Don’t Forget: Meet-up Wednesday at 2pm EST

This Wednesday, September 17th, we’re hosting our third American Archive Meet-up. It’s going to be a great discussion, that you won’t want to miss! Laura Sampson will be sharing the amazing Station’s Archived Memories (SAM) project at Rocky Mountain PBS. We’ll also be providing a virtual walkthrough of the Archival Management System (AMS), which stations are using to access their records and digitized content. As always, this will be an open discussion for sharing everyone’s questions, challenges, and solutions.

If you’re interested in joining the meeting, please fill out this RSVP form. We’re using this GoToMeeting link. Use your microphone and speakers or call in using your telephone.

United States: +1 (872) 240-3412
Access Code: 928-756-309
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
Meeting ID: 928-756-309

PBCore events at AMIA 2014

Are you headed to Savannah for AMIA this year? Want to get the scoop on current PBCore-logoFinalPBCore developments?

If so, go ahead and block off your schedule for Friday, October 10 from 11am – 1pm — it’s going to be a PBHardcore couple of hours!

First, members of the AMIA PBCore Advisory Subcommittee will lead a session titled “Pursuing PBCore: The Revitalization of a Schema and Community.” Casey Davis will introduce the session and speakers and generally introduce the current efforts of the recently established PBCore Advisory Subcommittee. Jessica Bitely will report on the results of the PBCore User and Non-user Survey, highlighting some of the suggestions from the user community as well as the misconceptions brought to light by non-user respondents. Jack Brighton and John Passmore will present on how PBCore is used at their organizations, and Mary Miller will discuss why her organization doesn’t use PBCore. Dave MacCarn will lead a Q & A.

Following the panel session, the PBCore Subcommittee will convene its Business Meeting from 12pm – 1pm. All conference attendees are welcome to join! Bring your brown-bag lunch (and your opinions!) and hear from members of each team discuss the specific efforts of the five established teams — Schema, Education, Website, Documentation, and Communication. The meeting will include 30 minutes for open discussion.

Looking forward to seeing you in Savannah!

3rd American Archive Meet-up: September 17 at 2pm EST

Don’t miss our third American Archive Meet-up! We’re excited to continue this series of informal video conference calls, which provide participants a venue to share their experiences and challenges, as well as ask the AAPB team any questions.

Our next meet-up will take place September 17th at 2pm EST.

For the first half of this meet-up, Laura Sampson will discuss the Stations’ Archived Memories (SAM) at Rocky Mountain PBS. Volunteers with SAM help the station preserve its history by identifying photographs, collecting memorabilia, conducting oral histories, and archiving the station’s materials. It’s a very impressive operation, that, as of May 2014, has:

  • archived and electronically preserved 48,482 photographs
  • archived and electronically preserved 14,134 station documents
  • archived and electronically preserved 3,159 memorabilia items
  • conducted and electronically preserved 190 oral histories
  • inventoried 10,344 local production videos and tapes

During the second half of the meet-up, the AAPB team will give a virtual walkthrough of the Archival Management System (AMS), which stations use to access their digitized content. This will give stations that haven’t tested the AMS a chance to get their feet wet, and for stations who’ve been having trouble with the system to ask questions.

If you’re interested in joining the meeting, please fill out this RSVP form. We’re using this GoToMeeting link. Use your microphone and speakers or call in using your telephone.

United States: +1 (872) 240-3412
Access Code: 928-756-309
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
Meeting ID: 928-756-309

Voices of Minnesota with Sara Evans and Rosalie Wahl

This summer I’ve had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a lot of the content that’s been digitized for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. It’s full of gems, and I’m so excited about the possibilities that it offers for discovery, research and education! When I opted to share a clip from Minnesota Public Radio‘s “Voices of Minnesota”, I learned that MPR was equally excited about re-discovering their content and sharing this program.

The program includes interviews with Sara M. Evans, a pioneer in the development of women’s studies movement in American, and former justice Rosalie Wahl, the first woman to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court. The interviewers themselves have each shared an introduction below, and you can listen to the program here: Voices of Minnesota with Sara Evans and Rosalie Wahl.

