Ben Gogel, Research Assistant on the NewsHour Digitization Project

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Over the last several months, I’ve worked as a Research Assistant at WGBH on the PBS NewsHour Digitization Project. This project involves taking the predecessor programs for the PBS NewsHour, including The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and making them available to a wider audience through digitization, preservation, and online access. My specific responsibilities include reviewing the proxy files, or digital copies, of multiple NewsHour episodes and making sure they are presentable (no major audiovisual glitches, complete transcripts, subtitles are legible), and recording the information in an online spreadsheet. This may sound like a straightforward job, but working at WGBH taught me even straightforward jobs can have unpredictable aspects, and I learned a lot about adapting to new challenges and going outside my comfort zone.

Before working on this project, I attended a rigorous Archives Management program at Simmons University, learning about several archival processing practices, chief among them being More Product, Less Process (MPLP). The idea behind MPLP is that, in cases where large amounts of archival content needs to be preserved, the Archivist must focus on processing as many objects as possible. This approach served me well in several real-world internships, including two in different departments at WGBH. The first of these was in the Creative department during the summer of 2015, helping my co-workers not only track data but set up a Google Drive account so as to store it in a spreadsheet. I then parlayed this experience into my Simmons Archives Field Study capstone project in the WGBH Media Library and Archives (MLA). Throughout the winter of 2016, I reviewed and cataloged episodes of regional news magazines produced by the Wyoming PBS and Oregon Public Broadcasting. Between the academic training and real-world experience, I thought I could handle working on the NewsHour Digitization Project, but over time, I found out just how unprepared I was, in the best way possible.

While archives share general principles, every place and department I’ve worked at has its own unique, unpredictable challenges, and the same was true on this project as well. A typical day on the job involves watching NewsHour episodes in bits and pieces, making sure the videos were watchable and their accompanying materials (i.e. transcripts and subtitles) were present and accurate. Most of the time, review has been straightforward, and the clips themselves have occasionally been interesting looks at iconic figures from new perspectives: personal favorites include retrospectives on what would’ve been the 100th birthdays of Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney, for example. But there are times where I have been thrown for a loop and needed to adapt.

For clips without transcripts and/or subtitles, I had no choice but to watch them for longer time periods, paying close attention to the audio. This need for paying close attention goes both ways, and there were times during graphic reports (like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina coverage) where I needed to take small breaks to keep from getting overwhelmed emotionally. Fortunately, my co-workers and supervisor, remembering me from my previous Archives internship, have been remarkably sympathetic and understanding, which helped alleviate this stress, among other worries. The friendly, open atmosphere also encouraged me to branch out and extend a helping hand to them, and new people at WGBH, in kind.

Throughout the summer months, the MLA had several interns join over the summer, and as a welcoming gesture, I sat down with each of them for lunch on their first days, and over the course of their time I offered practical advice whenever I could, most importantly to not rule anything out vis-à-vis future work opportunities. At the same time, I myself was a fresh addition to the audience at several MeetUps and SpeakEasys: one of each a month for promoting and socializing with people from different departments of WGBH. The MeetUps even have a whole minute set aside for the purpose of introducing yourself to strangers, a nice and well-appreciated touch. Between this mentorship and more socially conducive environment, I had a support network that helped me a great deal.

As a kid, two of the biggest things that scared me were thunderstorms and spicy foods, particularly buffalo chicken. I would always stay away from both of them at every possible opportunity, to preserve my anxiety and avoid any kind of discomfort. The last few months had their fair share of stormy heat waves and spicy hot wings, but as with archival work in general, uncomfortable situations can only be avoided for so long. In the end, I had to buck up and accept that summer storms could at least be tolerated, and it helps that my co-workers never treated it as a debilitating setback. As for the spicy foods, that I did have control over, and to set a positive example for the interns, I not only tried buffalo chicken, but also pulled pork covered in Jamaican jerk seasoning. To my surprise, neither one of those foods burned my mouth off or led to searing pain, and this growth can be directly attributed to both my at-work support group and my need/willingness to handle unforeseen archiving circumstances.

Being adaptable to unpredictable elements is the most valuable lesson I learned from this experience. On-the-nose food metaphors aside, my experience with the turbulence in both the clouds and video files forced me out of my comfort zone, but it was all in terms I could understand thanks to my years of real-world experience. In my goal of preserving and making accessible the NewsHour files, I persevered and made myself more accessible as well.

Written by Ben Gogel, https://www.linkedin.com/in/bengogel/

 

 

Riley Griffin, Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellow at GPB

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When we toured WGBH, we took turns holding an Emmy Award trophy (Image: Riley Griffin, author, holding an Emmy Award)

Hi, everyone!  My name is Riley Griffin (xe/xir).  I am just now entering my second year of graduate school in Clayton State University’s Masters of Archival Studies program.  I am the second fellow, after Virginia Angles, to be a part of the American Archives of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF).  My part of the project focused on digitizing Georgia Public Broadcasting’s (GPB) Georgia Gazette under the incredibly trusting supervision of Ellen Reinhardt, Kathy Christensen, and Joshua Kitchens.  I was looking for summer opportunities when a chance at following a career path in my new-found love for preservation presented itself through the AAPBPBPF.  I was overjoyed by the scope of the fellowship, the organizations working with it, and the special collections it included.

