Radio Preservation Task Force 2: Material & Digital Curation
Radio Preservation Task Force 2: Material & Digital Curation


>>From the Library of
Congress in Washington D.C.>>Matt Barton: All right. Why don’t we get going? My name is Matt Barton. I’m the Curator of Recorded
Sound at the Library of Congress. Usually, I’m down in
Culpepper, but spending a lot of time up here this week. Which is a nice trip
down memory lane for me. I used to work in this building. And, I’m also the current
President of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections,
ARSC, until May when Cary Ginell, who’s President-In-Waiting,
takes over. So, we’re starting a little late. I don’t want to talk
too much beforehand. Rather, just jump right
into the introductions because I’m lacking
in imagination today. We’re going to do this
alphabetically. And, unfortunately, the first person
in line would be Charles Hardy, and I haven’t seen him yet. So, we hope that he
makes his way here. But, I am going to skip to the
next in line alphabetically, and that is Jonathan Hiam Curator of Music Division,
Rodgers and Hammerstein. Then, we have Matt Karush
from George Mason University and Hearing the Americas. He’s also Editor-in-chief of
the Journal of Social History and Professor of History at Mason. Elena Razlogova, excuse me. Razlogova from Concordia University
where she’s an Associate Professor of History and also is the author of
“The Listener’s Voice: Early Radio and the American Public”. And, she’s co-editor of Radical
Histories in Digital Culture issue of the Radical History Review. Mark Williams who is
with the, right here. Dartmouth College and the
media ecology project. And, finally, Thomas Witherspoon of
the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive of which he is the
founder and curator of as well the Radio
Spectrum Archive. And, we also have three discussants
who are sitting down here in the front row who
will be jumping in and leading things once everybody
gets to give their short talk here. And, they are Betsey Peterson,
American Folklife Center, and Carlene Stephens, and
David Walker from Smithsonian. So, alphabetically, I think
it’s to you, Jonathan Hiam. [ Applause ]>>Jonathan Hiam: Thank you, Matt, and thank you to the
taskforce for inviting me. It’s wonderful to see
everybody, so good morning. So, I think the panelists and
myself all agree it’s a bit of an open forum in
a way to talk about, generally, digital curation here. So, I thought the best thing I
could do is to tell you a couple of the imperatives that we have at the New York Public
Library that feed into this. And, maybe, then, hopefully, raise
some questions from everybody so we can start thinking about what
we need to start thinking about. So, so, anyhow, I want to point
out there were a few things. So, I’m the curator and part of the
Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound which is vast. Next to the Library of
Congress, it’s the largest in the U.S. We have everything
from performing arts materials through spoken word,
industry recordings, all phases of recorded sound. So, it’s, sort of, a
completist archive in that sense. Of course, we’ve got
thousands of radio broadcasts, and the first thing
I’ll say at least about the way our collections
are managed. And, this is probably covering
[inaudible] that’s brought up already in this conference. But, just, not just cataloging,
but even inventorying the variety of radio programs, the subjects, is a very complicated
task to begin with. Many of our radio recordings
have not come into the collection as such. They came with individual’s
collection, for example. Perhaps a famous stage actress
or actor for whom all of their, sort of, great radio broadcasts
were captured on transcription disk. But, they’re not necessarily
identified that way. Just like news broadcasts have
come in through all kinds of means. Government recordings, of course,
but we just, we have thousands of copies of just home
enthusiasts recording radio from the ’50s and ’60s. And, again, not necessarily
identified as such. So, there’s a big work in just discovering the holdings
we already have, and especially, strangely enough, even
holdings that we feel like we’ve already got a pretty good
amount of intellectual control over. There are a lot of people packed
into a 15-minute radio broadcast on a disk that may
have two or three. So, there’s a lot,
work to be done there. That being said, what
we’re finding from a sort of digital curation
standpoint is we’ve been finding that there’s a very practical need
for first, I would say, staff level, quick access to the types
of recordings we have. Because a curation project, often, at a place like the New York Public
Library is focused either, one, on an exhibition or two, maybe trying to reconstruct some
collections or build something out for a special purpose. In particular, educational efforts which are among the more recently
really prioritized efforts at the New York Public Library. And, of course, everywhere,
but it speaks well to the theme of this conference, I hope, too. So, to give you an
example, like many places, the New York Public Library’s
in the middle of building out a meaningful interface for
the public to stream digital audio and moving image in particular. The earliest iteration of the
streaming portal for materials at the New York Public
Library was actually something that was innovated through
the Jerome Rogers, excuse me. Jerome Robbins Dance Division
at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts who acquired
a grant from the Duke Foundation to develop a portal to
stream moving image of dance. That set of, that access point was
fascinating because it was designed with curatorial tools built into it. You could kind of create
multi tracts of images. You could pull in materials from
outside, like YouTube, Disney, YouTube or other sites and
integrate it with those tools. It was really well received. Student populations loved it. General researchers loved it, but
as all things institutionally, as the digital program started
to get bigger and bigger, that was kind of folded
into a larger platform which has now seen a
variety of iterations. Some more successful than others. However, it really is
moving in a good direction, and I mention this for a few things. Because one is the curation
part of it was initially offered up as a public tool,
which was really cool. But, I think what we were finding
was staff was loving the kind of quick and dirty access to lists
of files, that either we could use because it had the proper, sort of,
file codes that we can recognize by aisle or even just
the internal files that hadn’t gone to cataloging yet. Because if we knew what they were, we could do a lot with
them very quickly. So, I think we’re at a place where,
while we are really looking forward to building out public tools for
things like digital curation, we’re also really looking at
how useful these things are, fundamentally, on the sort
of interior side of things to let us get a grip of
what we have and make that material much more useful
to the staff much more quickly. I would add one other thing, just
a very kind of specific thing, so the current digital platform of the New York Public Library
digitalcollections.nypl.org is starting its next phase of
being aligned with our MMS is to have MMS markers that when
materials go into an exhibition. So, these are things that
are digitized outside of a public request, a
researcher or that sort of thing. These materials will be tagged at
the front end of their clearance. So, all the rights get
cleared, all of this. So that it can be put
into this digital portal. Now, they’ll be marked with or
soon to be marked with markers that will tell us this was
in a particular exhibition. So, you can go in and, now, the
public and the staff can sort things on the OPAC to sort of show you, oh,
this was, these were digital objects that were part of this physical or
digital exhibition four years ago. And, it’s very useful for both the
public and staff in that regard. And, provides a really nice shortcut
for developing educational programs. Okay. The last thing I’ll say,
and I’ll get out of your way, is another thing that’s been useful
for us to think about how we want to manage and curate our digital
files, as I’ve mentioned before, in the context of educational
programs. One of my colleagues,
Danielle Cordovez, who’s here, has been working with a grant
called an NYPL Innovation Grant. Something that’s awarded
to staff internally to do something new and interesting. Danielle has been working on that
project to build out some technology that will basically, you know, just
basically be a box of recordings that you can take into a
classroom and stream locally. That’s an element of control that
we’re increasingly comfortable with in terms of protecting
materials, but also being able to curate through just
the assimilation of files into whatever kind of program
