A Day In the Life of NET

Hi there! We’re part of the National Educational Television (NET) collection at the Library of Congress’s National Audiovisual Conservation Center (NAVCC) – maybe you’ve heard of us? Recently, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded the AAPB to complete the NET Collection Catalog Project, whereby some nifty catalogers are working to create fabulous descriptions of programs distributed by NET (1952-1972, which makes up some of the earliest public television content!). People know so little about us because, up until now, we’ve been stored in unprocessed collections! So we’re looking to get makeovers, too. We are happy here, NAVCC has optimal storage facilities for us – we’re stored at a cool 50 degrees with 30% relative humidity – but we would like it if people could find us more easily.

To give you a better idea of just what processing a film title in the collection entails, we’re going to give you an inside look. The first part of our journey? Getting pulled from the stacks, of course! When we’re pulled, we make our way down from the shelves, onto an obliging cart, and are rolled out of the vaults. Yippee!

But because we like it chilly, we don’t appreciate temperature shock. So we get wheeled into the acclimatization room, where we can get adjusted to the new climes.

After gradually thawing out, we get picked up. Today’s the big day, we’re getting processed today!

Quick, time to make a break for it!!

We find our way here, to a work bench, where the magic happens.

All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up. We get pulled, one by one from the cart. But you can find a lot of great metadata on us, so all that info gets written down first for input into our collection database system later.

Sometimes when you open us up, there’s a prize inside! No, not of the Cracker Jack variety – these prizes come in the form of broadcast histories and/or condition assessments. They get re-foldered and stored safely away, too, but hey, this is about us, the NET film!

We get placed up on the spindle, ready to wind! (Good thing Sleeping Beauty isn’t a film archivist, whew.)

We’re going to transfer from an old reel onto a slick, plastic “core.” The core (you can see cores stored in the boxes below the bench) is fixed inside the split reel on the right.

When we’ve been wound through, I end up on the right now, wrapped around a core.

How embarrassing! Look away!

Like a beautiful butterfly, now that we’ve been transformed, we shed the old reel and accompanying film can (that is, they are promptly disposed of).


I’m then rehoused into a – blue, blue, ‘lectric blue (that’s the color of my room) – plastic can.

And I’m taken over to a computer, to complete my cataloging in the collection database system MAVIS.

And now for my favorite part! I get labeled with a Library of Congress item barcode, new rack number, and a snazzy title label so people can find me again!

Now I’m all set! Ahhh 1331 – I’ve always liked the sound of a palindrome. Now I’m headed back to the vaults to get some well-deserved shut-eye. Later!

This post was written by Susie Booth, NET Cataloger at NAVCC, on behalf of the NET film.

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