Television/Video Preservation Study:
Washington, D.C. Public Hearing,
TELEVISION AND VIDEO PRESERVATION 1997:
A Study of the Current State of
American Television and Video Preservation
Volume 4: Hearing, March 26, 1996
Report of the Librarian of Congress
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Opening Remarks of Winston Tabb, Associate Librarian for Library
Services, Library of Congress
Introductory Remarks by James Billington, Librarian of Congress
Gerald George, Executive Director, National
Historical Publications and Records Commission
George Stevens, Jr., Independent Producer
David Culbert, International Association for Media And History
(IAMHIST), Editor, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television,
Professor of History, Louisiana State University, Baton
Douglas Gomery, University of Maryland, College Park,
Professor, College of Journalism
Thomas Cripps, Morgan State University, Professor,
Department of History
Michael Curtin, Indiana University, Director
Cultural Studies Program
Thomas Doherty, Brandeis University, Chair,
Film Studies Program
Maxine Fleckner Ducey, President, Association of Moving Image
Cary O'Dell, Archives Director, Museum of Broadcast Communications
John Lynch, Director, Vanderbilt Television News Archive
Robert Browning, Director, Purdue University Public Affairs Video
Lynda Lee Kaid, Director, Political Communications Center/
Political Commercial Archive, University of Oklahoma
Martin Gaston, The News Library, President, Veir, Inc.
Lisa Wood, Audiovisual Archivist, Margaret King Library,
University of Kentucky
Thomas Connors, Curator, National Public Broadcasting Archives,
University of Maryland
Paolo Cherchi-Usai, Senior Curator, Motion Picture Department,
George Eastman House International Museum of Film and
Barry Sherman, University of Georgia, Professor and
Director, Peabody Awards, School of Journalism
William Jarvis, WETA-TV, Vice-President and General Counsel
David Liroff, Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, WGBH-TV
Glenn Clatworthy, Associate Director, Program Data and Analysis,
Public Broadcasting Service
Edward Coltman, Executive Director, New Media,
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Kathy Christensen, Vice-President, News Archives and Research,
CNN, (Presented by Elizabeth Sullivan)
Peter Gardiner, Vice-President, Corporate Film/Video Services,
John Craddock, Director, Post Production, East Coast Business
Affairs, Home Box Office
James Lindner, President, Vidipax, Inc.
P R O C E E D I N G S
MR. TABB: Will you please take your seats? I think it
is time for us to begin.
Good morning. I am Winston Tabb, the Associate
Librarian, Library of Congress and I am pleased to welcome all of
you to the Library of Congress' third and final hearing on the
Current State of American Television and Video Preservation.
I want to remind all of you to sign the guest register
just outside the back of the room, please.
The purpose of this hearing is to get specific
suggestions for the Library of Congress to consider in preparing
the comprehensive national program on American television and
video preservation for the United States Congress.
The pertinent issues include what should be saved, who
is doing it, who should do it, what are the technical
preservation standards and problems, how to be assured that they
are addressed and perhaps most important, how to fund--what
funding models seem most promising.
This hearing is undertaken in accordance with the
directive of Congress to the Library of Congress to "establish
and maintain in the Library of Congress, a library as an American
television and radio archives. "The purpose of the archives
shall be to preserve a
permanent record of the television and radio programs which are
the heritage of the people of the United States and provide
access to such programs to historians and scholars without
encouraging or causing copyright infringement."
I regret that the person who is responsible for
accomplishing this objective of the Library of Congress,
Dr. Billington, has been called away from Washington today, but
he has asked that I read the remarks that he just made at the two
previous hearings that we have held in Los Angeles and New York.
So, I am going to read this for the record.
STATEMENT OF DR. BILLINGTON, PRESENTED BY WINSTON TABB
MR. TABB: Not long ago, I was a witness before our
House Appropriations Committee and I am happy to tell you that it
is much better to be on this side of table listening to other
Today's hearing may not carry the legal and fiscal
implications of a Congressional hearing, but it is an important
event for the Library of Congress and the archival community and
for everyone who shares our concern about preservation of our
television and video legacy.
Our first two public hearings held in Los Angeles and
New York were very productive. The panels there heard statements
from archives, major studios, networks and educators and from
others who share our goals.
We hear encouraging reports from the major producers of
prime-time programming, because as commercial enterprises, they
have sufficient economic incentives to maintain their materials
under reasonably good conditions and thus ensure availability for
On the other hand, we heard from much smaller
organizations with little or no resources to safeguard and
preserve the valuable television and video materials in their
As might be expected, the witnesses expressed views and
opinions as varied as the organizations they represented, a
testament in itself to how television and video has become
embedded in American life and culture.
This is the last of three public hearings the Library
of Congress will conduct this month. These are intended to help
develop a report on the Current State of American Television and
Video Preservation and even more important, a plan listing
Both the report and plan will be published later this
year as a single document. This activity is authorized under the
American Television and Radio Act of 1976 and is being pursued in
response to a recommendation from the National Film Preservation
Board and from many groups and individuals who helped draft
Redefining Film Preservation: A National Plan, which the Library
published in 1994.
The American Television and Radio Act authorizes the
Library of Congress to establish and maintain an archives whose
purpose is to preserve a permanent record of the broadcast
programs which are our heritage.
These hearings and the report to follow will help the
Library develop the actual policies to ensure that we can carry
out this work in concert with other archives and libraries and
with production and broadcast organizations.
These hearings and the report parallel our earlier film
preservation study in several important ways. First, we seek the
same goals. That is, to preserve the American television and
video heritage and make it more accessible for educational use.
Second, we wish to obtain a wide range of views and
opinions representative of the diverse interest that exists in
the creation, preservation and research use of moving images in
all its aspects, including arts and entertainment, news and
documentary, public affairs, video art and community video, just
to name some of the large categories.
Third, we wish to encourage other archives and
libraries to work with us to accomplish the very difficult task
of preserving television and video and making them available.
Finally, we wish to address the problems of funding
television and video preservation programs both in public
archives and industry, which is no easy task at a time when
resources are scarce, particularly relative to the preservation
Public-private partnerships are essential. During the
course of these hearings, we hope to receive your recommendations
on how this partnership can be established.
There are other parallels with the film preservation
report worth mentioning. Like American film, much of the early
history of television has already been lost. Broadcasts were
live and kinescope or film recordings were used selectively.
Ampex introduced videotape recording technology in 1956
and since then the industry has manufactured or adopted numerous
incompatible video formats, making technological obsolescence a
major archival issue.
Like nitrocellulose, the staple of the film industry
until 1951, videotape has proven to be both a blessing and a
curse. We have entrusted our historical and cultural images to
videotape and yet it is highly vulnerable to degradation and
Like film, everything associated with vide preservation
is expensive, including specialize storage facilities, electronic
equipment, a skilled technical staff and reformatting costs.
The very notion of reformatting large collections of
videotape is a daunting one, because their volume already exceeds
the means of most organizations.
Yet the rewards for safeguarding and preserving our
television and video heritage are immeasurable. No one can fully
understand who we are as a people and what we have become as a
society without having access to the recordings created by
television and video production during the last 50 years.
Historians, sociologists and other scholars, even
politicians and parents, debate the causal relationship of
television to the society at large. In the future, such debates
will be fruitless if the historical evidence does not survive.
In conclusion, the Library of Congress encourages all
of you at the audience to write down your opinions and
recommendations which we will collect up until April 29.
Today we will hear from a number of distinguished
individuals, some professionals in the field, others representing
important organizations that share our goal of preserving
American television and video.
On behalf of the Library of Congress, I want to thank
all of you who have taken time from your busy schedules to
participate in this event and especially those of you who have
come from out of town at your own expense. We appreciate your
interest and concern and will ensure that your efforts are not in
MR. TABB: Before we actually begin the hearing, I want
to take a few minutes to thank those who have been most
responsible for getting us here today. One is sitting beside me,
David Francis, who is chief of the Library's Motion Picture,
Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.
Steve Leggett, who is standing at the back, always
ready to jump and help us do whatever needs to be done. Finally,
Bill Murphy, who is on loan to us from the National Archives and
Records Administration, serving this year as our project
I would now like to introduce our panelists. I already
mentioned David, who is on my left. On my right is Frank Burke
who is now Professor at the University of Maryland, the College
of Library and Information Science, but also is known to many of
us as the former acting archivist of the United States.
It gives me particular pleasure to introduce to all of
you--most of who may know Barbara already--Barbara Ringer, who is
the Register of Copyrights Emerita, but I think also for today we
should refer to her as the mother of this ATRA Act.
Someone who is very responsible for getting this law
enacted and who has waited very patiently for 20 years for the
Library to really take this as seriously as we ought to have
done. So this is both a public apology, Barbara, and a thank you
for coming and helping us continue this work that you began so
MS. RINGER: My pleasure.
MR. TABB: Now just a few minutes on the ground rules.
We are very pleased that 26 people have asked to testify today,
but given our time restraints, we will have to ask that everyone
make their remarks in ten minutes or less and try to focus
particularly on suggestions, not just on description.
I will be fairly ruthless in wielding the gavel to be
sure that the panel that is scheduled for the end of the day is
not short changed.
We have organized the speakers into panels representing
different focuses of our study and I will ask that each panel
come to the table together and then let the speakers present
their testimony in the order listed in the program that we
distributed out in the lobby.
At this table, we will hold our questions until the end
of each panel, unless there is a need for clarification about
something that we cannot understand at all.
After all the speakers on the panel have given their
prepared statements, I will invite my colleagues here to ask
follow-up questions during the balance of the time allotted to
All written comments and the transcripts of the
proceedings today will be printed and available to the public as
an appendix to the report that we submit to Congress later this
I remind you again that we will invite the speakers,
observers, anyone else who has a strong interest in this matter,
to submit written comments to Steve Leggett of our Motion Picture
Division by April 29. The hearing record will remain open until
All right. Now we will begin by calling our first two
panelists. Will you please come forward to the table?
We are glad to welcome as our first panel Gerald
George, who is the executive director of the National Historical
Publications and Records Commission on which I am also pleased to
serve as a member.
A special welcome to George Stevens, Jr., formerly a
member of the National Film Preservation Board and a long time
friend to the Library of Congress.
Will you go ahead and begin, Jerry?
STATEMENT OF GERALD GEORGE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL
HISTORICAL PUBLICATIONS AND RECORDS COMMISSION
MR. GEORGE: Thank you very much, Commissioner Tabb. I
am glad that you called attention to the fact that you are a
member of my Commission and with you at the table, along with Dr.
Burke, my predecessor as director of NHPRC once removed, I feel
very comfortable on this occasion.
In fact, if you have a number of questions I cannot
answer, I not only will enlist the services of Ms. Laurie Baty, a
program officer with the Commission who is with me, but I may
very well just turn them over to Dr. Burke.
My testimony, by the way, will be within your
ten-minute limit so there should be no problem.
I am, as you said, executive director of the National
Historical Publications and Records Commission, which is better
known by its more easily remembered initials, the NHPRC.
I congratulate the Library of Congress on its
initiative in gathering information on the current state of
American television and video preservation and I certainly
welcome this opportunity to contribute.
The subject is one that has long concerned and in many
ways perplexed my Commission and I will be speaking primarily to
the funding questions--the funding parts of your information
Our concern arises from the Commission's mission. When
the Congress created the National Archives in 1934, it also
created the NHPRC. It housed us within the National Archives and
it charged us with promoting nationwide the preservation and
publication of documents of particular importance for
understanding American history.
In time, the Congress began appropriating some funds
from which we could even make grants so that we could do more
than just advocate attention to the source material on which
historical study depends.
For awhile this seemed fairly simple. The NHPRC helped
launch projects to publish the scholarly editions of the papers
of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Edison, John Adams and Jane Addams
and more recently of Dwight Eisenhower and Martin Luther King,
just to take some examples.
But at the same time, we had some remarkable
revelations. It has dawned on historians that America cannot be
understood simply from the activities of its most exalted leaders
and now it has dawned on us all that even for understanding those
leaders, the best sources are not exclusively what they wrote.
Photographers, film makers, and video broadcasters have
led us to that insight. They have handed historians an
incredible resource--the actual person, the words as delivered,
the unfolding event, all captured in images and most importantly
in moving images.
Tonight's evening news documents contemporary history
at every level. It also supports creation of the visual records
own pedagogical form--the film or television documentary--which
itself has expanded public access to historical insight far
beyond the book, the lecture and the classroom.
What would we not give to have moving images from
earlier times. How stirred we would be if archaeologists in
ancient Rome turned up a canister of filmed reports by Walter
Cronkitus or Daniel Ratheronius on debates in the Roman forum,
spectacles in the Coliseum, Hannibal's crossing the Alps,
Caesar's campaigns in Gaul and the daily concerns, say, of the
ordinary "classical" family. No effort would seem too great to
preserve such an unexpected glimpse of ancient history as it
actually was. So why be careless with the recorded images we are
making of our own history?
Accordingly, the NHPRC long ago, even during the days
of Dr. Burke, recognized the value of television and video
preservation for historical documentation, and we have acted on
In 1987, the NHPRC granted funds to the American Film
Institute's National Center for Film and Video Preservation to
convene a national conference to plan for improving the care of
local television news film collections and providing access to
More than 40 institutions, I understand, with
collections of newsfilm sent representatives to this conference,
the published proceedings of which expanded attention to news
film collections and their preservation needs.
In 1991, the NHPRC gave another grant to the National
Center for Film and Video Preservation, this time to help it
create a local television news film curatorial manual. Persons
with responsibility for collections of news film will find much-
needed guidance in this manual for acquiring, organizing,
preserving, cataloging, and providing access to moving-image
These two projects for the National Center for Film and
Video Preservation have not cost a huge amount of money--less
than $100,000 from the NHPRC. But they have helped the Center
organize attention to the need and then publish guidance for
dealing with it.
Also, the NHPRC has invested nearly a half-million
dollars of its grant funds in 11 projects to preserve collections
of newsfilm and provide access to them in individual
repositories. I am appending a list of those projects to this
testimony, if that is agreeable.
From New York to California, from North Dakota to
Mississippi, future scholars and the public are going to be able
to get at least some glimpses of what life was like in 20th-
century America and what our history looked like as it happened,
thanks to the work of NHPRC grantees with news film and video
We are proud of this record, but we recognize that it
is a token. We have had enough money to help a few institutions
save a few runs of newsfilm for posterity out of the millions of
feet of material that television broadcasters produce every
The NHPRC's entire appropriation for grants this year
is just $5,000,000, with which we have to try to meet all kinds
of documentary preservation needs across the entire nation.
We are grateful to have even that much, but for
perspective, please consider this. The published accounts of the
production costs of Oliver Stone's latest historical film
indicate that NHPRC's grant budget this year could have financed
little more than 20 minutes of it and the entire cost was equal
to our appropriations total for the last eight years.
Our era in history is the first that is able to
document itself in moving images recorded as words were spoken
and events occurred, but there is far more videotape and news
film than there is money for their preservation. When an agency
with resources no larger than the NHPRC's is a leading funder of
moving image preservation, the limitations come clearly into
view. Obviously we must press the argument for increasing the
financing and I hope my remarks will be useful for that purpose.
But at the same time we must consider rigorously how we
can use more meaningfully the funds we have, and I am not just
talking about squeezing efficiencies out of projects. At the
NHPRC, we are proud of our grant program processes. In
evaluation applications for grants for video preservation and
access, we judge the relative historical value of the collections
to be preserved and the competence of the applicant institutions,
and we fund as many projects as we can that score high on those
tests. But we are asking ourselves a lot of questions. What
material does not come into institutional collections whose
directors write grant proposals? What are we missing? How much
film and videotape of value is being destroyed or lost for future
use while we are doing what we can to save a little? Is it
possible to devise a documentary strategy for news film
preservation of a kind that people are experimenting with in some
other areas? What can we do to assure the people of this nation
something more than a haphazard visual record of its remarkable
These are questions with which the Commission itself
currently is struggling, and they need collaborative attention if
we are to do anything more than request additional funding.