you want to take with you, just out into a classroom or
out into a branch library. Keep in mind, the New York
Public Library, though, we’re representing the
research side of it. Also has essentially
90 lending libraries that we serve in different
ways, too. So, these sort of simple,
I don’t want to say simple because the mechanics are not. But, the simple use of
digital tools to kind of aggregate files, see
things more quickly. It’s kind of the human,
cheap version of big data, helps us put things together very
quickly and makes them portable and stretches the boundaries
of what’s possible. So, I’m going to stop at that. Those are just some loose
things, but to give you a sense of where we’re at and what we’re
thinking about, at least, you know, myself and my colleagues
who are here. We can’t speak on behalf
of the whole library, but nobody really can do that. So, anyway. Thanks. You want to take
questions at the end, or? [ Applause ]>>Matt Barton: Okay. Thank you, Jonathan, and I
think next, we have Matt Karush.>>Matt Karush: Thanks very much.>>Matt Barton: Want
to do it from there?>>Matt Karush: What’s that? Yeah, can I stay here?>>Matt Barton: By all means.>>Matt Karush: Is that all right? Will that work? Okay. So, I’m here. I’m a professor at
George Mason University, but I’m here representing the
project Hearing the Americas. In which I’m sort of
a co-Lead Historian, I think is my official title. But, this is a project housed at the
Center for History and New Media, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for
History and New Media at Mason. It has, we have digital
projects for the public, planning grant from the NEH. And, the idea is to put together an
accessible digital public humanities project aimed at increasing user’s
understanding of the early history of recorded popular music. It’s actually not radio at all, so
I feel a little out of place here. But, in any case, I think it
raises some overlapping issues. The inspiration for this came,
really, from the availability of a huge amount of recorded music
from the period between the 1890s and the 1920, thanks,
principally to two collections, the National Jukebox from here
at the Library of Congress and the University of
California Santa Barbara cylinder audio archive. So, between those two collections,
users have, really, immediate and kind of amazing access to
more than 20,000 recordings from that early period in the
history of recorded music. And, I, both me and my
colleague, Mike O’Malley, who’s the other Lead Historian
on this, have made efforts to use that material in classes with
different amounts of success. But, one thing we noticed is that
even, even the most well-educated of our students, the students who
came to the material as music fans, music buffs, interested in music
history and quite knowledgeable about music history, were
basically unable to make much use of that material unless we
provided a great deal of guidance. And, that really, you know, from a pedagogical perspective
wasn’t particularly a shocking realization. But, it did bring home
to us the fact that even though these collections
have made these recordings, you know, they put them
right at your fingertips, and they’re very well, sort of,
tagged and searchable and it’s just in a very, they’re both very
efficient websites to use. But, despite that, for somebody
who’s not pretty significantly well versed in both that
period in music history, but also that period
in history, period. It’s quite difficult to
make sense of that material. It basically all sounds
the same to people. They have trouble, kind of,
making anything out of it. Maybe I’ll say a word
about why that might be. But, in any case, that’s
where we’re coming in trying to put together what’s
basically, I guess, a website that’s providing a great
deal of, that will, hopefully, provide a great deal of
contextualization to sort of make, help users make sense of
these collections and sort of use them, right,
make use of them. The two collections that I mentioned
give users immediate access to a really wide range of different
forms of music, marches, tangos, ragtime, foxtrots, cakewalks,
Hawaiian, serenades, opera, ethnic songs, lots of ethnic, lots of ethnic humor,
for better or for worse. Minstrel show routines, also
for better or for worse. But, the whole panoply of
American popular music before 1925, and they require contextualization
in at least, I think, two main ways. First of all, we hope to provide a
lot of significant contextualization on the issue of the formal
properties of music, right, so that users could begin to start
to hear the recordings in a way that they probably can’t when
they first start streaming. So, this is, you know, topics
from syncopation, improvisation, being able to identify
certain kinds of rhythms, certain instrumental techniques
on different kinds of instruments, band arrangements, etc.
And, obviously, sort of, that project of contextualization
raises issues of digital curation, right? It raises kind of challenges
how to do that effectively. Then, the second kind of
contextualization we’re interested in is more historical, right,
trying to make understandable and audible the multiple contexts
of race, class, gender, nationality, that enable the given performance and that structure the way it
was heard at a particular time. And, just to give you kind of a
broad, we’re, this is very much in the, in the planning stages,
but just to give you a broad sense of the sorts of themes
that I think, hopefully, we’ll be able to make
contributions to, I guess. The history of capitalism
and technology, right? These recordings have a lot of
potential to shed light on that. The history of the music
business in that period, but also of recording technology. The history of race and
constructions of race. I already mentioned the
prominence of minstrelsy, for example, in the collection. But, it’s, you know,
that is a really rich and complicated topic because,
as probably many of you know, it’s not just, these are not
just white black face performers, but also African Americans
who kind of reappropriated that in interesting ways,
that genre, if you will. And then, finally, and the reason
the project is called Hearing the Americas is, in the first place, we have a transnational
component to this. The majority of the songs on, in both of these collections were
recorded in the United States in places like New York and
Camden, New Jersey and Philadelphia. But, the collect also features, both
collections feature recordings made in Mexico City and
Buenos Aires and Havana. We also, they also feature
Latin American musicians, composers and genres, right? And, they make visible
the transnational roots of U.S. popular music in
ways that may, hopefully, surprise visitors to this site. So, this is, you know, the Hawaiian
roots or contributions to blues and country music in the
U.S., the Argentine, Cuban, and Brazilian roots of jazz,
the key role of Caribbean and Mexican musicians in the
North American soundscape. So, those are some of the issues that I think the collections can
speak to, but kind of aren’t yet. I mean, unless you’re
bringing a great deal of knowledge to them at this point. As I say, very early
planning stages. We’re just kind of
mapping out, right now, what the site architecture will
looks like, but it will have, it will provide users kind of multiple routes
through the collections. You know, in other words,
you can follow individuals. You can follow genres. You could follow songs, and sort of plan your own itinerary
through the collections. One thing that we do hope to include
that presents a real challenge from the digital curation
standpoint, I think, is kind of annotated listening
guides so that, you know, we can sort of point out to
you as you’re listening things that you’re hearing
or might be hearing. You know, that’s in its
early stages of planning, but I think that’s a real
challenge for us which I’d be happy to hear suggestions about. I think the current idea is
something like SoundCloud. I don’t know if you’ve
ever, some of you, I’m sure, have seen the annotations
that you can do on SoundCloud. So, that’s a kind of
model that exists, but this is definitely
a work in progress. So, that’s all I’ll
say at this point. Turn it over. [ Applause ]>>Matt Barton: All right. Next, we’ll hear from
Elena Razlogova. Okay, thank you, and she’ll be
presenting on freeform radio. [ Inaudible Comment ] Oh. There we are.>>Have the power. [ Inaudible Comment ] [ Laughter ] [ Inaudible Comment ]>>Elena Razlogova:
[inaudible] started there. And, my colleague [inaudible],
who’s also at Concordia University in Montreal, points out that public
[inaudible] of audio materials and reading materials
as well compete with commercial cloud services
like Spotify, Netflix, and others. And, only certain material
ends up in the cloud. And, even if it does end up in
the cloud, the algorithms tend to choose materials
that are published by commercial corporation
