American Archive of Public Broadcasting to Preserve Fifty Years of Sesame Street for Posterity

WGBH Educational Foundation and the Library of Congress will preserve and make accessible to the public historic and contemporary episodes of Sesame Street.

Photo credit: Sesame Workshop

BOSTON (February 14, 2019)As Sesame Street begins to mark its 50th anniversary, the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation, has announced that Sesame Workshop has donated a collection of digitized episodes from the past 50 years of Sesame Street, to be preserved for posterity. Over the next year, nearly 4,500 episodes from the first 49 seasons of the iconic children’s television program will be incorporated into the AAPB’s extensive archive of public media from across the United States. The Sesame Street collection will be available to view on-site at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and by appointment at WGBH in Boston.

Sesame Street changed the landscape of children’s media at a time when television was viewed as a ‘vast wasteland’ and transformed a medium that strongly appealed to children into a source for knowledge and social development for our youngest citizens,” said Sesame Street co-founder and AAPB Executive Advisory Council Member Lloyd Morrisett, Jr. “I am proud that we are entrusting the American Archive of Public Broadcasting with the task of preserving Sesame Street’s stories and characters for future generations.”

The Sesame Street preservation project comes on the heels of Sesame Workshop’s announcement last week detailing plans to celebrate Sesame Street’s 50th year of broadcast. Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit education organization behind Sesame Street, which has been teaching and inspiring children since its first episode aired on November 10, 1969. Sesame Street’s groundbreaking research-based methods, dedication to entertaining educational content and outreach to families in underserved communities established a legacy for educational television and for public media as a whole.

Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary Highlight Reel

Among the episodes preserved in the AAPB’s Sesame Street collection are indelible scenes like the touching “Farewell, Mr. Hooper,” in which Big Bird, the program’s guileless surrogate for curious children, learns about death and how to cope;  Ernie’s “Rubber Duckie, You’re the One,” which made it to the 16th spot on the Billboard top singles chart in 1970; Grover’s frantic back and forth in “Near/Far,” Cookie Monster’s turn as “Alistair Cookie,” the cookie and classics-obsessed host of Monsterpiece Theater; and Kermit the Frog’s hopeful tune, “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” which stressed self-acceptance.

“As a historian and academic, I can’t stress enough the importance of preserving groundbreaking media like Sesame Street, which was the first TV show to address big issues like poverty, family and the environment in a way that children could understand,” said Kathryn Ostrofsky, Ph.D. and author of the forthcoming book Sounding It Out: How Sesame Street Crafted American Culture. “Early episodes of Sesame Street provide a window into the pressing issues of the times, as well as changing views about education. The American Archive of Public Broadcasting’s Sesame Street collection is a critical resource for studying and understanding so many facets of these societal changes.”

The mission of the AAPB is to digitize, preserve and make accessible historic public media content from across the country, dating back to the early 1940s. Given its age, much of the original audio and video tape is fragile and deteriorating. The AAPB is in a race against time to ensure that future generations, researchers and the public will be able to access these programs for years to come.

“We’re honored that Sesame Workshop has entrusted the preservation of their decades of work to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “To this day, Sesame Street is a key part of our national educational, television and public broadcasting landscape. I hope that everyone whose lives were touched by Sesame Street will visit the Library and WGBH to experience this historic collection.”

Photo credit: Sesame Workshop

Now in its fifth year of service, the AAPB has preserved for posterity over 90,000 digitized and born-digital audio and video materials. Among the collections preserved are more than 8,000 episodes of the PBS NewsHour Collection, dating back to 1975; more than 1,300 programs and documentaries from National Educational Television, the predecessor to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS); full “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings; raw, unedited interviews from the landmark documentary Eyes on the Prize; raw, unedited interviews with eyewitnesses and historians recorded for American Experience documentaries including Stonewall Uprising, The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Riders, 1964, The Abolitionists and many others. The AAPB also works with scholars to publish curated exhibits and essays that provide historical and cultural context to the Archive’s content.