Every fellowship starts with certain expectations only to end with different lessons and new perspectives.  At the start of my fellowship, I spent a lot of time comparing. There were a lot of things I was not expecting, my reactions being one of them.  As we visited Boston and learned about all the different types of digital media we could be working with I couldn’t help but begin to feel this sort of jealousy–wishing I could work with as many formats and topics as possible.

Of course, this hunger decreased to a low rumble as I became humbled by the Georgia Gazette materials.  I quickly realized I craved difficulty; so, I became grateful instead of jealous.  In training, we were prepared to scrub and scrub our machines clean, take precious time delicately fixing things, and balance everything to be just perfect.  However, my project was given a bit of grace by being a more modern collection. Digital Audio Tapes (DATs) are often considered one of the most fragile media formats. However, most of them were recorded at a decent quality from the 1990’s to the 2000’s, rewound to the beginning, and left alone and undisturbed in an air-conditioned radio station.  So, please forgive me when I am grateful that the worst of my worries is how many times I dropped the (very loose) pinch roller into the machine that day.

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GPB Digitization Station (Image: Two desks with 2 computers, a DAT machine, cleaning materials, and various electronics everywhere)

The topics of everyone’s materials had me curious, too.  I was wondering what it was like to have video–as my project was only audio–and to have materials like oral histories to work with.  I quickly counted my blessings as I heard what my colleague was working on–images of war, tragedy, death, and disaster. I thanked GPB for having forward attitudes towards topics, reporters who were nearly-emotionless in comparison, and pert news reports.  I am a very sensitive soul and could imagine having to wait the tears out before being able to see what you’re working on. I also realized I was having a hard time with some of the Georgia Gazette material.  One thing I experience as an archivist who moves all over is major culture shock.  I think being an archivist is one of the best ways to learn about the place you have just moved to. But it also exposes you to things much quicker than you expect.

I’m from upstate New York, which has a different demographic and historical context; although I’m not unfamiliar with racism, being deeply embedded in Georgia’s racial history as I digitized GPB’s daily news was a new experience for me. I had moments of weeping at work as I listened to news reports about the Georgia General Assembly holding expensive special sessions in order to redistrict purely based on race, schoolchildren being prevented from going the schools they want as a result of segregation, and segregation’s long-term effects on Georgia school districts, which I still hear about today. Although I knew about these issues in the abstract, hearing them firsthand was very emotional for me and adding visuals might have been overwhelming.

I would be lying if I were to say I came away from this project without any further attachment to Georgia.  Although it has exposed me to some of the ugly parts I try to avoid in my daily life, it has also exposed me to so much more.  Even the drive to work showed me the oldest drive-in movie theater in the area that is still working.   I also got the opportunity to listen to all of the preparation and execution of the 1996 Olympics.  I am a huge fan of all things Olympics, so

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Indeed, this was the “WORST Gazette ever” (Image: close-up of a DAT labelled “Maxell DAT; Gazette 01-20 95; WORST Gazette ever”)

this was a special treat for me. The Georgia Gazette has given me a sort of pseudo-pride of Georgia; every guest and topic on the show had a relation to Georgia.  Learning about popular historical figures like Blind Tom Wiggins or popular events like the National Grits Festival in Warwick gives me a great appreciation for where I live and the opportunities available to me here.  It has also given me a deeper and fuller appreciation for public broadcasting, something that had already been instilled in me.  In a time where everyone is flocking to Georgia for jobs, often displacing long-term Georgians, I remind myself that my brief time being here must be purposeful.  I hope to help make their history more accessible so that they can feel that true sense of pride they deserve.  With the Georgia Gazette, I hope I did just that–even if it was just a little bit.

 

Written by Riley Griffin, PBPF Summer 2018 Cohort

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About PBPF

The Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF), funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, supports ten graduate student fellows at University of North Carolina, San Jose State University, Clayton State University, University of Missouri, and University of Oklahoma in digitizing at-risk materials at public media organizations around the country. Host sites include the Center for Asian American Media, Georgia Public Broadcasting, WUNC, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, and KOPN Community Radio. Contents digitized by the fellows will be preserved in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The grant also supports participating universities in developing long-term programs around audiovisual preservation and ongoing partnerships with their local public media stations.

For more updates on the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship project, follow the project at pbpf.americanarchive.org and on Twitter at #aapbpf, and come back in a few months to check out the results of their work.

AAPB Welcomes Six New Executive Advisory Council Members

Judy Woodruff, Bill Siemering, Lloyd Morrisett, Mary Minow, Jennifer Lawson and Edward Ayers Join Seven Others to Inform and Guide the AAPB

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), is pleased to announce the addition of six new members to the AAPB Executive Advisory Council, a distinguished group of 13 individuals that informs and guides the strategic direction of the AAPB to ensure that the Archive continues to serve the needs of public media stakeholders and the American people. The AAPB, a collaboration between Boston public media station WGBH and the Library of Congress, has been working to digitize and preserve more than 50,000 hours of broadcasts and previously inaccessible programs from public radio and public television’s more than 70-year legacy.