That is my view of where things stand, and I thank you
for the opportunity to contribute to your study. More than
anything else, besides attention to the real funding needs, I
think we also need to work out some means, some set of
priorities, some collectively agreed upon standards for being
sure that what we do preserve is what in fact is the most useful
and most important with the very small resources that I have
indicated we have.
The National Historical Publications and Records
Commission will welcome opportunities to work on this problem
with the Library of Congress and any other organization concerned
with saving the nation's irreplaceable cultural resources. We
look forward to the outcome of the deliberations on which you are
embarked. Thank you very much.
MR. TABB: Thank you, Jerry. Mr. Stevens?
STATEMENT OF GEORGE STEVENS, JR., INDEPENDENT PRODUCER
MR. STEVENS: Thank you. I come here as a film maker,
writer, producer and director and a friend of the work that the
Library has been doing both in the field of motion picture
preservation and now this new initiative in television.
When I was a young man in Hollywood cutting my teeth in
the film world, there were few opportunities to see the films of
the past. The studios that produced the films felt that what had
gone before was past and all attention was paid to producing the
hit pictures for the present.
The result was that the movies made during the first 50
years of the film industry were ignored. A majority of them were
allowed to deteriorate in vaults or were melted down to recover
the silver content of the negatives.
When I had the opportunity to start the American Film
Institute in 1967, we made motion picture preservation our first
priority. Though there were many films that we would never be
able to find and others that were too deteriorated to preserve,
we were successful in rallying a vanguard to the idea of rescuing
and conserving our motion picture heritage and preserving films
that otherwise would have been lost.
Among the legacies of that beginning are the over
20,000 feature films in the AFI collection in the Library of
Congress and, equally important, the national awareness that the
art and history that exists on motion picture film are essential
aspects of the country's intellectual treasure and cultural
It became apparent to me during our work on film
preservation in the early 1970's that there was another sphere of
American creativity and communication that was beginning to be
lost in the same way as the early motion pictures.
Television, which had taken its place on the American
stage and was to a large degree eclipsing movie going as a
pastime, was becoming a unique and primary record of our times
and what the historian, Eric Barnouw, likened to "America's
central nervous system."
But television was plunging forward with hardly any
concern for the fact that it was also a large part of the
historical record of our times.
We set out in 1975 to try to bring together the
networks, producers and other institutions in a collaborative
effort to focus on the preservation of our television heritage.
While that initiative called attention to the problem,
there was little interest from government agencies, foundations
and the industry. So today we really face a problem that has
grown through the years.
When Bill Murphy invited me to testify at these
hearings he told me that he had uncovered an article that I had
written for the Washington Post in 1975. Fortunately the article
was published on paper. I am
certain that if it had been recorded on video it would have been
lost in the intervening 21 years.
Mr. Murphy sent me the article in which I went on at
greater length than I intend to today (three cheers for good
judgment that comes with age) describing the horror stories of
lost programs and the peril that continued inattention to saving
and preserving television broadcasts would bring.
The article noted, for example, that by 1975 NBC had
retained and catalogued 17,799 hours of programming, which was
about seven percent of its total programming. 107,835 hours of
NBC programming were listed simply as not retained.
From that day to this, a span of 21 years, the networks
and stations have each day been producing programs and one
suspects not doing much better in preserving them, particularly
since the last decade has been a period of downsizing that caused
considerable reduction of staff and infrastructure at the major
During the years when the AFI, the Library of Congress,
George Eastman House and the Museum of Modern Art served as a
public interest consortium working to preserve our motion picture
heritage, it is not an exaggeration to say we were viewed, at
best, as a nuisance and, at worst, with hostility by the film
studios whose motion pictures we were working to preserve.
That situation has much improved today. Most of the
studios have created special vaults for storing their films and
are instituting preservation standards and procedures.
Unfortunately, this awakening to the value and
importance of the films they own came too late to save many of
the finest motion pictures ever made.
I believe it is important to understand how this change
in attitude at the major studios came about. The job description
of the individuals now in charge of preservation is revealing.
They are not given the traditional title of archivist. They are
designated vice-presidents in charge of asset management.
The change in attitude came only when the studio owners
realized that these old films that the public archives had been
working to preserve for several decades had, with the arrival of
home video, become assets.
I make this point because I believe television
preservation is going to present a new set of problems. So much
of the television material that must be saved is in the area of
news and recorded history and I do not believe that the nightly
news or the coverage of the Vietnam War or the advances in
American science will ever have the asset value comparable to
Casablanca or Singin' in the Rain.
The volume of existing material which needs to be
preserved is staggering. The cost of preserving it will be great
and each day and each year new material of value is being
So it seems to me that the admirable effort that
Dr. Billington and the Library have undertaken will require
special gifts of persuasion and organization. There can be no
question that it is in the national interest for the view of our
times as seen on television to be preserved.
When thinking about conserving that which is timeless,
it seems sensible to look to the wisdom of the ancients. It was
Cicero who said, "History is the witness of the times, the torch
of the truth, the life of memory, the teacher of life, the
messenger of antiquity."
Witness, memory, teacher and messenger, television is
all of those things. Failure to preserve it will deny future
generations of Americans vital legacy.
Preserving it will be a formidable task and it will
require leadership at the national level at a time when national
leadership is questioned, when the argument is to make all things
This is one example where national leadership must be
the driving force to encourage the other institutions across the
country to do what is necessary for the public good.
I salute the Library for its leadership. I of course
pledge my cooperation and urge all institutions to collaborate in
this most significant task. Thanks very much.
MR. TABB: Thank you. Question, David?
MR. BURKE: For Jerry George. The two major projects
that you talked about were the grant for a plan given to the
American Film Institute's National Center Film and Video
Preservation and the curatorial manual.
As opposed to the other kinds of grants which are
parcelling out small funds here and there for the preservation of
local network material or local television materials at separate
institutions, do you see the national role more one of
stimulating bringing people together and planning and programming
so that it can be carried out, rather than providing funds on
individual preservation bases when there are so many of those
projects that could be done?
MR. GEORGE: The answer to that is, yes, for both
policy and pragmatic reasons. With appropriations at the level
that ours have been, vis-a-vis the problems with which we are
trying to help, advocacy must be a major part of the Commission's
activity; bringing people together to try to solve problems for
the field as a whole must be part of the activity. Making
accessible nationwide the fruits of the products that we do fund,
that is to say things that can be used by others, must be a major
part of our activity, yes.
We do a great deal of that in the archival field in
particular, and the two grants that you mentioned are
representative of that.
MR. BURKE: Is that a pattern that you think that other
government agencies or other government funding units should
MR. GEORGE: Well, yes and no. The National Endowment
for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, some of
the other federal agencies that have programs in conservation of
cultural resources or preservation of cultural resources should
help to the extent that they have sufficient funds to help
specific projects. I mean those funds are needed if we are going
to preserve anything.
But I think with our Commission in particular, given
the Congressional mandate that as you know we were given to
promote this kind of activity, as well as to make grants in
support of it, we have a special role there, to look out for
documentary preservation as a whole, and to encourage, promote,
and advocate the attention of others, as well as ourselves, to
What other agencies will do in the reduced circumstance
that many of them are facing, I do not know. In our own case,
however many dollars we have, we also have a Congressional
mandate to advocate and to help the field bring itself together
around these problems and that is what we will continue to do.
MR. BURKE: Thank you.
MR. FRANCIS: Throughout these hearings we have heard
particular concern expressed about local news film archives. As
it is almost ten years since the Madison Conference you funded, I
wondered whether you would consider the idea of funding another
meeting, to take up the matter you raised about a strategy for
If we could parcel off a small part of the problem and
ask for the assistance of an organization like yours, it would be
I do not know whether you feel that is something that
would fit within your terms of reference, but I think it would be
MR. GEORGE: Well, there is no question about it that
we would be interested. I say that in hope of Commissioner
Tabb's blessing on that rather firm pronouncement, but I think I
may say that safely, because the NHPRC makes its grants in
accordance with the strategic plan that we implemented some three
years ago, which sets forth categories by priority of what we
want to fund and what we want to help bring about. Within that
strategic plan, one of its objectives is to attempt to form or
assist collaborative endeavors to deal with some of these issues.
If someone were to put together a very strong grant
proposal to try to establish priorities for newsfilm preservation
or work out a documentary strategy for that purpose with which a
number of others were agreed, we would be most interested in that
kind of proposal. The sooner it comes the better, given the
vagaries of the funding situation, but yes, we would be
MS. RINGER: Let me make a few personal remarks to
begin with. I cannot tell you how gratified I am to see this
initiative being taken in the Library, even if it is 20 years
I have felt exactly the way you all obviously feel for
many, many years. As a staff member of the Library of Congress,
I was aware that the policies and practices here in the 1960's
and 1970's, when the problem of television news archives was
beginning to come to a boil, were hit or miss. Acquisition
policies were largely based on copyright deposits and were a very
An opportunity arose when the big revision of the
copyright law was going through in the mid-1970's. Because of
the Vanderbilt litigation and Senator Baker's interest in it,
there was a way to open the door for the Library of Congress to
develop a national archive. It is amazing to me the hostility
that produced here and elsewhere.
The Congressional mandate was there, but the
implementation did not get off the ground. I was aware of the
institutional hostility and I had other things to do. I did not
try to push it that hard, because I could not. It was just not
But I was aware that sooner or later the tape would
come around again and people would realize the opportunity they
were missing and try to do something about it. It is a pity that
we are encountering this new positive attitude now, at a time
when we do not have any money.
Has there been any thought of private funding, major
private funding, by foundations, individuals and corporations?
I know there is no such thing as a free lunch in this. If people
give you money they want something in return. That is human
nature. But, nevertheless, is there any major current activity
to find funding sources?
MR. GEORGE: Well, Mr. Stevens may be able to speak to
that more effectively.
MS. RINGER: I am asking my question to both of you.
MR. GEORGE: This would be my response. Within the
Commission, with our grants, we made a calculation recently that
told us that for every dollar, every federal dollar we spend on
the projects we support, there are two other dollars from other
sources in their budgets and most of those are private dollars.
The grant applicants who come to us frequently show, and in fact
we look for this and encourage this, that they have approached
private sources and are trying to build their budgets in that
way. That makes a great deal of difference to us, because if we
can co-fund a project, that gets more mileage out of our own few dollars.
But you know, I think, as well as I do, that this is a
very difficult time for private sector fund raising, as well, if
only because of the volume of the number of institutions there of
all kinds that are turning to private corporations and
foundations for support, and in part because of their losing
funds from public revenue sources.
So the competition there is fierce as well as for our
dollars. Whether we have adequately tapped the possibilities for
private sector funding in this area, I do not know, but I do know
that while I would certainly encourage efforts to do more private
sector fund raising, I am also keenly aware that there are limits
to what can be expected.
That again is what brings me back to recommending to
you the consideration of some kind of documentary strategy in
this area as in others, because however much additional funds we
are able to generate from whatever sources, they are not going to
be enough to save all the collections that people would like to
Mr. Stevens may wish to speak to private funding. I do
MR. STEVENS: Well, maybe not that, but I think that
word "strategy," which David picked up which you advanced and
David Francis picked up on is so important.
I think the Library is doing exactly the right thing.
I think this process of calling all of these institutions, giving
them an opportunity to testify, which in turn causes them to
assess when they are doing, to create an awareness within the
community that is concerned or should be concerned with this
I think it is exactly the right thing to do and I think
the key beyond that is persistence. I think that if you can set
a mechanism where something will happen every six months or every
year that it reminds people of this obligation and the importance
I think gradually the good work will be done.
Obviously, the idea would be sweeping funding and to apply it and
systematically get all of this done, but that will not happen and
failing that, I think individual and institutional initiative.
David Francis and I were talking earlier about the
motion picture preservation and just to speak briefly of it, I
realize that while during the time I was running the American
Film Institute and we were concerning ourselves with the great
films and the lost films of the teens, 20's, 30's, 40's, it never
occurred to me that at the very time I was doing that, the
classics that my father had made in the 50's and 60's were going
I set off some alarm bells a few years ago when I
testified here and said that the negative to A Place in the Sun
had been lost. Paramount got up in arms.
I must say in the intervening two years, I told Sherry
Lansing, who is the chairman of Paramount, about it and she said,
"We will do everything possible to preserve A Place in the Sun--
and they are doing it. They are spending a lot of money on it.
What I am leading towards is I think that there is an
aspect of this that individual producers, directors, creators
should be encouraged to watch out for their own films.
I think they should be brought into your councils and
reminded, because I now realize as I am working on my father's
films and films that I have made that are at these companies, I
realize that they are not quite sure where those are and they are
only 12, 14 years old.
I think one new idea is to encourage individuals to
understand that it is part of their responsibility to find out
where their films are. In that line, I would just say that most
of us who make films do not think that way, because we have not
had the experience.
It does not occur to us. That we are moving along
doing the next one. We have just done our 24th American Film
Institute Life Achievement Award show and we did our 18th Kennedy
I mean the case of the Kennedy Center Honors, I know I
am the only one who knows where the tapes are and they are only
preserved because I ask the question every couple of years.
Where are these things? What quality are they? Have we
transferred the early ones to the standard?
That is just a suggestion that individuals be
encouraged and informed and brought into this.
MR. FRANCIS: I want to follow up on that. I wonder
whether, if we worked together, we could look at the television
programs you have produced and see how well they have been
preserved. The results could form an appendix to the report. It
could be a model for others to follow.
I do not know whether you would be agreeable to that.
It would be a very powerful addition to the report.
MR. STEVENS: David, at the risk of great personal
embarrassment, when we discovered that what I have said is not
true, I would welcome it. We should be happy to do that. You
just tell me how we need to proceed.
MR. TABB: All right. Thank you very much. We
appreciate your testimony.
I will invite to the table the next group of panelists,
our educators. Before I invite the panelists of this group to
begin speaking, I would like to take one moment to introduce a
very distinguished member of our audience.
Mr. Bob Saudek, the former chief of the Motion Picture,
Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division and a distinguished
pioneer of the industry that we are hearing so much about today.
Bob, we are very glad to see you and glad that you joined us
today. All right. Let's begin with Mr. Culbert.
STATEMENT OF DAVID CULBERT, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR MEDIA
AND HISTORY (IAMHIST), EDITOR HISTORICAL JOURNAL OF FILM, RADIO
AND TELEVISION, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY,
MR. CULBERT: I would say that the issue for the
preservation of television video is much more acute than the
issue for the preservation of film and I think this point has
already been underscored.
I was re-reading the testimony from the 1993 hearings
before coming up here and my colleague and friend, Doug Gomery,
made that very point even while testifying about film.
Preservation of television is a more acute problem.
I am very concerned about the disappearance of local
television news, as well as issues of access, but I thought it
also would be helpful to underscore, for example, the
difficulties encountered in scholarly use of television and video
The historical profession we historians know is acutely
conservative. It is my understanding that situation in the
United States is not different in the United Kingdom and is not
different in Germany. The historical profession for the most
part is not dominated by persons whose central research interests
have to do with the mass media; scholarly preferment goes
primarily to persons publishing books in areas that do not in
fact make the issue of mass media a central concern.
The journal which I edit, the Historical Journal of
Film, Radio and Television, opens its pages to those who wish to
be published without payment, the same pay that brings me here to
these hearings (I will be getting my Greyhound bus ticket back
home in just a few hours.).
The fact is that of submissions to that journal, if I
may add statistical precision to what is primarily a seat-of-the-
pants estimate, I would say 70% of the submissions which I
receive have as the subject of inquiry film, 20% television, and
10% radio, that 10% being perhaps adjusted upwards.
