WGBH, Library of Congress to host pubcasting’s American Archive

By Andrew Lapin

This item has been updated and reposted with additional information.

Boston’s WGBH and the Library of Congress will host and preserve the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, a permanent collection of more than 50 years of public broadcasting history.

More than 40,000 hours of content dating back to the 1950s will be digitized, stored and made available for on-site access at both WGBH’s Boston headquarters and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., according to a Nov. 14 announcement from CPB, WGBH and the Library.

Development of a permanent pubcasting archive began in 2007 through a CPB initiative. Public media stations submitted archival content, and a national collection was created from 2.5 million records of complete programs, raw footage, unedited interviews, concerts and other materials, representing local, regional and national content. CPB managed the archive project internally until 2012, after Congress cut its $36 million digital appropriation. The project was shuttered, and CPB sought another home for the collection.

With the Nov. 14 announcement, CPB awarded stewardship of the collection to WGBH and the Library of Congress, and agreed to provide funding to support its preservation.

“The American Archive of Public Broadcasting is a national asset that will preserve thousands of hours of iconic, at-risk, local, and national content,” said CPB President Pat Harrison in the release.  “I want to congratulate and thank the public media stations, and the local communities they represent, who provided content for the Archive.  For the past six years, CPB has created, defined and managed this initiative and we are very pleased to announce that it has finally found a permanent home with the Library of Congress and WGBH.”

The two organizations will share responsibilities for governance and long-term strategy development, and also build a digital home for the archives with the help of AudioVisual Preservation Services.

  • jofus

    WGBH itself probably has a huge archive of NET/PBS programs since it has produced or packaged so many NET/PBS programs over the decades.

    I suspect much of the 40,000 hours of initial content probably has a WGBH connection.

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