About the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation to coordinate a national effort to preserve at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity and provide a central web portal for access to the unique programming that public stations have aired over the past 70 years. To date, over 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 WGBH and the Library of Congress, and more than 35,000 programs are available online at americanarchive.org. 

About WGBH

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

About The Library of Congress

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

Tune in Tomorrow for AAPB’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ Forum on Reddit!

Join the Ask Me Anything forum (AMA) at https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/!

Hosted by Ask Historians (a.k.a /r/AskHistorians), staff from the American Archive of Public Broadcasting will be answering questions during an Ask Me Anything forum (AMA) tomorrow, Wednesday, February 13, 2019 from 12pm – 4pm ET! The AMA will take place at https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/!

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress and Boston public broadcaster WGBH, will be answering the public’s questions about how we collect, preserve and provide access to the collection, as well as any specific questions about the content of the archive, and of course how scholars might collaborate with the AAPB to use the archive for research or in their teaching (we’d love to hear your ideas!).

The AAPB coordinates a national effort to preserve at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity and provides a centralized web portal for access to the unique programming aired by public stations over the past 70+ years. To date, we have digitized nearly 100,000 historic public television and radio programs and original materials (such as raw interviews). The entire collection is accessible for research on location at the Library of Congress and WGBH, and more than 45,000 programs are available for listening and viewing online, within the United States, at http://americanarchive.org.

Among the collections preserved are more than 8,000 episodes of the PBS NewsHour Collection, dating back to 1975; more than 1,300 programs and documentaries from National Educational Television, the predecessor to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS); raw, unedited interviews from the landmark documentary Eyes on the Prize; raw, unedited interviews with eyewitnesses and historians recorded for American Experience documentaries including Stonewall Uprising, The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Riders, 1964, The Abolitionists and many others. We aim to grow the archive by up to 25,000 hours of additional digitized content per year. The AAPB also works with scholars to publish curated exhibits and essays that provide historical and cultural context to the Archive’s content. We have also worked with researchers who are interested in using the collection (metadata, transcripts, and media) as a dataset for digital humanities and other computational scholarship.

The collection, acquired from more than 100 stations and producers across the U.S., not only provides national news, public affairs, and cultural programming from the past 70 years, but local programming as well. Researchers using the collection have the potential to uncover events, issues, institutional shifts, and social movements on the local scene that have not yet made it into the larger historical narrative. Because of the geographical breadth of the collection, scholars can use it to help uncover ways that national and even global processes played out on the local scene. The long chronological reach from the late 1940s to the present will supply historians with previously inaccessible primary source material to document change (or stasis) over time.

The staff who will be answering questions are:

Karen Cariani, Executive Director of the WGBH Media Library and Archives and WGBH Project Director for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

Casey Davis Kaufman, Associate Director of the WGBH Media Library and Archives and Project Manager for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

Ryn Marchese, Engagement and Use Manager for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting at WGBH

Tune in tomorrow at https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/.

New Special Collection of News and Cultural Programming from Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA)!

“At the heart of this collection, are the people. The resilient men and women who have both contributed to the legacy of Oklahoma as well as the mosaic of our great nation in the area of art, music, science, exploration, politics, religion, architecture, literature, language, etc.”- Evelyn Cox, Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellow

Collection Summary

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OETA Special Collection

The OETA News and Cultural Programming (1980-Present) Collection includes 74 programs and segments created since the 1980s by Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA). It is a glimpse into the past, covering topics and exploring issues that are relevant to the diverse cultures of Oklahoma. The collection, which includes programs about Oklahoma history, documents issues and events such as the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, the life and career of humorist Will Rogers, the women’s war effort in World War II, and the Oklahoma City Bombing. Also featured are individuals, such as, aviator Wiley Post, Boomer David Payne, the “Hanging Judge” Charles Isaac Parker, and many others. This collection is an eclectic mix of digitized at-risk public media material from the OETA Archive with contributions from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Archive.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/special_collections/oeta-news-cultural-programming!

