Home > Recordings at Risk > Funded Projects
The following projects have been funded through the Recordings at Risk grant program, a national regranting program administered by CLIR to support the preservation of rare and unique audio and audiovisual content of high scholarly value. Generously funded by the Mellon Foundation, the program will award a total of $4.5 million between 2017 and 2022. The Ninth Call was the last award cycle under current funding. Sign up to receive updates about future funding opportunities and awards.
Cecil Taylor (1929-2018) is recognized as an uncompromising visionary in the development of free jazz, and a pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist, and poet. A classically trained virtuosic pianist, Taylor’s iconoclastic approach to jazz piano challenged prevailing notions of jazz and avant garde music, forming a truly unique oeuvre over his seven-decade career of solo and collaborative improvisations with luminaries including Steve Lacy and John Coltrane. Blank Forms proposes to digitize the most comprehensive archive of the artist’s late work, 1962-2010, and the most extensive collection of his live music, period. These recordings, which have never, or rarely, been made publicly available, significantly augment available resources for studying Taylor’s life, praxes, and sessionography, drawing the interest of filmmakers and scholars across disciplines. The project would digitize these obsolescent and fragile media and steward their long term preservation, making their contents accessible to the broadest possible audience into the future.
The Boston City Archives seeks funding to digitize and provide public access to community oral history recordings created by the Boston Bicentennial Commission between 1974 and 1976. Between 1974 and 1976, the Boston Bicentennial Commission recorded oral histories with a wide cross section of Boston’s residents, including members of Boston’s black and immigrant communities. Due to their age and over a decade of storage in poor environmental conditions, these tapes are at serious risk of degradation, and currently cannot be accessed. Transcripts and partial transcripts exist for approximately half of the recordings, and show that interview content includes immigration, the African American experience in Boston, Boston’s social movements, urban renewal, and a wide variety of local history topics. This project will preserve the recordings through digital reformatting, produce descriptive metadata for the recordings, and make the recordings available to the public in the Boston City Archives’ digital access portal.
The Archives will submit one-hundred-forty-three cassette tapes and ninety-five ¼” open-reel recordings for digitization through Mass Productions in an effort to make accessible and celebrate the heritage of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston (colloquially referred to as “CSJ”). The reels contain audio from Chapter meetings (1967-1969) during which the Sisters addressed the Second Vatican Council, which called for major social reform in the Catholic Church. The cassette tapes contain oral history interviews conducted in the decades following. The recordings are sisters’ reflections on life in the Congregation and reveal the cultural shift in religious life during the late 1960s. Once digitized, these recordings will be publicly accessible on an Omeka website and subsequently used in the Sisters’ sesquicentennial celebration in 2023. Themes reflected in the recordings include the history of women, Catholic education and deaf education, immigrants,1960s social movements, and the American Catholic experience.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) seeks to preserve and make accessible 233 live concert radio broadcasts of the Boston Pops conducted by John Williams recorded on 256 analog tapes. This unique collection documents Williams’ growing influence as a film composer including first concert performances of many of his scores, and featuring such guest artists as Jessye Norman, Leontyne Price, and George Benson as well as early career appearances by Wynton Marsalis, Bryan Stripling and Yo-Yo Ma. Recorded on ¼ inch reel-to-reel audiotape, these master tapes have become inaccessible due to the medium’s fragility and the obsolescence of playback equipment. Our vendor will create preservation master files and access files for public use, which will be discoverable via an EAD finding aid and the BSO’s online performance history search engine with links from WorldCat. Scholars often seek out this collection, which constitutes an important part of the BSO’s audio archive.
Bowling Green State University’s Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives (MLBSSA), partnering with George Blood, L.P., will digitize filk analog audio recordings on unstable formats. As a musical genre, filk usually revolves around sci fi/fantasy topics and was originally performed in a folk-rock style. The term “filk” is used to describe both the musical genre and the active fan community that creates and sustains the music through conventions and gatherings. The project will digitize 201 commercial master recordings of filk music, containing both studio and live recordings, and 75 cassette tapes of interviews and field recordings. The project will allow MLBSSA staff to provide on-campus access, update existing finding aids, and pursue permissions to allow wider access, making the material more accessible for the filk community and providing primary source material for use by scholars and students at BGSU, as well as scholars researching filk and fandom.
The “Digitizing Catawba Voices” project will digitize video and audio collections of the Catawba Nation Archives which currently only exist on obsolete magnetic media formats. These collections contain unique recordings of Catawba people over a 30-year period, from 1975–2005. As part of the project, a professional third-party digitization partner will be chosen through the Catawba Indian Nation’s procurement process, and the materials will be packaged, insured, and shipped to the selected vendor for digitization. Originals will be shipped back to the Catawba Nation Archives along with the digital copies created. Digital masters will be stored in a RAID server, with copies stored in the cloud, and on portable hard drives. Metadata will be created for the files, and access provided via the Catawba Nation Archives website. This will enable the Catawba community to access these recordings for the first time in decades, thereby preserving and supporting Catawba cultural heritage.
The project will digitize a significant portion of the Southern Labor Archives (SLA) audio collections. The SLA, est. 1971, is the largest labor collection in the southeast and documents the history of work and workers in the South, with an emphasis on union records, labor leaders and activists, labor organizations, and oral history recordings across all industry and employment sectors. Audio recordings for this project come from a variety of collections: AFL-CIO, IAMAW, State Nursing Associations, NFEE, Textile Workers Unions, and PATCO. These unique recordings contain histories of workings and interconnections between unions that reflect contemporary issues through the lens of the working class via recordings of meetings, conferences, and conventions between 1949-2005. These are not currently accessible, due to fragility, nonfunctioning playback, and lack of metadata. By digitizing these collections, we will not only make these recordings available online, but also provide better descriptive metadata for greater access.
This project will digitize 211 audio recordings from the 1980s and 1990s of interviews conducted by Mary Richards, a freelance writer for the San Francisco-based LGBTQ newspaper, the Bay Area Reporter. Recordings include interviews with key figures in LGBTQ history, including Tom Waddell, Jose Sarria, Pat Norman, Gilbert Baker, Virginia Apuzzo, and Alan Selby. The recordings document topics such as the National March on Washington, Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and LGBTQ activism. The project will digitize 199 compact audiocassettes, 11 microcassettes, and 1 CD. The recordings will be preserved in our Islandora DAMS, made publicly available on Calisphere and the Digital Public Library of America, and a detailed finding aid and updated catalog record will be made available on the Online Archive of California. This project will serve scholars, students, and the public by making available unique resources that document first-person accounts of transformative moments in LGBTQ history.
The project’s purpose is to safeguard, preserve, and make available to academics, historians, and the public at large essential yet little known perspectives of one of the most controversial and combative moments of the U.S.’ relations with the territory of Puerto Rico. The archive contains the most unique, ephemeral and irreplaceable video and radio stories documenting struggles by the people of that municipality and its thousands of supporters from across the U.S. and other parts of the world. Albeit not the most glorious moments of this nation’s legacy, it is a history that cannot be overlooked, forgotten or lost. Because of the precarious conditions of those materials, the archive is also the most ephemeral of that time period. The materials to be digitized include approximately 319 items of the Andrés Nieves Collection, which is described in a separate document.
The Minnesota Historical Society will conduct a yearlong project to digitize, preserve, and make available (on site and remote when possible) open reels and U-matic tape from our Intermedia Arts Minnesota materials. The sole back-ups of these originals exist on VHS formats, which are also in danger of further degradation. Intermedia Arts highlights early documentary/guerilla television in the 1970s and 80s. Scholars can study still-relevant topics including community involvement, race and racism, urban and rural issues, Minneapolis neighborhood issues, agriculture, musical and dance performances, poetry, women’s issues, sports, disabled persons, politics and government, education, energy, drug use and education, labor, housing, civil rights, and journalism.
The National Geographic Society (“National Geographic”), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, proposes to digitize and catalog the Crittercam Magnetic Tape Collection, which consists of 2,217 tapes, with input from the original scientists involved in the Crittercam deployments. In 1991, support from the Society enabled Greg Marshall to develop the Crittercam, an animal-borne imaging and data-logging system that can be carried by an animal and provide a creature’s-eye view of the world. We have digitized 413 of the Hi-8 tapes but seek assistance in completing the remaining 335 along with 285 selected MiniDV tapes, which are the most at-risk formats in the collection. After digitization, we will make the videos available to the public via our online discovery platform. This content (video plus metadata) can serve as valuable primary resource material for educators and students. These videos can be a source for learning opportunities that can provide new significance to this past work.