I’m looking forward to learning how MPR and other stations might re-discover and re-purpose their content now that it’s preserved in a new context, alongside an array of valuable stories in the AAPB! Enjoy!

Executive Editor and Host of American RadioWorks and former MPR reporter, Stephen Smith, who interviewed Sara Evans:

Historian Sara Evans was influential in establishing the field of Women’s Studies in the American academy. She started teaching in the 1970s, when there were relatively few female historians at American colleges and universities and when the study of women in history was considered a fringe discipline.

Evans says she was part of a new generation of scholars in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s who were inspired by the women’s movement to revolutionize historical practice. She is the author of six books, including Born for Liberty: A History of American Women and Tidal Wave: How Women Changed America at Century’s End. I interviewed Evans on a summer day in 1995 in the living room of her home near the University of Minnesota, where she has taught since 1976.

American RadioWorks Producer and former MPR reporter, Catherine Winter, who interviewed Justice Rosalie Wahl:

When Rosalie Wahl started law school in 1962, there was only one other woman in her class at William Mitchell College of Law. There weren’t any women on the judicial bench in Minnesota.

Thirty-two years later, when she retired from the Minnesota Supreme Court, a majority of that court was female, and women were serving as district court judges throughout the state. Justice Wahl had blazed a trail.

Wahl is best remembered for being the first woman on the Minnesota Supreme Court. But her appointment in 1977 was remarkable not just because she was female. Wahl had an unusual legal background for a court appointee at the time. She hadn’t come up through the ranks of a prestigious law firm or held political office or worked for the state attorney general. She had been a public defender.

Wahl was a champion of the underdog. She had a deep commitment to social justice. In this interview, she talks about living in an interracial house when she was in college in the 1940s. She tells how she and her housemates participated in sit-ins at cafes and movie theaters and “swim-ins” at the pool.

Wahl’s interest in protecting the rights of the downtrodden and in ensuring equal treatment for all was reflected in her time on the bench. While on the Supreme Court, she led a task force on gender fairness in the courts and a task force on racial bias in the judicial system. She also wrote opinions that championed equal treatment under law. In one famous ruling she authored, the court said the state could not impose more severe penalties on crack cocaine than on powder cocaine, because the effect of such laws was to penalize black people more severely than white people.

In this interview with Minnesota Public Radio, she talks about the excitement of being part of a growing movement of women in the law, and about how much has changed – and not changed – when it comes to fairness to women and to African American people in the legal system.

She also shares some poetry. Justice Wahl had a longstanding interest in poetry. She’d kept that side of herself fairly private, but in this interview she reads several of her poems.

Listen to the program:

This post was written by Bryce Roe, intern for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting at WGBH. Interview introductions by Stephen Smith, Executive Editor and Host of American RadioWorks, and Catherine Winter, American RadioWorks Producer. 


Your comments on PBCore wanted

Are you a PBCore user? Do you have opinions on how it could be improved?

The PBCore Schema Team invites all parties interested in contributing to the ongoing development and improvement of PBCore to submit their issues with the current versionPBCore-logoFinal of the standard to the PBCore GitHub issue tracker. Submitted issues may be related to any aspect of PBCore: the data model, XML schema, individual element or attributes, vocabularies, etc. We also invite you to comment on issues submitted by others.

The URL for the PBCore GitHub issue tracker is:

Issues submitted before September 30, 2014 will be taken into consideration for the next version of the schema (estimated release March 2015). Issues will still be accepted after this date, and will be considered for future revisions.

For instructions on submitting issues to GitHub, please see this blog post on

Don’t Forget: Meet-up on Thursday at 2pm EST

This Thursday, August 7th, we’ll be hosting our second American Archive Meet-up. You don’t want to miss this! New York Public Radio’s Andy Lanset will be speaking, and then we’ll open the meeting up to discussion sharing the born-digital challenges we’re all dealing with. Hope you’ll join us!