Collection Background

The Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) is Oklahoma’s only statewide coordinated instructional and public television network. In 1951 the state legislature pioneered the growth of noncommercial educational television in the United States by unanimously approving House Concurrent Resolution Number 5, urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reserve television channels for educational purposes. In addition to offering television programs supplied by PBS and acquired from various independent distributors, the network produces news, public affairs, cultural, and documentary programming; the OETA also distributes online education programs for classroom use and teacher professional development, and maintains the state’s Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) infrastructure. The OETA network’s main offices and production facilities are located at the intersection of Kelley Avenue and Britton Road in northeastern Oklahoma City. The collection was digitized in 2018 by Evelyn Cox and Laura Haygood, Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellows, in collaboration with Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, through a project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Featured Programs

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Vote for AAPB’s Breakout Session Proposal for the PBS Annual Meeting!

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‘Engage Your Community to Celebrate Your History’ – Voting closes January 11th!

Help the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) connect with more public television colleagues by voting for our PBS Annual Meeting session proposal: ‘Engage Your Community to Celebrate Your History’.

Vote for #12 at https://pbs.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=1ef18d7e30fe3109d60695e37&id=1015068778&e=0fc245cef2!

Many stations have piles of tapes in closets, basements, off-site storage, or hard drives under desks, that represent our local and national cultural heritage. The AAPB has proposed a session to help stations learn about easy steps toward preserving and making their collection available. Through collaborative grants with stations both large and small, the AAPB has preserved nearly 100,000 programs and original materials contributed by 125 TV and radio stations.

Joining the session would be Broadcast Journalist Judy Woodruff, Chair of our Executive Advisory Council and from the PBS NewsHour, Archivist Chris Alexander from WETA, and AAPB Stations and Producers Advisory Committee Member Kevin Crane from Nashville Public Television to discuss preservation, funding, and engaging initiatives that help preserve broadcasting’s legacy!

It’s as easy as:

  1. Click the voting link: https://pbs.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=1ef18d7e30fe3109d60695e37&id=1015068778&e=0fc245cef2
  2. Press ‘NEXT’ to #12
  3. Select AAPB’s Session titled ‘Engage Your Community to Celebrate Your History’
  4. Click ‘NEXT’ until you’ve submitted!

Please spread the word with your fellow pubmedia fans! Thank you.

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#InnovationMonday: Dr. Michael DeBakey and Heart Surgery

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Want to help make this interview searchable and accessible online? While listening to Dr. DeBakey’s interview, audiences can edit the grammatical errors made in the computer-generated transcript at http://fixitplus.americanarchive.org/transcripts/cpb-aacip_17-73bzmhcc!

Produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB), this episode of the series “Louisiana Legends” (1982) features the first part of an interview with Dr. Michael DeBakey, a native of Lake Charles, LA who was a preeminent surgeon whose innovations revolutionized heart surgery. During his interview, Dr. DeBakey discusses his father’s immigration to Lake Charles from Lebanon, how he became interested in the heart, the impact of Dr. Alton Ochsner on his career, and his interactions with President Richard Nixon, President John F. Kennedy, and President Lyndon B. Johnson.

“Louisiana Legends” is a talk show hosted by Gus Weill conducting in-depth conversations with Louisiana cultural icons. This series has been digitized and preserved in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) and the public can help make this interview searchable and accessible through the Transcribe to Digitize Challenge!

How does it work? The AAPB has created computer-generated transcripts for each radio and television program in the archive. Stations like LPB are engaging the public to help correct puncutation or misspelled words to make the program available online. These programs are then searchable by keywords and timestamps much like this interview with James Baldwin (WGBH, 1963) – http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-0v89g5gf5r.

You can start editing here http://fixitplus.americanarchive.org/transcripts/cpb-aacip_17-73bzmhcc.

Or watch the full interview at http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_17-73bzmhcc.

To learn how the Transcribe to Digitize Challenge is providing FREE digitization to AAPB’s participating organizations, visit https://americanarchivepb.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/aapbs-transcribe-to-digitize-challenge-with-george-blood/.

Thank you!

