and procedures, the development of strategies for metadata capture. normalization, transformation, storage, and output, models for information access and delivery, and oversees the accessioning of digital files received from project vendor(s).

DUTIES Include:

Project Development Activities: 30%

Serves as project coordinator of American Archive Project activities, performing project management and scheduling activities as needed at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation. Assists in designing, implementing, and evaluating project work, including policy and communication issues, and assures coordination and maximum impact through a combination of public and private resources.

Metadata Mapping and Transformation: 30%

Develops work plans, requirements, intake specifications, conversion specifications, and metadata strategies for audio and video content specific to the assigned project. Analyzes requirements and develops strategies for metadata capture, normalization, transformation, storage, and output. Participates in reviewing, developing, and implementing metadata application policies and procedures, particularly in relation to metadata mapping and transformation of PBCore metadata into MAVIS, the Library of Congress MBRS content management system.

Data and Project Analysis: 30%

Oversees the preparation for and archiving of the digitized project files and data in a secure and stable repository. Participates in developing and implementing procedures for management and security of digital resources aligned with policies established across the Library to support security of heritage assets, including reporting requirements.

Liaison Services: 10%

Working with MBRS staff responsible for the digital repository, participates in the processes for storing or archiving completed work comprised of digital assets. For digital reformatting projects, collections may be digitized by digital conversion contractors who specialize in moving images and sound recordings. Some collections may be digitized by MBRS staff.

Other Important Information:

Performs various other duties as assigned.

The job announcement closes on July 31, 2015. 

As Seen on TV: An exploratory glimpse into the archives of the AAPB

The following is a guest post by Ingrid Ockert, a doctoral student at Princeton University studying the history of science. Currently, she’s gathering material for her dissertation, which will be on the history of science educational television. Follow her on twitter @i_rockt.

Part I

Back in January, while I was furiously planning my dissertation travel for the upcoming semester, I needed to compile a list of archives. Immediately. I wanted to plan a series of trips to archives holding television production materials, but I didn’t know where to start my search. My only option was to cold-call archives. I hoped that some friendly archivist would take pity on a poor graduate student and let me into their collection.

My timing could not have been more fortuitous; one of the first people I emailed was Casey Davis, the amazing project manager at the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. Casey exemplifies the AAPB; she’s a friendly librarian dedicated to opening access to public broadcasting materials and to connecting researchers with archivists. At the time, the American Archive of Public Broadcasting had a basic webpage (they have since launched a beautiful website). Casey generously helped me get into touch with the archivists at WGBH. She also suggested other contacts for me within the AAPB network.

Trip to Boston

A few months later, I was on a train headed to Boston to visit WGBH. The glistening glass building that houses WGBH instantly wowed me. Keith Luf, the head of the archives, met me in the foyer of the building. He graciously gave me a tour of the building, allowing me to glimpse the studios and the offices of NOVA, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, and American Experience. For a longtime fan of PBS like myself, I was thrilled at the chance to walk along the same halls as the people who create these amazing programs.

Ockert2I researched the history of one of these programs, NOVA, for the next two weeks. Premiering in 1974, NOVA is the longest running science television program in the United States. Luckily for me, WGBH has files related to the history of the program that stretch back to the earliest discussions of the program in 1973.

One of the highlights of my travel was simply poring over files upon files of material. Or taking tea breaks from my researching and gazing out at Boston’s skyline. But just as valuable were my chats with Keith about the history of WGBH, Leah Weisse about the management of the collection, and Casey about the future of the AAPB. I am so grateful for the amount of time that they took talking with me!

Best hidden gem at WGBH? I spent a lot of time hanging out in the ‘viewing room’ and watching old episodes of NOVA. This room was a goldmine for researchers like myself – it had a working U-matic cassette player! And the best part? Leaning against the back wall was a vintage ‘Edward Gorey’, a life size sketch of a bat hanging from a bird perch by the artist Edward Gorey for the television program “Mystery!” It was just one of the many interesting artifacts in the WGBH collection.