The fact is that television is not being studied in an
important way by scholars who ought to include it in writing
about topics that deal with the 20th century. For television,
let us say from 1950 on, scholars are not making use of video
materials in their writing, or if they do, they are relying on
print summaries, which all-too-often are by persons writing for
style sections offering impressions of these programs.
A book which deals centrally with media-related issues,
saying nothing about the visual part of video materials, may very
well receive splendid reviews by those who do not believe that it
is important for a book dealing with television or the impact of
television on political decision-making to analyze the visual
component of visual materials.
I would suggest that in giving thought to what needs to
be preserved, it would be very useful to study, shall we say, the
footnotes in the scholarly apparatus of scholars who have in fact
made use of video materials in their research.
Now to the issue of funding. I remember Jim Billington
indicating that everyone was in favor of film preservation in the
1993 hearings, but who is to pay for it. The opening of a West
Coast Museum of Television and Broadcasting suggests, not
surprisingly, that though it is always hard to shake a buck out
of someone, some persons can do this, even if the funding of a
fine building is always easier than finding funding for other
things. To those who suggest that there is no money in the
private sector it seems to me the answer is that an expensive
building was just put up.
I would suggest that since people like to have things
named after them, I do not see why it is inherently impossible
not to consider naming someone who is providing substantial
funding for the preservation and transfer of video; perhaps each
cassette should have on it "given thanks to the support of."
It is not true that it is impossible to get funding for
video preservation, but I think we all agree that it is easier to
find funding to put up a building, though that is hard, than
funding for preservation.
The issue of access is not being effectively dealt with
in my opinion by the industry itself. I am talking about access
for scholars who could take the pledge: I would like to be rich
if I knew how, but I ended up in the world of scholarship because
I do not know how to get rich.
Years ago, when CBS was riding high, it had an
imperious, oft-iterated slogan, "CBS does not sell the face or
voice of a network commentator." Well, now it will. Bill Murphy
alerted me to this welcome change from the good old days. I
decided to spend my money as an educator so I faxed CBS archvist
Doug McKinney to see if I could get something that I need for
Back indeed came a fax saying that CBS would sell me,
since I had provided the name of the program and the exact date,
a CBS program for classroom use only.
The cost would be $100 an hour; I should prepay $207
using a credit card and the material could not be returned for
any reason whatsoever and it would take six weeks.
I am happy to say that they got the material to me
promptly, but there are not very many persons, myself included,
who would regularly spend what might seem to someone as a very
small sum, but not to a person who feels that the purchase of
video materials on the home video market at $9.95 or $19.95 for
things that people use in classrooms is a reasonable sum. $100
an hour without knowledge of what one is getting would suggest
that CBS considers scholarly access a profit-making operation.
My next concern is the issue of frame enlargements and
stills and I am very concerned about this. My proposal would be
that the American Radio and Television Act be amended so as to
provide scholarly use and reproduction of frame enlargements and
stills for video as well as for film.
I have been interested in this subject and it seems
very clear to me that no one is prepared to be the test case and
instead we are here dealing with what I would characterize as
I am not at all satisfied with the explanation that
this is an area that is in doubt and we do not know. I have
brought with me and thought I would submit to you examples of the
technological problems involved in making frame enlargements.
For video, particularly in dealing with copies that may be made
from poor-quality video cassettes, the technical capacity of the
reproduction of a freeze frame image is such that it is sometimes
almost impossible, using the best technology, to get an image
that is of sufficient quality to meet the standards of a large
press's art department.
I have in the journal in which I edit been very keen to
accepting articles about television and have in fact found that
video frame enlargements can be used and that they are
sufficiently clear so that one can see the image.
Now the matter of permissions from Hollywood studios.
I have brought with me an example of what I consider to be a
rather rapacious standard contract provided by 20th Century Fox.
I thought 20th Century Wolf might be a better description.
Someone has dreamed up a standard contract which made me an offer
I could refuse.
Since nobody knows whether frame enlargements and/or
stills can or cannot be used without written permission, 20th
Century Fox says when in doubt hit them for all you can get.
With this contract I conclude my remarks. "The
licensee may not use the stills on the cover." In the section
for releases, "written releases from all individuals whose
likenesses or performances are contained in the stills" are
required. All persons. How about a crowd scene?
"Written releases from any unions or guilds, to the
extent required under applicable collective bargaining
agreements" are required in connection with the use of the
Poor Professor X has to ascertain whether these
bargaining arrangements are or are not applicable. You can
imagine that the union, hard up for money these days, will want
its own fee and a censorship clause.
"The publication shall not be derogatory to or critical
of the entertainment industry or of Fox or any officer, director,
agent, employee, affiliate, parent or subsidiary of Fox or of any
motion picture produced or distributed by Fox and the stills will
not be used in a manner which would be derogatory to or critical
of the motion picture from which the stills were taken or to the
persons involved with the making of the motion picture from which
the stills were taken."
It is certainly an invitation, shall we say, to an
appreciative approach to the history of the entertainment history
in America, but it is preposterous.
The situation is very clear. It is unclear. There is
no clear sense of what constitutes fair use. There is no
consensus amongst publishers. I brought with me examples that I
thought I should at least leave anonymous, lest the publishers
ride me out of town on a rail for naming names, but I happen to
have these names and have the documents.
This lack of consensus is not based on hearsay. Press
X says, you may use frame enlargements, but not stills, without
permission from the copyright holder. Press Y says, you may use
stills, but not frame enlargements. Press Z, one that I have
worked with and others at this table have worked with, says if
you do not have everything in triplicate, you cannot use
I submit to you that this is a very serious brake on
our conservative historical profession's analysis of a visual
medium. When you make it so incredibly difficult to even think
about reproducing a video enlargement you effectively leave a
visual medium consigned to a position in which the visual can
only be described in words, if that. Thanks to the technical
limitations of video frame enlargements, the visual almost never
appears in the writing about television. Historians must have
fair use of video frame enlargements, and film frame enlargements
in writing about film and television. The Copyright Act must be
clarified by the federal government. That is more than ten
MR. TABB: Thank you very much. Mr. Gomery, welcome back.
STATEMENT OF DOUGLAS GOMERY, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, COLLEGE
PARK, PROFESSOR, COLLEGE OF JOURNALISM
MR. GOMERY: Thank you. I will try to do less than ten
minutes, although I know we academics are programmed for 50
minutes. So this will require everything that I can summon up.
In that spirit, I will not read. I will try to make my
couple of points. Just to start with, I want to agree in a
general yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. We are losing things as we
speak faster than they can be saved.
Yes, frame enlargement is absolutely a very important
position. I once worked on a book on Disney in which there is no
reproductions of a Disney film or television show, because Disney
would not sign off on the condition that we "had something
derogatory to say about them".
We should save the news absolutely. I think the
general point which is very, very important is that and I am very
sympathetic with 20th Century Fox. These are profit centers.
These are profit making corporations.
They are not in the business of archival work nor do
they pretend to be. That is an ancillary product of what they
So with those yes's, I want to make just two larger
points. I know my colleagues are going to eloquently say I think
things that are very important so I would like to say things that
I think are over arching and I suppose to the public would be
what old fuddy duddy tenure professors can say and get away with
and raise that others will not, because they feel they are
running a journal or doing something else. This is what my
mother told me tenure was for.
I think we should try to save everything. I think one
of the things that worries me a lot is this whole value system.
The value system is, we are all familiar with it, hierarchy one
is historical figures in the news.
If I had a reproduction of Napoleon, would it not be
wonderful? That is what I call it. I think that is really to
short for future.
To try to shock the group here, I agree with Newt
Gingrich, a former professor, when he says we ought to worry a
lot about what we present to future generations. I think that
this is not saving the budget for future generations. This is
passing them a cultural legacy that if we erase it, it is not
So it is very, very important and I think it is very
important that we do not lose sight of values of what is
important. I was struck writing this testimony you think about
how much struggle I had getting into the Vermeer exhibit.
Now if you go back and study Vermeer's life, you
understand that we do not even know how many paintings Vermeer
produced in his life. There is a wonderful book in which they
While we have a certain number that we know and they
did a wonderful job collecting those together, but we do not even
know what was left. My imagination was, would it not be
wonderful if the Dutch had had a preservation program back when
Vermeer died or the guilds or the unions or somebody had said,
maybe we should save some of this stuff.
This guy Vermeer is not important now, but maybe in a
few hundred years people will line up around the block and bribe
their Congressmen to get in and push and shove, et cetera, et
So, I think we should be very careful of what we think
is valuable to pass on to future generations. One of my current
obsessions is Patsy Cline. Someone who falls far lower in the
value structure than news, et cetera, et cetera, but Patsy Cline
is the largest selling female recording artist for country music
Her greatest hits album is selling now at 750,000
copies per year. She has been dead for 33 years. People are
going in basements trying to discovery stuff. Well, Patsy Cline
was on Washington, D.C. television every week, every Saturday
night for a year and a half.
Do we have any record of that? Absolutely not. Zero.
So the same way that poor Vermeer may have painted masterpieces
that we will never know about because they were not saved and
were scattered about and not valued at the time, Vermeer did not
paint famous people, Vermeer did not paint what we considered to
be important subjects.
He had painted streets and little subjects and rooms.
My favorite, the Milkmaid, a person pouring milk. I mean that is
not going to make a lot of money. That is not a valued subject
in his day and of course it disappeared.
Why should we expect it? Patsy Cline has disappeared,
too. So what do we say to the public who buys her album? One
out of every nine households in the United States has a Patsy
Cline album. What do we say to that public?
Would it not be nice that we had some visual record of
what she actually performed like? Well, unfortunately we do not.
The same in Washington, D.C. TV as for Walter Cronkite and
On an absolutely personal note, I interviewed Bob
Dalton who has been on Washington TV for 30 years recently and
Bob Dalton has the sum of his lifetime work, 30 years on American
television, daily journalism in nine videotapes sitting on his
I said, Bob, is this it? He said, yes, this is it.
Eight were from the 1990's. One videotape from 1952 to 1990.
That is unconscionable.
So first big point by the tenured professor is do not
think small. Please do not think small. Do not give the values
of our generation to our children and our grandchildren and their
great grandchildren. Please do not do that.
I know money is tight. I know things are hard. I know
it is difficult. Life is difficult, but I think if we narrow it
now, they will never have it. We lose, if you want a fancy term
what the economists call option value.
If we destroyed Yellowstone Park in 1916, we would not
have the option of having it generation after generation and that
brings me to my second point. Money.
I am a trained economist. So I try to think about
this. I proposed several years ago a one-percent tax on all
movies. Movie tickets, movie rentals, et cetera. Five hundred
million dollars a year.
Yes. That would go a long way in solving the problem,
but I got poo-pooed. The press ran things about it. This is
the dumbest idea we have ever heard. Obviously this guy is a
professor. How did he ever get tenure, et cetera.
Well, I recently heard an example and I thank the news
for bringing it up. The Everglades. The Everglades are a great
natural resource that we have in this country. A park that is
being destroyed and the nature groups that are destroying it and
my apologies to them, are the sugar producers.
They want good land. This is terrific virgin
territory, near water, et cetera. So the sugar producers have
been, if you go in south Florida, encroaching from Lake
Okeechobee down further and further.
Well, a deal has been struck. The Everglades need
money to be saved. So we now have a one cent a pound tax on
sugar. Now of course you can hear the screaming and yelling by
the sugar industry.
This is going to kill us. We have no profits. It is
the end of sugar as we know it. All I ask is a test case. Has
anyone in this room noticed a difference in the price of sugar?
Have you bought less sugar for your coffee? Have you bought less
pies? Have you noticed an escalation?
No, of course not. One cent on a pound has not changed
anyone's behavior, but hopefully it will provide the financial
basis for preserving the Everglades. Those who use it, the sugar
producers and us the consumers, should help keep it as a public
good. I think the exact analogy goes here.
If we want to pass this to our grandchildren and great
grandchildren as a public service, as a public good, a cultural
product, then we all ought to be willing to contribute.
I do not measure video in pounds, but if you want to
use feet, if you want to use one percent, a half a percent, I
think you come up with a similar model, a model of preserving
that material as a public good for all of us now and in the
I would encourage that we think big on those lines so
that we can have not only the amount of funding necessary, but
the steady state of funding that is necessary, not just hit and
miss, but steady.
Thank you very much.
MR. TABB: Mr. Cripps, good to see you again as well.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS CRIPPS,
MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY
MR. CRIPPS: Thank you. For our next tenured fuddy
duddy professor, I think I will take my allotted time or less. I
am not sure.
I have a long paragraph I am skipping, in which I
explain to us all why we are here and why I am personally here.
I will skip both of those.
I should like to be thought of as a delegate from
another world, that is of the small college struggling to be a
university in a world of giants.
The Morgan State Universities in the world number in
the thousands. They graduate most of the students of higher
education in the United States, particularly in the case of
Morgan and HBU, as we say on the campus, historically black
This statistic has meaning. HB's have graduated a far
higher proportion of America's black leaders than have the
traditionally white universities and yet we struggle in a way
that larger, research oriented universities do not.
Our libraries, when compared with major libraries, grow
at an inch worm rate. Especially this is so with respect to
costly electronic images, whether radio, television, motion
pictures, laser discs, CD rom materials.
Not only are these materials prohibitively costly, but
their storage, maintenance and accessibility render the need for
their acquisition almost moot.
Ranging from buying machinery, monitors, players, VCR's
and such, to buying licenses to take new materials off satellite
place small libraries in a perpetual survival mode.
Thus our collections remain small and relatively
speaking grow smaller and so our distance from the mainstreams of
American intellectual life remains the subject of a constant
Almost no predominantly African-American university can
expect to stay even in this uneven struggle. My own university,
when I arrived 37 years ago, was blessed by Guggenheim Fellows
such as Benjamin Quarles, distinguished journalists such as G.
James Fleming and pioneers in bringing black American life into
the American studies and internationally regarded literary
critics such as Philip Butcher and Nick Ford. Now we have
perhaps one or two dinosaurs left.
Partly this is so because the nature of the curriculum
has changed in ways that render electronic media obligatory as
sources of study and of teaching.
When I was a graduate student in olden times, as my
students think of it, a professor once quoted with quiet approval
a famous historian who had asserted that history is past
Now politics has been subsumed under rubrics such as
cultural studies. This means that to study any trait of 20th
century American culture in society has become for some scholars
a search for politics. Politics of art, of movies, of
This curricular evolution alone has made both teaching
and research prohibitively dear. Susan Davis' book, Parades and
Power, a recent study of 19th century Philadelphia working class
politics combined, even indeed linked popular forms of parading
on holidays as manifestations of political campaigning.
Her entire corpus of research might have been
accomplished in one or two libraries by turning the pages of old
newspapers. To attempt the same task in the age of television is
to incur a research debt that would be unavoidably dependent on
research and travel grants that would be prohibitive to graduate
students and undergraduates alike.
So with a simultaneous arrival of both cultural studies
and electronic media, the teacher and the student both at a small
American college are effectively debarred from participating in
any important trend in American higher education.
The solution to this emerging disparity is access to
electronic resources and of course self evidently the
preservation of these videotape documents.
Others will argue far more effectively than I for such
a hoped for outcome of these hearings. My most deeply felt need
is for access to the preserved document.
At the very least, the ongoing work of the Library of
Congress, Division of Broadcasting, Motion Pictures and Recorded
Sounds must be encouraged and expanded, perhaps in the form of
regional core collections of their documents.
In addition, in keeping with the laws expressed wish to
enhance education while ensuring against copyright infringement,
we must ask for a re-clarification of the copyright law of 1976,
coincidentally written in the same year as the television
If we clarify copyright law in a way that it does not
infringe upon the rights of copyright holders, it should allow
for educational use as fair use. Perhaps by having institutions
pay a general user fee, not unlike that paid to ASCAP for the
right to use musical compositions.
In this way researchers, even undergraduate
researchers, would be able to receive on request of the Library
of Congress or other repository, either by satellite or by postal
service research and teaching copies of historic video documents.