rather than public services. And, I know that this problem is
important for museums and libraries as well because I was at an
excellent digital workshop yesterday at Maryland, University of Maryland. And, [inaudible] from the
Smithsonian had a slide showing that at Smithsonian
archives, the artifacts viewed by about 10,000 users, but Wikipedia
gives them ten times more views because Wikipedia’s
a public project. And, the Smithsonian, even though
it’s a government institution, very well-known and very popular, it doesn’t have the same
discoverability as Wikipedia does. So, my project is basically
based on getting live recordings of music performances at freeform
radio stations throughout the United States and also Canada. And it turns out that these
recordings are mostly very informally archived, obviously,
and they usually are locatable more at recording companies rather
than radio stations themselves. So, we started working with
[inaudible], and so far, the files look kind of like
this, a bunch of wav files with no metadata whatsoever. And, we need to research how to,
how to conceptualize these and how to link them to particular
radio stations. On displaying them, we collaborate with radio station FMU,
WFMU from New Jersey. It’s a college radio station fairly
known to people who are interested in obscure, nonpopular,
and weird music. So, in that sense, we already
get hardcore music listeners, and because we’re more interested
in independent labels, we actually, this is our core audience,
basically. Independent labels, independent
musicians, so that works very well. But, how do we reach more people. So, we going to, the page so far. I’m not going to show you my
page because it’s not ready yet. But, our page will
look kind of like this. So, it’s not aesthetically pleasing
in a way that, say Pitchfork is, but it does have attraction
to these hardcore listeners. And, this is the list
of radio shows from FMU. And, sometimes, there are images. Okay. So, I decided to look at
what small labels, small venues, and rare music promoters are doing,
and a lot of things are happening that are very interesting. So, one option is to
issue these recordings. So, this is, this is a record, a
special record published by a Death by Audio space in Brooklyn which
closed recently a few years ago, and this is a vinyl of the
last music show at the space under the title “Start Your
Own Fucking Show Space”. I just wanted to say
that in this conference. [ Laughter ] So, the coverage in
music in the music press for this release is fairly
high, so not just archiving but releasing vinyl,
I think, is vital for, for these kinds of projects. Because material production
and material, like, events such as a record launch, do a lot for these kind
of projects, I think. Another option is collaborate
with commercial. bandcamp is a commercial entity, but it is geared towards
independent musicians. And, it is known in
independent music community as a fair institution
to collaborate with. And Dischord label that is actually
from D.C. recently released all of their recordings including
demo recordings on this platform. And, in conjunction with this
recording, with this release, they were going to do a round table where they invited music
journalists, musicians themselves, and label representatives to
discuss the history of the label. So, I think that kind of
coverage is also very interesting because not only it
allows you to release and contextualize metamaterial
such as liner notes, memoirs, station memos, or posters, but also
it generates historical data via oral history or documentary
practices that, then, can be useful for historians. So, this is another
example of a vinyl release. This is a Tenzier label
form Montreal. Nonprofit organization
that preserves and disseminates [inaudible]
recordings of Quebec avant garde artists,
mostly [inaudible] artists. And, this, also a DIY
project by just one person or a few people, but
they do the same. They digitize recordings of public
performances by free jazz musicians in the ’60s and ’70s
that are quite amazing. There are people there actually
went to proletarian areas, like, to worker areas and farmer
areas to perform free jazz which is really hard music to hear. And then, they would give lectures
about how to hear it before, and they would end by
collective performances with the people in the audience. So, all of these recordings exist, and they’ve all be digitized
by this organization. But, then, once a year,
in conjunction with these archival practice,
they release a vinyl recording to promote their project
and also make it an event. So, these are these
releases of the records. And then, finally, another
option for musicians as well is touring with the music. So Awesome Tapes From Africa. Probably most of you
guys know what that is. It’s a project of Brian Shimkovitz
who started it as an MP3 blog in the early 2000s, and he makes
available African music that’s not otherwise released on major labels. And, this is kind of an
anti-Spotify project. I just love, I love these projects
because they make music available that would never be on Spotify. So, he started with a blog,
and then he created a label that releases some of
this music as recordings, and 50% of the profits
go to African artists. Also, on bandcamp, as you can see,
and at the same time, he travels, and he performs DJ
sets of that music. And, he basically explains his
project which is controversial as well because, well,
there are issues with how much should he
give back to the musicians, how much can he profit
from this kind of business? So, he creates a discourse
about this kind of music, and I think in some ways,
freeform music in America even, is also a lost physical landscape. Maybe not as lost as, not as
difficult to access as, say, local African music production, but
it is outside of the cloud, so far. And, maybe we just don’t
have to bring it to Spotify, but maybe we could have
it exist on the edges of the commercial businesses, so
we can, it can be accessible and yet not be representable
by entities like Spotify, but rather by DIY and public spaces. So, I want to finish
by thinking about how to publicize this project
apart from the DIY methods that I just described, and I
think Wikidata, I’m really excited about it after hearing
two presentations on it. I think not only we
should connect the archives to publicly funded projects
such as DEEP L.A. or Europeana, but I think internet archive. And, Wikidata, they’re interesting because not only they’re
grandfathered, but they also DIY. They start it as public, as
nongovernmental entities, and their reach is
just so much vaster than the reach of even
the Smithsonian. So, I think it’s important
to remember. That’s it. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Matt Barton: Okay. Thank you. Thank you for that, Elena. Thank you especially for
that PowerPoint here. Your example has made it
impossible for any of us to claim that we don’t have time
to do something now. [ Laughter ] Okay. And, next, we’ll
hear from Mark Williams.>>Mark Williams: Hi. Thank you very much. Cool. You can hear me. Awesome. Thank you. Yeah. I was going to stand up, but I
think I need to see my slides here. I’m going to really bang
through some slides. I made them on a Mac, and they’re
not being screened on a Mac. So, I hope I recognize them,
but, yeah, they look okay. I’m going to talk about the
Media Ecology Project which is a, we’re really, honestly, trying to create what I would call
a virtuous cycle in which, by virtue of having access to
archival, time-based media, we grow scholarship
about that media. Both traditional, whatever
that means, but also computationally enhanced. We produce metadata that makes the
archival collections more searchable and discoverable, and we
help to save these media as instances of public memory. So, I’m going to bang
through the slides. They’re informative. It’s also a little bit of advocacy. Our goals will take a village,
and this is a great village. So, I hope we can do some things. This is our WordPress site,
which essentially talks about the foundations of
the project but also some of the grants that we’ve received. Very happy to have an overview of
the project in this great collection that was coedited by
Charles Acland and Eric Hoyt about the digital humanities
and media history. I frame the project
in terms of modernity. All the media that we study, that we
tend to study are part of modernity, and my favorite description
of modernity is from the great French
poet Baudelaire who called modernity a
combination of the ephemeral, the contingent, and the fugitive. We have so much work to do on
the fugitive, and I say giddy up. So, various contexts and premises. Most of digital tools made
for the sciences crying need in the arts and humanities. If every institution tries to
do everything, we’re doomed. So, we need to think creatively,
think forward, act collaboratively. These historical materials
are going to disappear. Most people don’t realize