New York University proposes a 12-month project to digitize and make available unique Chinese Cable TV (CCTV) content from the Asian CineVision Records, originally recorded on analog videotapes and produced by and for the Asian American community. Created in the 1970s, CCTV was a community-led program that sought to add a new voice to representation in the media and assume agency in media production and distribution. CCTV was the first Chinese-language news program in the United States, covering a range of local, national, and international subjects and ensuring that Asian and Asian American voices, images, narratives, and interests were represented on the New York City airwaves. This project will preserve the content on 437 videotapes, which will be migrated from the magnetic media masters and preserved to digital file formats. The files and metadata will be uploaded to NYU’s digital repository and made available to patrons on site and remotely.
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s library seeks to preserve 163 at-risk films in our collections documenting the history of this University and African Americans nationwide, before, during, and after the mid-20th century civil rights era. As the nation’s largest HBCU, these film collections are central to the history of Black higher education and offer a rare view of African American student life between the 1930s to 1970s. The proposed collections include documentaries about alumni Reverend Jesse Jackson, African American history, and home movies depicting African American life in post-World War II America. Once digitized, these films will allow scholars and community researchers to watch the impact politics had on fashion, student life, athletics, and community life of African Americans across four decades. The F.D. Bluford Library will partner with AV Geeks to digitize the materials, improve metadata for the collections, and make these films available via Digital Commons.
Upon her death in 1966, Martin Luther King, Jr. called Lillian Smith “one of the brightest stars in the human firmament.” Smith, a white Southern Civil Rights activist, worked tirelessly to combat racism and segregation. From 1925-1948, she ran Laurel Falls Camp for girls in Clayton, GA. There, she talked to campers about race, psychology, sex, and more. At the camp, we discovered boxes of acetate and vinyl records that Smith and her partner Paula Snelling recorded at the camp and during their travels. These records contain everything from campers stating their names to plays that campers wrote to camp banquets to musical performances at HBCUs to stories about the camp’s mythological Buss Eye. This project will restore these records and digitize them for scholars and the public, providing a reservoir of insight into Smith’s impact on countless women and their connections in the fight for social justice.
SFJAZZ will digitize 767 audio and video recordings of jazz, world, folk, and roots artists from the organization’s presenting history, from live performances spanning from 1984 to 2012. The materials to be digitized are currently stored on cassette tapes, VHS, U-Matic, Betacam SP, DAT, and MiniDiscs; these are the only known recordings of these historic performances. Notable artists featured on the recordings include Etta James, Carlos Santana, Bobby McFerrin, Eartha Kitt, Hugh Masekela, Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano, Barbara Dane, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, and Joe Henderson, among many, many others.
The UC Santa Barbara Library is home to the collection of Rudy Vallée, the singer, bandleader, composer, and pioneering host of America’s first big-time radio variety show, The Fleischmann Yeast Hour. Vallée’s archive is part of the American Radio Archives (ARA), a vast collection documenting the early history of radio in America. Vallée was an innovator not only in radio but in the use of recording technology to document the ephemeral broadcast medium. From nearly the beginning of the program’s run, air checks were made on lacquer discs, which Vallée could then audition later. There are 779 lacquer discs documenting broadcasts during the 1930s, the era of the program’s greatest significance and influence. Lacquer discs have a host of conservation problems and their digitization is critical to the content’s survival. With funding from CLIR, the UCSB Library will digitize all 1930s Vallée recordings held by UCSB for online public access.
The University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives Department proposes to digitize, preserve, and make accessible approximately 201 hours of first-hand oral history interviews that document the experiences of Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, Hispanic Americans, Japanese Americans, and rural women living in Idaho in the 20th century. These interviews currently exist on legacy media formats and include 40 audiovisual U-Matic tapes, 4 audiovisual VHS tapes, 64 open-reel audio tapes, and 64 audio cassette tapes. Once digitized, we will hire a student worker to create item-level descriptive metadata, scan print transcripts and corresponding print material, and add the digitized files and metadata to our digital collections. These interviews offer a unique and important perspective on the experiences of minority communities living in a predominantly white and rural state throughout the 20th century. This digitization project will allow these voices to speak to us again.
The University of Pittsburgh Library System (ULS) proposes to preserve and digitize —with free public access— 350 oral history interviews primarily highlighting the experiences of minority communities, their lives, and their voices, in Western Pennsylvania from the 1970s to the early 2000s. This project will digitize a selection of oral history materials related to African American and European immigrant workers in Pittsburgh’s Steel Valley, including six collections. Combined, these materials will create a rich digital collection of primary sources sharing first-person accounts of African American migrants and European immigrant workers in the Pittsburgh area. One which enables researchers to compare experiences of various waves of migration and immigration from other urban centers in the United States. Through preservation, digitization, and robust metadata, this project will make these at-risk audio resources permanently and openly accessible to scholars, community researchers, students, and the public.
This project will digitize and make available to the public approximately 105 films, 52 reel-to-reel audiotapes, 160 two-sided Audograph discs and 30 Edison Voicewriter discs from Congressional hearings, interviews, speeches and appearances documenting important anti-corruption efforts in the U.S. Congress of the 1950s and 60s. The material, currently housed on fragile media at the University of Tennessee’s Modern Political Archives, contains an audio record of the entirety of the high-profile Army-McCarthy hearings, which pitted the Army against U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy. In addition it documents the contemporaneous career of Senator Estes Kefauver, who spent much of his career actively opposing abusers of postwar power, be they small town gangsters, crooked city politicians, comic book publishers, or giant steel and drug industries. These materials will provide powerful insight into attitudes toward the responsibilities and limits of power in both the mid 20th century and our own time.
The Battle Creek Community Legacy Project is a collection of some 318 oral histories, most recorded to cassette tape between 2001 and 2004. The narrators chronicle significant chapters in Battle Creek’s history. Among them is the story of “the Bottoms,” a thriving African American neighborhood devastated by floods and eventually eradicated in an “urban renewal” project, scattering what had been a close-knit residential and business community. Other subjects include wartimes, the Great Depression, the U.S. Army’s Percy Jones General Hospital, and handed-down stories about Sojourner Truth, who lived in Battle Creek. Twenty years after their recordings, this collaborative effort of Willard Library, the Historical Society of Battle Creek and the Sojourner Truth Center for Liberation and Justice will finally make these recordings accessible to the community and to researchers.
The American Baptist Historical Society proposes reformatting approximately 1300 at-risk open-reel audio tapes belonging to the collections of American Baptist Churches, USA (ABCUSA). These recordings chronical the annual meetings of the American Baptist Convention from 1953-1971 as well as various conferences held at the American Baptist Assembly at Green Lake, WI. Both conventions and conferences invited nationally known speakers. The time period documents transitions in the American Baptist Convention (previously the Northern Baptist Convention, now known as ABCUSA) as members grappled with social issues of the mid-20th century, including civil rights, race relations within the church, war, economic disparity, and abortion. These recordings are not available elsewhere and are currently inaccessible due to condition and lack of equipment for playback. Through digitization and ingestion of master and access copies of the files into Preservica, ABHS will preserve and make accessible critical addresses and discussions that are currently inaccessible.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is partnering with George Blood, L.P. to digitize ~170 hours of video across 486 tapes (47 VHS, 95 Hi-8, 233 Mini-DV, 59 1”, 45 DVD, and 8 DVCAM) containing the oral histories of groundbreaking 20th century biological research and raw Public-Outreach video footage, then preserve and make them openly accessible. These unique first-person accounts from over 360 scientists include key figures in the molecular biology revolution and 20 Nobel laureates. The interviews, discussions, and presentations in our Oral History Collection detail the history of scientific discoveries, often by those who made them, and illuminate the day-to-day progress of modern biological research, and major scientific endeavors such as the Human Genome Project.
Our raw Public-Outreach footage from 1985 documents scientific and personal life at a non-profit research laboratory through interviews, discussions, and observational footage. All collections discussed will be accessible, with metadata discoverable through ArchivesSpace.
The FIU Libraries in collaboration with University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) will digitize, create metadata, and provide online access to thousands of unique Caribbean music contained in at risk cassettes from The Diaz-Ayala Collection (DAC) that are not available at any other institution. The digitization of this collection is essential to guarantee preservation and long-term availability.