New Executive Advisory Council Members

image001Edward Ayers
Ayers is the Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus at the University of Richmond and co-host of BackStory with the American History Guys, a nationally syndicated radio show and podcast, Ayers was awarded the presidential National Humanities Medal in July 2013 as historian of the American South and pioneer in digital history. He won the Bancroft Prize and Beveridge Prize in American history and has collaborated on major digital history projects including the Valley of the Shadow, American Panorama, and Bunk.

image002Jennifer Lawson – Vice Chair
Lawson is a media consultant based in Washington, D.C. A former executive vice president of Programming and Promotion Services at PBS, in 2016 Lawson received the Ralph Lowell Award, public television’s highest honor. Lawson has also received lifetime achievement awards from American Public Television and the Public Television Programmers’ Association. Lawson was senior vice president for Television and Digital Content at the CPB and served as vice chair of the PBS Board, Chair of the American Public Television and as a member of the Advisory Board of Washington Women in Film and Video.

image003Mary Minow
Minow is a Presidential Appointee to the National Museum and Library Services Board at the Institute of Museum and Library Services and a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Minow serves as a Board Member of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), consultant to the American Library Association, and is an attorney, consultant, and a former librarian.

image004Lloyd Morrisett
Morrisett served as President of The John and Mary R. Markle Foundation where he initiated the Foundation’s program in communications and information technology. Previously, Morrisett was Vice President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching where he worked to start the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). He was co-creator of the Sesame Workshop and is a trustee and chairman emeritus of the Sesame Workshop.

image005Bill Siemering
Siemering was a member of the founding board of directors for NPR and the author of its original mission statement. As NPR’s first director of programming, Siemering led the development of All Things Considered and developed Fresh Air into a national program. The recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Siemering worked with the Open Society Foundation in Eastern Europe, Africa and Mongolia before founding Developing Radio Partners to enrich the programming of local stations in Africa. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from NPR and currently serves as Senior Fellow at the Wyncote Foundation.

image006Judy Woodruff – Chair
Woodruff is Anchor and Managing Editor of the PBS NewsHour. She’s covered politics and news for more than four decades, serving as anchor and senior correspondent for CNN, as the chief Washington Correspondent for The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour, anchor at the PBS’s award-winning documentary series “Frontline with Judy Woodruff” and as White House correspondent at NBC. Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting and encouraging women in communication industries worldwide. She is the recent recipient of the Cine Lifetime Achievement award, the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Broadcast Journalism/Television, the University of Southern California Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, and many other awards.

The Executive Advisory Council provides strategic guidance to the AAPB project team and raises awareness of the collection. Council members serve for three years. The newest members of the Council were inducted in February, 2018. Award-winning journalist, author and EAC member Cokie Roberts was recently appointed as Vice Chair. A full list of the members of the Executive Advisory Council can be found at http://americanarchive.org/about-the-american-archive/executive-advisory-council.

The AAPB is a national effort to preserve at-risk public media and provide a central web portal for access to the programming that public stations and producers have created over the past 70 years. To date, over 50,000 hours of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized, and the Archive aims to grow by up to 25,000 additional hours per year. The entire collection is available for research on location at WGBH and the Library, and currently more than 30,000 programs are available in the AAPB’s Online Reading Room at americanarchive.org to anyone in the United States.

Tanya Yule, Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellow at CAAM

 

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Drives loaded up and ready to be sent to the AAPB!!

 

Hello, my name is Tanya Yule and I am one of the five, in the first cohort of the AAPB Public Broadcast Preservation Fellows. Later this month I will be receiving my Masters in Library and Information Science, and an advanced certificate in Digital Assets Management from San Josè State University, with an emphasis in archives and preservation.

When I began the program at SJSU it was with a focus on photography preservation; this was initially a means of utilizing my background in historic photography practices as a way to protect and preserve images for future generations. However, through my work at the Hoover Institution Archives (where I am an intern), I began to fall in love with working in all areas of archives, not just with photographs, and have had the fortunate experience to process incredible collections that range from the Russian Revolution to the Vietnam War, each providing a unique glimpse of someone’s life that I get to describe, organize, and preserve for future generations. When the fellowship was posted, I had a “this was made for me” moment and applied instantly. I have wanted to work with A/V media for quite sometime, and have yet to have the opportunity, until now.

For the last three-months I have been entrenched in material spanning the globe; each item as unique as the next, and giving me more in return than I was prepared for. As I am sitting here trying to tap out a structure and synthesis of what the heck just occurred during the American Archive of Public Broadcasting’s Preservation Fellowship, I am almost overwhelmed with the task.