If you’re interested in joining the meeting, we’re using this GoToMeeting link. Use your microphone and speakers or call in using your telephone.
United States: +1 (805) 309-0014
Access Code: 506-007-125
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
Meeting ID:506-007-125

AAPB Participating Organizations: Please take our Digital Preservation Survey

We want to know how public media organizations are tackling the emerging challenges of preserving digital audio and video files. If you work at a public media organization that has participated in the American Archive initiative, please take our Digital Preservation Survey- your input will help the American Archive of Public Broadcasting develop strategies to support your preservation needs! It should take about 10-15 minutes of your time. We will follow up individually with participating organizations to discuss these important questions in the coming months. Feel free to take survey now, or you can bookmark the survey and share your input at our next AAPB meet-up. Contact Project Manager Casey Davis at casey_davis [at] wgbh [dot] org with any questions, and as always, we sincerely appreciate your time and support!

Post by WGBH

2nd American Archive Meet-up: August 7 at 2pm EST

On July 9th, we held our first American Archive Meet-up. Thanks to all of the participating stations and organizations who made it such a success! We’re excited to continue this series of informal video conference calls, intended to provide a space for stations from across the country to connect, share experiences, and ask questions.

Our next meet-up will take place August 7, at 2pm EST.

For the first half of the meet-up, we’ll talk about the issues facing stations and other public media entities with the management and preservation of born digital video and audio files. For years, we’ve been able to sit a tape on the shelf and expect it to play 20-30 years later as long as we have a machine to play it. Born digital files are much more vulnerable, and we’re all on the front lines of having to figure out how to maintain digital files’ integrity for years to come. During this meeting, we will discuss the issues we are dealing with preserving born-digital file-based media — from preserving various formats, to selecting storage media and accommodating huge digital footprints, to generating technical and descriptive metadata to make the materials accessible in the future.

For the second half of the meet-up, Andy Lanset will discuss New York Public Radio’s outreach efforts through social media (Twitter and Tumblr), as well as the department’s landing page on the station website and a weekly E-Newsletter published since September, 2002. Both WNYC and WQXR have rich radio histories that present an on-going opportunity for research, acquisition and publication.

If you’re interested in joining the meeting, we’re using this GoToMeeting link. Use your microphone and speakers or call in using your telephone.
United States: +1 (805) 309-0014
Access Code: 506-007-125
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
Meeting ID:506-007-125

Digitization Successes of the American Archive

By Emily Halevy, Director of Media Management Sales at Crawford Media Services

Migration at Crawford Media Services
Digitization at Crawford Media Services

Hi everyone! My name is Emily Halevy. I’m the Director of Media Management Sales at Crawford Media Services. Hopefully by now, stations have been able to work with Chip and David- our fabulous project managers- and are well on their way to receiving their digitized content.

I want to take a moment to first say how much this project means to me. Growing up, I was an army brat and moved nearly every year of my childhood, sometimes even twice a year, until I hit 10 years old. My sister and I figured out that by the time we’d moved out of our parent’s house we’d moved a total of 24 times. I say that because there weren’t many constants in my life … just my sister, my parents, and PBS. I used to lay my blanket out in the living room floor, sit on it with my stuffed animals pretending it was a magic carpet and watch Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, 3-2-1 Contact and all the other children’s programming for hours on end. No matter where we lived, no matter where life took us, I always had my blanket and PBS. I feel like in some way I’m now helping to preserve this programming much in the same way it helped me preserve some sense of stability throughout my childhood. To all of you who helped those great programs find their way into my home and my life, I thank you.

Enough about me! Let’s talk about this project!

The task as outlined was to digitize 35,000 hours of audio and video content across 55,000 tapes, and transcode another 5,000 hours of born digital content from approximately 100 stations. Easy enough, right?! Well, our first head scratching, “how are we gonna do this” moment came when we realized that we would actually need to hold the majority of this content simultaneously. Fifty-eight pallets of tapes and hundreds of additional boxes to be exact. So, we allocated some of our space to creating a secure crypt with temperature control and FM-200 fire suppression.

Pallets of media arrive to be digitized.
Pallets of media arrive to be digitized.

And then we thought, hmm … how is everyone going to barcode their materials consistently, so that  when they arrive there is no issue with scanning them? Well, it turned out the easiest solution was for us to print the barcodes and ship them out to all of the stations.