Perhaps copyright holders could have a small logo
supered in the corner of the frame of such programming as an
insurance against an unintended pirated use for broadcast
Many firms in the business of selling stock shots
already do this. Or a more commonplace solution might be the
often discussed prospect of regional media study centers. There
are already such precedents for this in the Pacific Film Archive,
the late lamented Southwestern Film and Video Archive, the
Harvard and Yale Archives, along with many smaller archives that
have taken in the news footage of their local television
stations, such as the University of Baltimore and the University
of Maryland, Baltimore County.
To take any one of these steps, accompanied by a
rigorous national effort to preserve the nation's television
heritage, much has already been undertaken.
It will allow the nation's small institutions to share
in an academic culture now accessible only to those universities
rich enough to collect their own archives. Those near to the
major repositories, such as the Library of Congress and those who
now scrape by even as they are partly daunted by the FBI's
warnings at the top of every Blockbuster tape that they use
fragment of in class.
My students frequently play a verbal dramatized joke in
class, each one thinking he or she has invented it, bursting in
the door, pretending to be the FBI and having us put our hands
against the wall.
Many witnesses before this body will surely emphasize
the documented need for preservation and broad access without
violating copyright, but I would press further a more precious
need that practicing scholars cannot do without.
The development of the provenance and the pedigrees of
the video image. To rely on collectors, commercial stores such
as Blockbuster or even their more historically minded
counterparts, such as Video Americain, is to study documents that
have frequently been violated, edited, fragmented and otherwise
spoiled as pristine primary sources.
To have a national repository such as the Library of
Congress with a staff trained in librarianship would assure not
only the stanching of the bleeding away of lost materials, but
would assure that the survivors would be catalogued according to
a professional standard of description.
Here I should point out that by the television document
I mean precisely what is meant by almost everyone else who might
wish to speak to this issue. All of the programming, not merely
news, documentaries or so-called educational television.
It is all educational, whether the seven-year hit
situation comedy, a flop that has dropped after six shows or the
hundreds of commercials that routinely punctuate the programming.
It is the total television experience that will teach
our offspring what our culture was really like. Imagine if we
were to judge the culture of Britain only by what comes to us
through the prism of Masterpiece Theatre. We would miss entirely
the Irish, the working class, the blacks and so on.
To fail to see this preservation attempt in the round
is to become dependent on compilers of the holdings of copyright
However much we were amused by MGM's That's
Entertainment, however we wince at the NFL's compilations of the
league's hardest hits, complete with augmented whacks of sound
effects, we are unable to learn much from them.
Yet we are dependent on what sells, whether in the
rental stores or among the chains of dealers, such as Sun Coast.
May I have one last word on the aspect of our work here
that may elude those of us who have not recently faced its
structures? I wrote this before I heard David talking about
That is the subject of copyright. We indeed need some
uniform code or standard that will allow scholarly use without
the threat of litigation for presume violation or infringement.
The law as it stands or rather the jurisprudence that
has followed from it has made eligible for copyright almost any
document, even a laundry list.
That is to say, any scribbling on a page constitutes
intent to publish. Therefore any manuscript or in our instance
today, any out take, constitutes a copyrighted document protected
by the law.
Moreover, this particular title in the law awards
uncommonly ironclad protection to all of the future widows and
orphans of America whose forbears may have produced something
deemed as meant to be published.
We need to remove all non-commercial, scholarly
research or teaching purpose or intent from this morass of ever
lengthier claims to ownership.
We should make clear the intent neither to infringe the
rights of others nor the wish to profit from the work of others,
but the public's right to know as phrased in the original
copyright act of 1790 is also a right and one that we must defend
against infringement. Thank you.
MR. TABB: Thank you.
Mr. Curtin, the director of cultural studies programs
at Indiana University.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL CURTIN,
INDIANA UNIVERSITY, DIRECTOR, CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAM
MR. CURTIN: Good day. Thank you for the invitation to
present here. I have submitted some written comments and rather
than reading from those comments, I just want to touch on some
things that have already been said by some of the scholars here
and by the first round of presentations, amplifying upon them a
little bit and then perhaps offer a modest suggestion, which is
probably just as naive as some of the other suggestions that
scholars will make today.
First of all, as far as budgets are concerned, whether
we are talking about small colleges or "research institutions" we
are talking about very small research budgets.
Mr. Cripps very eloquently pointed out the problems
that scholars confront at small institutions. At Indiana
University, what is known as a world class research institution
or at least likes to pretend that it is a world class research
institution, scholars in the humanities have no research budgets.
You can compete for research budgets. You can try and
negotiate for research budgets and a very handsome annual
research budget might total $1,000, $2,000. So we are talking
about very small amounts of money.
Most of the money that people spend on their research
comes out of their pockets. A lot of this we have sort of
referred to jokingly, but perhaps dark humor is what one is
confronted with in these kinds of circumstances, but we refer to
it as credit card research. We extend our credit limits on our
credit cards in order to be able to go places to gather the
information and materials that are important to us. So as far as
research budgets are concerned, all up and down the scale we are
talking about very limited amounts of money that are available.
The second thing is that Mr. Culbert pointed out that
there is a reticence on the part of some historians to actually
engage in the analysis of television programs themselves, given
the obstacles that they confront. It is very true that for years
television studies pretty much focused on institutional,
regulatory, and economic issues, largely I think because people
did not have VCR's in their homes where they could pop tapes in,
record programs, and then go back and look at them very
A lot of the research that was being done was being
done about television as an institutional force and it is only
more recently that we have started to see an increasing interest
in the program texts themselves.
This interest in programs is appearing not just in
history but in cultural studies, which is one of the reasons why
I wanted to appear today. Cultural studies is perhaps one of the
fastest growing areas in humanities research today.
What is cultural studies? Well, it is very much about
the connection between text and context. How is it that the
meanings that we circulate in society are connected to social and
power relations in society? It is not just media scholars who
are interested in this. It is people in English departments,
political science departments, folklore departments, comparative
literature departments, all across the university. My program
includes 60 faculty members from 19 departments and programs in
the university who study everything from cartoons to Ouigi boards
to television, and television is of increasing interest, because
for 40 years more than 80% of the American people have had TV's
in their homes. It is something that we share across
generations. We share it across economic, social, ethnic,
racial, other sorts of divides. How we share it, how we use it
is of course distinctive to each viewing context itself, but
nevertheless it is the preeminent form of mass communication.
Yet what we have here, what we are confronted with, is
a blanking out; a sort of sealing off of a lot of discussion
about this realm and about the texts themselves, largely because
of the issues that we confront in the area of copyright.
You have heard a lot of discussion about this today; I
too consider copyright to be perhaps the paramount issue in
resolving a lot of the problems we confront. Certainly funding,
storage, access, those sorts of things are very important, but
the real irony here is that these programs which are so hard to
access were broadcast over the public airwaves.
Mr. Gomery is very right, we have to be sympathetic
with these private corporations being profit ventures. Indeed
they are profit ventures and that has made only too apparent by
Mr. Stevens' comment that one is known as the vice-president of
asset management; they see themselves as profit ventures
primarily. So their priorities are very, very different, but the
irony here is that as a result their priorities fly in the face
of the fact that here we have a public medium of which we have no
In newspapers we have a record. The next day you can
go to the library and you can look at what was in yesterday's
newspaper and study it very carefully. You could do that of
course for decades. You can get it on microfilm. It can be
circulated to institutions all over the country.
With television, you cannot do that. You do not have
access to those records and if you do not have your tape machine,
your personal tape machine running, chances are you may be
missing something, like the O. J. Simpson flight and trial.
Now granted, however you take that issue, it was a
major media event, which compelled national attention. What
happened with the Simpson flight and trial is probably a
condensation of just about a half dozen very significant issues
that confront us. Everything from domestic relations to race
relations to the future of Los Angeles to police enforcement, et
cetera, et cetera. A very important event and yet we have no way
of legitimately accessing that without going through these
corporate institutions with their own sets of priorities, unless
we want to fly in the face of copyright and make our own
recording, circulate them among ourselves, do this in a very sort
of casual and subrossa manner, which is how a lot of television
research gets conducted.
So what goes over the public airwaves is not available
for critique. It is not available for criticism largely because
Mr. Gomery suggested a 1% tax as one proposal that we
might consider. I would also say that what we should consider as
well is pressing for an exemption to copyright laws for the
Library of Congress: that the Library of Congress be allowed to
record off-air at its own discretion, that it be able to seek
from commercial distributors materials that are not otherwise
commercially available at a reasonable cost and that by gaining
this exemption that they start to undertake a very active program
of systematically trying to record what is happening now on
television and also gathering those things that are difficult to
obtain through commercial sources.
That exemption is not unreasonable. It is not
unreasonable first of all because we are talking about the public
airwaves, but it is also not an unreasonable thing because when
my book was published last year, I know that a copy went to the
Library of Congress. When books are published, they end up in
the Library of Congress, right? Well maybe not in all cases, but
certainly in most cases we know where to look.
With television, we have the most ubiquitous form of
mass communication in the United States and we do not have a
record. We do not have a way to move forward systematically in
gathering that record. Why? Because we depend on the
contributions and generosity of television executives, of
producers. We depend on the occasional collection that gets
I do not know all of the ways in which collections are
gathered and organized, because that is not my bailiwick, but I
do know that I just recently published a book on the emergence of
television news in the early 1960's as the preeminent form of
news in the United States especially the documentary genre
I was able to go around the country and I was able to
gather most of the documentaries that I was looking for. Why?
Because nobody considered them to be commercially valuable
Secondly, they were considered to be public service
kinds of programming so they got distributed to libraries. They
got distributed to archival collections. It was part of a
network public service gesture, the whole documentary boom of the
Therefore, I could go around the country and gather up
these things and nobody thought they were worth anything. In
fact, I was just ahead of the garbage man in many cases, because
what was happening was that people were discarding from
collections many of these documentaries that I was in fact
So in that case, I was lucky. If I had not been able
to access those documentaries, I would argue that I would have
written a very, very different book than the book that I wrote,
because one of the things that scholars pay attention to
increasingly is the fact that all forms of media, are
Embedded within them is not one single message, but a
constellation of often conflicting, contradictory meanings and
what I often found in these documentaries were things that were
far different from what I had expected.
The questions I ended up asking as part of my research
project were far different than the questions I started out with
when I started my project looking through government documents,
looking through trade publications, looking through contemporary
press accounts, et cetera.
So this public record is extremely important. What we
know and what we will think of our immediate past and our distant
past is highly reliant on the fact that we start making a
systematic effort to save much of what is there.
I just want to close with one final comment and that is
going back to what Mr. Gomery was saying about priorities.
Inscribed in whatever systematic effort we make will be a certain
set of values. A certain set of assumptions about what we think
Let me just point out that I have a student right now
who is working on a dissertation about cooking shows. It is a
fascinating dissertation: What we think about food. How we
present food. The sorts of discussion and deliberation that goes
on around food. The ways in which cooking is both a public and a
private activity. The ways in which television bridges the
public and the private. The way that it gathers viewers around
the issue of what kinds of foods are to be valued, how they are
prepared, et cetera, et cetera.
Who would have thought of cooking as being a
fascinating dissertation? Yet, this student, who is working on
her dissertation in this area, is now producing I think something
that is going to be very valuable to people in the future when
they look back and they think about how was food inscribed in
social practices during the 1980's and 1990's?
So I very much urge you to consider the sorts of things
that the panelists suggest here. Certainly we do not know all of
the particularities of how these acquisitions will take place,
how they will be funded, et cetera, et cetera, but we can tell
you that it is extremely important what this panel is doing.
We are very grateful for these efforts and we think
that this action needs to move beyond just the question of the
technical issues, the funding issues. It needs to also move into
the realm of dealing with these very confusing copyright
concerns. Thank you.
MR. TABB: Thank you.
Now we welcome Thomas Doherty who is chairman of the
film studies program at Brandeis.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS DOHERTY,
BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, CHAIR, FILM STUDIES PROGRAM
MR. DOHERTY: Thank you. I am pleased to testify to
the importance of television and video preservation and to
programs that assure scholars, students and the general public
ready access to television archives.
But because I am from Brandeis University I come here
not only to testify, but to kvetch a little about that subject.
Like my colleagues, I believe that the television
legacy no less than printed material or the motion picture record
offers the unique lens into American life in the second half of
the 20th century.
Matthew Arnold to the contrary, culture is no longer
only the best that is written in thought. It is also what we see
and create on screen.
No one outside the provinces of an Amish community can
doubt the centrality of television to American life. Reviled or
beloved, vast wasteland or cultural cornucopia, TV shapes our
imagination and colors our existence.
The values we esteem, the myths that we live by, even
the leaders we elect are transmitted and mediated by television.
Since 1948 or thereabouts successive generations of
Americans have measured their lives by shared moments beheld on
the screen. Just as we experience that shared present through
television, we learn our history through it for history is now as
likely to be acquired as a visual memory, as a printed one, as a
retrieval of images rewound from our collective visual
We can all do the channel surfing in our heads. Frank
Costello's hands nervously fidgeting during the Kefauver crime
hearings, attorney Joseph Welch facing down the junior senator
from Wisconsin, a perspiring Charles Van Doren feigning
concentration, four indelible days in November, 1963, a blizzard
of combat imagery from southeast Asia, the president's men called
to account before the halls of Congress and on and on to the
Challenger disaster, the Hill-Thomas hearings, the war in the
gulf and too long ago, the murder verdict of the century.
In focusing just now on matters of obvious historical
significance however, I did not mean to slight the rest of the
Momentous events aside, our encounter with television
is more likely to be the daily rituals of situation comedies,
talk shows, crime dramas or sports. Yet sometimes the obscure
and the ephemeral persist with surprising tenacity and what seems
the disposable dextrose of one era might be a nugget of gold to
Viewed from a distance, revelations abound in the
common rung of television programming. The racial and ethnic
shadings of 1950's America in Amos and Andy and Molly. The
gender dynamics in any one of a dozen ripe sitcoms from Ozzie and
Harriet to Roseanne and the nation insecurities expressed in
crime melodramas such as Dragnet or NYPD Blue.
In honesty, one might be forced to concede the daunting
possibility that the Jerry Springer show might reveal as much
about the 1990's as 60 Minutes.
In short, though some discrimination is nigh
unavoidable, given the vast quantity of material in the TV
culture bank an open ended selection process might best capture
the wide net and permissive arena that is television, an
admissions policy that accepts all genres and embraces the low
with the high.
After all, we have learned those terms have a way of
turning on their heads with time. As anyone knows who has
partaken of the genius, is there a better word for it, of Lucille
Ball, Jackie Gleason or Ernie Kovacs.
If the defense of television as an art and the
arguments for its impact as a social influence are familiar
enough, it's role in the classroom as a historical document might
be less known.
In this sense I thought it might be useful to discuss
one example of how as a teacher of American history and culture
TV comes into play. Being a cultural historian, I teach courses
in the full range of Americanist material, from the sermons of
John Winthrop on through to the glories of classical Hollywood
A couple of years ago I took over a course entitled
"Television in American Culture," given out of the American
studies department at Brandeis.
From the billing at least it might seem to be the kind
of offering designed to give lazy undergraduates a gut and
conservative critics of the academy the conniptions.
But in tracing a half century of American life, via
television I and most of my students I really believe found the
material rich, complex and demanding: the death of presidents,
the immediacy of war, the constitution in action.
The chronology alone tracks a whole range of cultural
transformations, many impossible to imagine without the
influence, salutary and baleful, of television.
Would the civil rights movement have finally penetrated
the American conscience without television? Would crime and
illegitimacy have exploded without the commercial drumbeat of
instant gratification? Surely these are subjects and questions
to be pondered in an undergraduate education.