The DAC comprises more than 3,000 cassettes, with approximately 1000 songs that were recorded originally in 78rpms by Columbia and Victor Records. The music represents a variety of genres and it is a clear example of the life and conditions of minority groups in areas from the Caribbean.
Major activities in this project include reformatting of the cassettes into digital, create metadata in FIU-digital repository, share files with UCSB to be uploaded at the Discography of American Historical Recording (DAHR), link metadata to the audio file in DAHR, and contribute metadata to DPLA
After the 1950’s, the surveillance of Puerto Rico’s residents was intensified to the point that agencies overstepped citizen’s rights established in the Constitution. The Carpeta files are the result of these historical events that took place between 1960 and 1980, framed by the Cold War culture of generalized fear and suspicion. Among the thousands of cubic feet of illegitimate compiled information by the Police Department, 298 ¼” open reel audio tapes (3”, 5”, 7”) related to political organizations were identified. Through this initiative, we will be able to restore, digitize and provide access to recordings in critical conditions that have never been available, withholding invaluable information that continues to be scarce and inaccessible. These files can also help citizens answer multiple queries about the surveillance tasks that were performed, its relation to the Cold War, if these events affected pro-independence movements, and to continue to enhance accountability where is needed.
Completing a project begun in 2018, we will digitize the filmed dailies, workprints, and audio soundtrack from the Johanna L. Spector Papers and Audio-Visual Materials. The collection documents the nearly extinct musical and communal traditions of several non-Western Jewish cultures in India, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Armenia and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Recorded from 1960 to 1989 during the making of Spector’s ethnographic documentaries, the materials are an unused treasure-trove that sheds light on the religious ceremonies and traditions of people before dispersal from their native lands, such as the Cochin Jews of India, Yemenite Jews, and the nearly extinct Samaritans of Israel. From the success of the CLIR grant for Phase I of digitization, we know that the footage will help build understanding of worldwide Jewish traditions and cultures; these have contributed already to new scholarship in ethnography, ethnomusicology, history and anthropology.
The Maryland Center for History and Culture (MCHC) proposes to digitize and make accessible more than 300 oral histories providing a significant snapshot of Maryland history, from voices documenting the struggle for civil rights to insight into veteran experiences, labor, religion, and the lives of working-class Marylanders in the city of Baltimore and beyond. These are unique primary source materials that offer the possibility of exploration of the past through the experiences and perspectives of the people who lived it. The audio and video cassette tapes for these oral histories have been largely inaccessible and the need for preservation is critical. Now, with a new digital asset management system and forward-facing Digital Collections portal, the MCHC is poised for long-term preservation and increased access to collections in-person and online, inspiring discovery and new scholarship into the diverse landscape of Maryland.
The Fray Angélico Chávez Library of the New Mexico History Museum (NMHM Chávez Library) requests support to digitize 217 recordings made by award winning photographer and cinematographer John Candelario (1916-1993). Focused on northern New Mexico’s diverse communities— Native, Hispano, and Anglo—his work reveals a unique insider’s perspective during times of significant cultural change. While his photographs and films are widely known and studied, one important area that remains hidden are over 200 audio recordings. Made between 1948 and 1987, these field recordings include songs, dances, interviews and cinematic soundtracks, some made by anonymous individuals and others capturing the voices of more well-known figures. Most recordings are on reel-to-reel tapes with no digital surrogate and remain inaccessible to researchers and others with an interest in New Mexico’s rich history. Their content coupled with their unstable format underscores this request’s urgency.
This project will digitize and provide access to 400 recordings of San Francisco Bay Area dance, theatre, opera, and musical performances recorded on the rare, obsolete ED-Beta format by videographer Ted Helminski. The performances document the rich performing arts scene in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1988-1998 and include performances by acclaimed companies such as American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre, Oakland Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Smuin Ballet, San Francisco Taiko Dojo, Pocket Opera, among others. In many cases, MP+D holds the only recording of these unique performances. Once digitized, the recordings will be cataloged, all catalog records will be accessible online via WorldCat and MP+D’s catalog, and the access files made available onsite at MP+D and online, as allowed by the individual companies and artists.
Galter Health Sciences Library requests $21,695.00 to digitize 82 reels of medical education and archival films shot between 1929 and 1959. Depicted in these films are procedures, conditions, and research in the fields of surgery, obstetrics, ophthalmology, pediatrics, and more, created by Northwestern University Medical School faculty.
Films will be cleaned, stabilized, and digitized and yield preservation, production, and access copies with metadata files. Galter Library’s institutional repository will host the files and records with robust metadata, and library staff will create linked finding aids with item-level description. We will review each film for content, ethical, and privacy issues, and apply solutions when necessary. Visibility will be enhanced through partnership with medical heritage and Chicago-centered organizations.
This collection will be one of the very few medical motion picture collections available online and will offer scholars a rare look at medical filmmaking, educational film, medical imagery, medical education, and more.
The Peabody Institute will describe, digitize, preserve, and make available for public streaming 299 analog recordings from composer Jean Eichelberger Ivey and some of her students and colleagues in electronic music. As a student at the University of Toronto in the 1960s, Ivey was often the only woman in her electronic music composition classes. In 1969 she founded the Peabody Conservatory Electronic Music Studio, the first such studio in a conservatory. The recordings in the Ivey collection contain important examples of early electronic music from the 1960s and 1970s, including works by Ivey and her students for tape and live performers. This project will support scholarship, instruction, performance, and music composition involving the work of a pioneer in electronic music. A fully digitized and online collection will expand opportunities for performers to engage with Ivey’s works and support research in emerging fields such as computational musicology.
The proposed film digitization project includes approximately 20 hours of footage from the Francis Paudras Film Collection, circa 1959 -1983. The project will contribute to the teaching and scholarship of jazz history and make accessible unique primary sources related to the life and career of jazz legend, Bud Powell. The films are at-risk due to their age, format, and previous storage environment and will be digitized by Colorlab in Maryland. The Institute of Jazz Studies will catalog the films, upload all digital files and metadata for public access to Rutgers University’s digital repository (RUcore), create a publicly available finding aid, and a collection-level MARC record in OCLC and Rutgers Libraries online and publicly available catalog.
The Preserving and Providing Access to Contemporary Alaska Native History: Voices from Southeast Alaska project will allow Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) to digitize a collection of recordings produced by the Southeast Native Radio program in the 1980s to early 2000s. This unique collection documents Alaska Native life, culture, and politics of the time. Interviews were conducted with tribal elders, clan leaders, and other Native people. The collection also includes three and a half hours of conversation entirely in the Tlingit language (previously transcribed/translated). “The quality of these recordings is fantastic … they asked hard-hitting questions that brought about the vital issues of the day,” explained SHI’s archivist when the collection was donated to SHI in 2010 at a ceremony attended by volunteers who worked on the program. Digitizing the collection will allow Native people, scholars, and the public to gain access to this rich collection of Voices from Southeast Alaska.
The first television station in Maryland, WMAR, began broadcasting its news reports in 1947. The Special Collections and Archives department of Robert L. Bogomolny (RLB) Library at the University of Baltimore maintains a rich collection of these reports with unique footage depicting significant historical events, cultural and racial issues, and political and social changes in Baltimore and the surrounding region. This television news footage has been recorded on a variety of media over time, including U-matic videocassettes, well known as an obsolete medium at risk of degradation. This project seeks to digitize 975 U-matic tapes of this collection from 1980 to 1985 and make them available online to both local and scholarly communities through the Internet Archive website. This is the first step in a larger project aiming to ultimately digitize the entire collection and thereby help preserve the coverage of historical events pertaining to this region.
The University of Connecticut Library seeks funding for a one-year project to digitize, preserve, and improve access to 243 sound recordings created from a groundbreaking course, “Black Experience in the Arts,” between 1970 and 1990. This course brought Black artists, musicians, actors, writers, and others to UConn to discuss and demonstrate their work, and to participate in conversation. Developed by music faculty Edward O’Connor and Hale Smith and the Center for Black Studies, this course sought to draw awareness to the creativity and contributions of Black artists in all art forms and provide students with greater exposure to the racial and social dynamics in American culture. Digitizing these recordings will preserve and make available these artists’ unique, personal insights, providing a vital resource for those seeking to understand how the creative expression of Black artists was impacted by historical, social, cultural, political, and aesthetic contexts.