Part II

Trip to College Park

In May, I was on another train, this time bound to College Park, Maryland. This time, I visited another archive that participates in the AAPB, the National Public Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland. Chuck Howell was my main contact (he specializes in the history of mass media). The National Public Broadcasting Archives is home to many interesting collections related to the history of television, including the papers for National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I was there to peruse correspondence, memos, and publicity held within the Children’s Television Workshop’s papers. What does the Children’s Television Workshop have to do with science? In the 1970s, the creators of Sesame Street and the Electric Company wanted to create a daily science series for children. The resulting program was 3-2-1 Contact! ockert1

I spent less than a week at the University of Maryland, but I was just as impressed with the collection as I had been with WGBH. Michael Henry, another archivist specializing inbroadcast journalism, greatly helped to familiarize me with the collection. Like WGBH, I discovered that I learned a lot simply by talking to the archivists. On my last day, Michael showed me the Broadcasting Reading Room on the library’s second floor. The Reading Room was an impressive space, lined with a several dramatic murals from the 1940s, each extolling the virtues of an age of radio and television. Radios, record players, and televisions – each restored to impeccable condition – lined the walls. Wandering up to each item and peering at it, I felt like a kid in a candy shop! One of my favorite artifacts in this collection was a German entertainment system from the 1950s that included a recordable tape deck and turntable. Additionally, it was housed in a beautiful wooden cabinet – perfect for what must have been a top-of-the line luxury item.

I’ve been really lucky to be able to research in such wonderful collections. I’m grateful that nonprofit and government institutions like WGBH and the University of Maryland are equally committed to providing open access to historians and researchers; I applaud the AAPB on their mission to heighten the public’s awareness of historic public media. Hopefully, through my own research, I can also contribute to a greater cultural appreciation of the history of public broadcasting.

Digital Preservation for Public Broadcasting Webinar Recording is Available!

The following is a guest post by Rebecca Fraimow, National Digital Stewardship Resident at WGBH and the AAPB.

As the National Digital Stewardship Resident with WGBH and the AAPB, I’ve backed up a lot of drives, designed a lot of workflow diagrams, and written up a lot of documentation, but for my final deliverable for the residency, I got to do something with a slightly broader focus: create a webinar that focused on digital preservation concepts through the lens of the unique needs of a public broadcasting organization.

Rebecca Fraimow is the NDSR resident at WGBH and the AAPB.
Rebecca Fraimow is the NDSR resident at WGBH and the AAPB.

Although I’ve spent most of the past year in a public media context, WGBH is pretty unique among public media organizations: we have a strong archival department, and a dedicated budget for preservation.   That gives us a lot of opportunities to invest in tools and techniques that most public media organizations aren’t going to have. As a result, creating a webinar about digital preservation best practices from a PB perspective is not just as simple as saying ‘here’s what we do and why we do it’ – while it would be great if all stations had the same level of resources, just getting that level of buy-in is something that most archivally-minded station employees have to fight really hard to make a case for.

Therefore, instead of designing the webinar based around our workflows at WGBH, I sent out an open call for topics to see what the audience of (primarily AAPB) stations really wanted to hear about. I got a wide range of responses:

– where to start when creating a digital library
– best practices for migrating videotape to digital files
– how to manage the volume with a small staff
– tools for embedding metadata into audio and video files
– systems for small organizations with little IT support
– integrity checking, video file standards, naming conventions
– funding
– getting producers onboard from the get-go
– how to go back into the archives where proper documentation doesn’t exist
– how to properly use the PBCore field called instantiationStandard

Obviously, I don’t have the answer to all these questions (to be honest, instantiationStandard is kind of a confusing field) and, of course, for many of them, there is no right answer — as I can tell you from the experiences of my entire NDSR cohort, even organizations with huge dedicated preservation departments are still trying to figure out the solutions that make the most sense for them.  Next year, the AAPB will be sending a new crop of NDSR residents into public media stations to help grapple with some of these issues, but before finding answers, the first step is figuring out the right questions to ask.   The webinar is designed to provide a guide to some of those questions, and an overview of the issues to consider when making a case for digital preservation.

You can view the full webinar below (click on the title to open in a larger screen):

Digital Preservation for Public Broadcasting from American Archive on Vimeo.

The slides are available here:

http://www.slideshare.net/RebeccaFraimow/digital-preservation-for-public-media

Accessing Historic Public Media: The Perspective of a Researcher

The following is a guest post by Jessica Brandt, PhD candidate at Drew University.

At the beginning of April, I had the pleasure of being one of the first researchers to visit the American Archive of Public Broadcasting at the Library of Congress. I am a doctoral student researching non-commercial radio during the Cold War, and I had happened across the AAPB blog while on a quest for records relating to the 1981 production of Star Wars as a radio play for NPR. Shortly after submitting the “Contact Us” form, I received a reply from Sadie Roosa with a few possible assets for me to look into.