Steve Wilcer, Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellow at WUNC

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I was thrilled to experience the myriads of different programs from WUNC over the years and be able to directly contribute to their preservation for the future.

Hello! My name is Steve Wilcer. I coordinated with WGBH and WUNC Radio in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as a member of the second cohort of fellows for the AAPB Public Broadcast Preservation Fellowship. I am currently working towards a Master of Science in Library Science at the University of North Carolina and plan to graduate next spring. Prior to my time in North Carolina, I studied musicology at the Ohio State University and was exposed to a wide variety of media formats and materials, ranging from microfiche to medieval manuscripts. I developed a strong passion for libraries and archives through these experiences, which led me to pursue a second master’s degree in library science.

Learning as I work

As someone who just entered North Carolina last fall, my work with WUNC Radio offered me a unique opportunity to learn about the area and its people. Public radio provides a versatile platform for education, entertainment, and awareness programming. I was thrilled to experience the myriads of different programs from WUNC over the years and be able to directly contribute to their preservation for the future. During my portion of the fellowship, I was able to digitize approximately forty assets, with most of them being digital audio tapes. I also continued to develop the cataloging and documentation for WUNC, allowing me to experience the digitization and preservation process from a more holistic standpoint.

One particularly informative component of the fellowship for me was the North Carolina Voices special collection: This collection contains materials from two of WUNC’s special program series: Understanding Poverty and Civil War. Understanding Poverty offered a wide assortment of programs and features on various financial and social issues in the state, as well as how North Carolina has developed over the last several decades. The Civil War series contained family stories of ancestors that lived during or served in the United States Civil War. Both series provided me a valuable, more tangible insight into the people of Chapel Hill and North Carolina as I listened to their stories and firsthand experiences. I also had the artistic opportunity to design our thumbnail image for the special collection as it appears on the AAPB.

Building up foundations

Being the second UNC fellow for the project, I was fortunate that our digitization station was already set up and operational. Getting the station to work was a significant challenge for the first round of the fellowship, but fortunately, the station operated without any issues for me, thanks to all the hard work from everyone involved. One of my duties in the project was to build upon the records for the digitized materials and ensure that WUNC’s personal records were uniform and easy to understand. I frequently consulted with WUNC’s Keith Weston to confirm dates, names, and programming details. In some cases, newly rediscovered items forced us to reevaluate how we defined a particular series or piece of programming, and I would edit our records as necessary.

UNC SILS Digitization station

While the fellowship focuses on digitization, cataloging the physical DATs and cassettes I handled proved to be equally important. Without proper labeling and documentation, a given asset could be unknowingly re-recorded and cost extra time. In addition to our digital master table of records, I was responsible for labeling the physical objects and their cases with the newly-determined local identifiers for WUNC. With these markings, the cases can be quickly scanned for items that are yet to be digitized, which will make future digitization projects easier for WUNC.

I developed a strong personal connection to these items as I cataloged and marked them. Each DAT and cassette had a story to tell, and it was up to me to piece together their metadata and see that they were digitized and made publicly accessible so others could listen to them. Being one of the first North Carolina-based organizations to be included in the AAPB was very exciting for me, as our work here was not only a foundation for WUNC and its archives, but for North Carolina as a state, as well. Materials like the WUNC 1953 sign-on event reminded me how long ago some of these recordings were made, and how many more there may still be at WUNC, waiting to be digitized and heard once more.

Overall, the fellowship has been a wonderful opportunity for me. It allowed me to not only develop my abilities handling audio materials and digital records, but also provide me a way to learn about the area and its people and history. I am incredibly grateful for all the support and effort from everyone that allowed this project to be realized: my advisor, Dr. Helen Tibbo, Erica Titkemeyer from the Southern Folklife collection for her technical assistance, Dena Schultz, our first fellow for the project, Keith Weston at WUNC, and all the staff at WGBH for their supervision, planning, and feedback.

Written by Steve Wilcer, 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.

 

Announcing the Second Round of Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellows!