Washington University Libraries requests $34,520 to digitize over 1400 audio recordings from the University’s Assembly Series, a collection of public lectures featuring the most prominent voices of the late 20th and early 21st century. Access to these historically significant recordings is extremely limited due to the instability and technological obsolescence of magnetic media. Lectures were held from 1949 to 2008 and featured speakers representing diverse backgrounds, expertise, and ideologies. Highlights include literary voices Audre Lorde and Ray Bradbury; activists Muhammad Ali and Phyllis Schlafly; and academics B.F. Skinner and Angela Davis. Given their broad scope, these recordings support scholarship and research across the humanities. This project seeks to digitize over 629 ¼” audio tapes and 798 audio cassettes, creating digital preservation- and access-level files. Digitized lectures will be made freely accessible to patrons, by request, via the Box platform until their migration to a new digital repository currently in development.
The University of Oklahoma broadcast the School of the Air program through its WNAD radio station, starting in 1946 and continuing through the 1950s. Like other Schools of the Air throughout the nation, OU’s goal was to provide educational radio programming to assist rural school districts. The OU Libraries seeks funding to digitize 138 open-reel audio tapes of recordings of the show’s history segments, “Know Your Oklahoma” and “Oklahoma Portrait.” Beyond the titles of these segments, there are no descriptions of the recordings. To preserve these unique recordings, it is vital to digitize these at-risk tapes. Digitization will enable the creation of robust metadata to make that content discoverable. Once the School of the Air recordings are accessible through OU Libraries’ repository, they will be a resource for U.S. and state history, the history of education, Native American studies, media studies, and for community researchers.
The Human-Occupied Vehicle (HOV) Alvin submersible is a national asset. Dedicated specifically to science, Alvin is the only publicly available sub capable of carrying humans to the ocean bottom on behalf of the US oceanographic community. It was commissioned in 1964 by the US Navy and has remained state-of-the-art as a result of numerous overhauls and upgrades. Having completed over 5000 dives, Alvin has participated in significant scientific discoveries that have transformed our understanding of life on Earth. In addition, Alvin was used in 1966 to locate a hydrogen bomb lost off the coast of Spain and famously was involved in the exploration of the Titanic. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Data Library and Archives (DLA) will catalog, digitize, preserve and make available at-risk early film and video (1962-80) that documents the building of the submersible, as well as rare, irreplaceable image data collected at the ocean depths.
The Arhoolie Foundation seeks a CLIR: Recordings at Risk grant to digitally preserve over 400 hours of video recordings made by renowned music producer and documentarian Chris Strachwitz from 1987 to 2016. Shot on Video 8, HI-8, and Mini-DV, these rare videos give us an up-close and behind-the-scenes view of many of our most treasured regional musicians: Flaco Jimenez, Lydia Mendoza, Fats Domino, Johnny Otis, Ry Cooder, Rose Maddox, and many others. The grant’s purpose will be to protect this unique body of historical material from physical deterioration or catastrophic loss, and to make it accessible to scholars, students, teachers, musicians, filmmakers, and others through online exhibits, public presentations, educational materials, and secure onsite viewing at our physical archive in El Cerrito, CA.
The California Academy of Sciences respectfully requests a $50,000 grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources to digitize 200 film reels from our “Science in Action” collection. The project will ensure that an important part of Academy history is preserved while making the films accessible to researchers and the public.
The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) proposes to digitize and make accessible audiovisual recordings of historically significant material dating back to its inception in 1988. IABD is the world’s largest service organization devoted to preserving and promoting Black Dance. Materials include recordings held by IABD and member companies. Recordings include panel discussions, lectures, master classes, demonstrations and performances that showcase the work of regional, national and international companies. The holdings reflect the diversity of Black Dance. IABD will digitally reformat these at-risk audiovisual materials and make them available to the public via Howard University’sMoorland-Spingarn Research Library; an archive site that will be accessible from IABD’s website; and videos posted to its YouTube Channel. The material provides an inclusive depiction of the rich legacy of the Black Dance experience. Digitizing these recordings will enable artists, scholars, students, educators, general public and future generations to access these treasures.
ACT will catalog, digitize, preserve, and make publicly available 132 reels of magnetic audio recordings, featuring over 140 composers and performers, created by the MIT Media Lab’s Experimental Music Studio (EMS) from 1973 through 1988. Founded in 1973, EMS was the first facility in the world to dedicate digital computers to the full-time research and composition of computer music. The studio was responsible for developing and improving technologies including real-time digital synthesis, graphical patching languages, and advanced music languages. The collection features some of the earliest recordings of computer music including works by Joan La Barbara, Tod Machover, Mario Davidovsky, and Charles Dodge, along with other composers, programmers, and artists. Due to the delicate nature of magnetic tape, experimental/computer music from this era is rare, making this collection historically significant to researchers from both music and computer programming fields. Once digitized, the recordings will be hosted on a dedicated website.
The Museum of Flight will conduct a year-long project to digitize home movies found within our collections. Drawing from 18 separate accessions, we have selected 86 films to be digitized by an off-site vendor. We will hire an intern to create item-level descriptive and administrative metadata records for each file and finding aids for the 18 associated accessions. The digitized files and associated metadata will be added to our online digital collections. The films cover a variety of topics, from glimpses of famous pilots to military scenes spanning the Golden Age of aviation in the early 20th century to the space age in the 1970s. As a whole, the selection creates a sampling of moments from throughout the history of aviation.
Larry Ritter wrote The Glory of Their Times from a series of oral histories he collected over five years, driving over 75,000 miles to find men who played professional baseball from the 1880s through the 1950s. When he found them, he set up his tape recorder and interviewed them. While each interviewee discusses their baseball career, they also discuss what life was like, from turn-of-the-century America to the mid-1960s. From details on industrial labor practices to anti-Semitism after World War II, these unedited interviews are a trove of personal reminiscences. The original ¼ inch reel-to-reel tapes, housed in the archives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, are in immediate need of digitization. They will be delivered to a professional conservator for stabilization and digital transfer. The original tape will then be returned to storage and the digital surrogates will be made publically available.
NYU Special Collections proposes digitizing, preserving, and making accessible (both onsite and remotely) 727 recordings of the weekly radio program “Beyond the Pale” (BtP). From 1995-2014, BtP aired on WBAI, a non-commercial, listener-supported radio station. Varying in programmatic format from interviews to debates, the recordings document the reflections, opinions, and analyses of progressive and leftist Jewish activists, artists, politicians, historians, and writers including: Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn, Eric Foner, Adrienne Rich, Tony Kushner, William Kunstler, and others. The program presented an international perspective in its reporting and addressed such still-critical topics as United States imperialism, the Iraq War, Palestinian sovereignty, Ethopian Jewish identity, Israel, and the Middle East peace process. US-centric reporting unpacked a wide range of subjects such as domestic violence, disability justice, sex work, policing and incarceration, LGBTQIA issues, anarchism, labor, and racial justice and equity.
In the 1960’s, Ocean Alliance President, Dr. Roger Payne discovered that humpback whales sing songs: one of the most enigmatic behaviors in the natural world. The discovery helped to spark the save the whale movement, shifting the public’s perception of whales to intelligent and sentient animals. It also played a key role in the birth of modern whale biology and remains one of the most studied facets of whale behavior. Ocean Alliance has 331 magnetic audio reels of whale song recordings from the 1950s to the 1990s that are in dire need of digitization and preservation. These recordings contain whale vocalizations from waters of Alaska, Bermuda, Chile, the Galapagos, Sri Lanka, and Africa. The incredible biodiversity makes these archives unmatched in scientific existence. Whale song evolves over time—naturally and in response to human activities—these recordings are essential for understanding how whales contend with a rapidly changing ocean.
North Carolina’s Senate Daily Legislative Session Audio Recordings (SR.66.25), 1993-2005, were made on open reel tapes using a Dictaphone Veritrac device, an analog medium nearing obsolescence. This project seeks to convert this Senate audio into digital files to facilitate (1) long-term preservation in our Digital Repository and (2) online access through the North Carolina Digital Collection. Major activities will include sending the tapes out to a vendor for digitization, resulting in preservation masters (WAV) and access copies (MP3); creating preservation and access metadata, uploading the products to our preservation and access platforms, and preparing for their long-term management.