that, particularly, maybe, our students who see 1000 cat videos
an hour, and they can’t imagine that moving image culture,
for example, is anything but ubiquitous and eternal. And, both things are just wrong. So, we need to wake people
up to that, but we also need to forage new direction for the
academic and scholarly community to give back to the archives. It can’t just be a one-way trip. So, we want to augment preservation
goals via more online access. We want to add value back to
the archives and libraries. Scholars and academics can make
these materials more searchable, can make materials
searchable across archives. These are two huge value adds. Can even become part of the workflow
if the archives are interested. So, the best first users can
help to advocate for what to digitize next and why. These are three value adds
before we’re really doing significant scholarship. I call this due diligence. Cool. All right. So, that’s what I just said. So, MEP is a triangle
of tools and platforms. Media thread which comes
out of Colombia University and produces a capacity to
make time-based annotations. That’s really the kind
of searchability and discoverability we
want to advocate for. We can produce those
annotations and push them out to this amazing
digital publishing platform from the University of Southern
California called Scalar, and once it’s in Scalar, you can
link to anything on the magic box and really contextualize things. But, we can also work to build
vocabularies that people can share and actually have common
vocabularies so that these different
aspects of search and discoverability
are, in fact, communal. And, different scholars
contribute to one another’s work. We hang out to the
metadata that’s produced. The archives host their
own materials. They’re the best curators
and handlers of that. And, by virtue of this
kind of triangle and then additional
computational tools, we can try to create the
future that we’re describing. So, we want to realize a
sustainability project regarding media history as public memory. Every archivist I have ever
talked to understands this. They get it. They want, they want to be
part of this, and we’re, that’s our battery is the
enthusiasm of the archives. Develop network scholarship in
relation to this online content, promote and get more people to understand this dynamic
ecology of historical media. Support the essential work of the
archives, engage primary research, and innovate new forms of
scholarship and publication. So, DH is a, you know,
complicated term. I actually love that
it’s kind of messy. People can’t give you
one definition of DH, but what it means is we’re
working across disciplines from a lot of different directions. And, the first thing to make DH work
is you have to respect one another. You have to understand you’re
working across disciplines, recognize there are going to be little frictions
that arise as a result. Maintain collegiality and just
find the new research questions that make things go. In terms of the traditions
of DH, a lot of DH is focused on word culture, and
I love word culture. I was an English major. But, if we’re dealing
with time-based media, we’re dealing with other kinds
of objects, and we really need to innovate the ways to deal with
those other kinds of objects. So, media thread sort
of looks like this. It’s a classroom platform. It’s divvied up into courses, if you
will, and if you have a collection or an emphasis, we can call that
a course and start to populate it. And, start to create
time-based annotations. A lot of our work is with
moving image culture, but I am a firm believer in the
significance of intermediality, and, in fact, my new favorite term in
which to think about that comes from the theorist Bakhtin
who talked about chronotopes and the significance of historical
moments where there’s a combination of newsreels plus radio plus
something else plus the newspapers. And, it forms a kind of a chronotope
that we need to understand better, and we can really facilitate
these kinds of understandings. So, for sound culture and for radio
culture, same kind of capacity. This, you create time-based
annotations, manual, time-based annotations,
but one of our goals is to facilitate how the manual
time-based annotations can help train the algorithms to produce
machine learning annotations and see how that can really super
generate search and discoverability. This is not quite what
Scalar looks like now. This is like Scalar 1.0,
and now they’re 2.0. But, you see how it
facilitates a different way to put together linked data,
and that’s really the part, the main significance of
time-based annotations is to facilitate these linked data
search and discoverability practices where you’re not just doing a fly
over of the titles of a collection. You’re searching within the
texts themselves and coming up with a whole other way to
imagine what the scholarship and the future availability will be. Scalar has beautiful data in
terms of their visualizations, so that’s certainly a nice thing,
and this is what Onomy looks like. So, Onomy, this is my little joke. It’s like taxonomy without the tax. I live and work in New Hampshire. You get bonus points if
you take the tax away. Right? Government joke. Perfect audience. But, it really is to create
vocabularies that we can share and deploy, you know,
in a fairly common way which will actually enhance so much
of the search and discoverability. These are our metadata standards. We are very strongly open. In relation to the presentations
yesterday, we’re all about RDF and JSON and creating those
triples and, you know, making, making those kinds of
search capacities viable. Delighted to be working with the
Radio Preservation Task Force. We are actively pursuing
relationships with different archives, one of which I’ll tell
you about in a second. And, we’re working toward a
special issue of the Journal of e-Media Studies which is also
published at Dartmouth about some of the activities of the
preservation taskforce. We have an amazing project with the
National Archives that really came to us because of some
brilliant grad students who recognized a new opportunity to study what I call the
film studio none of us know. Everybody knows MGM
and Warner Bros., but the U.S. Information Agency
produced, like, 18,000 films, and under these curious
circumstances whereby, by and large, they were forbidden to be
seen within the United States. That’s no longer the case, but
it means that there are scholars in other parts of the world
who have been thinking about and studying these USIA
films for a long time. We’re a networked scholarly
platform. we can imagine engaging scholars
from other parts of the world to start to teach the United States
about its own cultural project. That’s pretty exciting, and of
course, it has many audio components as well, including the Voice of
America which has materials both at the National Archives
and the Library of Congress. So, we’re incredibly
excited about that. Most of our grant money
has been to develop tools for moving image culture, so we’ve
got this semantic annotation tool whereby you can create
time-based annotations for different geometric parts of
the frame that will really lead to more granular, you know,
kinds of search and discovery. And, very excited to be working with
some incredibly gifted colleagues in computer science who are
trying to teach the machines how to identify objects in actions. But, also, other kinds of
textuality, like audio text, written text, etc. And, we
are reaching out to people who have some coding
wherewithal and some interest to help develop these other kinds of machine reading capacities
regarding sound culture. So, we know that we can help with
speech and music discrimination. This is part of what came up
yesterday with the conversations about pop up archive which is
really great at spoken word. But, unfortunately, is also
going away sometime soon. It was reported yesterday. We can work with different
kids of diarization of speakers, separate speakers. That’s really a challenge
to get the machines to recognize there are
different people talking, and how do you parse them? But, also, the tools that
my colleague, Michael Casey, who’s a brilliant computer scientist
at Dartmouth and who’s different from Mike Casey at Indiana
who’s kind of a legend in this. My Michael Casey developed
this really great kind of sonic culture toolkit that
we work to parse sound culture, but we also have some
tricks to make it work for moving image culture as well. So, our goals. Advocate for digitization. And, all archivists know
that it’s a water wheel. Once you, it’s not digitize
and you’re done, right? It’s digitize and then migrate. But, there are a lot of people
working on those challenges. Work to develop a scholarly
secure tier of access to online collections. The time is now for this,
and there’s a lot of interest in trying to move forward. And, we would love for people to