Yet in mastering the history of television and of
obtaining material for the class, I found myself stymied again
and again. Unlike virtually any other subject one can teach in
which ready access to illustrative material and landmark text is
a given, the television coded and propelled history of America is
maddeningly intangible and un-chronicled.
Further, television moments are just that. Discreet
and irreplaceable pieces of time. If you are teaching say the
Army-McCarthy hearings, the assassination of JFK or the Tet
offensive, access to the contemporaneous images and I would
really like to second what Tom Cripps said, as broadcast at the
time not as re-contextualized and reedited in retrospective
archival documentaries is simply essential.
To be sure, the VCR has helped enormously as has the
proliferation of cable options such as A&E, C-SPAN and the
Moreover in my experience, the networks and individual
television producers have been generous in making their materials
available, but let's be real. The networks are businesses whose
main clients are their in-house production teams.
Scholars of the medium naturally fall well outside
their job description. For a specific example, take an event
like the Cuban missile crisis, surely a moment in American
history worth reclaiming in undergraduate classrooms.
An essential part of teaching that moment is JFK's
address on October 22, 1962 in which he used television to
deliver an ultimatum to the Soviets and to inform the American
people of the gravity of the crisis.
It is certainly the most bracing presidential address
ever given on television. We remember it. Our students do not.
Where do you find it unedited in its entirety as it was
delivered? How do you get a copy of it to show to your class?
Moreover, what substitution can you make? Again,
unlike literature where one can choose from a range of likely
books when teaching say the American renaissance or even film
where an individual western, musical or filmed war can stand in
for the genre TV can accept no substitute.
Could you teach the Cuban missile crisis without having
seen JFK's speech and screening it? Maybe, but you cannot teach
it as well, as vividly, as powerfully.
Ironically and despite whatever the future holds for
VHS, which will likely go to the way of the eight track tape with
the onset of the digital video disc, even as videotape has become
an ever more cost efficient and user friendly teaching tool, the
availability of materials to obtain scholarly expertise and
assist pedagogy remains both expensive and elusive.
This is especially true of the landmark broadcast of
the early television era, which were preserved haphazardly on
kinescope, if at all.
In some cases, the visual record of events from 1946 to
1960 may be more clouded and less retrievable than events before
that era, which were preserved on news reel film or after it,
recorded on videotape.
There is another consideration that might be calculated
into the video mix, one that has special resonance for media
historians. Once a fresh insight, it is now a stale cliche to
observe that in an image obsessed world the boundaries between
reality and the image have converged.
That reality, as Susan Sontag put it, "has come to seem
more and more like what we are shown on cameras". Yet even for
Sontag, a critic with a preternatural sense for the next fashion
curve, the photographical reproduction of reality possessed an
unbreakable link to the original.
"The picture distorts", Sontag wrote in 1977, "but
there is always the presumption that something exists, or did
exist, which is like what's in the picture."
That presumption no longer holds. Today the technology
of photo fabrication in videotape and cinema, no less than the
still picture, has out paced the ability of the spectator to
The telltale indicators of tampering by which a
discerning eye could always perceive alterations in the
photographic image. The difference in film grain, the visible
lines in air brushing, the mismatch of lighting and background
have been wiped clean by imaging technologies.
Through the magic of seamless matching, morphing,
computer graphics and digital editing techniques, the integrity
and voracity of any moving image, perhaps the whole notion of
documentary cinema has been called into question.
In sum, if the historian's job of work is to evoke and
interpret the past, then television must be part of the material
The psychologist Karl Jung remarked that "myth is the
history you don't have to be taught in school." Can anyone doubt
that our modern myth makers are on and around television?
That television is like the atmosphere, sometimes
invigorating, sometimes oppressive, but always there. In a
famous warning, Edward R. Murrow once ruminated on the potential
of television, that it was an appliance that might teach and
illuminate but otherwise it was merely lights and shadows in a
I think we know it is always much more, but whatever it
is, it must be before our eyes to study, to interpret, to delight
As the preeminent custodian of our national heritage,
the Library of Congress should commit itself aggressively to the
task of preserving these vivid and irreplaceable documents. Thank you.
MR. TABB: All right. Thank you. David?
MR. FRANCIS: I hope you do not consider the question I
am going to address to all of you as unfair. Let's look at the
suggestion Doug Gomery raised about keeping everything
Say the Library of Congress or other organizations were
in a position to record programs off-air and to protect copyright
by putting time code invision. This would also enable us to
retain information about the date of transmission. Would the
academic community be prepared to make a contribution towards the
cost of the operation?
It is not actually that expensive to record the major
networks off-air. If you divide that cost between all the
academic organizations which have an interest in this material, I
do not think it would be a significant amount. You then
have to find a way of getting that information to the user and
that would involve some form of electronic transmission.
I think it is a feasible proposition. What do you feel
about it? Let us take a figure out of the blue and say it would
cost each institution $50,000 a year for access to this
collection. That would cover the cost of the recording. There
might also be a small charge for each access.
Do you think this is a feasible approach? It might be
possible that we could find a way ensuring adequate protection to
record all programs off-air.
This proposal has the advantage of not only recording
the programs, but the links as well, enabling one to see the
juxtaposition of programs on one channel and another.
MR. CRIPPS: This is already done in the form of off
satellite licenses. So people who make up budgets are already
used to that line in the budgets. I think it would be only a
matter of as the technology advances refining the language of the
I think you are right about the small item that that
budget buying would be for each institution. I think that is not
only perfectly reasonable anticipation of the future, but
actually a description of what already goes on.
MR. CURTIN: There is already a significant and growing
amount of library budgets allocated for the acquisition of video
materials and actually one of the advantages here of pursuing
such a thing is that a lot of the materials that are being
gathered are being gathered on the basis of purchasing tapes,
tapes which a lot of times for a half hour, hour tape sometimes
cost $200 for a single tape. Other tapes which are much less
expensive are starting to become available as well.
But some sort of a sharing arrangement, one of the
advantages here is the fact that libraries might then have access
to a larger pool actually than what they have now using a similar
amount of money in their budgets or perhaps even a smaller amount
of money from their budgets.
Given the fact that for example there are tapes that I
have ordered by the library that I might use once or twice a year
and yet we have to purchase the tape in order for me to be able
to use them in the classroom or use them for research.
So I think yes indeed this is a wonderful idea and I
think it would be received quite well by many librarians on the
On the other hand, these libraries are facing very,
very severe sorts of funding constraints themselves. So, it has
to be a way of sort of reallocating resources primarily within
already existing budgets as opposed to coming up with new money,
because in many cases new money just does not exist, as you well
MR. TABB: Anyone else want to respond to David's
MR. CULBERT: The only thing I would add is certainly a
problem in my university--very, very modest or antiquated
equipment for classroom use. I could see the idea of a
contribution for a licensing fee, something that in fact would
make sense in the university, but then how to get it into the
classroom. Having students come to a designated room in the
library in a university with 27,000 people would immediately
create a scheduling problem. Fortunately the vast majority of
professors could not care less about this and would never come.
It is not an insurmountable barrier, but it is worth
keeping in mind that it is not just in the eloquence of
Tom Cripps' description of HBU's. There are lots and lots of
places out there where material in the classroom can be a bit of
a challenge because of the simple brake of inadequate equipment
with brake in both senses (break!) of the word.
MR. BURKE: With the importance of television as
presented here eloquently this morning and other media, is there
a rationale for some universities closing down their radio,
television and film departments?
MR. GOMERY: I guess that is aimed at me, but it was
presented to us as a fate complie and so I do not think it was a
good rationale at all nor a good idea. When the votes were
taken, we were not in the room.
MR. BURKE: Is it a trend?
MR. GOMERY: Yes. Sadly it is a trend. The University
of Virginia. The University of Maryland. The University of
Oregon. Arizona State. Ohio State. I could keep the list a
long way down.
As an economist, when the economy went into recession
in 1990, 1991, 1992, particularly this is really pretty much for
state universities, started to look for ways to cut.
One of the things my colleagues have alluded to is the
changing of the nature of the academy, which is as you all know
having been there very, very slow and so the study that media was
often in a humanities program or something else.
When you look at a humanities program, the history
department, my apologies to most history departments, use chalk
and maybe a few slides and et cetera. Then you get down to the
radio and TV film budget, well it was a pretty easy decision to
But that had nothing to do with the study by the media.
It had to do with the inability to get rid of large dollar
MR. CULBERT: I think part of that too has to do with
another sort of uncertainty. The name radio, TV, film would seem
to many to be sort of an antiquated title. Do you want to call
it mass communications and what do you want to do with it?
The problem at my university has been an uncertainty as
to the cost of buying the constantly evolving technology and the
fact that persons who used to go into a radio, TV, film
department, now updated with at least a new title--if no new
equipment--now attend a School of Mass Communication.
If these are persons who are seeking employment in an
industry, then unless you have extremely up-to-date equipment you
are, shall we say, instructing them in something new, it is
called a typewriter--and then sending them out to try and find
The issue is whether the primary purpose of a radio,
TV, film department is to produce practitioners or to promote the
kinds of interest that I think every panelist here is concerned
about--trying to integrate the study of television into a much,
much wider range of inquiry.
I think in a sense your question, which I see as being
animated by just a whiff of malice, actually is a very
interesting one if a non-malicious but more thoughtful or
reflective response is encouraged.
To measure the impact of the study of television or
video in the academic world based on closings or openings or
budgets of radio, TV, film departments would be an exceedingly
inaccurate mechanism, like using the telephone to find out who
was going to win the presidential election of 1936.
It is hard to get the needed data. Please remember
that an association of professors of journalism or mass
communication is not the way to find out something which nobody
knows and that is what use is being made of television in the
I use those same materials Tom Doherty spoke of in the
course that I teach in America since 1945. I am also interested
in complete video texts.
I cannot imagine missing an opportunity to show the
entire Nixon Checkers speech, which I always tell my students is
an opportunity to see one of the very few examples of the
dinosaur age of television production.
I have mass communications majors in that course who
indeed are shocked to see what was state-of-the-art broadcasting
To me not only is the content memorable, but it is the
video technique and the problem of how a camera managed to move
from Dick Nixon with the greatest of effort--it seems to take a
minute to get all the way over to Pat--while also revealing what
was conceived of as a reasonable studio set in 1952.
This is part of the contextualization of a landmark in
American political television. But that is only part of it and
the fact that it is a standard item that might be used in a
course on America since 1945 is never going to be discovered by
asking about budgets for radio, TV, film departments.
MR. BURKE: There is no malice of forethought. I just
wanted to get the issue on the table.
MR. CULBERT: No. It is a very good question though.
MR. DOHERTY: The film studies program there is a new
creation in the last couple of years, because it finally became
intolerable, even to the liberal arts sort of print oriented,
talmudic history of Brandeis that you would have a major
university that did not have a study of the moving image.
It was almost easy in terms of persuading faculty from
other departments that this was overdue when you could point out
that the 20th centuries, the history of the moving image and film
both predates and has outlived the Soviet Union.
That why would you ever want to teach a class on the
second world war without the films of Leni Riefenstahl or Frank
Capra. I do not see how anybody could do that would want to do
From a purely like liberal artsy humanistic basis, even
neglecting the kind of professional departments or mass comm with
more quantitative departments that are popular around the
MR. TABB: Barbara?
MS. RINGER: Just a couple of observations. It must be
obvious to all that we are talking about two things here. One is
preservation--and that is a major, major problem--but the other
is access, and the name of that game is copyright.
I am glad to see that people recognize that. If you've
ever made any effort to try to use these materials in the way you
have all described, you know that copyright is crucial. I have a
lot of experience with that problem.
I agree that copyright is a major stumbling block to
what you want to do and what you should be wanting to do.
Doug Gomery says think big. I agree that is important,
but I think you also have to start small. Brainstorm all you
want--1% taxes, tax credits, or whatever. Thinking about that
sort of thing is fine, but it is not going to happen folks. It
really is not.
I do not see many people here from the proprietary end
of things. Is there anybody here from the copyright owners
exclusively? No. Also, how many lawyers are there in the room?
In 1955 when the copyright revision program started, we
were dealing with a law enacted in 1909--one which was totally
out of date in 1955. It took another 21 years to get the revised
law to the point of being passed.
What Congress passed in 1976 was a pretty good 1950
law. At least it took us up to that point. The guy who was
mainly responsible for the revision in the House, Bob
Kastenmeyer--he has an office in this building now--knew and has
said so recently that it was an outdated law when Congress passed
it but it was all we could get, and it got us over a tremendous
hump. We no longer have to deal with the 1909 law and its
Now, twenty years later, you need a new statute. You
need a new statute desperately, one that can accomplish both
purposes of preservation and access. But you cannot do it by
bad-mouthing people. I have been through this sort of thing too
many times not to feel fairly strongly on this point.
Do not talk about wolves and rapacious this and that.
Do not do it, because it just gets the copyright owners upset and
you have conflict rather than discussion. It is very easy to
defeat legislation: very, very easy.
The proprietary groups, you must understand, have lived
through this. They lived through the photocopying problem and
did not do anything about it and lost. Once the technological
wave had crested, there was nothing they could do.
Then again they waited too late on the issue of home-
taping. They are determined not to let that happen again. I
have heard this time and time again. That is what you are
It is ridiculous for them to spend hundreds of dollars
to collect a dime or two. The transactional costs and the
bureaucratic staffing they need are staggering, but they have
instructions. Their lawyers tell them what to do and they have
to abide by it.
What you need is legislation, but you are not going to
get it by talking to yourselves. You really ought to stop that.
Instead, you ought to undertake a new legislative
program. The Library of Congress can spearhead it if it is
willing. It is not easy. Somebody from the Copyright Office
ought to be involved, and there are other forces at play.
The Patent Office, believe it or not, is very
interested in all this, too. They are very much on the
proprietor's side. The Library of Congress is a library and the
Copyright Office has traditionally played a neutral role in all
of this. I think they would provide a good focal point for the
kind of activities that I can envision here.
I am not going to be personally involved. I have had
it with all of this. But I can see what needs to be done, and
you need Congressmen that will support you. You need to go out
there and get some Congressmen interested in the problem.
Wait until after the election and see what happens.
But you need support from people who believe in what you want to
do--who are willing to listen to both sides and to sponsor
programs and eventually legislation. You need to sit down in
rooms like this and talk about actual statutory provisions.
As David knows, we recently had a bill cooking that
would have been devastating to the Library of Congress. It would
have done away with mandatory registration of copyright material.
We tried to work out some kind of compromise, which I don't think
was a bad one.
As part of that compromise, we considered amending the
law in a way that would have allowed the Library to do massive
off-air taping. I do think that is one rather modest way to
I think that money could be found if there were clear-
cut statutory provisions governing what the Library would do and
the constraints that would have to put on their activities.
One reason that we were able to get some of the
provisions we got in 1976 was that the proprietary interests
trusted the Library. I think that kind of trust is very
important to preserve.
In this room two or three years ago, they had a big
conference about the Internet and its impact on copyright
proprietors and what the Library and the library communities
I made some suggestions along the way concerning
collective administration of rights and permissions. It does
seem to me that technology has broken the nexus between copyright
owner and the user. Instead, you need a system involving some
kind of pool out of which the copyright owner is compensated, but
where the owner cannot say no and cannot impose impossible
On that occasion I got scorched by the proprietors, but
I do think that is the only way to go. There are already
organizations like ASCAP that provide private payment mechanisms
and keep the government's clammy hands off of the system.
It does seem to me that, at least in certain areas, the
future of copyright lies in collective administration of rights.
Maybe not with respect to belles lettres and that sort of thing,
but in music you already have ample precedents. Compulsory
licensing started with copyright, partly because of the greedy
actions of the monopoly holders back in the early parts of this
century. We have a lot of very rich history here that we can
draw on and I do not think we should try to reinvent the wheel.
