Massive numbers of Americans today look no further than their favorite search engines to find a huge selection of audio, music, articles and video. They have no idea what’s missing – what isn’t online. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of hours of public media content are currently inaccessible and undocumented in closets, on shelves, in storage boxes. Despite public broadcasting’s mandate to “inform, inspire and educate,” most stations’ important and memorable recorded treasures, produced at significant cost, are never seen or heard again after their brief, shining moments on the air. This material is part of our American cultural heritage.
Every public radio and television station has audio and video content – public media – that is an American legacy deserving to be identified, preserved and made available for use. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Archive Content Inventory Project (CIP) is an important strategic opportunity for all public broadcasters to participate in. The aim of the project is to locate, identify and inventory public media materials nationwide so that, in the near future, they may be preserved, digitized and made available to the public once again.
The CIP is just one part of the CPB’s American Archive Initiative which includes:
1.0 Visioning and Blueprint Project
In early 2008, CPB engaged the services of Accenture to create the American Archive 1.0 Visioning and Blueprint Project to lay out the broad strategic and tactical aspects of the Archive. Accenture completed a series of inquires with key stakeholders in the system, and developed a cost and revenue model that provides a framework for the development of the Archive’s infrastructure and operations.
In January 2009 CPB launched a one-year pilot program geared to build a working prototype of the Archive focused on the U.S. civil rights movement and the stories developed around Ken Burns’ series “The War”. The goal of the pilot program was to test the hypothesis that there is a vast trove of valuable material at local stations by finding, coding, digitizing and sometimes restoring a representative sample of such material. Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) was the initiative manager and the project was completed in February 2010. CPB gained significant insight about the amount of material that exists at local public radio and television stations, about the issues involved with finding, coding and digitizing that material, and about the rights issues associated with such material.
PBCore 2.0 Development
From storage and preservation to retrieval and repurposing, metadata is critical to the persistence and availability of information for public media. Six years ago, CPB made an important investment in the development of PBCore to establish a metadata standard for public broadcasting (http://www.pbcore.org). Given the increasing importance of adhering to both domestic and international metadata standards CPB has funded a second phase for the development of PBCore that includes a sustainable long-term operating model. In the context of the American Archive investment, PBCore will be a critical component to enable effective distribution and sharing of information.
Technology Infrastructure Project
Broadway Video Digital Media (BVDM) was contracted by CPB to be the American Archive Strategy Consultant. BVDM’s role is to develop a plan for the technology infrastructure implementation that includes preservation of public media content, as well as a distribution strategy to make content accessible to the general public, producers, and educators in ways that best meets the needs of those groups.
Broadway Video Digital Media is currently fielding a survey to stations and other public media providers to better understand how the American Archive can best meet the needs of public media producers, technologists, archivists and managers. We encourage you to participate in their Technology and Strategy survey.
Content Inventory Project
The AACIP, as represented on this site, will focus on working with stations and national producers to digitize, preserve the physical media where necessary, and ingest content. This phase will also be focused on creating opportunities for the American public to access the public media materials utilizing the full spectrum of digital tools and platforms.
Content Preservation Project
Following the completion of the CIP and in-depth review of the inventories delivered by participating stations, CPB plans to provide grants for preserving and digitizing stations’ archival media assets. The Content Preservation Project (CPP) will include the cataloging, preservation, and digitization of content to be included in the American Archive.
CPB is working with individuals and organizations in the intellectual property community to assist in the publication of a “White Paper” that will provide an operational legal framework for the distribution of audio and visual assets resident in the nation’s public media archives. There are two primary objectives: 1) to provide a legal framework that will allow for the widest possible distribution and creative use of archival materials within existing laws and practices; and 2) to provide operational routines and guidelines that will minimize the risk of public media archives participating in the American Archive’s distribution efforts.