The Senate audio record series comprises the official audio records of the chamber’s daily floor debates, documenting the activities of North Carolina’s General Assembly. Major points of debate include topics of national importance, major events affecting citizens of North Carolina, and day-to-day government decisions that affect the lives of all North Carolinians.
The goal of this project is to digitize at-risk films, videos, and recordings that document an important period in the history of science: the early years of studying the global climate through atmospheric and Earth system science research. The materials to be digitized include original observational data films, field experiment documentation, and educational productions that were created as part of the mission of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The materials will be sent to a local, qualified vendor for digital reformatting, preserved as part of the NCAR Archives’ digital preservation program, cataloged, and shared through NCAR’s institutional repository.
155.5 hours of the nearly 950 tapes from the KUAC-FM Audiotapes Collection at UAF, are to be digitized by the Northeast Document Conservation Center. Recordings will be accessible via the internet through the UAF Library Catalog via WorldCat. The collection will be of interest to historians, scientists and researchers around the globe. Over half of the material is from the Chinook subseries and relates to Alaska and circumpolar Indigenous issues, land claims, Athabascan ways of life/religion, Native corporations, alcohol issues, language documentation, Eskimo songs and stories, health issues; and interviews with notable Indigenous Alaskans such as Willie Hensley, Chief Andrew Isaac, Effie Kokrine, Byron Mallot. The other half of the proposed material are from 4 other subseries and topics include interviews with international academics, poets, and authors, with topics such as Alaska Aleut culture, teen pregnancy, infant care, log building, programs on aurora research and prediction, seals and permafrost.
University of Arizona Libraries Special Collections seeks funds for stabilization, digital reformatting, digital preservation storage and public access for ninety films in the Andrew Ellicott Douglass papers (AZ 072). A University of Arizona professor and dendrochronology pioneer, Douglass was an early adopter of amateur moviemaking technology, recording his academic undertakings in astronomy, climate science, and especially the tree-ring record, which illuminated the chronology of ancient human settlement in the Southwestern United States. On 16mm and 35mm film, Douglass produced early film images of ancestral indigenous settlements in the Americas, and documented significant breakthroughs in scientific practices and research from the 1920s through the 1950s as they happened. The films’ significance across scientific disciplines and implications for interdisciplinary study cannot be overstated. The University of Arizona continues to lead in the fields of tree-ring research, climate science, planetary science and astronomy, thus availability of these films for ongoing scholarship is vital.
The University of Delaware will digitize unique and currently inaccessible audio recordings from four political collections held in Library Special Collections, covering forty years of Delaware politics. The focus of the grant, the William Satterfield collection of Delaware political radio commercials and interviews, documents the political environment in Delaware between 1970 and 1984. The voices of candidates and public officials, ranging from local politicians to the President of the United States, will be available for the first time since these commercials and interviews originally aired, conveying policy stances and the state of political discourse in Delaware during the 1970s and early 1980s. Other notable recordings included in this project are speeches and interviews from United States Senators John J. Williams (R, 1947-1970) and J. Allen Frear, Jr. (D, 1949-1961), who represented Delaware during two historically significant decades in the mid-20th century. The reformatted recordings will be accessible via Artstor Commons.
The Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City holds over 400,000 audiovisual items, with a focus on the American experience as reflected in recorded sound. Included in the collection are 62,000 radio broadcasts, many of which are currently being digitized in-house for preservation. A small portion, however, are lacquer discs that are too severely damaged to be digitized with conventional audio equipment. The non-contact method used by the IRENE audio preservation technology, located at the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), is currently the only solution to obtain the content from the damaged discs. The broadcasts were recorded in the 1940s and include world news, news commentary, radio dramas, and performances by the Kansas City Philharmonic. These unique primary resources hold a piece of history and reflect the culture of the period, which will prove fruitful to researchers in the fields of history and media.
The University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections (UWSC) proposes a 12-month project to digitize, preserve, and make accessible 338 videotapes created by filmmakers and activists during the 1999 protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle, Washington. The videotapes from the Independent Media Center (IMC) collection offer a unique perspective into a historic moment that brought together grassroots activists, labor leaders, environmentalists, farmers, anarchists, and artists who made history and shaped social justice movements around the world.
The IMC videotapes will be digitized to preservation standards with access copies made publicly available for the first time both on-site and online. Detailed descriptions of the contents of the videotapes will be added to the collection finding aid, as well as, to the files posted online. This rich metadata will provide students, scholars, and researchers access to primary resources with a unique perspective on historic events that captured the world’s attention.
The Vassar College Archival Recordings collection captures nearly 80 years of collegiate music traditions, oral histories, and intercollegiate and local collaborations between faculty, students, and the surrounding community. These unique recordings help to document changes in higher education, including Vassar’s transition from single sex to a co-educational college, and are valuable to scholars in fields ranging from gender and cultural studies, to musicology and local histories. Much of Vassar’s collection is deteriorating, inadequately cataloged and inaccessible to researchers. Digitization will foster scholarship in this under-researched area by preserving this rich primary source material. In this project, Vassar Libraries will partner with the Northeast Document Conservation Center and George Blood Audio Visual to digitize recordings at greatest risk, provide online access, enhance metadata, ingest master files and metadata into Vassar’s digital repository, and promote this collection.
The project will digitize a major collection of currently unavailable, historic jazz recordings, and provide descriptive metadata and audio examples online for jazz students and scholars. Attila Zoller was a major post-WWII jazz guitarist, born in Hungary and moving to the United States in 1959. He quickly became an in-demand guitarist at the highest levels of jazz. His personal archival recordings document his work in Europe, Germany, New York City, and his country retreat in Vermont. On these open reel and cassette tapes, Zoller is heard performing with influential jazz musicians such as John Abercrombie, Paul Bley, Al Haig, Jimmy Heath, Lee Konitz, Scott LaFaro, Cecil McBee, and many others. These recordings are currently not available for research due to their fragility; the project will stabilize and digitize them, as well as make them available online. The Zoller collection is a unique and irreplaceable record of important jazz performers.
The goal of this initiative is to transfer and provide access to 200 currently inaccessible and decaying half inch open reel videotapes produced by a pioneering Rochester, NY media organization who created some of the earliest citizen made documentary television in the United States. The videos on the Portable Channel tapes are a unique and important resource for the public, for teaching, and for research in many disciplines including media studies, visual studies, communications, women’s studies, cultural studies, history and American studies. Because the material is currently inaccessible and endangered, digitization is the only way to ensure access now and over time to this important trove of historical material covering a critical decade in American life. Visual Studies Workshop will contract with Standby to transfer the tapes and will share the videos and metadata created during the project with the public onsite, through VSW’s website, and on VSW’s online collections.
Ya-Ka-Ama, which translates to “our land,” aims to digitize the remaining tapes of its media collection in order to provide access to current and future generations seeking knowledge of essential historical and cultural content held on obsolete tape media. The tapes include a chronicling of tribal leadership, practices, events, reënactments, teachings, and celebrations from the late 70s to early 90s featuring Native American tribes from Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Marin Counties in California, as well as those in Hawaii and Alaska.
Ya-Ka-Ama recognizes that it is critical to immediately digitize these vulnerable recordings for two reasons: 1) we are located in a fire-endangered region of Northern California and 2) many of the people recorded are no longer living or near the ends of their lives, resulting in it being nearly the last time Ya-Ka-Ama can accurately meta-tag its media with personal verification and historical accuracy.
The YIVO Institute proposes to digitize recordings of 2,000 Yiddish folksongs and oral histories collected as part of the YIVO Folksong Project directed by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett from 1973-1975. This collection is a one-of-a-kind, large-scale gathering of oral histories centered around traditional Yiddish music.
Eastern European Yiddish folksongs and music are especially valuable for study because the Yiddish-speaking Jewish ethnic minority was distributed over a vast and culturally diverse geographic territory. The songs in this collection show evidence of great interethnic interaction and present rich opportunities for understanding the repercussions of this interaction on the musical system of Eastern European Jews.
Because of the destruction of Yiddish culture during the Holocaust, these recordings represent the most comprehensive collection of remaining sources of live performances of Yiddish folksongs in the world.
This project will allow for preservation reformatting and distribution online, thus making them accessible to researchers and the public.
The Braxton75 Archival Recordings Project seeks CLIR support to digitize, preserve, and make accessible 777 items of high priority audiovisual materials of composer, MacArthur fellow, and 2014 NEA Jazz Master Anthony Braxton. This singular collection by the most significant American experimental music composer of the last 50 years is a treasure trove of Braxton’s work from 1970-2014. These materials have been boxed, barcoded, and inventoried and are currently being held in the Tri-Centric Archive in New Haven. These materials will play a key role in Braxton75, our initiative honoring Braxton’s 75th birthday throughout 2020. Partnering ensembles and educators will animate our collection through study and performance of these new archival recordings. We plan to donate the digital collection to Yale University’s Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, a portion of which will be made discoverable and accessible via Archives at Yale in 2020 with the remainder becoming completely available in 2021.
This project proposes to digitize 345 magnetic audio and VHS tapes and make them accessible via the Brown Digital Repository (BDR). Colleges and universities provide a unique platform for prominent individuals to expound ideas of great historical significance and offer resonant social commentary. Speeches by leading public figures invited to Brown University between 1950 and 1995 document changing intellectual and social currents taking place across the United States on topics that resonate today such as social justice, politics, education, and the media.
Library staff will identify themes documented in the audio-video materials that are especially relevant for current scholarship, with a particular focus on growing the historical record of agents of social change. The University Library will publicize the availability of the digital files through the Library website, blogs, professional and academic listservs, and social media. The Library will produce a publicly available white paper detailing project methods and workflows.
The Vanderbilt University Libraries requests $46,694.50 to support the preservation and conversion from analog to digital of 1,321 audio cassette tapes, a portion of the Manuel Zapata Olivella Papers, housed in Special Collections. As one of our collections most visited by scholars, it reflects the burgeoning field of Afro-Hispanic research. The tapes include radio programs, conferences, World Congresses of Black Culture, and ethnographic interviews documenting wide-ranging topics (e.g., indigenous and Afro-Colombian religion, traditional medicine, marriage and death rituals, music, dance, food, magic, slave ancestry, handicrafts, street theater, folklore, and social behavior). The materials will be publicly accessible from the Library’s Manuel Zapata Olivella website with links to the interview records and transcripts where available. We received a 2018/19 grant to outsource 426 tapes, as a pilot for design and workflow for this larger proposal. Ultimately, the corresponding photographs will be linked to the interviews creating an audio and visual record.
Through the Voices of Labor: Preserving the Montanans at Work and New Deal in Montana Oral History Interviews project, the Montana Historical Society proposes to preserve and reformat oral history interviews on analog cassette tapes that document the working lives of Montanans. The interviews capture the stories of Montanans in the mining, agriculture, and forest products industries, as well as Montanans working in Depression-era New Deal programs, especially the construction of the Fort Peck Dam. Created in the 1980s and consisting of 521 interviews on 959 compact cassettes, these interviews represent the recordings in the MHS oral history collection that are most at risk for deterioration and/or those with the most significant content. MHS will work with George Blood, L.P. to create audio master files, technical metadata, and audio access files. Access files for the recordings will be made freely accessible to the public through the Montana Memory Project.
Tulane University Special Collections seeks to digitize, preserve, describe, and make accessible 243 cassette tapes from its Hogan Jazz Archive collection. The Laurraine Goreau collection contains 109 cassettes chronicling the legacy of the “Queen of Gospel,” Mahalia Jackson. Interviews with Jackson and her close associates, including American icons like Ralph Abernathy and Ella Fitzgerald, provide an intimate portrait of the singer. They document Black gospel’s entry into post-war American popular culture and highlight Jackson’s role in the US civil rights movement. The Lynn Abbott collection holds 134 cassettes that offer first-person narratives from the African-American performers, educators, and cultural leaders who nurtured the development of Black gospel quartets in the United States South in the early twentieth century, thereby establishing the musical environment that influenced Jackson. These recordings and enhanced metadata will be publicly accessible via the Tulane University Digital Library; metadata will be discoverable via the Library’s search tools.
The University of Pittsburgh requests funds to preserve and provide access to Pittsburgh’s Black Arts Movement organizations’ legacy media within two Pittsburgh African American performing arts collections. These collections, the Bob Johnson Papers and the Kuntu Repertory Theatre Collection, contain various formats of audio-visual media that are currently not available to researchers. These materials are significant because there are limited collections that feature notable African American scholar-practitioners in drama and dance and document Pittsburgh’s African cultural legacy and its impact nationally. These recorded performances represent an important contribution to the national memory of the Black Arts Movement (BAM) and subsequent movements for community self-determination that were inspired by the BAM and local black-led arts institutions. The funding would provide for support to contract with a vendor to digitize the obsolete and at-risk legacy media into formats following digital preservation best practices which would facilitate greater access.
This yearlong project aims to preserve, digitize, and make accessible 279 individual recordings on 193 physical audio carriers in the Temple Israel Archives. Many of these recordings of sermons, services, lectures, and community events, dating from 1934 to 1979, survive in no other format at Temple Israel or other repositories. They feature eminent Temple Israel rabbis Harry Levi (1911-1939), Joshua Loth Liebman (1939-1948), and Roland B. Gittelsohn (1959-1977); congregants; and other Jewish and non-Jewish religious leaders. After they have been reformatted, free public access will be provided through the Digital Commonwealth and Digital Public Library of America. Preserving the voices and words of these distinguished rabbis, their congregants, the Reform Jewish community, and others will recover and uncover important new material that will add depth and a sensory dimension to scholars’ understanding of their world and the history of American Reform Judaism over several decades.
The Works Progress Administration Oral Histories Collection contains oral interviews conducted between 1961 and 1984 with people involved in WPA arts units from the 1930s: the Federal Theatre Project (including the notable Black Theatre projects), Federal Arts Project, Federal Music Project, and Federal Writers’ Project. The WPA provided jobs for over 8 million Americans, over 40,000 of which were employed by the arts units (including women, African Americans, and others historically underrepresented). By digitizing these interviews that currently exist on at-risk audio cassettes, we will preserve voices that otherwise would be lost and provide access via our website. Preserving and sharing the voices of the actors, designers, dancers, directors, writers, musicians, and others whose talents and personalities infused the arts and entertained millions, will shed light on a time of cultural and historical change in America and tell an important, relevant story for today.
Circus historian and collector, Howard Tibbals, donated to The Ringling 221 reels of film shot by Buster Bailey, who was a circus musician and amateur cinematographer. Tibbals purchased this collection from Buster Bailey’s wife, Barbara. Our primary goal is to make these films accessible to the public. The urgency to digitize this collection is based on the continuing deterioration of the films, obsolescence of equipment by which to view the films, and the advanced age of those who are knowledgeable of the content on the films. An additional motivating factor is the impact of repeated projections that damage the films when viewed with a projector. Digitization will enable The Ringling to meet requests for access to these films that are currently inaccessible.
This project seeks funding to digitize a group of sermons given by the Rev. William Augustus Jones, longtime pastor of the Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY. Given as part of a larger collection of materials documenting the life and work of Rev. Jones, the audio cassette recordings represent approximately 50% of the sermons listed in the catalog of tapes for “The Bethany Hour” – a product of the church’s Radio Ministry. There are also several video tapes (VHS & Betamax), and some reel-to-reel audio tapes. Donated by the widow and adult children of Rev. Jones, the sermons reflect Rev. Jones’ faith and lifelong leadership in the areas of human rights and economic justice. The project seeks to have the materials digitized by an outside vendor. Once complete, the digital files will be uploaded by a project intern to Illumira, a platform utilized by Brooklyn College for hosting digital materials.
KERA is partnering with the American Archive of Public Broadcasting to preserve our most at-risk productions from the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s and make them available to scholars, journalists and lifelong learners through the Library of Congress. Productions to be saved include “Swank in the Arts,” our weekly in-depth arts program from the late 1970s which included interviews with legendary artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Meredith Monk, and “West of the Imagination,” our award-winning documentary from 1986 about the American West seen through the eyes of artists, photographers and filmmakers. These analog tapes, which hold many underrepresented voices of the past available no place else, are stored in closet space at KERA and the Dallas Public Library, areas that do not have proper environmental conditions designed to prolong the media’s lifespan. It is critical for us to digitize these programs before the content is lost to the ages.
William Madison Randall Library at the University of North Carolina Wilmington will outsource digitization of 1,412 u-matic tapes containing local news footage from station WWAY, one of only two stations in the Lower Cape Fear area carrying television news since the 1960s and the only station whose news collection is archived. These tapes cover the period 1982-1999 and constitute the portion of the collection most in danger due to both the age and obsolescence of the magnetic media and the collection’s storage condition before transfer to the library. The Library will supply metadata for all digitized news clips and make all metadata and digitized files freely available through its digital collections website. Preserving the tapes constitutes a critical need in that they contain a chronicle of a rapidly growing coastal region confronting a changing social and political landscape even as it also navigates longstanding racial and environmental issues.
The University of Minnesota Libraries seek to preserve approximately 2,500 aging audio reel-to-reel recordings through digital reformatting and to make them available online for discovery and access. These recordings represent radio programs produced by the nation’s oldest continually broadcasting, non-commercial educational station – KUOM. KUOM is not only part of Minnesota’s history; it is part of the national history of radio in America. As a medium, radio had a democratizing effect. For seven decades KUOM provided listeners across the country access to educational information, political conversations, public affairs topics, and social issues through the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) and other distributors prior to and well after the establishment of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Once completed, the digitized recordings will be once again shared with national platforms for discovery and dissemination including the Digital Public Library of America (https://dp.la/) and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (http://americanarchive.org/).
The University of Alaska Anchorage/Alaska Pacific University (UAA/APU) Consortium Library Archives and Special Collections will digitize audio, video, and film which document the history of public health in Alaska and the circumpolar north. A majority of these materials are currently unavailable to researchers due to the obsolescence of equipment and media, and the risk of damage from playback. These materials encompass different facets of health and social science research, which are of interest to current public health physicians and those studying the practice and establishment of health programs and institutions in the last frontier.
Recognized in 2000 by the National Parks Service’s “Save America’s Treasures” program, Cross-Cultural Dance Resources Collections at Arizona State University is a unique humanities research center for interdisciplinary study of dance and human culture. We propose digitization of films (16mm), audio recordings (1/4-inch reel-to-reel, cassettes) and video recordings (VHS, Beta tapes, 8mm video cassettes) selected from the archival collections of dance scholars, pioneers in the fields of cross-cultural dance research, ethnochoreology, and dance anthropology. Our goal is to provide contemporary researchers both on-site and online access to oral history interviews, research lectures, academic symposia, performance events, and original field research recordings. These resources will contribute to the success of the pilot project, “Kealiinohomoku Dance & Human Culture Audiovisual/Scholarship Online Exhibit” funded by ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research. Long term digital preservation of these rare, unique, one-of-a-kind cultural heritage media at risk from obsolescence and deterioration is our commitment.
Berea College hosts extensive archival audio and video collections that document life, work, culture and experience in the southern Appalachian Region. Berea’s Michael and Carrie Kline Collection contains the 785 interview recordings in multiple at-risk audio formats that this project proposes to digitize. They resulted from projects conducted in West Virginia and Pennsylvania between 1994 and 2006. They are distinctive because of their multiple first person accounts for each of four documented communities. Comparable collections for these communities have been found nowhere else.
The recordings are mostly inaccessible beyond Berea’s Special Collections reading room. Physical copies were provided to related community-based non-profits. However presently the recordings are not referenced on their websites. Only two have collection entries in public library online catalogs. Only one library provides listening copies. None are available online.
This project will digitize the recordings, provide cloud based preservation, online public access, and freely available metadata.
The Computer History Museum (CHM) will catalog, digitize, preserve, and make publicly available 1,959 audio and moving image tapes from the Digital Equipment Corporation Records (DEC) dated between 1979 and 1998. DEC was one of the most successful computer companies of the 20th century. Their seminal minicomputer was the revolutionary bridge between large-scale mainframes and personal computers. The minicomputer changed the way society used technology by making computers accessible to non-specialized users. CHM holds the largest and most complete record of DEC in existence, yet the collection cannot be fully accessed due to the challenges of playing analog audiovisual materials. Once the material is digitized it will be uploaded to the Museum’s online catalog and YouTube channel, where it will be valuable not only to historians of technology and business, but also to scholars of cultural studies, digital humanities, and economic and social history.
The Holyoke Public Library, partnering with Mass Productions, will digitally reformat 173 videotapes created by Puerto Rican and Latino community leaders and activists in Western Massachusetts between 1991 and 2001. The expansion of Puerto Rican and Latino migration to the region in a period of economic decline contributed to debates, in Holyoke and beyond, about poverty, racism, education, the distribution of scarce resources, and more. In 1991, a small group of local Latino leaders began to produce a community access television program that featured the voices of people in their community, fostered discussion of pressing issues, and highlighted the contributions of Latino and Puerto Rican culture to community life. Once it is preserved and made publicly accessible, this collection will provide sought-after primary source material for students and scholars seeking to understand the political and cultural dynamics of urban life in the 1990s.
“American Indian Activism on the Radio: Preservation of the “Seeing Red” Archive is an audio preservation and public access project. It seeks CLIR funds to digitize, rehouse, and make available an estimated eighty-nine (89) hours of the WBAI-New York radio program “Seeing Red,” hosted by activists Suzan Shown Harjo and Frank Harjo c. 1968-1975. Eighty-nine (89) 7” reel-to-reel tapes will be digitally reformatted, rehoused to archival standards, and made available via the New Mexico’s Digital Collections website hosted by the University of New Mexico. These tapes are part of the Suzan Shown Harjo Papers, a recent acquisition by the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Archives. They are a significant piece of the narrative surrounding the rise of the American Indian Movement and subsequent legislation in self-determination and sovereignty of Native nations. The recordings include a multitude of important interviews including Chuck Trimbull, Russel Means, Dennis Banks, and Vine Deloria.
The May 4 Collection (KSU-affiliated people often refer to the Kent State shootings event as “May 4”), established by Kent State University Libraries (KSUL) in May 1970, includes over 300 cubic feet of primary sources related to the Kent State shootings and aftermath. Special Collections and Archives receives approximately 300 inquiries per year to the May 4 collection from researchers around the world. The May 4 collection is currently supporting 20 projects related to the 50th anniversary of the shootings and is one of the most heavily used archival collections. This grant will allow KSUL to preserve and provide access to hundreds of audio and audiovisual recordings generated following the Kent State shootings. The major activities of the project include: preparing materials for digitization by vendor; completing quality assurance; reviewing materials for copyright and privacy concerns; creating individual metadata records for each item; ingesting digitized content into the digital repository.
KUT at The University of Texas at Austin proposes to digitize the nationally syndicated radio program In Black America, a topical weekly program hosted by John L. Hanson and produced at KUT Radio in Austin, Texas. The program hosts prominent guests from the black community and explores all facets of the African American experience.The collection is stored on 710 quarter-inch audio reels which are deteriorating and obsolete. Through this project, KUT will digitize the collection and add to KUT’s searchable archival repository, and also gift copies to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, making these assets public and discoverable. Further, digitized assets will be available for research at the Briscoe Center for American History in Austin.
This program is unique in its longevity, as it includes historically significant perspectives spanning several decades. Most importantly, it serves to fill the lack of available historical content in an underrepresented community.
The Language & Life Project (LLP) and Online Resources for African American Language (ORAAL), partnering with The MediaPreserve will reformat and make accessible 728 at-risk, rare audio interviews created for a foundational study of social stratification in American English (1966-67). Interviewees represent a variety of ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds and interview content will be of great value to linguists and non-linguists alike. Recorded in a large urban area during the civil rights movement, interview topics include white flight and housing segregation as well as cultural norms, family traditions, and education. A subset of the interviews are also critical for the study of African American Language (AAL), allowing researchers to gain a fuller understanding of AAL’s development. All interviews will be archived in SLAAP and a selection will be transcribed and incorporated into ORAAL, the first-ever publicly available online corpus of African American speech.
In 1968, SCHS began recording their educational programs presented by local authors, scholars, librarians, historians and professionals. The topics encompass the life, culture, and region of East Texas in the 1800’s and 1900’s; including Civil War P.O.W. Camp Ford and WWII Camp Fannin. Also recorded are personal interviews with longtime residents, many of whom have passed away. The recordings are on reel-to-reel, cassette and VHS, all of which are now rated at ‘high risk’ for deterioration and content loss. SCHS proposes to digitize approximately 500 hours of recordings; create a public web page journaling the project; provide online access; store and preserve master files and metadata on our server (backed up daily by ETV Software), promote this collection through our partnership with the University of Texas and through our colleagues of historical research as rare personal insights of which approximately 98% of this content has never been published.
The project will digitize and provide access to 603 tapes representing 10 years of the “Message to the Grassroots” public access television program, and the work of Michael Zinzun and the Coalition Against Police Abuse. The television program ran from 1988 to 1998 and focused on community activism in Los Angeles and around the world. Tapes include original footage of the 1992 LA Uprising, one of the first meetings for the LA Gang Truce, community efforts to fight against police violence and for basic human rights such as affordable housing, health care, and meaningful employment. Issues in LA were also connected to international struggles for independence and self-determination in Namibia, Haiti, and Brazil. The tapes will be cleaned and digitized. Access files of the recordings will be made accessible through the Internet Archive and through Mukurtu, and the preservation master files will be stored on hard drives at the Library.
Squeaky Wheel will work with Media Transfer Service to digitize over 218 hours of content stored on 435 U-Matic tapes comprising the Axlegrease collection, curated selections of video art and documentary films created by local and national artists that were broadcast on a weekly basis in Western New York between 1987-1999. Metadata gathered through the process will be made public via Squeaky Wheel’s website. Digitized videos will be made available for research and study via password protected Vimeo links. Partnering with local cultural entities, such as Garman Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State College and Lumiflux Media, Squeaky Wheel will produce a documentary and best practice manual based on this project to promote the preservation of at-risk video art in Western New York. These public collections will be an important primary resource and historical lens through which scholars can view the changing landscape of media art.
In his 40+ year career at SUNY Geneseo, ethnomusicologist James Kimball has documented master traditional musicians of New York State, specializing in the Eastern square dance tradition. These include unique interviews and community performances of notable fiddlers, square dance callers, dance musicians and community members whose knowledge bridges 19th century repertory to contemporary practice of tradition. This collection supplies a rich, layered account of regional music and dance that connects to similar communities across the States, as well as the international phenomena of American square dance. Kimball has donated the entire collection to SUNY Geneseo and has documented his donation in a signed memorandum of understanding. SUNY Geneseo seeks to preserve and make publicly available this important scholarly collection. The project will digitize 498 cassettes, 68 VHS tapes, and 7 Hi 8 mm videos, and prepare the digital materials for access through Geneseo’s open access platform, KnightScholar (bepress Digital Commons).
The University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives & Special Collections proposes a project that will digitize, make accessible, and preserve 186 film reels, 9 audio reels, and 53 audio cassettes relating to the Apollo program and various support operations. In anticipation of renewed scholarly and popular interest generated by the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, UAH seeks to digitize the home movies of rocket pioneer Konrad Dannenberg, footage of the Apollo 11 launch, as well as oral history interviews with both well-known and ancillary figures in the Apollo missions. All recordings will be cleaned and digitized, with master files stored on an archives server that is backed up via ADPNet, a LOCKSS network. Access files will be made available to researchers in the archives reading room and shared via the content management system Omeka where copyright permits. Sharing via Omeka is the preferred outcome.
The UC San Diego Library proposes a 1-year project to digitize, preserve, and improve access to approximately 800 sound recordings from seven collections in the Tuzin Archive for Melanesian Anthropology that span regions of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The Tuzin Archive at UC San Diego Library Special Collections & Archives is comprised of unique unpublished material that documents research on peoples of the southwest Pacific Islands. Sound recordings contain field interviews, linguistic content, songs, performances, and the sounds of daily life in Oceania. Some of the languages documented in these recordings have fewer than 5,000 speakers(1). Digitizing the sound recordings will preserve and make accessible this content for scholarship and provide a first-time opportunity for many of the Pacific Island communities represented in the Tuzin Archive to access their recorded history.(1) “Language Use in Melanesia,” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 214 (March 2012). https://www.sil.org/news/journal-highlights-research-social-dynamics-language-melanesia
UCSC seeks funding to digitize 670 audio recordings featuring a wide variety of works performed at The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music from 1964-1990. Founded in 1963, the Festival is distinctive in its focus on contemporary symphonic music by living composers. 69 Festival recordings were digitized in the 2017 Recordings At Risk pilot grant. Having learned from our experience, and given the interest in the recordings made available through the pilot, we now seek funding to digitize the remainder of the audio recordings in our repository. Recordings will be described in a finding aid on the Online Archive of California and made available to patrons on-site and remotely via the Library’s Digital Asset Management System. These recordings will be an essential resource for musicologists, historians, composers, and students interested in the interdisciplinary study of orchestral traditions in the United States.
Women Who Answered the Call: Digitizing the Oral Histories of Women Who Served in the U.S. Military and the American Red Cross will digitize and preserve at-risk audiovisual materials (303 audiocasettes, 6 open-reel audiotapes, and 1 VHS videotape) that are part of the Women Veterans Historical Project. These at-risk magnetic media items consist primarily of 225 oral histories with women veterans of World War II and subsequent conflicts, recorded between 1999 and 2008. Also included are 6 audio “letters” sent by a Vietnam War veteran. The recordings present an invaluable portrait of the lives of women veterans and issues they faced during and after service. This project will allow the audio recordings to be presented alongside existing text transcripts for the first time, permitting researchers to hear these important stories in the actual voices of those who lived them.
University of Washington Libraries (“UW Libraries”) Special Collections and Ethnomusicology Archives propose a 12-month project to digitize and preserve vintage audio from its Jacobs and Hilbert Collections.Melville Jacobs (1902-1971) is known for his working documenting Native American languages and musics in the Pacific Northwest. His collection of fragile cylinder and disc recordings comprise the only extant documentation of specific linguistic, musical, and folkloric practices.Vi taqʷšəblu Hilbert (1918-2008) was tribal elder of the Upper Skagit in Washington. She was also a conservationist of the Lushootseed language. In her collections are nine unique discs documenting Lushootseed and other languages, none of which have been transferred.With new technological developments provided by Endpoint Audio, we expect to daylight these lost sounds, sharing them with communities of origin and researchers, as appropriate.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives will digitize 250 transcription discs, which date between 1920 and 1950. These discs document programming from WHA, or Wisconsin Public Radio. Wisconsin Public Radio first broadcast in 1917, making it the oldest public radio station and one of the oldest continuously broadcasting radio stations in the United States. Early broadcasts included educational content for farmers as well as home economics. The Farm Program evolved throughout the 1920s, and in 1929 the station began airing a separate Homemaker’s Program, aimed at Wisconsin women, particularly those in rural areas. Our current project focuses on content from the Farm Program and the Homemakers Program. We will also digitize 4-H programs and 100 discs of Wisconsin Yarns, a program that dramatized Wisconsin folklore. The UW-Madison Archives holds 7,000 transcription discs; this project will serve as a pilot study for future digitization.
The materials proposed for this project come from two series within the Tommi Avicolli Mecca Collection, 1967-1992. The first part is a continuation of the reformatting of the remaining 31 cassette tapes on LGBTQ history that were awarded a Recordings at Risk grant in 2017. Because of the maximum award limits on that grant (being the “pilot” round of the program), only 88 of 119 tapes were able to be completed. The second is a collection of 70 cassette tapes documenting the Gay and Lesbian Coffeehouse of Philadelphia, 1977-1982. Both sets of tapes (a total of 101 cassettes), which are imperilled because of their age, format, and historic storage environment, will be transferred to digital files by the Northeast Document Conservation Center, cataloged in house at the John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives at the William Way LGBT Community Center, and made public through the Archives’ Islandora digital repository.
Funding is requested to digitize and provide access to nearly 150 at-risk historic films, videos, and long-playing records from the JDC Archives, the institutional repository for JDC, a leading Jewish humanitarian organization since its founding in 1914. Footage depicts JDC’s global work with communities-at-risk during historic transitions: post-World War II displaced persons in Germany and Italy (1940s); North African immigrants to France (1960s) and Israel (1970s); post-Communist Jewish communities from Cuba to Ukraine (1990s); relief work in Ethiopia, Syria, and Yemen (1990s); and JDC’s global disaster relief responses to the Rwandan genocide, the Armenian earthquake, and the Balkan wars. Materials include edited programs, raw footage of significant events and vanished neighborhoods, and candid interviews. Digitization will render these unique primary sources, presently on unstable media, accessible to diverse audiences and enable these records to enrich the study of modern Jewish history and 20th-century American humanitarian involvement.