There is something else I will mention in passing and
that is something you may not have heard of. CORDS. It is
written up in the current issue of the Library bulletin. What do
they call it now? It is the thing that the Library sends out
every two weeks, or whatever it is now. I see somebody grinning
MR. TABB: The editor of it.
MS. RINGER: The editor. Sorry about that, Jill.
CORDS is a product of a lot of planning, but the basic
planning was done by the guy that invented the Internet and
E-mail, Bob Kahn. I really have not followed too clearly what
has happened recently, but I think CORDS offers an awful lot of
It involves electronic registration of copyright
claims. As part of the registration system, the owner gives all
the terms and information a user would need, so that anybody
plugging into the Internet and pushing some buttons would be able
to find out what they have to pay, what they need to do, and so
This is in the very, very nascent stages, and yet I
think that this is what is going to happen sooner or later. No
paper changes hands at all. You register the copyright
completely electronically and the information goes online and you
can find out what you need to do in order to use the material.
It does seem to me that this ought to be brought into
these discussions and made very much a part of what ultimately
comes out of this. I think this has a lot more to offer than
just talking to yourselves. That does not really do any good.
Seriously, if you can, you should bring yourselves to
recognize that the proprietary interests are terrified over what
is happening. The Internet potentially allows anybody to do
anything with their property.
I think that they are probably sufficiently tractable
now--maybe you have already observed this--that they could be
brought into discussions that would produce good results that
would be in the public interest and in their interest.
They will not give up their rights, which they are
clinging to with every tendon in their bodies. The ATRA
legislation was part of a deal that was based on preserving their
In the legislative process, you give and you take. But
do not bad mouth your opponents, please. It is not productive.
It makes people mad and they will not listen to you. If you can
get into a room and talk about concrete proposals you are much
I have said all I am going to say.
MR. TABB: We have to call time now and we will adjourn
for a break. We will take only ten minutes. So be back at
[Whereupon, a short recess was taken.]
MR. MURPHY: Let me convey apologies for Winston Tabb,
who has to leave us at this time. I am Bill Murphy and I will be
taking over the duty of moderator and I indeed will wield a heavy
gavel to try to get us back on time. We are running considerably
Let us begin now with the next panel of archives and
museums and we are starting with Maxine Fleckner Ducey, the
current president of the Association of Moving Image Archivists. Maxine.
STATEMENT OF MAXINE FLECKNER DUCEY,
ASSOCIATION OF MOVING IMAGE ARCHIVISTS (AMIA), PRESIDENT
MS. DUCEY: In 1993 with the work underway on a
national plan for film preservation, AMIA, the Association of
Moving Image Archivists, joined many others in the moving image
archive community, including the Library of Congress in calling
for a parallel plan for television and video.
Now the Library has stepped forward to answer that
call. Messrs. Billington, Tabb, Francis and Murphy and all the
others at the Library of Congress deserve our thanks and our full
cooperation as they take on this daunting but much needed
AMIA has prepared a written statement from which my
remarks today are excerpted because there is no way that they
would fit into the ten-minute limit, to provide information about
the Association and its growing role within the moving image
archive community and to identify the key concerns which we
believe a national plan for television and video preservation
The Association of Moving Image Archivists is a
professional association established in order to advance the
field of moving image archiving by fostering cooperation among
individuals concerned with the collection, preservation,
exhibition and use of moving image materials.
Since the late 1960's, representatives of moving image
archives have met regularly to exchange information and share
Over the years these meetings grew from a handful of
participants to several hundred archivists representing over 100
national, regional and local institutions.
Currently AMIA consists of nearly 300 moving image
archivists. Our members collect, preserve and provide access to
a broad cross section of film, television and video media.
Classical and contemporary Hollywood productions, news
reels and documentaries, national, regional and local television
productions, including news, public affairs and entertainment
programming, film and video art, amateur footage and film and
video reflecting ethnic and minority experiences.
AMIA's three standing committees, preservation,
cataloguing and documentation and access all deal actively with
film, television and video issues.
In addition to special AMIA interest groups focus on
television news and documentary collections and on film and video
AMIA is eager to work closely with the Library to
develop and implement an effective national plan which looks to
the interests of all concerned, archives and archivists,
educators and scholars, producers and rights holders and the
Drawing from the experience and expertise of our
members, AMIA has identified several points crucial to
formulating a plan which will significantly improve the state of
television and video preservation.
The field of television and video preservation is less
clearly defined than that of film preservation. The players are
more numerous and varied. The scope of the preservation problem
is greater and less amenable to clear cut solutions.
Standards, principles and accepted procedures in
television preservation are not as fully developed, while the
technological base is more fluid and complex than that of film.
The national plan therefore must begin by addressing
some very fundamental issues. It should, first of all, state a
clear and convincing case for the importance of preserving
television and video materials.
Regrettably the historical, cultural, social and
artistic value of television programs and video productions,
particularly on a local and regional level, is still widely
It should also take into account the diversity of the
television and video preservation field. AMIA members alone come
from international corporations, government agencies, private
businesses, non-profit organizations and various cultural and
educational institutions representing every budget and every
It should also expand the definition of television and
video preservation to include archival storage, cataloguing and
It should determine the scale of the television and
video preservation problem, which we all known is enormous and
identify problem solving strategies which will take that scale
It should evaluate current television and video
preservation efforts. How are materials being preserved? What
is being preserved and by whom?
It should also create degree programs for educating new
moving image, including television and video archivists and
provide continuing education opportunities for those already in
Due to the scope and the complexity of television and
video preservation, the concept of a shared national collection,
which is so fundamental to the field of film preservation,
assumes even greater significance when applied to television and
Coordination and shared responsibilities between a wide
array of public and private institutions and a formula for
securing and allocating additional resources are instrumental to
an effective national plan.
Some specific applications of the national collection
concept might include coordinated selection guidelines, which can
ensure that the broadest representation of television and video
materials will be preserved, while minimizing a duplication of
Shared preservation responsibilities among public
archives, but also between the public archives and commercial
producers and broadcasters. Non-profit and for profit
National or regional storage facilities. National or
regional laboratory facilities, which will be available for
preservation copying and equipped to handle obsolete video
Model donation and deposit agreements, which could be
used to foster positive relationships between public archives and
owners of television and video materials.
Finally the designation of selected non-profit archives
as regional repositories for an expanded Library of Congress
The plan should encourage a stronger sense of shared
responsibility, emphasizing cooperation and collaboration among
all constituents in the television and video preservation field.
AMIA is dedicated to this approach and currently serves as an
ideal forum for its practice.
In the area of physical preservation, particularly
laboratory transfer and archival storage, the national plan
should work to clearly define the principles and components of a
television and video preservation program.
Such a definition should establish basic parameters
regarding formats suitable for preservation, the similarities and
differences between television, video and film preservation.
Approaching television and video preservation as a
process rather than as a product and factoring in the diversity
of archives and the disparity of their resources.
That is to say, yes, we should work on identifying
cutting edge technology, but we should also look for acceptable
lower cost alternatives.
The definition of preservations should emphasize the
central role of climate controlled storage and the promise of
regional storage centers.
It should encourage the research and testing of video
and digital products including new tape and disc formats and
examine the impact of new digital technologies in preserving
television and video materials.
Currently, the AMIA preservation committee is working
on two television and video projects. A manual for the care and
handling of videotape and a director of archival film and video
In the area of access, especially educational,
scholarly and public access, a national plan must emphasize
access as an integral component of preservation and must foster
communication and cooperation among rights holders, archives and
the research and educational community, which will expand public
access to archival materials, while at the same time ensuring the
legal and economic interests of the rights holders.
It should explore methods for bringing television and
video materials to researchers, rather than forcing researchers
to travel to the materials.
It should promote agreements among archives,
educational institutions and rights holders, which would permit
off air taping of a broader range of television programming for
teaching and research use. It should promote the simplification
of the process of rights clearances.
The existing process, complex at best and in many cases
indecipherable, serves neither the interests of educators nor
It should emphasize the value of professional
cataloguing and where feasible of shared cataloguing and it
should examine the impact of digital formats and computer
technology on access to television and video materials.
Increased and creative funding for television and video
preservation is of course the bottom line of any national plan.
A successful plan should include items such as a
campaign to increase public awareness of the need for television
and video preservation by sponsoring traveling exhibits and
programs, a documentary on television and video preservation,
which could be broadcast nationally, a festival of preservation
similar to AMC's annual preservation festival for motion
A plan should propose a mechanism to provide archives
with information and support materials to assist with local fund
raising. It should encourage federal, state, local and private
funding agencies to establish grant programs for television and
Promote non-profit and for profit partnerships as a
means of sharing preservation related expenses and when
appropriate, expand the mandate of the proposed national film
preservation foundation to encompass all moving images, including
television and video materials.
Many of the issues and ideas that I have just relayed
echo those identified by the National Film Preservation Board's
plan for film preservation.
This is going to surprise no one since in many ways the
fields of motion pictures, television and video converge. At the
levels of production, distribution and transmission, teaching and
research, archiving and preservation, moving images increasingly
constitute one field.
For this reason, AMIA urges the Library of Congress to
avoid duplication of effort by combining any parallel and
compatible initiatives which may emerge from both national plans.
Finally, AMIA urges that the Library continue to be
guided by two essential principles in conducting this project.
First of all, a national perspective recognizing the significance
of the project for the archival television and video community as
Secondly, a commitment to collaboration validating the
involvement of the archive community in both designing and
executing the plan.
To the credit of both the Film Board and the Library,
these were the hallmarks of the study and plan for film
preservation and AMIA applauds the Library for continuing this
For its part, AMIA promises to work diligently with the
Library and other interested parties to achieve the promise of
any and all national plans fashioned to ensure the preservation
of America's moving image heritage. Thank you.
MR. MURPHY: Thanks very much.
Let us now turn to our next speaker, Mr. Cary O'Dell,
who is the archives director at the Museum of Broadcast
Communications in Chicago. Good morning.
STATEMENT OF CARY O'DELL,
MUSEUM OF BROADCAST COMMUNICATIONS, ARCHIVES DIRECTOR
MR. O'DELL: Good morning. I am Cary O'Dell with the
Museum of Broadcast Communications. Our president and founder,
Bruce DuMont, originally scheduled to be here could not make it
due to a sudden change in his schedule.
As archives director, I oversee an archive of 10,000
television programs, 8,000 commercials and 50,000 hours of radio
The Museum of Broadcast Communications is one of only
two broadcasting museums in the United States. The second, the
Museum of Television and Radio is in New York City, which
recently opened a wing of themselves in Los Angeles.
Now you may be asking yourself, as I am frequently
asked, what is the difference between that museum and our museum
and I would give you my standard answer.
I do not know. I have never been to the Museum of
Television and Radio. In fact, I have never been to New York
City and until last night, I had never been to Washington, D.C.
But frequently the crux of that question implies that
there should be some significant difference between our two
museums. That there needs to be competition between our two
However, no one ever insists that there be only one art
museum in the country or one science museum or one history
museum. So surely broadcasting, television and radio has proved
itself an important and influential enough to justify many
museums, archives and symposiums such as this one.
After I tell people this, I often sense a bit of
disappointment. They want there to be some competition, some
jockeying for position between us and them, but I do not think
there is and I do not think there should be.
If there is competition, then I think we need to put it
to rest today. Let's take the gloves off, if indeed there are
gloves, and form a union, working together more cooperatively and
with greater communication.
We are all in the same business in the end and what we
all do is for the love of a medium. That is where I want to
start my comments today.
I understand that I am kind of preaching to the
converted, but I do want to say the following things about this
Despite 50 years as a mass medium, television is still
often treated by those who watch it and frequently by those who
make it as a distant relative of high art and as a stepchild of
other performative arts like theatre and cinema, yet television
is our single most important vehicle for entertainment,
information and the progression of the American myth.
The awesomeness of its reach and impact never ceases to
amaze me and I work around it every single day. All the cliches
are true. It has made our world a village. It has changed the
way we vote. It has changed the way we see ourselves and view
Through news, documentaries, soap operas, prime time
dramas and comedies and, yes, even through daytime talk shows it
is still the most important and insightful means for confronting
and illuminating controversial problems and social issues.
In addition to that, it is our most awesome culturally
reflective tool. I often infuriate my friends and perhaps many
people today by making the following announcement.
If I was to come back 100 years from now and wanted to
learn about life in these United States, I do not want to see
your stock exchange, your statistics or your newspapers. Show me
your top ten prime time programs and I will know everything I
need to know about the dreams and values of that current society.
So that is my somewhat fanciful way of saying that the
greatest obstacle to television and radio preservation is a
general public and at times TV industry's own disregard for what
it watches and listens to. The "Oh, it's just TV" syndrome.
Museums such as mine exist to place broadcasting in
context and therefore hopefully illustrate to the public its
importance and vitality.
I hope then that 100 years from now when I come back
the programs of today, last night, last week, last year will be
around for future generations to not only enjoy but to learn
They are important artifacts worthy of saving, as
important as covered wagons, as model T's or any other vehicle we
have used to get from there to here.
But as all of us sitting here today can tell you, a lot
of our legacies have already been lost. Not only from the 1950's
and the late 1940's, but all the way up into the 1960's and to
Much of the work of Chicago's own Irv "Kup" Kupcinet,
whose legendary talk show is quite well loved, is gone and after
a couple of nationwide searches conducted by myself and the
estate of David Susskind, we have determined that much of his
work from the 1960's also no longer exists.
For a variety of reasons, all these tapes were used up,
thrown out or destroyed. We went through them as carelessly and
recklessly as we once did fossil fuel.
While things are somewhat better today, many programs
today by local stations and even cable stations are still
produced one day and discarded if not the next, then soon after.
So often the reason for the discarding is relatively
simple. They do not have the space to store yesterday's programs
or the time to organize them all and that is where, hopefully,
repositories like the Museum of Broadcast Communications and its
siblings can come in.
It is our mission not only to welcome the orphaned and
to organize the unorganized, but to make these programs available
once again for viewing to general audiences.
Letting them use television and its many genres as a
resource for research as dependable as the World Book
Encyclopedia and as available as the local public library.
Increasingly we are finding that we cannot do this
mission alone and we cannot do it without greater support from
the industry we are trying to preserve, analyze and celebrate.
While the majority of the national networks and cable
stations and local stations have been wonderfully generous in
terms of donating tapes of programs they no longer wish to have,
they have not been as supportive as for profit institutions
assisting us not-for-profits with the next step, with
That is: the financial backing it takes to see that
these programs have a long shelf life, i.e. the transfer from one
video format to another, its storage in proper containers, in
environmentally controlled spaces.
The MBC's founder and president, Bruce DuMont, has
likened the situation to parent and child. If a company or
network gives birth to a production, they have the responsibility
to see to it that that program endures and enjoys a long and
Now this situation is not only with the television
industry. Jane Alexander has publicly criticized the motion
picture industry for what she considers to be their disregard for
their own product once it has left our neighborhood theaters.
Institutions like ours will not for very much longer be
able to accept large quantities of tapes and films (and if we do
not accept them, who will) without greater financial support from
the industry that created them.
As many institutions, including mine, have learned the
hard way, having the biggest backlog of un-catalogued,
untransferred film and videotape is no longer a worthwhile or
However, before Ms. Ringer accuses me of attacking the
industry, let me say here for the first time publicly that the
National Broadcasting Company in New York has recently donated to
the Museum monies for the transfer of hundreds of "Tomorrow"
shows featuring Tom Snyder.
These landmark interview shows on two inch videotapes
of the 1970's and early 1980's contain one-on-one interviews with
some of the most important scholars and artists of our century.
These funds will allow us to transfer these programs
off the dreaded two inch videotape format, the dinosaur of the
videotape industry, and onto a new format with a greater shelf
In doing so, they will also for the first time since
they were originally aired be available for viewing by the
In addition, and I am dealing with another medium here,
the Wrigley Company, the Chicago-based gum manufacturer, recently
turned over to the Museum its vast collection of radio programs
from the 1930's and 1940's and with it the necessary money to
transfer these programs off of electronic transcription disk.