get together and make that happen. Help to drive 21st century
scholarship, raise awareness about the endangered status,
get some new pedagogy. Get scholars to recognize that they
have an obligation to create search and discoverability metadata
in their scholarship. Engage in this incredible dialectic between close reading
and distant reading. The arts and humanities,
all about close reading. Computational studies,
all about scale, you know. That’s literally a dialectic,
and we can learn from that. We can really move the conversation
and develop new approaches that enable crowdsourcing. So, thank you very much. [ Applause ]>>Matt Barton: Thank you, Mark. Just wanted to say that I just
got word from Josh Shephard that Charles Hardy who was to
have been on this panel had to cancel on very short notice. However, he is alive
and well, just not here. So, any of you know him, you
know, that’s the story there. Excuse me. So, finally, to our last
panelist, all the way over there, who hails from an area of radio
that is storied and vital. But, I think also misunderstood
and underappreciated. That’s shortwave. So, Thomas Witherspoon.>>Thomas Witherspoon: Thank you,
first of all, it’s a real honor to serve on this, you
know, distinguished panel. And, I was just telling Josh
yesterday that I feel a little out of place here because
I’m not an academic. I’m not a professional
archivist, yet here I am. And, I’m also from
rural North Carolina, and I’m going to try
to speak quickly. And, that doesn’t always
work very well. But, during my undergraduate
studies, I worked every year in an archives department of our
university, and I think it’s there where I sort of became passionate
about preserving, you know, important pieces of work. And, I did my graduate studies in
anthropology at the London School of Economics, and today, I
write about communications. All aspects of it, the
history, content, the culture, and I blog on a blog called
“The Shortwave Listening Post”. We have about 7000 daily readers, and so I’m particularly
fascinated with shortwave radio. And, I usually tell people
when they ask what I do, I’ll say I’m a radio anthropologist, and sometimes they
back away from me. You know, for those of you who
don’t know, radio is a medium for international communications,
and it’s not hindered by borders. It doesn’t care who’s in
power, in what country, and it literally blankets our earth. And, all you need is a $20 receiver,
and you can be at the south pole and receive a station that emanates
from Japan or the U.S. or France. I work a lot with enthusiasts
in the shortwave radio world, and every year, I attend a fest
in, convention in Philadelphia where a lot of others there are
interested in shortwave radio and international broadcasting. And, many years ago,
we had a forum topic about preserving off-air recordings
of shortwave radio broadcasts. Because people, you know,
enthusiasts back in the day, during the Cold War and
earlier, have, you know, they started recording
on magnetic media. And, now, those things are starting
to deteriorate, and we wanted a way that we could encourage people
to digitize these things and share them in some way. Afterwards, not a lot happened
because we never really, you know, we didn’t bring this to fruition. So, I decided to do it myself, and I created the shortwave
radio audio archive. This archive is, we have hundreds
now of, hundreds and hundreds of off-air recordings from various
shortwave radio broadcasters, and sometimes, also,
AM broadcasters. It’s set up, though, as a podcast. So, when you subscribe to this
via iTunes or the RSS feed, anytime we upload a recording, it automatically downloads
that recording. We don’t have any introductions
or anything like that. It’s just the recording. And, quite a lot of the
2000 people who subscribe to this keep the entire archive
of recordings at their home. That’s a lot of offsite,
you know, recordings. And, so, anyway, that’s how we
propagate it, and you can visit that website at
shortwavearchive.com. Like, again, it’s funded 100% by me. It’s not affiliated with
a university or anything, and I’m not super risk averse. When I put things out
there, but by and large, these are off-air recordings
from international broadcasters, you know, and a lot of propaganda
and other interesting things. And, I also work with another site
called, it’s actually a new team that we’ve formed called
the Spectrum, the Radio Spectrum Archive. How many of you, with a raise of
hands, how many of you have heard of radio spectrum recordings before? Oh, yes. Okay. So, at the end of this,
you’ll all have your hands up. Since the early days of radio
transmitting, we’ve had efforts to preserve recordings, and
these are audio recordings of a broadcaster on a particular
frequency, a particular day, and possibly a particular topic. Today, through the use of
software defined radios, these are little radios that
look like an external hard drive, and you can hook it up to your
computer with a USB cable. And then, you hook up an
external antenna to it, and it is a radio that’s
controlled by your computer. And, you can do just kind
of crazy things with it. You can record spectrum. Instead of one frequency, one
broadcaster, I can record, say, the entire FM band all at once or the entire AM broadcast
band all at once. Or, you know, a couple of
shortwave bands all at once. All, dozens and dozens and
dozens of stations on there and the static in between. Everything. And, later, you can tune
through it as if it were live. I’ve got a short video. I narrate in this video. This is on our website,
and just to kind of give you a flavor what this is. And, I’ll tell you before we
start it, what you’re looking at on the screen is a software
defined application called HDSDR. It’s free, and it can
read recordings. This particular recording I’m
demonstrating is a unique one. Most of the recordings
now are made digitally with the software defined receiver. This was made in Providence, RI
on May 1, 1986 by an enthusiast who basically hacked his receiver
and connected it to a hi-fi VCR and recorded the intermediate
frequency, and then played it back through is radio so he
could tune through it later. Like, time travel. And, he very kindly, a couple
years ago, digitized those tapes and put them in a form that
we can read them on this. And so, if you’d like to go ahead. [ Static ] [ Music ]>>NBC News. I’m Kevin Gordon. President Raegan himself says even with the vast resources
available to the United States, there is no way of knowing just
how bad the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster really is. The accident is the talk
of the western world. There are still vast
portions of the Soviet Union that have no idea that
anything is wrong. [inaudible] Newbar with Stanford
University says the only people in the Soviet Union who were told about Chernobyl are
in Moscow and Kiev.>>We’ve been monitoring these
broadcasts since Tuesday, and there’s been absolutely no
mention of anything connected to an, a nuclear accident. The Siberian people just don’t
know anything about this.>>The fire is said to still
be burning out of control. With the fire having spread.>>Thomas Witherspoon: Again, this
is a recording that you can tune through as if it were live radio. This is what the AM band sounded like in Providence,
RI on May 1, 1986. I’ll tune to another frequency here.>>In Europe, [inaudible] told us
all the European leaders are still expected to come to the
summit in Tokyo this weekend. Dick Ratner, ABC News with
the President in Bali.>>A hurricane tracking satellite
is scheduled to be launched from the Kennedy Space
Center this evening. It’s the first launch there since the Challenger
Space Shuttle explosion. One Challenger investigator
says examination of wreckage proves a rocket
joint failed, again pointing to a problem with the O-rings. Los Angeles Library officials are
not sure what books were destroyed in the big fire in
the downtown library. The fire department says about 80%
of the 2 million books were saved. Starting today, May 1st, in Florida, you can pick up stronger
medicines at a drugstore.>>Thomas Witherspoon: Okay. I’ll just tune through the
rest of the spectrum here, so you can see what the
stations are actually on.>>More potent over
the counter medicines. The pharmacist also can charge
fees for this extra service. [ Static and Music ]>>And wake up ready to go. Use only as directed.>>Compose. [ Static ]>>Around my cheeks, but my
forehead, nose, and chin are oily. [ Static ] [ Music ]>>Thomas Witherspoon: And, we
can pause it there if you’d like. So, that is a spectrum recording. [ Applause ] So, you know, this is actually sort of a rougher copy of
a spectrum recording. It was made on a hi-fi VCR in
1986, but a lot of the stations on there are no longer on the air. Some of them went off the air ten
years after this was recorded. And, I’m willing to bet this is
the only copy of this in existence. You know, we still