WGBH on behalf of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting is pleased to introduce our second cohort of fellows for the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF), a project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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 summer semester of this year, 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 complete a handbook which was drafted by the first Fellows, and develop a training workshop for fellow students in the autumn semester. 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 Summer 2018 PBPF cohort:

Fellow: Laura Haygood
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

Laura Haygood is a graduate student in the University of Oklahoma’s Master of Library and Information Studies Program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History, and she has a background in instrumental music. She works as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Government Documents collection at OU’s Bizzell Library. Laura has volunteered her time at the Moore-Lindsay Historical House Museum, where she wrote an NEH Preservation Grant, as well as at her local public library and local school library. She will complete her MLIS in May 2019. Laura hopes to use this experience digitizing and preserving audiovisual materials to preserve oral histories in the future. Upon completion of her degree, she plans to seek employment in an archive or academic library. Wherever she ends up, Laura’s overarching professional goal is to connect people with the resources they need.

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Fellow: Riley Eren Cox
Program: Clayton State University
Host Organization: Georgia Public Broadcasting
Host Mentor: Ellen Reinhardt, Radio Program Director, 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

Riley graduated from SUNY Fredonia in May 2017 with xir bachelor’s in History, minors in Anthropology and Museum Studies.  After interning at the Chautauqua Institution for a season in 2015, xe decided to pursue a career in archives.  Riley is currently enrolled in Clayton State University’s Master of Archival Studies program.  Xe will be ending xir time of employment at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archive, and Rare Book Library at Emory University this summer and is excited to see where this fellowship takes xir.

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Fellow: Steve Wilcer
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

Steve Wilcer is a graduate student in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a current focus in academic libraries and archives. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Music Performance and Composition at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois and his first master’s degree in Musicology from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. His multifaceted background in music, research, and archival resources led him to explore and pursue library science and preservation, especially regarding audiovisual materials. In addition to music, he is also interested in history, literature, film, and electronic gaming.

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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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Fellow: Eric Saxon
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

Eric Saxon is a graduate student in the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri – Columbia, where he is specializing in archives. His archival research/building interests include anything in danger of being forgotten by the collective memory, a predilection that has led to digital preservation efforts focusing on community centers, an outsider artist, and a WWII Monuments Man.  Eric holds a master’s degree in art history and graduate certificate in digital humanities from the University of Nebraska, and a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Stanford University.

Follow along on their digitization journeys by searching #aapbpf!

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.

Virginia Angles, Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellow at GPB

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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.

Digitization Grant Opportunity from Council on Library and Information Resources!

CLIR Recordings at Risk – Fourth Round Opens May 2nd 

Collaborate with American Archive of Public Broadcasting on
Digitization Grant Proposal

Now in its fourth call for the Recordings at Risk grant program, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is accepting applications from collecting institutions for the digital reformatting of audio and audiovisual materials. Generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Recordings at Risk is focused on digitizing “at-risk” audio and audiovisual materials of high scholarly value.

For this call, CLIR will award grants of between $10,000 and $50,000 for digital reformatting projects between 3 and 12 months carried out between June 2018 and April 2019.

DEADLINE:  June 29th, 11:59 pm (EDT). Recipients announced September 28th.

ELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES: All audio and audiovisual formats are eligible, though applicants must partner with a qualified external service provider that can perform technically competent and cost-effective digital reformatting for the nominated format(s).

INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH AAPB on a CLIR/Recordings at Risk Preservation project? Our team could provide your project with a letter of support, provide guidance on project planning, and provide feedback on your proposal. Contact Ryn Marchese, Engagement and Use Manager, ryn_marchese (at) wgbh (dot) org. 

FREE WEBINAR: CLIR will hold an informational webinar for prospective applicants on Wednesday, May 16 at 2:00 pm EDT. Please follow this link for more information: https://www.clir.org/recordings-at-risk/applicant-resources.

COMPLETE INFORMATION AND GUIDELINES HERE:  https://www.clir.org/recordings-at-risk/

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About AAPB

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 WGBH and the Library of Congress, and over 31,000 programs are available online at americanarchive.org.