All of our problems have not been solved however. One
of the MBC's largest holdings, the David Susskind Collection,
still sits in storage at the Museum waiting to be transferred, a
treasure chest waiting to be opened. So that is my first
recommendation. Industry and museums: better relations and
financial exchanges between the two.
Secondly, I would like to talk about the United States
government. Now as we have all heard from both sides of the
political spectrum, the days of big government are over. So I do
not look to government, federal or local, to be the solution for
the financial side of our preservation problems.
However, I would like to see television preservation
given a greater priority as government grants are distributed in
the areas of the humanities and for historic preservation.
What good is it giving money for the creation of a new
dance or for the creation of a documentary if we are not seeing
to it that these things are preserved on videotape.
By publicly making the preservation of the TV moving
image a priority, governing bodies can lead by example
illustrating to the nation the value of our collective video
memories, memories saved and shared.
A case in point, recently the Illinois Arts Council
gave the MBC funds was able to make accessible to our patrons
over 500 episodes of the program Image Union. Image Union is a
locally produced PBS series for video artists and amateur
Always on the cutting edge, these programs are the road
map to the future of the medium and through the foresight of
WTTW, our local PBS station, which saved them long after they
were aired and the Illinois Arts Council, which recognized their
value, these programs are now preserved and available at the
Museum for viewing to our patrons for the first time since they
were originally broadcast.
Along with the financial support from industry leaders,
public companies, leadership provided by our governments we can
also bring into the equation of television and video preservation
the private citizen.
I am again switching mediums here, but it is to make a
point. Recently Radio Hall of Fame member, radio historian, and
MBC vice-president Chuck Schaden launched a grass roots campaign
to raise money for the remastering of his vast vintage radio
It has been spectacularly successful. The generosity
of the fans of Mr. Schaden and the collection he has devoted his
life to has been wonderful to watch and we plan to begin this
project before year's end.
In many, many ways the preservation of the medium may
eventually rest with the public, with the fans that this medium
is about. The Trekkies, the X-Filers, the lovers of Lucy. It is
their devotion after all that has made museums like mine possible
at all and it is for them that we serve.
So in conclusion it is with greater communication
between the archival community, much greater support from the
broadcasting and cable industry, government support and
leadership and the welcome involvement of the private citizen
that we move into the future, indeed that we have a future at
Thank you very much.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. O'Dell.
Now Mr. John Lynch, the director of the Vanderbilt
Television News Archive of Vanderbilt University. Good morning, John.
STATEMENT OF JOHN LYNCH,
VANDERBILT TELEVISION NEWS ARCHIVE, DIRECTOR
MR. LYNCH: Good morning. I have almost got to begin
with a little bit of
history, because you will not be able to understand my positions
if you do not understand some of the history of the Archive.
In August, 1968, the Archive was founded. It was
founded shortly after a trip by a Nashville businessman, Paul
Simpson, to New York in which he toured the networks, because he
was a news fanatic. He was the kind of a person who watched two
or three channels at a time in order to see all the news.
During that tour he asked what he thought was an easy
question for them to respond to. He wanted to see last week's
news. Not last year's. Not ten years ago. Last week's news.
He was told that they routinely erase the tape. Well,
the situation has changed. They have made great efforts. They
do not routinely erase the tape, but in spite of them and in
spite of us, for most people, for the professors who were here
this morning, for most people the tape disappears the moment it
They cannot go back and get it. Yes, we have I Love
Lucy. You can go back and watch I Love Lucy. My daughter and I
get to share that. That is nice. That is great.
But you cannot watch Nichols. It was only on for half
a season. It no longer exists. I mean I am sure it exists. I
may be wrong about that.
My feeling is that it probably exists somewhere, but it
is too small to deal with. It is not going to exist where
someone at Morgan State is going to get access to it.
This is the inherent problem that we have to deal with.
So that is what we have done at Vanderbilt Archive. We have
routinely tried to preserve, not for a year, not for ten years,
for a day. Tried to make it possible to see it the next day.
Out of that has grown, trying to preserve that same
tape for ten years or 20 years or longer, but one day at a time.
This year, we will serve two or 3,000 people with
videotape loans across the country. These are people who will
never come to Nashville, Tennessee, where Vanderbilt is, but they
will get videotape from us.
Most of these will be duplications, simply because that
is the only way to get something from us quickly and cheaply.
Duplication is something that would describe as an entire show or
an entire speech.
So if you want the Barbara Jordan key note address, it
is a very popular one, if you want that speech, you can get it
from the Vanderbilt Archive in loan and you get the entire
But for the evening news, that is really inappropriate.
Very inappropriate. The evening news is made up of too many
different subjects divided by items. So, we created years ago a
special form for doing that and we will loan single items. The
problem here is one of cost, both ours and the cost to the user.
One of the gentlemen this morning was talking about
having maybe $2,000 and he was listing that as a high figure that
he might have.
At our archive, that would buy him 11 hours of compiled
material. Now, to put that in some kind of perspective, there
are 2,000 hours that we have collected on the Gulf War in just
under two months.
So he is not talking about the ability to do very much
research at the Vanderbilt archive and yet we are offering him
very, very low price.
The way I come at that as being a very low price is it
does not pay at all for the million words of indexing that we do
every year to make the materials available.
Now the thing to remember about our Archive is we do a
very small amount of work. We are doing a million words of
indexing a year, but all we are doing at the Archive is taping
the national network evening news shows, taping Nightline every
night, we are now taping CNN one show a day and beginning to
index it and some news specials. Convention coverage, debates,
mostly political things.
We are not doing the Today show. We are not doing Good
Morning America. We are not doing even most of the news and yet
the indexing is over a million words a year.
The point being, it is extremely expensive undertaking,
even when you are doing a part of it and it gets even more
expensive if you really want to consider doing everything.
The place where I am going to differ probably from more
people here and it is kind of an usual one is in my
recommendations for what you would come out of this, while I
think that the producers ought to have some role and ought to be
encouraged to contribute, I by no means think that it is the
Their responsibility was producing the show. They have
done that. It is not their responsibility to preserve it. I
mean the analogy I come up with in paper would be that you have
written the book and you have done it and you have published it.
It is not your responsibility to make sure that people
are preserving copies of that book. You might be encouraged to.
You might even be a good source, because of your belief in the
book, but that really is not your responsibility.
The problem we have in television is that it is not
published. What we have goes back to that original thing. It is
aired for one time and then it disappears.
It is not published. It does not exist in 150,000
copies or 15,000,000 copies or the Patsy Cline record that is
selling 750,000 copies a year.
If television was selling 750,000 copies of itself, as
opposed to that many people watching it, more people are watching
it, its chances of survival would be relatively high, but it is
It is producing a couple of copies here and there and a
few videotapes which if most people are like I am, their
videotape gets reused over and over again until the videotape is
worn out. So a non-permanent copy.
The problem inherent in television is that we have to
take very active steps to preserve it and it means things like
off air copying, something to that effect. The networks making
immediate donations of materials before they disappear.
With one network I know that a particular tape from
1968 was loaned out to the legal department and was never
returned. The presumption being that they were afraid of a
The reason I know about this is because in 1992 that
network wanted a copy of that tape and fortunately for them we
had taped it so we had that tape, but they had to accept inferior
quality because the materials we had at the time and they had to
accept black and white, also because of the materials we had at
Now, this history means that for us at Vanderbilt
preservation has only one point. Preservation is access. Now in
the case of books, preservation can be access in 100 years,
because access now is guaranteed, but in the case of TV
preservation it is for access both today and later.
You really have to continually work to make this
possible, which means that there is a need for continuing funds
and this is where the problem lies.
At Vanderbilt we discovered long ago if we want to come
up with a project we can raise funds. This has been great. We
now have an Internet database, which is used by millions of
people and made us more accessible to the more common
universities across this country as opposed to the Harvards and
the Stanfords and the UCLA's.
The reason we have been able to do this is because the
Ford Foundation contributed significant money to that, which was
great, but at the same time they absolutely told us they would
never contribute to our operating budget, which would have been
far better, because we were in desperate need and still are in
grave need on our operating budget. So some source has to be
discovered for creating a situation where that kind of funding
can occur for archives.
I am also not a believer that the government can do it.
Maybe it is because I am part of my time and I have been watching
too many C-SPAN shows, but I think it is simply because it is too
I think it cannot be done without the government and
cannot be done without the Library of Congress, but I think that
the idea that either the Library and I am saying that anyone
suggested it, that the Library or any single entity would do it,
is just not feasible. It is much too large.
The stuff that I get calls for that we do not have
everyday. Just this week I have had a call from the Boston area,
a call from North Dakota, a call from Wisconsin and one from
California for material that we did not have and in each case for
material which I did not know a source for.
One of the things we routinely do and which most
archives routinely do, including the networks, is we send people
back and forth. I routinely get calls by people who need to go
to the network and we send them to the network.
They routinely get calls from scholars that they cannot
afford to serve and I think they cannot afford to serve them.
They send them to us.
The reason that I think they cannot afford to serve
them is because if an accountant were running in my department,
he would tell me I cannot afford to serve them. It is a very
There are technological advances that may change that.
I think the Internet system offers a way possibly, not yet, but
of eventually changing that by changing the method by which we
can deliver it from one point to another.
I think point-to-point delivery has to eventually
evolve for scholars. They need the material in their classroom.
Every university and every library cannot afford to own all their
Now that also implies that some mechanism would have to
be developed to take care of copyright holders and I come from
Nashville, Tennessee, so I assume that it needs to be something
like an ASCAP or BMI, as Barbara was talking about earlier.
Something where the payment method is easy from both ends so that
The school Vanderbilt envies is Emory University. So
that the company which puts so much money into them, Coca-Cola,
becomes the model for payment, because Coca-Cola makes so much
money by selling something so cheap.
Right now in television the model is the other end of
that. You sell it one or two times, but you sell it very
expensively and this is a model that academia cannot compete
So we have to develop a new model so that the industry
can make some income and what all this means is that there are a
whole slew of laws which have to be each time they come up
considered in what they are doing.
These include tax laws. They include copyright laws.
They include things like GATT and NAFTA. All these agreements
where the U.S. is agreeing to abide by laws coming from other
countries, especially dealing with copyright.
Each time these come up, we really need to consider how
this affects preservation, both by non-profit organizations and
by the profit organizations of their own material. We need to
make the laws so that they encourage preservation and donations
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, John Lynch.
Our next speaker is Dr. Robert Browning, Director,
Purdue University Public Affairs Video Archives which specializes
in C-SPAN. Bob, I hope you made a recording of that Don Imus
speech the other night. I think that it is going to be very
MR. BROWNING: We do and we probably already have taken
orders for at least 100 copies of that, which will be delivered
within five days. So to tell you a little bit of what we do.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT BROWNING,
PURDUE UNIVERSITY PUBLIC AFFAIRS VIDEO ARCHIVES, DIRECTOR
MR. BROWNING: I am pleased to appear before this panel
today. Today you are hearing from archival, industry and
education sectors and I perhaps can speak from all three of those
and I also may want to be the optimist of today's presentations.
I represent the Public Affairs Video Archives, the
C-SPAN archives at Purdue University. We have a unique
cooperative relationship with C-SPAN, a national public affairs
network which is privately supported by America's cable
Also, I am an associate professor of political science
at Purdue University where I continue to teach and direct a
research program that extensively uses this videotape collection.
Our mission is a simple one in purpose, if not so
simple in execution. We were created in 1987 within the School
of Liberal Arts of Purdue University to record and make available
videotape copies of all C-SPAN programming.
The initial planning, funding, recording, indexing and
duplication procedures were all implemented by Purdue University
with the full cooperation and support of C-SPAN.
C-SPAN recognized the value of its primary source
public affairs programming for teaching and research. They also
recognized the expertise and value of having an archive developed
and maintained by a university.
Scholars and researchers, it was believed, would have
the greatest interest in the programming and the greatest
understanding of how it could be used.
I should say that we began actually about ten years ago
at a meeting on Purdue University's campus with Brian Lamb who
was the founder of C-SPAN and grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, and
went to school at Purdue University.
He created C-SPAN in a sense because he grew up in
Lafayette and had one television station. When he came to
Washington he saw all the material there was in Washington and
all the public affairs events and wanted the country to be able
to see that. So when he came back to Purdue University in 1986
and received an honorary degree, he wanted to talk about a new
program called "C-SPAN in the Classroom" and how the programming
could be used.
My father was a C-SPAN junkie. He could not understand
how his son could teach political science if he was not home
watching C-SPAN all day. We all said as professors, several
history professors and myself, we could not be at home watching
We did not have C-SPAN in our offices and it could not
possibly be used unless it was somehow available on videotape.
Brian said: "Well we do not want to do that. We are a small
network. We started the first network without any television
cameras. We took the feed from the U.S. Congress. You all know
best how to do that and what scholars want."
So really it was myself and the dean of the school of
liberal arts who undertook the operation. We are a land grant
institution and I like to say we are the Liberal Arts Experiment
Station and in the tradition in a mission of education, teaching,
service and research, we began, funded under the School of
Liberal Arts as a program.
I guess I was the most knowledgeable and perhaps the
most skeptical, which is why they put me in charge. The
collection is to use several phrases used here today--it is off
satellite and perhaps it is staggering.
We record all C-SPAN programming daily. That is two
networks: C-SPAN and C-SPAN2. That is 24 hours a day, 17,520
hours a year. We have a backup system as well. So, we actually
record 36,000 hours continuously.
We do that on SVHS tapes and out of that there are
probably 7,000 hours of primary program which we index. We do
delete certain tapes that have complete duplicate programming.
We tend to have multiple copies of significant programs across
Our collection today consists of 22,000 VHS copies that
we use from 1987 to 1990 and starting in 1991 we converted to
SVHS of which we have another 29,000 tapes.
We also have approximately 3,000 original C-SPAN
three-quarter inch tapes that were donated to us covering a
period between 1979 and 1989.
C-SPAN's primary source of coverage consists of the
entire proceedings of the United States House and Senate. The
complete other programming includes C-SPAN call-ins, interview
programs, committee hearings, gavel-to-gavel political convention
coverage, complete speeches by policy makers and elected
officials. Unlike other networks, C-SPAN covers events in their
entirety, without editing, without commercial breaks.
So this collection takes on the added importance,
because it is a complete record of primary events, with an index
in audio and video format.
It is what others have described here as recorded
history. Some people say to me, is that all you do just C-SPAN?
A lot of people do not recognize the range of material that
C-SPAN has on it and you just have to stay up 24 hours and watch
and you will be surprised.
It includes the remarks of Joe Biden in 1987, which led
to him dropping out of the race later; and the remarks of Bill
Clinton in 1987, indicating why he did not want to run for
president in that year, in order to spend more time with his
All those type of things are available. We have Dan
Quayle speaking as a Senator on the Senate floor. All those type
things are available in our archive.
I also want to emphasize what C-SPAN stands for, which
is Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network. The word broadcast is
used a lot to refer to public airwaves.
It is important to emphasize that if you did try to
videotape the O. J. Simpson trial, and we were O. J.-free at
C-SPAN, as they like to say, you could not do that on the public
airwaves. You would have to rely upon a commercial and probably
a cable or satellite feed.
It is important to keep that in mind as we think of the
three major networks and PBS as broadcasters. How much is
non-broadcast? How much is on cable?
The range of that and to think about where the
financing for that comes from and particularly as we go into the
new telecommunications age there is going to be a lot of
convergence obviously and it may require people to rethink some
of their ideas about approaching not just the broadcast industry,
but to think about the vast cable industry as well.
In 1993 we moved into a new facility within the
building of the Liberal Arts building at Purdue, which we are
housed very closely to the communication and Liberal Arts and
political science faculty, which use our collection extensively.