capture things today. In fact, I have, at my house, about 50 terabytes worth
of spectrum recordings. I recorded the last two
presidential elections. I can go back and relive
some and not relive others, but historically speaking,
they’re still very significant. And, I think, now, actually, as we, I spend a lot of time
capturing the AM broadcast band because it’s actually
pretty diverse mediascape. It’s pretty rich, context richness. We anthropologists love that,
and I think today, you know, in the future, people will look back
and be able to tune through this. And, I imagine even in a
library online somewhere. Maybe even a kiosk, you can have
an interface where someone can tune through the spectrum
as if it were live. And, they’ll probably see that
now, you know, we were living in this kind of dynamic time
where the public was divided, and a large percent of
the population, you know, lacked some of the critical
thinking skills to discriminate between fake and real news. And, I think that’s
something that’s playing out on the airways right now. So, some of our challenges. Well, these files are huge. To record the entire
AM broadcast band, it sucks up about two gigabytes
of space for every one minute. [ Whistle ] And, space is cheap. You know, hard drives are cheap,
but putting those in the cloud or in some sort of, you
know, digital format that can be archived is much
more difficult, very costly. And so, we’re trying to
figure out ways to do that. Of course, bandwidth
makes it difficult to pass these recordings
on to each other. Especially if you’ve
got large files. And, we’d like, maybe, at some
point, to turn this into something where we can have an
endowment to, perhaps, fund it even in some modest way to
keep these recordings in existence. And, also, we want to do outreach,
stuff like this, so people are aware that spectrum recordings
are out there. So, how many people know what a
spectrum recording is, now, right? Excellent. So, if you have any ideas, please
approach me at this conference, because I don’t know many of you. Come over, give me your
card, or something. I’ll give you a card,
and we can talk. But, thank you, again, very much
for allowing me to be here today. [ Applause ]>>Matt Barton: All right. Thank you, Thomas, and
thank you all of you. Another hand for our panel, please. [ Applause ] All right. So, we’ve got almost half an hour
for some good discussion here. There’s an extra chair
up here if one of the discussants
would like to take it. Please don’t fight over it. But, are you ready? Do you want to just stand
up and face the crowd, or how should we do this? Okay. Okay.>>I think we should, since I
am part of the host institution, I think we should start
with [inaudible]. [ Laughter ] [ Background Conversation ] And, not to make you nervous,
but we are livestreaming. So, if you could, you know, try and crane yourself a
little ways towards the camera. That might help the people
viewing this at home. Or, come up here, you know. Whatever you like.>>I don’t know which is the bigger
challenge, to say something sensible or to turn in two directions
at once.>>Matt Barton: Okay.>>I want to thank this panel
very much for pulling me, a curator, into the 21st century. I am fascinated by the multiple
definitions of digital curation. We, I don’t know if that’s something
you want to discuss, but I’ll, I am going to pose a question. Because I come from the
material side of curation but has nothing to do with curation. I was interested, in every
case, to hear about your users. I come from a background in
the history of technology. The current trend is
to say users matter, and these are the historical
reason, the historical cases why. So, could you each say
something more about the users that you already have or
imagine that you will have and why scale matters
to these users?>>Matt Barton: We don’t have
to do it alphabetically anymore.>>Yes. Good.>>Matt Barton: Jump in.>>Mark Williams: Yeah. I can start. I mean, the users that
we’re starting with for our pilot projects are
scholars, and trying to come up with new and innovative
research questions to pursue. And, we’ve had fantastic
results in that regard. And, in fact, some of
the research questions. I’ve never heard of the
different methodologies they want to bring to these texts. So, the goal overall is to
give back to the archives and make them searchable
and discoverable, and then see how the public more
generally wants to use them as well. But, we’re starting with the
scholarly tier, if you will, and seeing what kind
of new methodologies and discoverability that generates.>>Elena Razlogova: Well,
for me, or for this project, as we imagined the users. We don’t have the users,
obviously, yet. But, I think we would
start with music bands, like people who are
interested in independent music or odd music, nonpopular music. But, that includes
scholars of music. Any music historian or music
scholar would be interested in this kind of material. So, there are two ways to promote
it or to distribute it as one to make it public for
everybody for general listener to discover and see and hear. And then another one would be to
plug it into the library universe, so the scholars could,
can use it as well. But, I think a lot of work needs
to be done to promote these kinds of ad hoc recordings to
scholars to contextualize them to make them understand
why this kind of cultural production is important.>>Jonathan Hiam: Well, I’ll just
say very quickly that, of course, as a public library, our users are
anyone and everyone who decides to go to the website for starters. So, while we have a pretty good
sense of who uses what types of materials, that doesn’t always
translate as to customizing the way in which we can present
them and serve them. So, all that’s to say that
we do our best to make things as widely available and discoverable
as possible to anyone and everyone. But then, we also, and I think this
happens more on the sort of flesh and bones human level, is that
the staff really is empowered and takes it seriously
to go, literally, into communities such as this. Or, if you’re working
in a, you know, we’re making these tools accessible
to all sorts of library staff users. So, education officers, so
to say, or branch led brands who do children’s programming. Presumably, they’ll also
have uses for these. So, we want to make
things really open. And then, build tools on top that
allow smaller user groups to maybe, you know, again, aggregate
materials or have packages of things passed onto
them by the staff. But, I do think in terms
of the variety of users. We try and actually go out
into different fields to find out what it is people need
and how they want to use it. So.>>Matt Karush: the
conversations about our users for Hearing the Americas might
be have been really interesting. I sort of came into the project
thinking first of students and teachers, but then, it became
a digital project for the public. Which implies a bigger,
broader audience, and more of a public
history kind of project. So, you know, my colleagues in
the project have done a bunch of audience testing and
elaborating personas, which has been really interesting
as somebody who’s never done any of that just to see that happen. But, I think what’s the big,
sort of, primary audience at this point are sort of fans and
music history buffs, I would say. Which there are many. But, the interesting
challenge about that for us is that the motivating questions
that come up over and over again from those communities
sometimes lead to frustration with the collection. In other words, because the
motivating questions have to do with the genres that people
first think of when they think of early American popular music. So, there’s a lot of
interest in blues music. There’s a lot of interest
in country music. And, even the more savvy members of that community are sometimes
surprised that we’re really looking at a period before those
genres have emerged. And, the music sort
of surprises them and frustrates them in certain ways. So, we’ve been, I mean,
that’s been kind of a big challenge for
us to work through. I mean, so, there are
lots of different ways of approaching that problem. But, you know, there will be
things, sort of, hooks, right, designed to sort of peak the
interest of that community. But then, maybe also
open people’s eyes and surprise people
in interesting ways. So, trivia questions
that pull people and playlist is another
sort of technique. But, we’re, I mean, I
think that is the kind of central challenge of the project.>>Thomas Witherspoon:
And, you know, for me, the shortwave radio
audio archive, really, I threw it out there for everyone. You know, anyone who wants to listen
to it, people who are nostalgic, historians, you know, people in media studies, any
kind of researchers. Whoever wants it can have it. Interestingly, though, the
publicity we’ve gotten, which just appeared
in my email one day. “The Wire” magazine in
the UK which is a magazine for musicians reviewed the
