We’re moving! 15,000 boxes, that is!

 

Ever wonder what 15,000 boxes looks like? It’s likely that you haven’t, but if you check out the video below, you’ll find out!

The WGBH Media Library and Archives (MLA) just began the process of moving our off-site storage to a new location. Our off-site storage unit currently stores 15,000 boxes, or 400,000 items, within 8,000 square feet. While our WGBH vault stores our master-level programs and original materials, the archival records held in our off-site storage include all of our non-master, or circulating films and tapes, as well as over 60 years of administrative and legal records. Each box needs to be removed from its shelf; transported from the current location (shown in the video above) to the new location; and then placed in the exact same order as they were in the original location. Maintaining the original order allows our archivists to continue to record and monitor the exact location of each item, ensuring that we maintain efficient circulation of these materials for our producers, researchers, and other staff.

Peter Higgins, Archives Manager, with assistance from Rebecca “Becky” Philio, Archivist, is leading this important effort to protect WGBH’s archival records and materials and securely transfer them to the new location. The move will be completed within the next several weeks, and we’ll look forward to showing you the “after” photos and videos!

 

To be continued…

Please Support Public Media: It’s our History

The WGBH Media Library and Archives is dependent on a strong public media system to continue to provide safe keeping and access to historic programming.

However, the proposed budget cut to eliminate federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting puts public media at risk. This federal investment in public media is the stabilizing core that makes it possible to create educational programs, serve as a trusted source of in-depth and informative journalism, and share the vital insights of science, history, and culture — all free to the public. And if stations and programming are at risk, the archive and access to this history is also at risk.

Federal funding for public broadcasting represents less than 1/100th of one percent of the federal budget, while PBS is watched by 82 percent of U.S. households. It’s one of America’s best investments, costing only $1.35 per citizen each year. That’s right: $1.35. A true bargain!

It is time to speak up. More than ever, your voice can make a difference. If you would like to show your support for this important issue, please visit www.ProtectMyPublicMedia.org to both sign a petition to support continued funding and to find information about the ways public media serves our communities. Let your friends and family know how important public media is to you and watch for updates with additional information on how you can help.

Many thanks from all of us at the WGBH Media Library and Archives.

Karen Cariani
Senior Director, WGBH Media Library and Archives

 

Help us improve Open Vault and earn an Amazon gift card!

WGBH’s Media Library & Archives  (MLA) is currently seeking participants for a usability study of our online Open Vault digital archive. We are seeking five participants from the public media community and five scholar participants. The study will last about an hour or less, and all participants will receive a $20 Amazon gift card.

We are collaborating with Simmons College graduate student researchers Derek Murphy and Anna Boutin to learn about ways that Open Vault can be improved to make it easier and more enjoyable to use.  You do not have to be located in Boston to participate – the study is conducted long-distance over the internet. You’ll connect with our researchers using the video conferencing tool GoToMeeting (Simmons College will provide the software) and share your screen with them while you use Open Vault’s various features. This way, we can get your thoughts on where the website works and where it could use some work. Your participation would greatly help us make Open Vault the best it can be, and would also help our student researchers learn more about usability and media archives!

If you are interested in participating in the usability study, please send an email to Casey Davis, MLA Senior Project Manager at casey_davis@wgbh.org.

Join us at the new WGBH Satellite Studio @ BPL!

On Thursday, October 20 at 11am, WGBH Media Library and Archives (MLA) staff will host an event at WGBH’s new satellite studio in the Newsfeed Cafe at the Boston Public Library’s Johnson Building! Join us that day to learn about WGBH’s history and about the historic collections preserved and made accessible by the MLA.

WGBH MLA staff Leah Weisse, Production Archival Compliance Manager, and Casey Davis, MLA Senior Project Manager, will meet with library patrons and the public to discuss WGBH’s history, its productions, and provide an overview of the activities of the WGBH Media Library and Archives. Attendees will explore some of the historic audio and video content that is preserved by the WGBH Archives, and Leah and Casey will provide a demo showing attendees how to access WGBH’s historic collection of television, radio, and other materials.

For more info contact Casey Davis at casey_davis@wgbh.org. We hope to see you there!

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WGBH’s new satellite studio at the Boston Public Library. Photo credit: Casey Robidoux WGBH News

MD5 Checksum – Technical Tuesday

Hello,
Thanks for checking out the WGBH Media Library and Archives’ blog for our first Technical Tuesday. We’ll be sharing some of the techniques we use in our daily digital preservation and access processes. First up, creating MD5 checksums for files.

What’s a MD5?
A MD5 checksum hash is a value composed of 32 digits that can be calculated from a digital file to verify integrity and looks like this 9aee1a70c2055b5eaba6dcb73ffe42cc

At WGBH we generate and compare MD5 values every time we copy a file from one storage medium to another. If the MD5 value is not identical between the source and copied file, it means there was a change to the file somewhere during the transfer and the files are not identical.

