Thursday, December 05, 2013

New Televsion News Archive on the horizon

CommPilings posts are usually about resources; this one is about the promise of a resource. According to a recent story in Salon.com, the collecting obsession of a devoted Philadelphia-area librarian, Marion Stokes, may result in the largest television news archive to date--some 140,000 VHS tapes of network, cable, and local news programming between 1977 and 2012.  Librarian Roger Macdonald of the Internet Archive has taken on the collection which will be digitized and indexed for all. Not sure when it's slated for completion but the project has begun and, well, it's the Internet Archive (!) which already delivers a serachable database of the last four years of television news (2010-2013).

Of course the most famous television news archive is the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, a searchable abstracting service for national television network news broadcasts, 1968-present, with CNN and NBC broadcasts available as RealMedia video streams from 1998-present.  Unlike the Internet Archive initiative, it cannot post all of its footage online for free; researchers have to borrow clips on DVD for a small fee.

Communication scholars and historians certainly appreciate all of these archival efforts--it will be interesting to see the vision of Marion Stokes come to fruition, hopefully not too far from now. 

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