Shortwave Radio Archive as a source of material for music
and gave us, you know, all kinds of good publicity. And, our users kind
of jumped from there. That’s not one I would have
ever thought of, but you know, shortwave radio has kind of
an interesting sonic texture, and, which I find appealing. And, evidently, others do as well. The spectrum archive, at the moment,
it’s not super practical to share it with everyone just
because of the data size, and we just don’t have the
applications in place to share this. But, ideally, I’d like it to
be accessible to everyone. Perhaps have an online site where
people can pull up a recording, like a digital library,
and tune through it. That would be the ideal to me.>>David Walker: Well,
kind of as a follow up, kind of as a follow up to that. As far as engaging with the
communities, as you suggested, what are some ways in which you can
bring people in and accept, kind of, feedback from the communities. And, I think that’s a
great example you mentioned of letting people tag
recordings, for example, but, there’s a lot of indigenous
and, like, marginalized groups represented
in this media, and it’s, there’s a shared identity there. Are there some potential ways that you can let people
kind of enhance the data?>>Mark Williams: There are. And, we’re seeking them
out, and that was part of my final advocacy bit
about crowd sourcing. I think we’re, we’re interested,
I should probably clarify. We’re interested in formulating
new research questions in an interdisciplinary way. So, that tends to mean
you want to deal with experts in different fields. But, we’re absolutely
interested in research questions that enable crowdsourcing
and other kinds of input. And, I was very inspired, you
know, the panel before this one was about indigenous and native
cultures and their radio cultures. We would love to work with them
to formulate a pilot project with various tribes, pan tribal,
you know, kinds of affiliations. And, that means that, in
many cases, you’ll be dealing with traditional materials
that need to be for certain people and not others. And, having a capacity to
navigate some of those issues of respect regarding traditional
cultures is a very important thing. So, just being able to say for
whom, when, and how can we engage, you know, massive crowdsourcing
when it is appropriate. You know, how many fans of time-based culture
are there in the world? Billions. I think people, if
we can make it clear to them, that these materials are going to be
lost but for better annotation and, you know, teach them simple ways that they can maybe develop
a CAPTCHA kind of app so that if people have somebody who’s
talking at the Wikimedia thing. You know, free five minutes,
you can just go on and, like, help save media history. You know, and make it
that simple, ultimately. But, yeah, we do need governors that can respect certain
kinds of content, for sure. Yeah.>>Elena Razlogova: I think, also, in respect to indigenous
communities, I know [inaudible] the songs for Wikipedia have been really
successful in promoting gender, like, women’s culture
and women’s contribution. So, something like that for media
would be so great to have, like, to organize the meat and
then have people contribute in the particular, as
a particular event. I think it’ll work.>>Jonathan Haim: Yeah. I’d like to go back to
the idea of public events. So, while, in one sense, I think
part of your question is addressing, well, how can we get, essentially,
the whole world to chip in? And, I think there are tools
being developed and even some that already exist that do that. As institutions, perhaps,
we haven’t put up those projects to the public yet. They haven’t been formed. In many cases. Not everywhere. In some cases. So, that’s, that’s a kind
of catching up or getting. I shouldn’t say catch up. I think institutions beat
themselves up sometimes. Sometimes, it takes a long
time to get to a certain place and to do it right, and it, there’s
a lot of wrongs along the way. So, but I think big institutions
like NYPR, getting to the point where they’re going to have tools. There’s already been successful
projects with text based things. Like, I don’t know if you’ve
ever seen the Menus Project that the public library put out or,
you know, there’s a variety of very, very well received public
engagement projects. But, I would say, what we’ve
discovered is having public programs, maybe the reach isn’t
a million people at a time, but even if it’s anywhere
from 15 to 210, you’ve, at least just as you’ve
demonstrated here, introduced exponentially
people to ideas and materials they didn’t
know were there before. In an interactive way that we can
do in public spaces without feeling like we have to worry
about the law as much because we have our own rights. So, I would go back to,
like, public programming and thinking smaller before we
get bigger is also a useful tool.>>Matt Karush: Yeah, I
would just say, you know, that I think we’re,
you know, very excited. Although, maybe also
a little nervous about the crowdsourcing
potential for the project. You know, it’s 20,000 plus
recordings, and we’re not going to be able to contextualize,
you know, even a significant
chunk of them, really. So that, the ability to allow
users to help with that project, true to that process is, you know,
in some ways, what it’s all about. On the other hand, you know, there’s
a curatorial tension there, right? So, we have to figure out, we have
to navigate how to maintain control or whether to maintain control or,
you know, what to do about that. But, I think we are
excited for that.>>Thomas Witherspoon: Yeah,
and I can say that in terms of the spectrum archive, one of the
things I imagine, if you can imagine when you have a recording with just
dozens and dozens of broadcasters on it, with all kinds of content. At some point, hopefully,
there will be a way that individual broadcasts
could be tagged and people, as they’re listening to it, can
make notes and keep those notes in the broadcast recordings. And, that’s something I’m interested
in, and you know, a lot of, especially in urban areas, well,
and actually in rural areas, AM broadcasters are often
serving, you know, diaspora or, you know, a particular group. And, that would be
something that they could keep and be used in other archives.>>I’m also not a [laughs] an
expert in digital curation. I’m at the American Folklife Center
here at the Library of Congress. And, I’ve loved hearing
about all of the projects. The diversity is amazing. I’m also struck by the diversity
of the different contexts in which everyone is working in. I mean, both large institutions and
as individuals, devoted individuals. And, I’m curious, do you feel
that this field is at a point where this networking effort,
I mean, is it, is it happening? Are issues being identified
or threads that are being identified beyond
sort of the individual projects or the, you know, opportunistic
projects that come our way. I mean, you all have different
funders, and I was also struck by how people are supporting
themselves doing this. And, I know funders often drive
what some of the issues are, what, who the audiences are. I mean, you have to shape your
project to feed them, but are there, are we at a point where we can begin
identifying what the central issues are, what the Radio Preservation
Taskforce can do, what government or larger institutional
entities can do? I’d just be curious to
hear from all of you.>>Mark Williams: It’s
a great question, and I can only give a partial
answer, but there’s a little bit of another advocacy point. In my experience with different
grant-giving institutions, there needs to be more awareness about the significance
of network scholarship. And, a major significance to that is that the local is no
longer so local. And, when you put a
lot of locals together, you have transnational significance. You know, and the AAPB is a
great example of this, right? I think that’s part of
its historic importance is that it’s collating
different archives from different public broadcasting
stations and making them, putting them in a position
to talk to one another. And, for scholars to
run across them, and in a lot of grantmaking
conversations that I’ve been part of, and I think
some of this is maybe generational, people have not internalized
this yet. That network scholarship means
that the local can matter as much as any big network or anything else. And, if you really start
to fund local projects, we’re going to change how we
understand the history of media. I mean, it’s just,
that’s where we are now. And, I think that needs
to be underscored. Yeah.>>Elena Razlogova:
I guess we’re going. So, I was at the taskforce last
year, and there was a debate at the metadata panel
between Ken Freedman, who’s the head of FMU,
and archivists. And, basically, it was
going to impossible block where he was saying, “I just want
to put up music online right away. I don’t care about metadata. I don’t care about lists
