Libraries and Supercomputer Center Work to Preserve
“Conversations with History,” Other At-Risk Multimedia
By Alison Gang
of digital content are created every day, making it increasingly
difficult to manage using traditional archival methods. As a
result, large amounts of intellectual and historical material
are at risk of becoming lost to future generations. The UCSD
Libraries and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) have
teamed up to address the unique preservation challenges that
are fast becoming a global problem.
With support from the
National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Library of Congress,
these two UCSD-based organizations have selected University
of California Television (UCTV) as the content partner in developing
a demonstration prototype that will integrate essential preservation
processes into the production workflow of one of its ongoing
television series, "Conversations with History" from
Broadcast and Web-cast
on UCTV for more than five years, "Conversations with History"
was chosen by UCSD Libraries and SDSC as an ideal collection
for this long-term preservation project because of the series'
unique and ongoing contribution to public knowledge.
The program's host,
Harry Kreisler, Executive Director of UC Berkeley's Institute
of International Studies, has welcomed hundreds of prominent
guests into his studio over the years to talk about their lives,
influences, and perspectives, allowing viewers unprecedented
access to prominent journalists, diplomats, Nobel Laureates,
economists, activists, military leaders, historians, and everything
The collection consists
of 300 one-hour programs, as well as unedited footage, accompanying
audio, transcripts, annotations, related Web pages, and production
"The role of the
library is changing, as are the materials we are charged with
preserving," said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, UCSD’s
University Librarian. "This type of interdepartmental and
interdisciplinary collaboration certainly demonstrates the fundamental
shifts libraries are experiencing."
The goal of the project
is to save this valuable material without disrupting the fast-paced
television production cycle. Using "Conversations with
History" as a test case, the project goes beyond the theoretical
and focuses on the practical application of a long-term digital
preservation system within an existing video production workflow.
It is the hope of UCSD Libraries, SDSC and the supporters of
theproject, NSF and the Library of Congress, that the project's
success will lead to the preservation of larger, on-going multimedia
collections also at risk of becoming lost in the digital void.
The San Diego Supercomputer
Center will provide the technological expertise for the multi-media
collection to be ingested and incorporated into a sustainable
platform that can expand and evolve over time.
with History’ project represents an increasingly critical
direction for the science and engineering community and for
SDSC," said Fran Berman, the director of SDSC. "With
the modern era's deluge of digital data, managing, preserving,
and providing access to valuable data collections has become
increasingly critical. This project will enable SDSC, the UCSD
Libraries and UCTV to develop an approach to preserving video
that will impact not only the sustainability of the ‘Conversations
with History’ collection, but also the sustainability
of other valuable community video collections.”
Media Contact: Alison
Gang, (858) 822-5060