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.
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.
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.
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