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After seven years of researching, testing, developing, analyzing, promoting and sharing, it is time to close out the Library of Congress-funded NDIIPP project Preserving Digital Public Television. Here is our Final Report.

The report covers the major areas of our work:

  • Project Goals, Structure and Organization
  • Activities: Selection and Appraisal
    • Inventory of At-Risk Materials
    • Metadata and Related Topics
    • File Formats and Packages
    • Repository Design
    • Sustainability
    • Intellectual Property and Copyright Issues
    • Corollary Content Test Activity
  • Outreach to the Public Broadcasting Community
  • Impact and Contributions

This project was enormously successful. We produced a significant body of reports; published articles in key journals and other publication; and made popular presentations at dozens of conferences, symposia and special events in the U.S, Canada and abroad. Much to our surprise, this project emerged as a respected leader nationally and internationally in approaching technology issues relating to preserving digital video.

Most importantly, by promoting the importance of digital preservation to public broadcasting, we were instrumental in helping to create the American Archive, a new initiative at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is its first genuine investment in long-term preservation and access of U.S. public radio and television programming.

Since Preserving Digital Public Television began, broadcasting has shed its analog systems and moved completely into a digital universe. This project has been able to impress on the public television system the message that digital preservation is not an optional “add-on” cost, but a requirement for any future use of the materials. In this, the project has been instrumental in transforming an attitude of indifference to one that acknowledges the value of properly managing our collective archival holdings.

We are extremely proud of the quality and scope of the activities performed with NDIIPP support. What we did accomplish was much more than we planned, and we had a much greater impact than we could have imagined. As such, Preserving Digital Public Television more than exceeded the project goals and well surpassed the expectations of the Library of Congress as an original NDIIPP project.

* * * * *

I want to thank all the terrific members of the project team, especially my colleagues at WNET Ken Devine, Jonathan Marmor and Winter Shanck; Dr. Howard Besser and Kara van Malssen at New York University; Mary Ide, Karen Cariani and Dave MacCarn at WGBH; and Bea Morse, Glenn Clatworthy and Irene Taylor at PBS. Without them and the participation of many others, this project would not have been possible. And because this was an extremely friendly and accommodating group, it was an easy project to coordinate and an awful lot of fun!

I must also thank the NDIIPP program of the Office of Strategic initiatives at the Library of Congress, in particular Associate Librarian Laura Campbell; Martha Anderson, Director of Program Management; and our wonderful Program Officer Carl Fleishhauer. First, for having the vision to create the NDIIPP program, and then for showing their confidence in our proposal by giving us the first NDIIPP award made to a non-academic institution. This took a leap of faith on both our parts. We are very proud of the significant accomplishments that were made possible through this generous support, and of being a strong partner who contributed to the overall success of the entire NDIIPP venture.

On behalf of the public broadcasting system, we want to express our gratitude to the Library.

And personally, I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to such an important and exciting venture and meet so many outstanding people in the field. We hope that through the American Archive and a host of other preservation activities now underway, the relationship between public broadcasting and the Library will continue to flourish and grow into the (digital!) future.

Nan Rubin, Project Director
June 2010