October 27, 2021

Video Archive: American Masters Releases Hundreds of Never-Before-Seen Interviews from 34-Year Archive, Now Available to Stream with Searchable Transcripts

From WNET:

Today, THIRTEEN’s award-winning PBS documentary series American Masters released 500 videos from its robust archive, making a collection of interviews from the last four decades of American Masters films available and fully searchable for the first time at pbs.org/americanmasters.

The American Masters digital archive includes over 1,000 hours of footage from more than 1,000 original, never-before-seen, full, raw interviews: a treasure trove of the movers and shakers of American culture, including Maya Angelou, Patti Smith, Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, Matthew Broderick, Carl Reiner, Joan Rivers, Audra McDonald, Lee Grant, Patricia Bosworth, Sidney Lumet, William Buckley and many others. Just a fraction of the interviews filmed for American Masters appear in the final films; approximately 96% of the footage never gets released. Now, the American Masters digital archive makes this rich catalog of interviews available to the public.

Created as a public research-and-learning tool with an emphasis on usability, discoverability and comprehensive indexing, the American Masters digital archive uses a dynamic web interface to transform the archive into a powerful database of American artistic and cultural achievements. Each interview includes searchable, synchronized transcription powered by Trint. The search and synchronization features allow viewers to jump to sections of the interview just by clicking on a word in the transcript. Over the coming weeks, 500 more interviews from the collection will be released to the public.

In 2016, American Masters completed the digitization of 2,156 tapes and launched the digital archive, releasing interview selections through the American Masters Podcast and videos on the American Masters website. All full-length, digitized interviews are archived by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between Boston public media producer GBH and the Library of Congress to preserve and make accessible significant historical content created by public media.

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The American Masters digital archive is produced by Joe Skinner and Winter Shanck is Senior Archivist. Michael Kantor is American Masters executive producer.

Funding for the American Masters digital archive is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts ($90,000) and the National Archives’ National Historical Publications and Records Commission ($87,375).

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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