PBPF In Philadelphia: Immersion Week 2022

What happens when Library and Information Science (LIS) students from around the country travel to one of the U.S.’s top archival audio and moving image digitization sites? An awesome time and lots of learning!

Fellows practice cleaning decks. (Photo courtesy of Jackie Jay)

Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF) Fellows from around the country traveled to Philadelphia in early August for a few days of training and working first-hand on audiovisual preservation. The Fellowship, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Minow Family Foundation and run by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), pairs LIS students from underrepresented states and communities with local public broadcasting stations near them to give them digitization experience in an archival setting. The training, hosted at George Blood LP and led by George Blood and Jackie Jay of Farallon Archival Consulting LLC, is an integral part of the PBPF Fellowship, during which time Fellows get hands-on experience digitizing audiovisual materials, seeing the workings of a digitization vendor, and learning about the norms and standards of working with older and obsolete tape formats.

Cards used for identifying digitization set-up components. (Photo courtesy of Jackie Jay)

Fellows braved a host of flight cancellations, delays, and jetlag to come to Philadelphia, where they were promptly checked into the hotel, given a swag bag of AAPB goodies and covid tests, and some rest. After a tour of George Blood’s facilities, the first day of training kicked off with Jackie training Fellows on video digitization, and George training Fellows on audio materials. The two instructors led their groups through exercises like identifying digitization set-up components, cleaning decks, setting up cable connections, and using various kinds of capture softwares. After a long day of training, everybody took a much-needed rest and went to dinner in outer Philadelphia, where we all enjoyed pizzas and conversation.

Engineers at George Blood LP teach fellows about specific video formats. (Photo courtesy of Jackie Jay)

On the second day, the training continued, with the second half of the day devoted to giving Fellows the ability to learn about specific formats of their interest, graciously modeled by engineers working at George Blood. The training wrapped up that day with a contingent of Fellows and instructors going to Philadelphia for a George Blood-led tour of the city. The next day, most folks left Philadelphia (some Fellows stayed for a day or two longer to visit friends and see more of the city), with many new friends, a lot of new knowledge, and the excitement of being able to set up and start their own digitization station.

Starting in September, the nine fellows will begin their year-long fellowships digitizing historic programming from WUNC (in partnership with UNC Libraries), KOPN, KGOU, Georgia Public Broadcasting, the Center for Asian American Media in partnership with the Bay Area Video Coalition, East Tennessee PBS, WKSU, ‘Ulu’ulu Moving Image Archive at the University of Hawai’i, and WTTW.

Partner universities include University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Missouri at Columbia, University of Oklahoma at Norman, Clayton State University, San Jose State University, the University of Tennessee, the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and Kent State University and Dominican University.

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