We generate and store MD5 checksums for every file we preserve. When we run processes to check the integrity of our digital files, it’s important we have a base value to compare to.

Systems and software we use:
– Computer with Mac OS X 10.5 or higher
– “Terminal” application included with OS X

Generating an MD5 for a file is simple.
Open the Terminal application.
Type

$ md5 /folder/path/to/your/file/example.txt

Press “return”
That should return a value that looks similar to this:

MD5 (/folder/path/to/your/file/example.txt) = 9aee1a70c2055b5eaba6dcb73ffe42cc

That is the MD5 checksum for that example text file.

If you wanted to save that MD5 value to a separate csv report file you can do this:

$ md5 /folder/path/to/your/file/example.txt >> /path/to/your/report/file/md5_report.csv

Press “return” and you’ll find a new file created in the folder, /path/to/your/report/file/, called “md5_report.csv”. Inside it will have the filename MD5 output for the original file.
In the WGBH Media Library and Archives, we generate a MD5 csv report file for an entire directory on files on a hard drive using these commands:

$ cd directory
$ find "$(pwd -P)" -not -path '*/\.*' -type f -exec md5 '{}' \; >> /path/to/your/destination/folder/md5_report.csv

Once we have that, we can compare those MD5 values to another list to verify files have been copied successfully.

It’s important to note that there are other checksum algorithms besides MD5 that are more unique, such as SHA-256.

To calculate the SHA-256 value:

$ shasum -a 256 /folder/path/to/your/file/example.txt

The value should look something like this
53971fee91ae8530f32dad213d76aac0cc5cf9cb9771e6268b7568e791de0327.

We don’t use SHA-256 yet at WGBH because the preservation software and systems are not yet making use of it.

Check back here every Tuesday for more tips!

Check out the new & improved Open Vault!

The WGBH Media Library and Archives is happy to announce a new and improved, easier to navigate Open Vault.

We want Open Vault to be a useful resource for researchers and scholars interested in topics covered by the thousands of television and radio programs created by WGBH. Because of this, we’ve taken the time to improve our catalog of more than 42,000 records, making content more discoverable than past iterations of the site.

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We’ve also made improvements to the technology that runs Open Vault. We’re able to add new content and improve the data within the records more easily and often. We have also added links within records to the thousands of digitized WGBH media content available online at The American Archive of Public Broadcasting or The Boston Local TV News Digital Library  websites.

Another feature we’re excited provide is documentation and examples of some of our archival practices, so keep an eye on this blog as this material is made available.

Where to Start?

You can browse over 1,000 WGBH series titles and from there explore entire programs or clips available to view online.

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Open Vault also features curated, scholar exhibits ranging from topics like needlework and cooking to Boston’s 1960s Civil Rights movement.


You will also find WGBH special collections. These collections feature WGBH produced content centered around a specific program or topic. Many of these collections feature complete, unedited interviews from people featured in programs like Vietnam: A Television History, War and Peace in the Nuclear Age and Rock and Roll.


These Open Vault improvements will allow us to highlight important, historical content in new and exciting ways and well as better contribute and engage with the archival and library communities. Please visit often and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

User Funded Digitization

We’re happy to announce that the first Open Vault user funded digitization of a program has been completed and is now available to listen to online!

The program audio comes from the series, The Advocates episode 103 “Should the Law Permit Voluntary Euthanasia for the Terminally Ill?”

You can access the program audio by clicking this link.

If you haven’t tried requesting digitization or transcription of a program, it’s easy!

First register for a free Open Vault account and login.

Then search for a record of interest and click the “Request Digitization” or “Request Transcript” button.

That’s it!  You will then receive more information about your request via email from WGBH.

The New Open Vault

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As you’ve probably seen, Open Vault looks a little different than it did a month ago. The WGBH Media Library and Archives team have been hard at work revamping the website for over a year now and we’re happy to announce some new features you’ll be able to take advantage of.

Scholar Collections
You’ll notice on the right side of the homepage there are Scholar Collections. During the past year we’ve completed a project where scholars were granted access to WGBH material of all kinds of topics and then created articles based on their research. We’re pleased to announce that those articles, as well as related media and content, are now available on Open Vault as part of the Scholar Collections.

Browse WGBH Series and Programs
Another new feature of Open Vault is the ability to browse material that WGBH has in it’s Media Library and Archives. On the top of any page if you click on the “Series” button you’ll be taken to a page with an alphabetical list of all the Series we have material for in the Archives. Clicking on a particular Series title, you’ll be taken to a page listing the Series description as well as a list of Programs. If you click on a Program title, you’ll be taken to a page that has the description of the Program. If audio, video, or image material is available and digitized on Open Vault from a particular program, you’ll also be able to see that there as well.
We’re exposing our collection to the public in hopes to gain interest and provide access.