 

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Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) Set-up

 

The specialness of this particular fellowship has been based in the opportunity to work with at-risk magnetic media, multiple stakeholders, and learn a very complex technique for capturing. I was fortunate to be able to work with two amazing San Francisco based non-profit organizations that focus on representing arts and culture for underrepresented communities, and have been pillars in what they do for several decades. The collection I worked from came from the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM); CAAM isn’t a traditional archives, but their holdings are significant and represent a wide range of diverse films and documentaries; many which have appeared on local and national PBS stations over the years. The collection contained U-matic, Betacam, and Digibeta tapes, many which haven’t been viewed in decades. The majority of the fellowship was spent over at the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), under the watchful (and extremely patient and knowledgeable) eye of Jackie Jay. I was fortunate to be able to have my experience take place with the help of a staff that do this work daily, and could help me capture and learn in the best possible situation. I would like to also give a shout out to Morgan Morel for suffering though my lack of commandline knowledge, he has inspired me to take a python class when this is all over.

What is in a name?

While inventorying the items for the collection at CAAM, I couldn’t help but be curious about some of the titles: Anatomy of a Springroll, Dollar a Day, 10 Cents a Dance, A Village Called Versailles, Sewing Woman, to name a few. Since all of the items are on some form of video (magnetic media) it isn’t as easy as just popping in a deck and taking a peek. While capturing in the dark room with my noise cancelling headphones on, there were moments that I would literally laugh out loud, or cry; the subjects are heavy, as is the perspective and history, my work at the Hoover Archives had helped prepare me for dealing with difficult collections, especially when it comes to visual materials regarding war and atrocities.

 

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Many videos have some form of image error, the above “watermark” is a blemish on an old tape, this can be seen in 1/30 of a second. After capturing I would go back to any discrepancy to investigate further

 

Cleaning, cleaning, and some baking!

I soon learned that the majority of my time was in making sure that the decks and tapes were in tip-top shape before capturing. It is quite amazing how much time is spent cleaning tapes, cleaning the decks, baking tapes (in a really high tech food dehydrator), re-cleaning tapes, and re-cleaning machines, as well as setting up levels and making sure that the item being digitized is as close to the original as possible. The cleaning ensures that there is no transfer of dust or debris from another tape, and that the output from the deck is precise. I am extremely fortunate to have my digitization station at BAVC, as they understand the fundamentals of video preservation and digitization, and helped me learn more about the process then I thought I would be capable of in such a short time.

About the collection

As archivists often times we really don’t know what the collection is “about” until the end, there are usually surprises, and most the times these records don’t come with a “read me” file, so I figured I would save this portion to the end as well. The collection as a whole speaks to the diversity of Asian American life, culture, and experiences; evoking the universal struggle of the human condition. When curating the featured films for the AAPB Special Collections page it was difficult to choose, however, many of the films tell the history of women who have defied odds, been outspoken, or who had sacrificed so much for so little in return, I wanted to put these women upfront and recognize their stories and the ones who decided to tell them.

 

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CAAM Video Archive

 

Having this wonderful opportunity to participate in this fellowship while completing my degree allowed me to expand my technical and historical knowledge base, which I am forever grateful for. I would like to thank SJSU and my wonderful advisor Alyce Scott, James Ott and Davin Agatep at the CAAM for helping me out with the project, the entire preservation crew at BAVC for making sure I didn’t break anything, and of course the AAPB and all of the wonderful WGBH folks that made this fellowship happen.

If you are interested in learning more, here is a Q & A I did with CAAM when I started, you can also follow #aapbpf for photos of the stations and process.

 

 

Written by Tanya Yule, PBPF Spring 2018 Cohort

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About PBPF

The Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF), funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, supports ten graduate student fellows at University of North Carolina, San Jose State University, Clayton State University, University of Missouri, and University of Oklahoma in digitizing at-risk materials at public media organizations around the country. Host sites include the Center for Asian American Media, Georgia Public Broadcasting, WUNC, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, and KOPN Community Radio. Contents digitized by the fellows will be preserved in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The grant also supports participating universities in developing long-term programs around audiovisual preservation and ongoing partnerships with their local public media stations.

For more updates on the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship project, follow the project at pbpf.americanarchive.org and on Twitter at #aapbpf, and come back in a few months to check out the results of their work.

The National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) Collection Now Available on AAPB

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The National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) Collection, now available on the AAPB website, consists of more than 5,500 radio programs from the 1950s and 1960s, created by over 100 NAEB member stations. The collection includes radio documentaries, coverage of events (hearings, meetings, conferences, and seminars), interviews, debates, and lectures on public affairs topics such as civil rights, foreign affairs, health, politics, education, and broadcasting.

These broadcasts, mostly stemming from university and public school-run radio stations, provide an in-depth look at the engagements and events of American history, as they were broadcast to and received by the general public in the twentieth century. Interview subjects and/or program participants feature a “who’s who” of mid-20th century public figures, including Hubert Humphrey, Betty Shabazz, Robert Frost, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alistair Cooke, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Margaret Mead, Studs Terkel, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Marshall McLuhan, and Aldous Huxley. The collection also contains a notably large percentage of local content and voices, from a WDET Detroit series about local civil defense plans and policies called “Prepare for Survival,” to a series entitled “Document: Deep South,” a documentary series produced by WOUA at the University of Alabama depicting the increasing importance of the South in the economic development of the United States, to a show entitled “Search for Mental Health,” a series of talks about advances in psychiatry from the University of Chicago.