controlled descriptors.” And, the archivists were
saying, “How can you do that? We have to have a list first,
and then you put music on.” And, I think at this conference, I now feel that there’s a
meeting point, that there is a way to informally coordinate
between professional archivists and independent collectors and
projects that are, maybe, informal, but eventually will be
put into this larger, larger universe with the ID numbers. And, I think, I guess, for me,
it seems like internet archive and Wikidata would be the place to
bring these two entities together. So, people can continue
the independent projects and informal collection, and
then, still know that eventually through crowdsourcing
or some kind of grants, everything will be part
of the same universe. We’ll see.>>Jonathan Haim: Yeah,
I don’t, I think, I mean. I think there’s a time, and
this is a time to do this. I also do note that I think large
public institutions like the one where I come from, it’s, I
would say there’s a gap growing between the speed and agility with
which smaller efforts or something like Wikipedia or something can
operate in a way that is creating, it’s not even going to be a question
of bigger institutions catching up. I think it’s just going to be there
might be some different purposes served in that landscape. I don’t know what they are,
but I can’t imagine any sort of policy change in the
next two or three years where something comes down to this. Hey, we can share all of this stuff
either freely with everyone or with, even through a tier, which
I think is a better approach for getting at stuff. But, also limits the
number of people. So, I think there’s a lot
of work to be done there, and it may be that meeting point
isn’t actually people doing, trying to collaborate on the
exact same thing but trying to find the strengths
around that circle that puts it together,
if that makes any sense. So, I don’t know, that’s
what I would say.>>Matt Karush: Yeah, I’m a
total newbie to this field. So, it’s hard for me to see, you
know, the sort of obstacles to or opportunities for that sort
of networking and collaboration. I mean, I would say that the sort
of, the focus on the archive itself, for somebody who doesn’t, who doesn’t generally think
that way as a scholar. The focus on the archive promotes
a kind of interdisciplinarity at least, and it kind of, I don’t know if it’s
quite network scholarship, but it’s moving in that direction. I mean, I’m a historian of
Argentina, and I’m in the room with historians of the
U.S. and musicologists. And, we’re all trying to figure out
how to make sense of this material and present it in a
way that makes sense. So, in that sense, I do see it as
a kind of possibility for making, forging those connections.>>Thomas Witherspoon: Yeah,
and you know, for me, this is, this is all about discovery,
finding out the other side. A lot of times, in what I’m
doing, I feel kind of alone. I’m there, doing my thing. I’m not, I don’t have colleagues I
can turn to easily, and yesterday, at one of the Cold War forums,
one of the presenters was talking about various sources
of source material, and he mentioned the buffs. You know, the people, the
enthusiasts out there. And, that’s the realm I’m in, and
I’m very, I’m humbled to be here. And, more than that, I really
congratulate the Radio Preservation Taskforce and Josh for
reaching out to people like me and not just staying in the world of
academia, to bring these together. Because I think there’s an
incredible synergy between, that’s how you discover that
all these things are out there. So, yeah. That’s, I
think that’s the power of having a conference like this. [ Inaudible Comment ] Thank you. [ Inaudible Comment ]>>Matt Barton: We still have a
few minutes left, and I’d like to, if any throw it open
to the rest of you if there are any questions from you. Put up your hand. We’ll get the microphone to you. There’s one, Danielle.>>Hi. To the gentleman on
the end in the blue shirt, you’d be surprised at how
many anthropologists are drawn to this field. I met several, so you’re not alone. But, how far back do
your archives go?>>Thomas Witherspoon: Okay. So, the shortwave radio
archives, the audio recordings, go back to about I
think the late ’50s. And, we have quite
a few in the ’60s. A whole lot in the
’70s and ’80s and ’90s. And, actually record them today. In fact, we, a lot of us make
an effort to record stations, for example, the voice of Turkey
during the Gezi Park protests didn’t mention anything about the
Gezi Park protests for a week after they were happening. It was headline news. We try to record things like that. So, we have a lot of
current recordings as well. The spectrum archive, really, I
don’t know how deep that is yet. This 1986 recording I played is
probably one of the older ones. The technology hasn’t
been around for very long. The technology has been
around since about 2005 to do these digitally
and very easily. So, the bulk of our recordings
are from about 2005 until now.>>Tom, I have a quick follow up. How do we find that YouTube
thing that you played? I’ve been searching
for it desperately, so.>>Thomas Witherspoon: Okay. Yes. So, go to spectrumarchive.org,
and it’s right on the front page.>>It’s also been tweeted
on the hashtag.>>Awesome.>>Okay. [ Laughter ]>>Matt Barton: How
many hits for that in the last 20 minutes
is what I want to know.>>Thomas Witherspoon: Let me check. [ Laughter ]>>Thank you. This is great. The first comment that praised
this panel for expanding our view of what digital curation
is is on the money. But, coming out of the
field of digital curation or digital preservation as it’s
emerged from libraries and archives over the last 15 or 20 years,
I still want to make a pitch. And, it’s that in the
title of this conference or this session is digital curation. I’ll make a pitch for
connecting these diverse projects to some pretty good
thinking about how to keep digital collections alive. I mean, it’s not a solved
problem, but it’s one that in which curators working in libraries and archives internationally have
developed methods, techniques. And, it’s not only
about the metadata. It’s really about redundancy. It’s about standards. It’s about partnerships
with curatorial units in which their mission
is to keep things alive. So, what was mind blowing for me
is the ability to think about DIY, to think about fan base material
without denying the relevance of standards and best
practices that libraries and archives have been
developing internationally. So, there is a need to foster
that cross conversation, so that this really critical
stuff doesn’t get lost. If it’s in your bedroom,
at some point, you know, I don’t want you to
get hit by a bus. And, literally, things
like this happen. People, estate sales and computers
from the 1990s are opened up. And, lo and behold, it’s
valuable raw materials. So, what we want to do is connect
the dots between traditional, what is, I could call traditional
digital curation thinking and DIY and innovative new applications. So, it’s a pitch more
than anything else.>>Matt Barton: Anyone else?>>Elena Razlogova:
Can I respond to that?>>Matt Barton: Oh, please.>>Elena Razlogova:
Just one point to make. I’m also blown away by the
professional approach to curation. And, Library of Congress
archives, I worked in the archives. They’re amazing. But, we also have to remember that,
for example, environmental pages of the White House were
also government archive. And, it’s not there anymore. So, I think redundancy
of government and outside of government also required.>>Mark Williams: Yeah, it’s a
great point, and we’re so grateful to be working with
archivists, as, you know, we’re not trying to
reinvent the wheel. We want to work with what the
archives want to work with. And, at the same time, it
comes back a little bit to the crowdsourcing kinds of issues
where certain professionals want to use controlled vocabularies. And, we’re happy to help in
that regard, but for true search and discoverability, we want to know
the terms that ordinary folks use for search and discoverability. So, it’s, there are all these
little dialectics, you know, that we’re trying to,
trying to navigate, and that’s a great point to raise. Absolutely.>>Matt Barton: Okay. I think we have time for
one more, if it’s quick. Anyone? No? Okay. Well, in radio speak, no?>>Wait. We do have one. [inaudible].>>Matt Barton: Oh, can’t
see through the pillar here. Please. [laughs] It’s a
marginalized community over here. [ Laughter ] So, no? Okay. [laughs] All right, then. In radio speak, the little clock
on the wall or the little clock in my pocket is telling
us that it’s 12:30. It’s time for lunch. Please, let’s have a hand
for this wonderful panel. [ Applause ] Thank you all for coming, and
we’ll see you back here real soon.>>This has been a presentation
of the Library of Congress. Visit us at loc.gov.

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