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.

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.

Series List

In an effort to let our users know what we have and to publish our holdings, below is a list of all the series titles the WGBH Media Library and Archives has assets for in the collection.

You can access the series list by clicking here.

As we continue to improve Open Vault, we’ll soon be revamping the website and will add functionality to the series list to eventually include series descriptions, program and program descriptions and list assets associated with specific programs within our collection.

Stay tuned!

Digitize on Demand: Boston TV News Digital Library

via bostonlocaltv.org

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We’re very excited to offer a remarkable feature that allows you to participate directly in preserving Boston history. Through our Digitization on Demand program you can select any artifact from our catalog of over 50,000 items, and help save a piece of local history by sponsoring its preservation.

It’s easy. While searching our catalog, if you come across an items that you’re excited to see digitized and preserved, all you have to do is request it. We’ll contact you about the costs of digitization, and soon the video will be streaming on our site for free public access.

Why do we want your help? We know our users are excited about getting access to this content. When we first launched back in 2012, we got over 1,000 votes for items users wanted digitized. We want to continue to give you the opportunity to choose what’s available. Our collections don’t just cover politics and events, they contain a wealth of history about your neighborhoods, your communities, possibly even your friends and family, and who knows, maybe even you. Because it’s YOUR history, YOU should be the ones who choose what endures.

Why do we need your help? The bulk of this collection exists on 16mm film or 3/4″ videotape, formats which are now at risk of deterioration. If these items are allowed to deteriorate before we can preserve them, the sights and sounds they contain will be lost forever. We have been able to preserve over 1,000 items so far, but we don’t want to stop there. To ensure that even more of the Boston TV News collections will survive and be made available, we need your help. We also want to acknowledge your contribution, so with your permission, we’ll add a sponsorship note to the item.

If you think the cost of archival preservation might be more than you can afford, don’t let that stop you from showing your interest in an item. If we get more than one request for an item, we’ll contact all the interested parties and ask if they want to share the costs. You can also track items you want to see digitized, and we’ll let you know if someone else sponsors them.