Press Release: Libraries, Science and Television Combine Efforts To Preserve At-Risk Multimedia Collections (7/13/2005)

Libraries, Science and Television Combine Efforts To Preserve At-Risk Multimedia Collections
Support from NSF and Library of Congress to Preserve UC Berkeley Series "Conversations with History"

San Diego, July 13, 2005--Vast amounts 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 UC Berkeley.

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 in between. The collection consists of 300 one-hour programs, as well as unedited footage, accompanying audio, transcripts, annotations, related Web pages, and production information.

"The role of the library is changing, as are the materials we are charged with preserving," stated 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 the project, 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.

"The 'Conversations with History' project represents an increasingly critical direction for the science and engineering community and for SDSC," said Fran Berman, 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."

About SDSC
SDSC is a world leader in using, innovating and providing information technology to enable advances and new discovery in science and engineering. Focusing on data-oriented and computational science and engineering applications, SDSC serves as an international resource for data cyberinfrastructure through the provision of software, hardware, and human resources in multi-disciplinary science and engineering, and serves as a leadership national cyberinfrastructure center to the NSF and broader community. SDSC is an organized research unit of the University of California, San Diego with a professional staff of interdisciplinary scientists and engineers, software developers, service and support personnel. SDSC collaborates widely with national and international partners, federal agencies, private industry and others. For more information, see

About UCSD Libraries
The UCSD Libraries are widely recognized as integral partners in the development and provision of innovative, responsive, and effective information services vital to UC-San Diego's instructional and research enterprise. A member of the Association of Research Libraries, the UCSD Libraries consist of eleven campus libraries with combined collections of more than three million volumes. The UCSD Libraries are actively engaged in building digital collections that comprehend textual, audio, still image, and moving image objects and their associated metadata. The Libraries are also in the midst of building a digital asset management system (DAMS) to support the storage, management, access, and preservation of their digital collections. Components of the infrastructure include Innovative Interfaces' Millenium library management system, CONTENTdm, DSpace, and San Diego Supercomputer Center's Storage Resource Broker (SRB). In addition to managing their own digital assets, the Libraries have been highly successful in attracting sponsored grants, which have included funding for the digitization of more than 200,000 visual arts slide images, the integration of DSpace with SRB and the data grid, research in the creation of a Union Catalog of Art Images (UCAI), and the design and development of an Archivists Toolkit. For more information, see

"Conversations with History" is produced by UC Berkeley's Institute of International Studies and can be seen nationally on UCTV every Friday night at 9:00PM. Complete broadcast schedules, links to view programs "on-demand," and related materials can be found on-line at

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