The NAEB was established in 1934 from a precursor organization, the Association of College and University Broadcasting Stations, that formed in 1925. The mission of the NAEB was to use communications technology for education and social purposes. It was an extremely successful and effective trade organization that, throughout its 60 years of existence, ushered in or helped to enable major changes in early educational broadcasting policy. In 1951, NAEB established a tape duplication exchange system in Urbana, IL, where programs produced by university radio stations across the country were copied and distributed to member stations, an early networking scheme that influenced the history of later public radio and television systems. The forerunner of CPB and its arms, NPR and PBS, the NAEB served as the primary organizer, developer, and distributor for noncommercial broadcast production and analysis between 1925 and 1981.

The NAEB Collection was contributed to the AAPB by the University of Maryland’s National Public Broadcasting Archives. The paper records of the NAEB are housed at University of Maryland and additional related materials are located at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Access the collection here: http://americanarchive.org/special_collections/naeb

Special thanks to Stephanie Sapienza for her contributions to the curation of this collection.

AAPB Announces Collaboration with Dartmouth College Media Ecology Project

 

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The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) and Dartmouth College are pleased to announce a new collaboration in which AAPB’s Online Reading Room of public television and radio programming will now be accessible through the Media Ecology Project (MEP) at Dartmouth.

The Media Ecology Project is a digital resource directed by Dartmouth Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies Mark J. Williams. MEP provides researchers with not only online access to archival moving image collections but also with tools to participate in new interdisciplinary scholarship that produces metadata about the content of participating archives. By providing annotated knowledge about the archival materials, students and scholars add value back to the archives, making these materials more searchable in the future. The MEP aims to facilitate the awareness of and critical study of media ecology—helping to save and preserve at-risk historical media and contribute to our understanding of their role in the public sphere and in popular memory.

Through this new AAPB-Dartmouth collaboration, historic public broadcasting programs available in the AAPB Online Reading Room will be accessible through the MEP platform. Scholars, researchers and students using the MEP platform will be able to access AAPB collection materials for research, in-classroom presentations and other assignments as part of their academic and scholarly work. MEP scholarly participation spans the disciplines from Arts and Humanities to the Social Sciences, Computer Science and Medical Science. One topic that Williams will immediately pursue with students and colleagues is coverage of the civil rights era that exists in the collection.

While conducting their research via MEP, scholars will be able to give back to AAPB by creating time-based annotations and metadata under a public domain license. Basic descriptive metadata such as credit information for video and audio files is desired, but more granular time-based annotations that describe specific sub-clips within media files will designate more particular areas of scholarly interest. These sub-clips can then be utilized in research essays that are open to scholarly emphases across the academic disciplines. The annotations that students and scholars produce will be made available on the AAPB website for improved searching, navigation and discoverability across the collection and within individual digitized programs and recordings.

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 50,000 hours of television and radio programming by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized for long-term preservation and access. The entire collection is available on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress, and almost 31,000 programs are available online at: americanarchive.org.
For more information or to request access to specific materials at either of the two sites, researchers can request a research appointment.

Making the AAPB more accessible, useable, and engaging for scholars, researchers and students furthers AAPB’s mission to facilitate the use of historic public broadcasting materials. Further, the capacity of participants in the MEP to generate and provide tagged annotations and metadata to the AAPB will support the archive in becoming a centralized web portal for discovery of the historic content created by public broadcasting over the past 70+ years.

Historic WRVR-FM Archives to be Digitized, Preserved and Made Available in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

Historic WRVR-FM Archives Receives CLIR
Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Award

More than 4,000 hours of cultural and political radio programming from the 60s and 70s to be made public

 

Morningside Heights, NY – The Council on Library and Information Resources has awarded a grant of $330,000 to digitize, preserve, and make publicly accessible previously unavailable archives of the Peabody Award winning radio station WRVR. Public Radio as a Tool for Cultural Engagement in New York in the 60s and early 70s: Digitizing the Broadcasts of WRVR-FM Public Radio is a joint project between The Riverside Church in the City of New York and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation. The collection includes culturally significant non-commercial programming, including interviews, speeches, and musical interpretations on matters such as civil rights, war, and fine arts, from laypersons to famed scholars, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Pete Seeger.

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Council on Library and Information Resources’ Digitizing Hidden Collections program supports the creation of digital representations of unique content of high scholarly significance. This award will support the preservation and digitization of over 3,502 recordings representing 4,000 hours of programming from WRVR from the 1960s and early 1970s. Owned and operated by The Riverside Church from 1961-1976, WRVR was the first station to win a Peabody for its entire programming, in part for its coverage of the Civil Rights movement in 1963 Birmingham. In addition to featuring progressive religious and philosophical discussions with Riverside clergy, theologians, and scholars, such as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., WRVR programming included culturally significant topics, speakers, and performances, such as Langston Hughes’ “Jericho-Jim Crow” directed by Alvin Ailey, and interviews and readings by Robert Frost, John Ashbery, and Allen Ginsberg. The station also featured the program “Just Jazz with Ed Beach,” which collection currently resides at the Library of Congress.

Preservation of these materials will enhance study in many disciplines, including theology/religion, political science, and communications, especially related to American Christianity, homiletics, progressive responses to the Civil Rights movement, contemporary issues of race and sexuality, the cultural impact of the 1960s, and public radio as a tool for cultural engagement and social media precursor.

These recordings will be made publicly available at the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress and WGBH. The AAPB coordinates 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.

Sample recordings include:

  • Arthur Miller. Statement for World Theater Day, March 27, 1963 Riverside Radio, WRVR, Riverside Archives (The Riverside Church) Arthur Miller remarks on theater’s ability to speak universal truths and understanding in art, and how this particular art form, above many others, informs society’s response to war, politics, freedoms, and all matters of the human condition across nations and cultures.
  • “Listen! William Sloane Coffin Jr.: Conscience, Protest & War.” Interview on WRVR, March 31, 1968 Riverside Radio, WRVR. Riverside Archives (The Riverside Church) William Sloane Coffin Jr., chaplain at Yale University (later Riverside Senior Minister, 1977-1987), discusses his indictment for conspiracy to encourage draft evasion and the politics of the Vietnam War; peace activism, civil rights and Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign, and how Dr. Coffin’s privilege informs his work as a clergyperson, activist, and American.

About The Riverside Church
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Located in Morningside Heights on the Upper West Side, The Riverside Church in the City of New York is one of the leading voices of Progressive Christianity, influential on America’s religious and political landscapes for more than 85 years.  Built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and currently led by The Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, the interracial, interdenominational, and international church has long been a forum for important civic and spiritual leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, President Clinton, the Dalai Lama, and countless others.  Visit www.trcnyc.org or find us on social media to learn more about our rich history and the latest news and events.

About the American Archive of Public Broadcasting
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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 50,000 hours of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized for long-term preservation and access. The entire collection is available on location at the Library of Congress and WGBH, and more than 30,000 programs are available online at americanarchive.org.

About WGBH
wgbh_logoWGBH 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 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 the Library of Congress
PrintThe 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.

About CLIR
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The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.

About the Mellon Foundation
Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. Additional information is available at mellon.org.

AAPB Welcomes Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship Spring 2018 Cohort

Following up on our post this past September announcing our IMLS-funded Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF) project, we’re very excited to introduce our first cohort of Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellows!

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PBPF fellows, mentors and project staff at Immersion Week in Boston

The PBPF supports students enrolled in non-specialized graduate programs to pursue digital preservation projects at public broadcasting organizations around the country. The Fellowship is designed to provide graduate students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences in the practices of audiovisual preservation; address the need for digitization of at-risk public media materials in underserved areas; and increase audiovisual preservation education capacity in Library and Information Science graduate programs around the country.

Over the spring semester of this year (and summer semester for our second cohort), each fellow will inventory, digitize, and catalog a small collection of audiovisual media; generate technical and preservation metadata; and process the digital files for ingest into the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The fellows will collaborate with a faculty advisor at their university to document their work in a 3-5 page handbook and video demo. The fellowship will also support a digitization station at each university for the use by the fellows and future students enrolled at the universities.

Please welcome the members of our PBPF cohort:

Fellow: Virginia Angles

  • Program: Clayton State University
  • Host Organization: Georgia Public Broadcasting
  • Host Mentor: Tanya Ott, Vice President of Radio and News Content, Georgia Public Broadcasting
  • Faculty Advisor: Josh Kitchens, Director, Master of Archival Studies Program
  • Local Mentor: Kathy Christensen, former VP of News, Archives and Research at CNN

 Virginia Angles is an aspiring archivist with a background in Art History and Chemistry. She is currently pursuing a second masters in Archival Studies with a focus in digital preservation.

Fellow: Rebecca Benson

  • Program: University of Missouri
  • Host Organization: KOPN Community Radio
  • Host Mentor: Jacqueline Casteel, KOPN Community Radio
  • Faculty Advisor: Sarah Buchanan, Assistant Professor, Library and Information Science
  • Local Mentor: James Hone, Digital Archivist, University Libraries, Washington University in St. Louis

Rebecca Benson is a graduate student in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Missouri, where she works in the Special Collections and Rare Books department of Ellis Library. Her research interests include digital communities, story-telling and reception, and the preservation of ephemeral narratives.

Fellow: Evelyn Cox

  • Program: University of Oklahoma
  • Host Organization: Oklahoma Educational Television Authority
  • Host Mentor: Janette Thornbrue, Vice President of Operations, Oklahoma Educational Television Authority
  • Faculty Advisor: Susan Burke, Interim Director and Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Studies
  • Local Mentor: Lisa Henry, Curator/Archivist, Political Communication Center, Julian P. Kantor Political Commercial Archive

Evelyn Cox is a graduate student enrolled in the Masters of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) Program at the University of Oklahoma.  She obtained her undergraduate degree in English from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a wife and mother of two. She was born on the beautiful island of Guam but currently resides in Oklahoma. Evelyn has been a public school English teacher for over seventeen years. She has earned her National Board Certification in English Language Arts, has been a Great Expectations Instructor, has coached track and field, and has served on multiple grant writing and curriculum development teams. Upon graduation of the MLIS Program, Evelyn seeks to pursue a career in archives where she can combine her love of literature, history, and culture. Through archiving, she plans to take an active role in documenting and preserving history that adds to the cultural identity and awareness of the Chamorro people of Guam.

 Fellow: Dena Schulze

  • Program: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Host Organization: WUNC
  • Host Mentor: Keith Weston, Web Producer and Back Porch Music Host, WUNC
  • Faculty Advisor: Helen Tibbo, Alumni Distinguished Professor, SILS
  • Local Mentor: Erica Titkemeyer, Project Director/AV Conservator, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dena Schulze  is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Library Science with a concentration in archives and records management. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s in English. She is a major movie buff and that’s what got her started on the road to a/v archiving and preservation. Dena’s dream would be to work in a film archive when she graduates. When she is not working, reading, or watching movies, she is playing with her new puppy, Bodhi who just turned six months old! Dena is very excited about this opportunity and being a part of saving audiovisual material for future generations.

Fellow: Tanya Yule

  • Program: San Jose State University
  • Host Organization: Center for Asian American Media in collaboration with the Bay Area Video Coalition
  • Host Mentor: James Ott, Director of Finance and Administration, Center for Asian-American Media
  • Faculty Advisor: Alyce Scott, Lecturer, School of Information
  • Local Mentor: Jackie Jay, Preservation Technician, Bay Area Video Coalition

Tanya Yule is a current MLIS candidate at San José State University, focusing on archives and photography preservation; she received her BFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute, with a background in traditional darkroom methods, and photomechanical printing. Tanya is an intern at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University, and resides in San Francisco with her husband and adorable dog Otto.

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PBPF Fellows at Immersion Week in Boston – from left to right – Tanya Yule, Dena Schulze, Rebecca Benson, Virginia Angles, and Evelyn Cox.

Upcoming Webinar: Building AAPB Participation into Digitization Grant Proposals

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Building AAPB Participation into Digitization Grant Proposals: Requirements, Recommendations and Workflows

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
12:00pm ET

Webinar Registration form: https://goo.gl/forms/lWWU5GgFkv09bNFi2
Direct meeting URL: http://wgbh1.adobeconnect.com/aapb_grant-proposals-1/

Curious about getting involved in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB)?

Seeking information about the workflows and requirements for contributing digitized content and/or metadata to the AAPB?

Writing a grant proposal and want to explore collaborating with the AAPB to preserve copies of your digitized collections and/or provide an access point to your collections through the AAPB metadata portal?

Then this webinar is for you!

On Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 12:00pm ET, the AAPB will host a webinar focused on grant writing for digitization and subsequent contribution of digital files and metadata to the AAPB.

By the end of this webinar, participants will gain an understanding of:

  • AAPB’s background and infrastructure,
  • how contributing to the AAPB could benefit your collection
  • steps to becoming an AAPB contributor,
  • metadata and digital file format requirements and recommendations,
  • delivery procedures, and
  • other workflows and considerations for contributing digital files and/or metadata to the AAPB.
  • the value of your collection as part of a national collection and how to express that in a proposal

Attendees will also receive advice on how to incorporate AAPB contribution into their CLIR Recordings at Risk (applications due February 9, 2018!), CLIR Digitizing Hidden Collections, or other grant proposal timelines and work plans.

Fill out this brief form to receive info about future webinars and to receive a webinar meeting invitation sent to your calendar: https://goo.gl/forms/lWWU5GgFkv09bNFi2

Anyone can join the webinar at this URL: http://wgbh1.adobeconnect.com/aapb_grant-proposals-1/

This webinar and future AAPB webinars are generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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 60 years. To date, over 50,000 hours of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized for long-term preservation and access. The entire collection is available on location at the Library of Congress and WGBH, and almost 25,000 programs are available online at americanarchive.org.

“Dockerized” Kaldi Speech-to-Text Tool

At the AAPB “Crowdsourcing Anecdotes” meeting last Friday at the Association of Moving Image Archivists conference, I talked about a free “Dockerized” build of Kaldi made by Stephen McLaughlin, PHD student at UT Austin School of Information. I thought I would follow up on my introduction to it there by providing links to these resources, instructions for setting it up, and some anecdotes about using it. First, the best resource for this Docker Kaldi and Stephen’s work is here in the HiPSTAS Github: https://github.com/hipstas/kaldi-pop-up-archive. It also has detailed information for setting up and running the Docker Kaldi.

I confess that I don’t know much about computer programming and engineering besides what I need to get my work done. I am an archivist and I eagerly continue to gain more computer skills, but some of my terminology here might be kinda wrong or unclear. Anyways, Kaldi is a free speech-to-text tool that interprets audio recordings and outputs timestamped JSON and text files. This “Dockerized” Kaldi allows you to easily get a version of Kaldi running on pretty much any reasonably powerful computer. The recommended minimum is at least 6gb of RAM, and I’m not sure about the CPU. The more of both the better, I’m sure.

The Docker platform provides a framework to easily download and set up a computer environment in which Kaldi can run. Kaldi is pretty complicated, but Stephen’s Docker image (https://hub.docker.com/r/hipstas/kaldi-pop-up-archive) helps us all bypass setting up Kaldi. As a bonus, it comes set up with the language model that PopUp Archive created as part of our IMLS grant (link here) with them and HiPSTAS. They trained the model using AAPB recordings. Kaldi needs a trained language model dataset to interpret audio data put through the system. Because this build of Kaldi uses the PopUp Archive model, it is already trained for American English.

I set up my Docker on my Mac laptop, so the rest of the tutorial will focus on that system, but the GitHub has information for Windows or Linux and those are not very different. By the way, these instructions will probably be really easy for people that are used to interacting with tools in the command line, but I am going to write this post as if the reader hasn’t done that much. I will also note that while this build of Kaldi is really exciting and potentially useful, especially given all the fighting I’ve done with these kinds of systems in my career, I didn’t test it thoroughly because it is only Stephen’s experiment complimenting the grant project. I’d love to get feedback on issues you might encounter! Also I’ve got to thank Stephen and HiPSTAS!! THANK YOU Stephen!!

SET UP AND USE:

The first step is to download Docker (https://www.docker.com/). You then need to go into Docker’s preferences, under Advanced, and make sure that Docker has access to at least 6gb of RAM. Add more if you’d like.

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Give Docker more power!

Then navigate to the Terminal and pull Stephen’s Docker image for Kaldi. The command is “docker pull -a hipstas/kaldi-pop-up-archive”. (Note: Stephen’s GitHub says that you can run the pull without options, but I got errors if I ran it without “-a”). This is a big 12gb download, so go do something else while it finishes. I ate some Thanksgiving leftovers.

When everything is finished downloading, set up the image by running the command “docker run -it –name kaldi_pua –volume ~/Desktop/audio_in/:/audio_in/ hipstas/kaldi-pop-up-archive:v1”. This starts the Kaldi Docker image and creates a new folder on your desktop where you can add media files you want to run through Kaldi. This is also the place where Kaldi will write the output. Add some media to the folder BUT NOTE: the filenames cannot have spaces or uncommon characters or Kaldi will fail. My test of this setup ran well on some short mp4s. Also, your Terminal will now be controlling the Docker image, so your command line prompt will look different than it did, and you won’t be “in” your computer’s file system until you exit the Docker image.

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Now you need to download the script that initiates the Kaldi process. The command to download it is “wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/hipstas/kaldi-pop-up-archive/master/setup.sh”. Once that is downloaded to the audio_in folder (and you’ve added media to the same folder) you can run a batch by executing the command “sh ./setup.sh”.

Kaldi will run through a batch, and a ton of text will continue to roll through your Terminal. Don’t be afraid that it is taking forever. Kaldi is meant to run on very powerful computers, and running it this way is slow. I tested on a 30 minute recording, and it took 2.5 hrs to process. It will go faster the more computing power you assign permission for Docker to use, but it is reasonable to assume that on most computers the time to process will be around 5 times the recording length.

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Picture of Kaldi doing its thing

The setup script converts wav, mp3, and mp4 to a 16khz broadcast WAV, which is the input that Kaldi requires. You might need to manually convert your media to broadcast WAV if the setup script doesn’t work. I started out by test a broadcast WAV that I made myself with FFmpeg, but Kaldi and/or the setup script didn’t like it. I didn’t resolve that problem because the Kaldi image runs fine on media that it converts itself, so that saves me the trouble anyways.

When Kaldi is done processing, the text output will be in the “audio_in” folder, in the “transcripts” folder. There will be both a JSON and txt file for every recording processed, named the same as the original media file. The quality of the output depends greatly on the original quality of the recording, and how closely the recording resembles the language model (in this case, a studio recording of individuals speaking standard American English). That said, we’ve had some pretty good results in our tests. NOTE THAT if you haven’t assigned enough power to Docker, Kaldi will fail to process, and will do so without reporting an error. The failed files will create output JSON and txt files that are blank. If you’re having trouble try adding more RAM to Docker, or checking that your media file is successfully converting to broadcast WAV.

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When you want to return your terminal to normal, use the command “exit” to shut down the image and return to your file system.

When you want to start the Kaldi image again to run another batch, open another session by running “docker start /kaldi_pua” and then “docker exec -it kaldi_pua bash”. You’ll then be in the Kaldi image and can run the batch with the “sh ./setup.sh” command.

I am sure that there are ways to update or modify the language model, or to use a different model, or to add different scripts to the Docker Kaldi, or to integrate it into bigger workflows. I haven’t spent much time exploring any of that, but I hope you found this post a helpful start. We’re going to keep it in mind as we build up our speech-to-text workflows, and we’ll be sure to share any developments. Happy speech-to-texting!!