Jessica Brandt, PhD candidate at Drew University. One of the first researchers to access the digitized AAPB collection, Brandt visited the Library of Congress to listen to digitized recordings as part of her dissertation research.
Jessica Brandt, PhD candidate at Drew University. One of the first researchers to access the recently digitized AAPB collection, Brandt visited the Library of Congress to listen to digitized recordings as part of her dissertation research.

At the time, the digitized media wasn’t available to stream through the website yet, so I had to arrange a site visit. With the help of Casey Davis at WGBH and Alan Gevinson at the Library of Congress, I was able to set up a visit in no time. Once there, I found the interface easy to navigate and the quality of the audio was excellent. I was also able to poke around more of the archive, including assets that had not yet been digitized, and I left with more leads to pursue.

Every step along the way, I found the people involved with the AAPB to be responsive and helpful, eager to make my research experience successful.  And that brings me to a broader observation about the world of public media — in exploring the story behind this alternate Star Wars, I’ve had occasion to contact public radio stations across the country, and without exception, every one has responded as fully as possible. In each case, if they couldn’t offer any archives or records, they made suggestions of other places to look, and offered to make introductions where necessary. Very few fields have such a way of feeling so tight-knit and collegial.

I’m sure this is preaching to the choir, but I can’t overstate the value of digitizing these public media assets. Organizations like the Paley Center have done a great job with commercial television, in particular, but so much of the product of public radio and television stations languishes in the limited storage facilities of those stations, scattered around the country. That’s if it has been preserved at all. The nature of funding makes it unlikely that any but the largest stations in major markets will have any staff dedicated to managing their archives locally. So the service that the AAPB has to offer is opening a new world for people like me, who spend our time studying the public airwaves of the past. Take a look (or a listen) for yourselves —  untold treasures await!

In case you missed it: AAPB Website Launch Webinar recording is available!

Earlier this week, the AAPB Project Team held a webinar for participating stations and archives. The goal of this webinar was to 1) update participating organizations on the project’s progress, 2) offer a demonstration of the new website, 3) describe plans for continued development of the website, and 4) gather much welcomed feedback about how the website and AAPB in general can better meet the needs of participating organizations. Check it out!

American Archive of Public Broadcasting: Initial Website Launch Webinar from American Archive on Vimeo.

Preserving History

This past January I arrived at WGBH to start an internship cataloging digitized video and audio materials from the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. As a first-year graduate student at the Simmons College School of Library and Information Science, I had limited experience with cataloging (although my mother is a cataloger, so you could say I’m genetically predisposed!). But when I heard about the available internship at WGBH, I was excited by the opportunity to both get real world cataloging experience and explore the archives of public broadcasting–since, like many librarians, I am a devoted fan of public television and radio.

After reviewing AAPB’s cataloging guidelines and completing a set of practice records, each cataloging intern at WGBH chooses from a list of public television and radio stations that have digitized materials ready for cataloging. I jumped at the chance to catalog the audio assets from WFCR. WFCR was “my” public radio station for the four years I lived in Western Massachusetts, and I listened to hours of its programming during my commutes to and from work.

In the weeks that I’ve been working on this audio collection, I’ve cataloged a wide range of radio programs and raw footage from the 1960s through the 1980s. I’ve cataloged lectures on family farming, civil rights, and the Vietnam War; poetry readings by Robert Frost and Anne Halley; and folk, jazz, and classical concerts held at the area colleges. My heart even skipped a beat when I happened upon Betty Friedan’s 1981 Commencement address at my alma mater, Smith College. But the footage that has been the most interesting to me is the collection of raw footage and news segments about what has been called the “Amherst College takeover” of 1970.

In the early morning of February 18, 1970, representatives of the African American student associations from Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Amherst Colleges and the University of Massachusetts occupied four buildings on Amherst’s campus, in protest of the treatment of African American students by the four colleges. The students vacated the buildings later that day, but their actions started a discussion that would lead to changes at all four institutions.

The Amherst College takeover was an important event in the history of the Five Colleges, yet very little information about it exists that is accessible to the general public. Now, thanks to WFCR and the AAPB, its legacy has been preserved. In the AAPB, you can find footage of press conferences, interviews with students and administrators, and even news segments detailing the events of the day, such as the clip below.

To me, this example perfectly illustrates the importance of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting and of the work that we are doing as catalogers. Even as an intern, I am helping to provide access to materials that will be valuable sources for research and education in the future.

IMG_1147This post was written by Anna Newman, intern for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting at WGBH.