Then we realized, huh … while this project is one project, it’s actually more like 100 different projects with clients all over the country. Even in Guam and Alaska. And about Alaska … Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands to be specific … a truck run was impossible. We couldn’t do a Fed Ex or UPS run. So, our solution was to have the station book their tapes as luggage on Alaska Airlines, which just so happens to fly into Atlanta. As for our other stations, where possible, Chip was able to coordinate shipping between stations, using 53 foot pharmaceutical, climate controlled trucks, instead of overnight carriers. We project this logistical feat has saved the project approximately $85,000 in shipping costs, which will in turn be used to digitize more media. Yay!

Crawford's tape bays for digitizing various analog formats.
Crawford’s tape bays for digitizing various analog formats.

Now for the files … three for video tapes, two for audio tapes and one transcode for born digital. And then there’s the BagIt container … each source tape yields up to 27 objects including the media essence files, closed caption files, SAMMA migration log, technical metadata files, checksums and so on. That’s nearly 1.5M pieces of information generated and tracked throughout the project!

Along the way, we’ve uncovered a few priceless gems, including Robert Frost reading a selection of his poems from WFCR, a Frank Zappa interview from KGNU, an Ayn Rand speech from WFCR, and film studies major and movie buff David Braught’s favorite: three tapes from KQED that were actually labeled as “Over Easy” programs. These three turned out to be interviews with film director Akira Kurosawa and a tribute to Japanese Cinema, which included interviews with Kurosawa, Coppola and Lucas. These tapes were thought to be lost. No longer thanks to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting!

Here are some other little factoids:

  • Tapes are being digitized 24 hours a day, five days a week and even some weekends to stay on schedule.
  • Thousands of ¼” reel-to-reel audio tapes and ¾” Umatics have been baked.
  • The project will result in over 1 Petabyte of new data, 2 Petabytes with the copies.
  • We are just starting to tackle born digital. Our original data estimate for born digital was in the neighborhood of 6 TB of data. We now anticipate handling over 33,000 files, which will result in around 280 Terabytes of data.
  • To date, we’ve written over 1,000 LTO-5 data tapes.

We have thoroughly enjoyed working with all of the stations over the past year and a half. As we wind down this phase of the project over the next few months, we hope that the American Archive of Public Broadcasting continues to grow into what surely will become one of the most educational and culturally diverse archives in the country.

Meet Sadie Roosa, our new American Archive team member

sadie_roosaHi! I’m Sadie Roosa, and I’m very excited to join the American Archive team here at WGBH. I’ve already met many of you before, through emails and phone calls, when I was helping to wrap up the Content Inventory Project. In the meantime, I worked on several other WGBH projects, and got to manage the final stages of the Boston TV News Digital Library website (which you should all totally go check out. It’s awesome!). Now, I’m eager as ever to start back in on this grand endeavor.

I will be working on many different parts of the project, supporting Project Manager Casey Davis,  but I will be mainly focused on metadata and cataloging. I’m thrilled with this assignment because it means I get to watch and listen to all of the great content that’s being digitized. Just taking a few cursory strolls through the AMS, I’ve already come across so many interesting things that I can’t even pick a favorite.

As I will likely be working with many of the station contacts, I thought it’d be a good idea to tell you a bit more about myself. I graduated with my MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, and before that got my BA in Literary Studies at Simon’s Rock, a very small college in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Most of my free time is spent cooking, reading, watching TV (I am an AV archivist, whatcha gonna do?), and walking around Boston. I also love to bake, and apparently I’m pretty good at it. One time when I brought scones in for the office, I had a coworker run up to me and yell, “Did you makes these?! What are you even doing working here?! You should be selling these in a bakery.” I chose to take that as a compliment.

If you ever plan on visiting us here in Boston, I’d love to meet you. Just give me a day’s notice, and I’ll whip up your favorite cookies, cake, scones, pie, etc. You can also contact me with questions whenever, at 617.300.2668 or sadie_roosa [at] wgbh [dot] org. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet discovered how to send muffins as email attachments.