May 25, 2022

Library of Congress Selected as New Home of American Archive of Public Broadcasting

From the Library of Congress:

An unprecedented and historic collection of American public radio and television content – dating back through the 1950s – will be permanently preserved and made available to the public through a collaboration between the Library of Congress and WGBH Boston as the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

In 2007, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) initiated an inventory of public media content from contributing stations, resulting in 2.5 million records representing complete programs, raw footage, unedited interviews, recorded speeches, and live music sessions. Now, 40,000 hours of that content is being digitized and is slated for transfer and long-term preservation through a collaboration between the Library of Congress and WGBH, with funding support from CPB.


The American Archive of Public Broadcasting includes local, regional, and national history, news, public affairs, civic affairs, religion, education, environmental issues, music, art, literature, filmmaking, dance, and poetry from the mid-20th century through the first decade of the 21st century.


The collection includes interviews and performances by local and national luminaries from a broad variety of professions and cultural genres. Just a few examples of the items in the collection include: Iowa Public Television’s interview with Olympic runner Jesse Owens, recorded in 1979, the last year of his life; KUSC’s (Los Angeles) broadcast of commentary by George Lucas on the original three Star Wars movies; Twin Cities Public Television’s recording of a 1960 interview with presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey; and WGBH’s 1967 interviews with then-California Governor Ronald Reagan.

Regional coverage and programming abounds, such as an award-winning series of 48 programs on the history of Southwest Florida from WGCU in Fort Myers; WCTE’s (Tennessee) news magazine which highlights the Upper Cumberland, a region that most Americans have never seen; KUED’s (Salt Lake City) films from the 1950s of performances by the famed organist of the Mormon Tabernacle; a 1929 film reel of a hike on Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak, discovered by Maine Public Broadcasting; and WEDU’s (Tampa) collection of several dozen Aeronautics & Space Report programs from NASA.


Responsibilities for governance and long-term strategy development will be shared by the Library of Congress and WGBH, including expansion of the digital archive by acquiring additional content, and providing on-site access to the material at both WGBH in Boston and at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

They will work with AudioVisual Preservation Services to develop and manage the website/content management system for the digitization of the 40,000 hours of content, and with Crawford Media Services to do the digitization for the stations.

See Also: New home for the American Archive (via AAPB Blog)

Over the course of the next two years, the 40,000 hours of digitized files will be accessioned into the Library of Congress systems for long-term preservation. WGBH will be responsible for developing a website for public access to the 2.5 million records from the inventory project. Both WGBH and the Library of Congress will allow public access to the proxy files on location, and rights permitting, allow online access as much as possible to the proxy files.


Another goal of the project will involve engaging the PBCore community toward the continued development of PBCore as a metadata standard for media materials, and the project team will soon begin to seek input from stations for input in its development.


WGBH is part of an effort to preserve more than 40,000 hours of public TV and radio content (via Boston Globe)

Another Project From WGBH-Boston

WGBH Open Vault

 We provide online access to unique and historically important content produced by the public television and radio station WGBH. The ever-expanding site contains video, audio, images, searchable transcripts, and resource management tools, all of which are available for individual and classroom learning.

Search, browse, view content online.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.