Check out the new AAPB website at americanarchive.org!

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting website at americanarchive.org!

BOSTON, Mass. (April 7, 2015) – The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress, WGBH Boston and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, launched a new website at americanarchive.org today, providing the public with access to a collection of American public radio and television content dating back to the 1950s. These audio and video materials, created by more than 120 public broadcasting organizations across the country, have now been digitized and preserved, and will be a resource for scholars, researchers, educators, filmmakers and the general public to delve into the rich history of public broadcasting across America.

The website will initially provide access to 2.5 million inventory records created during the American Archive Content Inventory Project. The records will provide information about which public media video and audio materials have been digitized and preserved in the AAPB, indicate which video and audio files are available for research on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress, and highlight the participating stations. Contributing stations’ histories, information about significant productions and resources for participating organizations will be available online.

The collection includes interviews and performances by local and national luminaries from a broad variety of professions and cultural genres. Just a few examples of the items in the collection include: Iowa Public Television’s interview with Olympic runner Jesse Owens, recorded in 1979, the last year of his life; KUSC’s (Los Angeles) broadcast of commentary by George Lucas on the original three Star Wars movies; Twin Cities Public Television’s recording of a 1960 interview with presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey; and WGBH’s 1967 interviews with then-California Governor Ronald Reagan.

Between April and October, WGBH and the Library of Congress will continue development of the AAPB website. By October, video and audio content will be accessible for the public to stream on the website’s Online Reading Room. Curated collections of video and audio by scholars and the AAPB staff will focus on topics of historical significance.

The pressing need to preserve public broadcasting was highlighted in a 1997 Library of Congress report that stated, “Public television has been responsible for the production, broadcast, and dissemination of some of the most important programs which in [the] aggregate form the richest audiovisual source of cultural history in the United States…It is still not easy to overstate the immense cultural value of this unique audiovisual legacy, whose loss would symbolize one of the great conflagrations of our age, tantamount to the burning of Alexandria’s library in the age of antiquity.”

“The Library of Congress is honored to collaborate with WGBH, universally acclaimed as a longtime leader in media production, media management, preservation and rights management issues, to ensure that this creative history will be preserved and made available to future generations,” said Library of Congress Associate Librarian for Library Services Mark Sweeney.

“WGBH is honored to collaborate with the Library of Congress, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the other public broadcasting stations in this effort to preserve and make available to the public much of the 20th century’s cultural heritage documented by public broadcasters, essentially our recorded national memory,” said WGBH Vice Chairman Henry Becton.

“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is proud to support the American Archive of Public Broadcasting,” said CPB president and CEO Patricia Harrison. “The Archive’s role in preserving our nation’s history through public media is an invaluable service to all Americans.”

More information is available on the American Archive blog at americanarchivepb.wordpress.com

About The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. The Library holds the largest collection of audio-visual recordings in the world and has been collecting and preserving historically, culturally and aesthetically significant recordings in all genres for nearly 120 years. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website, www.loc.gov.

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, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a leader in educational multimedia, including PBS LearningMedia, and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards…even two Oscars. Find more information at www.wgbh.org.

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services. Visit us at www.cpb.org.

Media Contacts

Library of Congress:
Sheryl Cannady
202-707-6456
scannady@loc.gov

WGBH:
Emily Balk
617-300-5317
emily_balk@wgbh.org

Corporation for Public Broadcasting:
Kelly Broadway
202-879-9641
press@cpb.org

Archival discoveries and collaboration at Minnesota Public Radio

The following blog post was written by Margaret Bresnahan from Minnesota Public Radio.

I’m writing to share the next installment in the American Archive success story. Thanks to the cataloging done during the American Archive inventory project, Minnesota Public Radio was able to identify about 900 MPR News stories covering the Hmong settlement in Minnesota, with recordings dating from 1975 to present day. This discovery led to a collaboration with the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS), informing an exhibition/celebration that launches this month (March 2015), and it led to new broadcasts from the MPR News Room.

Marking the 40th anniversary of the first large-scale arrival of Hmong people in Minnesota, MPR News recently launched a Hmong collection page and broadcast a few news stories–all using archive recordings to tell the story of Hmong-Minnesotans. Two of our main collaborators in the News Room plan on continuing the coverage throughout the year, bringing more archive recordings on air and online. This is a wonderful example of the power of access. The inventory made it clear that these recordings existed and enabled this great use of archive material to tell a contemporary, ongoing story.

 Here are some links to the archive usage, and more are to come: