Five New Special Collections Now Available in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting!

Happy International Archives Day! The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is celebrating by launching five NEW Special Collections that feature raw interviews from American Experience’s Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till, John Brown’s Holy War, and Jubilee Singers, as well as WGBH’s Peabody award-winning documentary Africans in America!

Now available online, you can access these collections at http://americanarchive.org/special_collections or in person at the Library of Congress and at WGBH, preserved for future generations to learn about our nation’s history.

The AAPB, a collaboration between the Library of Congress and Boston public media station WGBH, has digitized and preserved more than 50,000 hours of broadcasts and previously inaccessible programs from public media’s more than 70-year legacy.

The AAPB invites you to spend the day (and everyday) exploring the collections at americanarchive.org. Let us know what you discover by tagging us at @amarchivepub!

New Special Collections Summaries

Freedom Ridershttp://americanarchive.org/special_collections/freedom-riders-interviews

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 4.11.39 PMThe Freedom Riders Interview Collection contains 124 raw interviews from the American Experience documentary of the same name. The film documents the six-month period from May to November 1961, when white and black activists rode together on buses across the American South to protest the continued segregation of public buses and transportation facilities. Risking attack from white mobs and arrest by local police, the documentary chronicles the reality of the Freedom Riders’ experiences and success at calling attention to southern indifference to federal law and demanding enforcement of integrated interstate bus travel. The Freedom Riders interviews were conducted with activists and journalists who took part in the Freedom Rides, including John Lewis, a key player in the Civil Rights Movement and a member of the House of Representatives; Diane Nash, a coordinator for Freedom Riders in Nashville; Moses Newson, a journalist who covered the first Freedom Ride; John Seigenthaler, a Special Assistant to Robert F. Kennedy; and Genevieve Hughes Houghton, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) field secretary on their Freedom Ride. Subjects discussed include the Supreme Court, the American South, Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, violence, racism, segregation, CORE, and the Civil Rights Movement.

The Murder of Emmett Till – http://americanarchive.org/special_collections/the-murder-of-emmett-till-interviews

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 4.11.29 PMThe Murder of Emmett Till Interviews Collection is made up of 40 raw interviews from the award-winning 2003 American Experience documentary, The Murder of Emmett Till. The film, which chronicles the story of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old who was murdered in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman, follows Till’s life and transformation into an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. The Murder of Emmett Till interviews paint a picture of the Jim Crow South, the Mississippi community in which the murder took place, and contain intimate recollections by those who knew Emmett Till. Guests include family and friends of Emmett Till, including Mamie Till Mobley, Emmett Till’s mother and Civil Rights activist; and Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till’s cousin; as well as journalists, politicians, and witnesses, like Ernest Withers, a photographer known for his photos of the segregated South; Willie Reed, a witness who testified against Emmett Till’s murderers; and David Jordan, a Senator from Mississippi. Topics include segregation, Jim Crow, lynching and violence, the American judicial system, journalism, the American South, and the Civil Rights Movement.

John Brown’s Holy Warhttp://americanarchive.org/special_collections/john-brown-holy-war-interviews

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 4.11.15 PMThe John Brown’s Holy War Interview Collection is comprised of 41 raw interviews conducted in 2000 for the American Experience film of the same name. The interviews examined the enigmatic life, history, myth, and legacy of abolitionist John Brown, one of the most controversial figures in American history. John Brown’s Holy War outlines John Brown’s life, role in the abolition movement, unsuccessful raid on the Harpers Ferry federal armory, death, and subsequent entry into American lore as both villain and martyr during the American Civil War. Interviews were conducted with historians, authors, and educators, including James Horton, Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University; Paul Finkelman, historian of American law; Margaret Washington, historian and Professor of History at Cornell University; and Russell Banks, novelist. Interviews feature a range of topics, including abolition, philosophy, enslavement, race, Christianity, economics, mental health, journalism, the Dred Scott Decision, Frederick Douglass, Pre-Civil War American politics, the Harpers Ferry attack, and the American Civil War.

Jubilee Singers Interviewshttp://americanarchive.org/special_collections/jubilee-singers-interviews

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 4.11.24 PMThe Jubilee Singers Interviews Collection includes 19 raw interviews conducted in 2000 for the American Experience documentary Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory. The film focused on the early years of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, an ensemble of students from Fisk University in Tennessee who created the a cappella group in 1871 in an effort to raise funds for the financially-struggling school. The original Fisk Jubilee Singers, largely made up of former slaves, toured around the United States, and, later, Europe, and were known for their performances of spirituals, which they are partially credited with preserving and introducing to a wider audience. Interviews were conducted with musicologists and historians, including John Hope Franklin, historian and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom; Toni Anderson, Music Historian; Horace Clarence Boyer, musicologist and noted scholar of African-American gospel music; and Reavis L. Mitchell, Professor of History at Fisk University. Topics include spirituals and music, slavery, racism, religion, segregation, the American Civil War, and higher education, particularly historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and Fisk University.

Africans in Americahttp://americanarchive.org/special_collections/africans-in-america-interviews

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 4.11.35 PMThe Africans in America Interviews Collection is made up of 53 raw interviews from the award-winning, four-part documentary of the same name, which aired on PBS in 1998. The documentary, the first to fully examine the history of slavery in the United States, focused on the experiences of African people and their transformation of America, beginning with 16th-century enslavement on Africa’s Gold Coast and ending on the eve of the American Civil War in 1861. The interviews offer an in-depth examination of the social, economic, and intellectual foundations of slavery and the ways in which African people changed the United States. Guests include descendants of slaves and slave-owners, authors, professors, historians, and statesmen, including Colin Powell, retired four-star general and the first African American on the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Karen Hughes White, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and founder of the Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County; Catherine Acholonu, a Nigerian author and Associate Professor of English Literature, Awuku College of Education; and Jeffrey Leath, Pastor of Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, Philadelphia. Topics covered include Christianity and English Protestantism, George Washington, Toussaint Louverture, the American Revolution, Nat Turner’s Rebellion, gender conventions, racism, violence, economics, family, and enslavement.

Special thanks to Lynn Mason of the WGBH Media Library and Archives’ Stock Sales and Licensing team for her work in digitizing the collections and Miranda Villesvik for ingesting the collections into AAPB.

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.

AAPB Debuts New Exhibit “Protecting Places: Historic Preservation and Public Broadcasting”

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Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) has launched a new digital exhibit titled “Protecting Places: Historic Preservation and Public Broadcasting.” Historic preservation is more than just saving old buildings from the bulldozer. Histories can be shared or silenced depending upon the preservation of places that represent a larger story. AAPB Digital Exhibits Intern Kara Zelasko uncovers how people have used public broadcasting to advocate, negotiate, or protest historic preservation efforts across America. Kara is currently a public history graduate student at Northeastern University interested in exploring history as a tool for placemaking and community engagement.

Using a diverse range of public radio and television content from 1950 – 2012, more than 100 digitized, historic public broadcasting programs, local news reports, radio call-in shows, and interviews document the important relationship historic structures have fostered between people and their neighborhoods. These visual and audio records digitized and preserved by the AAPB reveal the ways people have used or rejected preservation in the ever-changing American landscape to share local and national histories, illuminating the ways Americans have envisioned their communities through buildings and sites that connect past to present.

“Protecting Places: Historic Preservation and Public Broadcasting” is accessible online at http://americanarchive.org/exhibits/historic-preservation.

Listen to sample recordings from the exhibit…

Bill Inge, host of WILL’s radio call-in broadcast “Focus,” asks Richard Moe “how do we decide what buildings are worth saving?” Moe, then president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, answers that the decision essentially lies within the community and what will best serve its current and future needs. This answer underlines the struggle historic preservationists encounter between saving a building to share the past while also serving the community of the present. Listen to the full episode here.

This segment from New Jersey Nightly News explores the Victorian buildings that have come to define Cape May’s community. The interview reveals how Cape May, like many other places, have come to recognize the economic incentive in preserving buildings and landscapes that speak to the neighborhood’s character. Watch the full segment here.

This interview from South Carolina Educational Television’s “Connections” discusses the disappearing cabins of enslaved people in South Carolina.  Historic preservation can be a way to uncover marginalized stories that have been previously ignored. This record and others found in the exhibit reveal how histories have been both erased and uncovered in the American landscape over time. Watch the entire episode here.

Announcing ROLL THE CREDITS: Classifying and Transcribing Text with Zooniverse

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Today we’re launching ROLL THE CREDITS, a new Zooniverse project to engage the public in helping us catalog unseen content in the AAPB archive. Zooniverse is the “world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research.” Zooniverse volunteers (like you!) are helping the AAPB in classifying and transcribing the text from extracted frames of uncataloged public television programs, providing us with information we can plug directly into our catalog, closing the gap on our sparsely described collection of nearly 50,000 hours of television and radio.

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Example frame from ROLL THE CREDITS

The American people have made a huge investment in public radio and television over many decades. The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) works to ensure that this rich source for American political, social, and cultural history and creativity is saved and made available once again to future generations.

The improved catalog records will have verified titles, dates, credits, and copyright statements. With the updated, verified information we will be able to make informed decisions about the development of our archive, as well as provide access to corrected versions of transcripts available for anyone to search free of charge at americanarchive.org.

In conjunction with our speech-to-text transcripts from FIX IT, a game that asks users to correct and validate the transcripts one phrase at a time, ROLL THE CREDITS helps us fulfill our mission of preserving and making accessible historic content created by the public media, saving at-risk media before the contents are lost to prosperity.

Thanks for supporting AAPB’s mission! Know someone who might be interested? Feel free to share with the other transcribers and public media fans in your life!

Celebrating National Radio Day

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August 20 is National Radio Day!

National Radio Day “is a time to honor one of the most longstanding electronic media and its role in our lives.” To celebrate National Radio Day, we have added more than 500 historic radio programs to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) Online Reading Room, now accessible from anywhere in the United States. With these new additions, there are now more than 14,000 historic public radio and television programs available for research, educational and informational purposes in the Online Reading Room.

The following radio series are now available for listening online:

Cross Currents from Vermont Public Radio (1978 – 1980)
Cross Currents is a series of recorded lectures and public forums exploring issues of public concern in Vermont.

Hit the Dirt from WERU Community Radio (1990s)
Hit the Dirt is an educational show providing information about a specific aspect of gardening each episode.

Herbal Update from WERU Community Radio (1990s)
Herbal Update is an educational show providing information about the health and nutrition benefits of a specific herb each episode.

The following series were contributed to the AAPB by the University of Maryland’s National Public Broadcasting Archives as part of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) collection. NAEB was established in 1934 from a precursor organization that formed in 1925. 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 more than 5,500 NAEB radio programs available in the AAPB were produced between 1952 and 1976, and include 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.

WRVR | Riverside Church
The American People  (1964 – 1965)
Series examines contemporary issues through interviews and personal essays.

Automation and Technological Change (1964)
Documentary series on automation and technological change.

Conversations on Public Relations (1967)
Series of informal half-hour discussions on the nature and ethics of public relations.

WMUK | Western Michigan University
Where Minds Meet (1962 – 1963)
Discussions explore world of speech, conducted by Professors John Freund and Arnold Nelson of Western Michigan University.

WMUB | Miami University
As We See It: Vietnam ‘68 (1968)
Lecture/debate series on aspects of the war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

WBFO | SUNY Buffalo
The Only Way to Fly (1968)
Series about the safety aspects of commercial airlines and commercial air transport in the United States.

WUOM | University of Michigan
News in Twentieth Century America (1959)
A series of documentaries on the gathering, writing and dissemination of news in this country today, compiled from interviews with journalists.

Medical Research (1960)
Series about behavioral sciences and medicine.

Behavioral Science Research (1961)
Documentary series on the role of behavioral sciences.

The Challenge of Aging (1961)
Nine segments on aging within the series Behavioral Science Research.

Aspects of Mental Health (1962)
Documentary series about behavioral sciences and medicine research.

Wingspread Conference (1966)
Three programs of the major speeches given at the Wingspread Conference on Educational Radio as a National Resource, held Sept. 26-28, 1966, at Johnson Foundation in Racine, Wisconsin.

The American Town: A Self-Portrait (1967)
Historical documentary series drawn from the recollections of senior citizens in a variety of American towns.

The Truth about Radio (1967)
Interview by Richard Doan with Edmund G. Burrows, chairman of NAEB and manager of WUOM at U. of Michigan. He discusses his station and educational radio and television programming.

Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 (1967)
Panel discussion on Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.

University of Iowa
Russia Revisited (1959)
An informal talk by John Scott, assistant to the publisher of Time, Life and Fortune, recounting his recent trip to the Soviet Union.

Space Science Press Conference (1962)
Press conference at Univ. of Iowa at conclusion of 1962 Space Science Summer Study Program, hosted by National Aeronautic and Space Administration.

University of Florida
Revolution in Latin America (1961)
Documentary series on problems facing Latin America.

University of Denver
Indian Country (1957)
The problems of social adjustment in the attitudes and through the words of the modern American Indian.

Michigan State University
The Tender Twigs (1958)
Discussions of problems affecting today’s youth: mental health, delinquency, crime, social pressures; it considers solutions.

Hold Your Breath (1963)
Series about the impacts of air pollution.

The Music Makers (1965 – 1966)
Distinguished Americans discuss their profession of music, from composition to criticism; the business of music and its current place in our national culture.

San Bernardino Valley College
Politics in the Twentieth Century (1957)
Moderated panel discussion on American political affairs in mid-20th century.

Man is not a Thing (1958)
Discussion of the discoveries and errors of Sigmund Freud and his impact on the American family, politics and religion.

WGUC | University of Cincinnati
Interview with Dr. Albert B. Sabin (1961)
Interview with Dr. Albert B. Sabin, developer of the anti-polio vaccine.

Metaphysical Roots of the Drama (1968)
Lectures given at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion at Cincinnati by Robert Brustein, Dean of the Yale School of Drama.

THIRTEEN’s American Masters Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Launch of Digital Video Archive and Podcast

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between WGBH and the Library of Congress, is delighted to preserve for posterity more than 800 previously unreleased full-length interviews that were originally filmed for the iconic documentary PBS series American Masters, produced by New York public television station THIRTEEN for WNET. The interviews, digitized for In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive and the American Masters Podcast, will be archived for long-term storage at the Library of Congress to ensure their survival for future generations.

For 30 years, American Masters has consistently produced high-quality, award-winning documentaries showcasing the pantheon of artistic and cultural figures in American history. This collection will be an amazing addition to the AAPB.

As a central web portal for researchers to discover historic public media content, the AAPB provides information on more than 2.5 million public television and radio programs stored at stations and archives across the nation. Users searching American Masters interviews in the AAPB catalog at americanarchive.org will be directed to the In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive website to view the material.

Read more about this new American Masters project below:

THIRTEEN’s American Masters Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Launch of Digital Video Archive and Podcast at pbs.org/americanmasters

Features previously unreleased interviews with David Bowie, Gloria Steinem, Herbie Hancock, Bernadette Peters, Mike Nichols and others from the series’ award-winning documentary films

(NEW YORK – June 23, 2016) On this day in 1986, THIRTEEN’s American Masters made its series debut on PBS with Private Conversations: On the Set of “Death of a Salesman, a cinéma vérité documentary about the making of Arthur Miller’s masterpiece for network television, and its stars Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich.

Today, American Masters celebrates its 30th anniversary with the launch of In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive and the American Masters Podcast, featuring previously unreleased interviews filmed for the documentary series: 2,156 tapes, approximately 1,388 digitized hours, 800-plus interviews and counting.

A selection of short-form videos showcasing interviews with David Bowie, Gloria Steinem, Herbie Hancock, Bernadette Peters, Mike Nichols and other luminaries discussing America’s most enduring artistic and cultural giants are available now on the American Masters website (http://pbs.org/americanmasters). New videos will be released on an ongoing basis as the archive is digitized.

The American Masters Podcast, hosted by series executive producer Michael Kantor, will feature long-form interviews from In Their Own Words. The first season, “Women on Women, presents interviews with influential women discussing women cultural icons. Episode one features Gloria Steinem in conversation with the late, multiple Emmy-winning filmmaker Gail Levin taking a critical look at the life and career of Marilyn Monroe from 2006’s American Masters – Marilyn: Still Life. New episodes will be released biweekly on the American Masters website, iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher.

All full-length, digitized interviews will be archived by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between WGBH and the Library of Congress to preserve and make accessible significant historical content created by public media.

“I’m thrilled that the National Endowment for the Arts has provided major funding to get this project off the ground so we can finally share gems from the cutting room floor with the public,” said Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters. “Series creator Susan Lacy built a rich library of more than 200 documentary films, which is a treasure trove of American arts, culture and intellect, and the amazing interviews that informed these films are largely unseen. While we are still seeking funds to create a comprehensive, interactive digital archive website, we are confident that In Their Own Words and the American Masters Podcast will inspire and entertain a broad audience both today and in the future.”

Pending funding, the In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive dedicated website will eventually house all full-length, digitized interviews and be a public research-and-learning tool with an emphasis on usability, discoverability and comprehensive indexing to make American Masters interviews easily accessible and available to all.

To further explore the lives and works of masters past and present, the American Masters website currently offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, photos, educational resources and more. American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 12 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and also seen on the WORLD channel.

In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive and the American Masters Podcast is produced by Joe Skinner. Michael Kantor is executive producer.

Major funding for In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding for American Masters is provided by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Lenore Hecht Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, and public television viewers.

About WNET
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (KidsThirteen, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.

About the American Archive of Public Broadcasting
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation to preserve at-risk public media 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 40,000 hours of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized. The entire collection is available on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress, and more than 13,000 programs are available online at americanarchive.org.

 

 

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Mark your calendars: Access to historic public broadcasting just one month away!

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Mark your calendars for the culmination of two years of development and collaboration on the American Archive of Public Broadcasting!

On Tuesday, October 27 at 3pm ET, AAPB staff will host a webinar marking the official launch the AAPB Online Reading Room!

Over the past two years, the AAPB team has worked closely with participating organizations, web developers, and legal counsel from WGBH, the Library of Congress and fellows from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School with the goal of providing access to historic public media content digitized through the AAPB initiative. In October, we will make available thousands of public television and radio programs that help tell the story of local communities in the last half of the 20th century and first decade of the 21st. This rich source of historic audiovisual material will be made available for research, educational, and informational purposes, freely accessible by scholars, researchers, students, educators, filmmakers and kids of all ages.

We hope that you will join us at our launch event webinar, during which we will share examples of some of the programs that have been made available in the Online Reading Room, demonstrate new features and functionalities, answer questions and ask for your feedback.

To register for the webinar, follow this URL: http://wgbh1.adobeconnect.com/aapb-orr-webinar/event/registration.html

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.

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