Request Digitization of Audio Video or Transcript
A feature that we introduced on the Boston TV News Digital Library website (bostonlocaltv.org) is the ability to request that a program be digitized. As part of this Open Vault relaunch, we’re including the ability to request a digital transcript be made of a program as well.
How it works is if you register for a free account on Open Vault, when you navigate to a page where no video is streaming and/or no transcript is viewable, you have the ability to pay for the digitization yourself by clicking the “Request Digitization” or “Request Transcription” button. This will send an email to the WGBH MLA staff and someone will be in contact with you about how much it would cost you to make that request digitized and available on Open Vault (rights permitting).  Think of it as a sponsorship of the preservation of the asset as well as helping to pay to make it accessible for everyone on the internet.

Improved Features
Even features that worked well on the older version of the Open Vault website have been given slight upgrades. You should notice improved browser compatibility, even on mobile devices. The video player is improved and navigating longer length media is easier. If a transcript exists for a video file and you jump to a specific point in the video, the transcript should automatically move there as well.

As with any website re-launch, there are still some bugs the development team is hard at work on so if any functionality is missing or a link is broken, rest assured we’re hard at work trying to resolve those issues quickly. Thank you for your patience.

Please feel free to direct any comments or questions to openvault[at]wgbh[dot]org.

Thank you for taking the time to use Open Vault and we look forward to bringing additional access to users in the future.

-WGBH Media Library and Archives

1st reel of legendary James Brown concert returned to ‘GBH

James Brown performing at the Boston Garden in 1968.

The Media Library and Archives has long been in possession 2nd and 3rd reel of the 1968 James Brown concert, an event credited with keeping the peace after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It wasn’t until a few months ago that members of our stock sales team discovered that the original 2inch videotape of the first hour of the concert, missing all these years, was in storage with the James Brown Estate. As part of the licensing agreement for the upcoming documentary on James Brown, the stock sales team negotiated the deposit of a preservation quality digital surrogate into the WGBH Archives.

To share this recent discovery with other WGBH staff, the MLA arranged for a screening of the “lost reel.” Employees took time out of their busy schedules to relive a famous night in Boston history. The screening included the best of the “lost” first reel, which had lots of technical sound difficulties. This included a rare performance of Brown singing “If I Ruled the World” and James Brown addressing the audience in a unique moment. In addition, a second James Brown performance of “Going to Kansas City,” as well as powerful words from Brown, City Councilor Thomas Atkins, and Mayor Kevin White screened from the later reels.

One of the employees who attended was WGBH Jazz Gallery’s Al Davis, who was at the concert in 1968. Davis was kind enough to get up and share a few words with his fellow employees. He spoke of how his mother wasn’t sure she should let him go to the concert. He was ultimately allowed to go and headed down to the Boston Garden on the Orange Line. The event was very meaningful to him, especially since James Brown was such an important mentor to young black students at the time. Davis also recounted how under the urging of James Brown and others the crowd truly did remain peaceful after the concert.

You can watch clips from the concert, like this part of James Brown’s tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. 

From thousands of tapes to 17

On March 11, 2013, WGBH Media Library and Archives’ Archives Manager Keith Luf and Digital Archives Manager Michael Muraszko loaded 7,010 tapes from the WGBH vault onto 12 palettes, which were then shipped via an 18-wheeler to be digitized at Crawford Media Services in Atlanta, Georgia for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.  Only a few months later would the WGBH MLA in collaboration with the Library of Congress be selected as the permanent home for the American Archive collection, an initiative to identify, preserve, and make accessible as much as possible the historic record of public media in America.

WGBH’s tapes were stored in 306 archives boxes, totaling 459 linear feet (longer than 1 1/2 football fields!) and comprising more than 6,400 hours of content. In many cases, the archives staff knew only the program title of the tapes — they often knew nothing about the recorded participants. The content dated back as early as March of 1947 and was as recent as 2005. The MLA sent material on 15 different video and audio tape formats, the majority of which had exceeded the manufacturer’s intended lifespan. MLA’s Keith Luf compared the situation to a child’s 18 year old cat, which everyone knew wouldn’t — and couldn’t — be around much longer.

In June of this year, WGBH’s 6,400 hundred hours of content was returned. In addition to the original 7,010 tapes, the content was delivered as digital files on a second copy — on 17 LTO-6 tapes…. stored in one box!

From 7,010 tapes to 17!
From 7,010 tapes to 17!

And with the digitized material came a new ease of accessibility — the MLA staff have been able to easily watch or listen to the digital files and discover content they never knew had been sitting in the vault for all these years. Among the new discoveries includes a 1967 10-minute monologue by American historian and activist Howard Zinn on the social unrest of the times; a recorded speech given by JFK in either 1962 or 1963 at the Armory in Boston; and a 1975 video recording of a cello class taught by Harvard professor Mstislav Rostropovich, who during the recording asked a graduate student in his class “What kind of a name is Yo-Yo?”

As additional funding has become available, the MLA has recently coordinated with Crawford on the digitization of 800 more hours of 3/4″ videotapes and 1/4″ audiotapes, which will be shipped out next week.  Who knows what we’ll find next!?