The videotape collection has always been accessible
through the purchase of duplicate copies. One of the unique
features of our archives is that we designed ourselves to be
self-sustaining from the beginning.
The license granted by C-SPAN to Purdue University
allowed us to make off air copies for a fee to educators. Now
that was a small part of the total marketplace, but it focused us
on the educational value both in terms of describing the
materials as well as promotional materials such as compilations
and educational use.
So we do create compilation tapes as well as sell tapes
of complete programs, which is what we do for about 90 percent of
The mechanism allowed us to meet the twin goals with
C-SPAN of making C-SPAN programming accessible for teaching and
research and providing an ongoing source of revenue to finance
In 1995, we distributed about 8,000 tapes. In 1996, we
estimate we will distribute about 12,000 tapes. Since 1987, we
have distributed over 53,000 duplicate tapes of C-SPAN
programming to educators and non-educators alike.
The size of the collection required indexing and a
retrieval system and we built that from the beginning ourselves.
We rely heavily upon the strong talent we have at a technological
university such as Purdue.
We created an indexing system and today the master
recording system, the tape collection, the bar codes, the
duplication system, the indexing, retrieval, the customer base
are all managed electronically.
We sort of came in at a time where software and
hardware were becoming much more decentralized and affordable and
we capitalized on that.
We defined our programs by subject, formats, sponsor,
committee, location, all of those type of things. Let me just
say a word about the relationship with C-SPAN, because I think it
is a unique partnership.
From 1987 to 1995, we financed ourselves through the
sale of tapes to educators. C-SPAN subsidized that in two ways
by providing grants up to $60,000 a year to educators who obtain
tapes from Purdue.
So you can get script or a coupon that you could make
your own choice about what you wanted. If you wanted to study
the Persian Gulf War, you could write a proposal to C-SPAN and
they would grant you the coupons so that you could contact us and
make the choice. In addition to that, we did contract work for
C-SPAN in doing their tape distribution for non-educators.
In 1996, early in this year, we reached a new contract
agreement with C-SPAN that really brings us all into one house.
There is one 800 number at this point that educators and
If you want research assistance, you press a button on
the voice system and you connect to the research desk at Purdue.
We answer the questions.
We have a contract with a local company in Lafayette
that handles all our financial arrangements, such as credit card
sales, billing, and they do shipping.
We guarantee all delivery between seven to 14 days. A
normal tape is distributed, which means six months old, is
distributed within seven days and an archival tape, 14 days. The
price is $30 an hour.
The arrangement gives Purdue a percentage of those fees
and actually not just a percentage but a guarantee because
obviously if you did not know what the volume was, you could not
So we reached agreement based upon the past sales. It
really serves the twin purposes of allowing us to be financed and
be independent, but also allowing all C-SPAN viewers, whether
they be educators or non-educators, to obtain copies.
So the average tape is very easy to do. We may make
this week 300 copies perhaps, but the tape of Newt Gingrich
speaking on the House floor in 1986 or something of that sort,
1987, would take a little bit more work, but we can still find
that as well as almost anything we can pull up by a speaker's
name and create a copy.
Finally let me say that C-SPAN also funds a research
program at Purdue in which I extensively use the programming in
my teaching. The "C-SPAN in the Classroom" program has over
13,000 members who actively acquire programming or tape it
C-SPAN's copyright policy is more open than any other
network. Any teacher can record anything off the air and use it,
as long as they wish, if they do not make commercial use of it.
Just for their own classroom.
The fair use idea, I mean if you can record it, you can
use it. If you obtain the tapes from us, you pay a fee to us,
which I say is $30 an hour and then you can keep that tape as
long as you wish.
So we are also using the videotapes and researching
Congressional floor behavior, researching presidential images,
all kinds of things of that sort.
I conclude by saying that we have a unique partnerships
with a national television network and educational institution.
It represents a significant industry commitment to preserving
public affairs programming that is unparalleled in scope and
C-SPAN I believe is the only television network with a
complete ongoing archive of its entire telecast, its entire
This cooperative relationship is serving the
significant need that exists among educators, researchers,
viewers and policy participants to obtain, review and use public
affairs records in a widely accessible format, VHS tape.
While not a long-term preservation medium the last nine
years of C-SPAN programming are completely recorded, indexed and
accessible and the technology and expertise that we have will
ultimately allow the collection to be transferred into other
formats in whole or in part.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Robert Browning.
Our final speaker in this panel is Dr. Lynda Lee Kaid,
who is director of the Political Commercial Center at the
University of Oklahoma, which is the home of the Political
STATEMENT OF LYNDA LEE KAID,
POLITICAL COMMERCIAL ARCHIVE, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA, DIRECTOR,
POLITICAL COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
MS. KAID: Thank you. My remarks supplement our
written statement which was prepared by myself; Charles Rand, our
curator; and Dr. Kathleen J.M. Haynes, from our School of Library
Information Studies. I am glad to have a chance to talk about
our archive. I think I will spend just a few minutes talking
about what we have and what we preserve and how we try to do that
and about the way we provide access and then tell you a little
bit about what some of our needs are. Why we think that these
kinds of materials should be preserved.
The Political Communications Center at the University
of Oklahoma was founded in 1984 and it is committed to an
interdisciplinary study of the role of communication in the
So our center facilitates research in political
communication and provides a forum for discussion of these kinds
of issues among scholars and political and media professionals,
as well as community and government leaders and the public.
The center is particularly committee to the
preservation of our specialized archival holdings in political
The most important of these holdings is the political
commercial archive, which includes the Julian P. Kanter Political
Commercial Archive and our specialized collection of televised
debates as well as a growing collection of international
materials that relate to electoral broadcasts in other countries.
Currently our collection contains over 56,000
individual items and it is currently growing all the time. As I
speak, my archivist would probably tell me that it is really
That is one of the ways in which I think we are like
some of the other archives you have heard about today and unlike
some of the more traditional archives that we have all dealt with
in the past.
That is, we continue to grow. We are not a static
collection that we can say, here is this body of material and we
have to decide what to do about what we have here, because we
constantly have to evolve and change and the formats that we deal
with change all of the time.
I think that is an important thing that we all have to
remember about the preservation issues and the access issues that
we deal with, with these kinds of materials.
In the political communication archives that we have,
we have a number of different kinds of items. Our collection
goes back to the 1930's for our radio materials, which constitute
about 5,000 to 6,000 items in our collection and back to the
1940's and 1950's for the film and television items.
I think that probably I do not need to say too much
about why these items are important, but if you will bear with me
for a minute, I would like to dwell on it for a moment, because I
am here today I think to speak not only as someone who supervises
an archive of this kind, but also as a scholar who does research
with these kinds of materials.
Like some of the people on our panel this morning and
some of my colleagues on this panel, these materials are
important to me not only to preserve them in an absolute sense,
but also because I think they represent an important part of our
In our case, we consider these materials the visual
history of our electoral system and certainly of our modern
I think most of us accept the notion that television
has become the preeminent communication means between candidates
for election in the United States today and voters.
Over $120,000,000 was spent on political ads just in
the general election in 1992. 50-75% of the budgets for all of
our major races in the United States today certainly at major
statewide levels for Senators and governors and for even
Congressional races, 50-75% of those budgets go towards the
production of political advertising materials, such as the ones
that we preserve in the Political Commercial Archive at Oklahoma.
So we believe these materials are important not only
because they are the major form of communication between
candidates and voters, but because they have themselves become a
major part of the content that other media use to cover political
Today you do not see much about a political campaign in
a newspaper or in magazines or on television news without hearing
discussion about the political advertising and about the
political spots that are used in the campaigns.
We try to preserve those materials not only at the
presidential level, but our collection is the most comprehensive
and the largest collection in the world of these materials,
including not only presidential campaigns but campaigns all the
way down to local and school board elections, as well as spots
that were produced for issue campaigns, public policy debates,
like NAFTA and health care and other kinds of materials of that
As many other people here today have said, if we did
not have these materials, they probably would not be available
through other sources.
In fact, we often find that the presidential libraries
come to us for copies of materials of the presidents that they
are designed to preserve.
The Ford library, the Bush library, the Nixon Library
have all come to us recently because they did not have all the
commercials for their own presidential entity in their archive.
So we think these materials are very important and we are
striving hard to preserve them.
We do have a preservation program at the University.
However, I think it is only fair to say it is not very far along.
We have tried to discuss what we need to do.
Bill Murphy was a member of a panel who came to the
University in 1988 and helped us to set some priorities and to
discuss what we needed to do, but we have not been able to do
much more from a preservation standpoint than to provide a
climate and humidity controlled place for storing the tapes and
to provide some kinds of security and a Halon fire retardant
Those kinds of basic things are really the only thing
we have been able to do from a preservation standpoint for our
I found myself, as I am sure other colleagues here did
today, laughing a little bit when some people said this morning
that those universities who have the archives are rich
universities and able to do this.
We are not rich in our ability to do this and it is
very much a hand to mouth operation for us. We have not been
able to invest a lot of resources in that.
We are, I believe, much farther along in our commitment
and our accomplishments on access to our collection. We are able
to provide access to our collection through a series of finding
aids and bibliographic control items, largely as a result of some
funding that we received from the U.S. Department of Education.
Beginning in 1988, the U.S. Department of Education
strengthening library research programs under Title II-C has been
providing us with some funding to assist in our cataloguing
effort and as a result of that, we have been able to put together
a two tiered system of access to our archive.
We have first of all a local database, which I suspect
is a little similar to what Purdue is describing, in the sense
that we are able to provide access according to the candidate,
the year, the election, the state it was in and a host of other
specialized items that are part of a computer database that we
keep on a commercial-by-commercial basis.
We retain that database in Oklahoma and we constantly
work with it, and about 72% of our holdings are catalogued and
entered into that database at this point. So about 41,000 of the
56,000 items that we have are available in that local database.
At a broader level, we collect our materials together
into what we call collection level records under the AMC format
and upload those to OCLC, so that our materials are available.
You can find out through OCLC what is in our collection
in the sense of do we have commercials for Richard Nixon and if
so, which of his campaigns do we have? We collect those all
together for this national access point.
We also produce a printed catalogue of the collection,
which was produced originally in 1991 and will be updated this
summer and available in the middle of the summer probably, which
will I think bring us much closer up to date than the 1991
Then we also produce a regular sort of newsletter that
we call Political Advertising Research Reports which we use also
to help people know what is in the collection and what kind of
research usage it is getting.
So in almost every way I think we are much farther
along in access than we are in preservation, but like many of the
archives here, we are badly in need of some kind of program that
would help us to do the very basic things that I think we need to
do to preserve these kinds of materials.
We need more and better equipment. We need updated
equipment so we do not endanger our materials by playing them on
outmoded equipment. We need to be able to store our archival
masters in better climate controlled facilities.
We need to have the staff necessary to engage in even
simple things like a rewind program for our videotapes, which we
simply do not have the staff to do every year.
So we have those kinds of needs and they are very
severe needs for us. We believe strongly that if we cannot find
a way to get funding or to get some kind of system in place at
the national and then perhaps decentralized level, that we will
not be able to preserve these valuable materials.
The University will not be able to support it. They
will not have funds to continue it and these kinds of materials
will disappear and with it, the visual history of our electoral
system I think will disappear, and that is why I think it is so
very important that we do this.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much for your statement.
Do we have any questions or comments from our
MR. BURKE: C-SPAN sends the tapes of the House and
Senate floor proceedings also to the Library of Congress and to
the National Archives, I understand.
Is the difference between what they do with them and
what you do with them the value added indexing and all of that or
is there a difference?
MR. BROWNING: I believe the Congress sends its tapes
to the Library of Congress and to the National Archives.
MR. BURKE: That is what I meant.
MR. BROWNING: Not C-SPAN.
MR. BURKE: Right.
MR. BROWNING: Okay.
MR. BURKE: The original feed I guess.
MR. BROWNING: Right. Because original feed comes from
the United States Congress. So that is deposited with the
Library of Congress and the National Archives.
We are I guess value added of satellite telecast. We
have time code as well as the on-line indexing system that we
have, which is a tremendously value added.
MR. BURKE: Have there been any negotiations or
discussions about sharing those indexes and whatnot with the
people who have assuming the exact same material?
MR. BROWNING: I think we have cooperated back and
forth with sending information to the National Archives. I think
now that we are getting into a period and there has even been
advances internally in the United States Congress and the kind of
documentation that they have and I think we are getting into a
period where there is an overlap. Much more overlap between the
materials we have.
I think that we have had some contact with them and
just need to follow through on what kind of cooperative
arrangements can be made.
MR. MURPHY: Just one additional point on that subject.
The National Archives also has a deposit agreement directly with
C-SPAN for its originally produced programs. How do you see the
agreement in terms of your archives? Is it redundant or extra
MR. BROWNING: C-SPAN obviously has an awful lot that
is played from tape, as we say. It is not live. All the field
recordings are made on tape and the studio recordings.
They have a program which we are now part of, now that
we have this agreement in place, our commitment was to make the
programming accessible for education and research, to make sure
that there was a single copy existent of everything that C-SPAN
C-SPAN records on M-II, which is expensive. They put
some material onto Hi-8. They erased some things and then after
five years what they have held onto they deposit with the
So now that we have the agreement in place for Purdue,
I think we will look at sort of how these two things interact.
We actually index all C-SPAN's tape ID's into our database as
So part of the agreement is that C-SPAN will start
using our database for its own internal purposes as well and then
we go to the next step of looking at whether there should be some
kind of new arrangement or new thinking about how best to share
all of this to make it more widely accessible.
MS. RINGER: First of all, I do see a theme here, which
implies a great deal of duplication of effort. I think that is
pretty much what you are saying.
There does not seem to be a "Mother Church" at the
moment to get people to sit down and talk about what they are
doing--maybe sharing stuff or saying that if you are doing it, we
do not need to do it. That sort of thing.
That is badly needed. I think, if I might say so, that
the Library of Congress could provide that role.
I think that there is a tendency that you need to get
over. I do not know what you want to call it--professional
jealousy, turf wars, or dog in the manger.
There are things being done that could be let go,
because somebody else is doing them. You have already cited some
This needs to be structured somehow but I think maybe
people are beginning to realize the benefits of something like
Obviously the Library of Congress cannot do it all.
But I would like to hear from this group whether or not you think
that the ideas that have been floated--involving general off-air
taping, maybe from feeds--would be valuable. I would like to
throw into that the question of digital compression.
I have been playing around with CD-ROM's lately and I
am just astonished at what you can get in one little disc. I
just shot $3,200 to Bureau of National Affairs to get CD-ROM's of
all the intellectual property cases back to 1948. The indexing
allow full text searching. Unbelievable. I am beginning to
realize what the potential here is and we have not even touched
it, and you have not really gotten into that very much.
It does seem to me that the Library--if it did enter
into something like you heard discussed earlier, which would be
full retrieval of something, maybe just national broadcasts--
could start experimenting with digital compression because that
is obviously the way to go. Once you have done that, then it is
preserved and available if you can get over the copyright
John, I knew Paul Simpson very well and I was very
impressed with him. I am aware that there were political
implications at the beginning. There was a piece in the New
Yorker suggesting this was all a deep plot of Nixon versus the
media. Paul convinced me that was not true and he convinced me
in the most clear cut way, which was that he broke down in tears,
because he felt that deeply about it and was deeply offended that
anybody would suggest it.
I do not think that really plays a role in this
anymore, but it was used against him. The networks, particularly
CBS, were very, very hard-nosed.
I wondered whether you have gotten over any of that and
whether or not you have licenses from any of the copyright
MR. LYNCH: We do not have licenses. I think there are
multiple reasons for that. I think that if we have licenses, at
this point anyway, it would obligate the networks to things they
do not want to be obligated to and then it would in turn obligate
us to things that we do not want to be obligated to.
We have ongoing discussions with the networks regarding
trying to find ways in which they can help us and we can help
them without that kind of strong commitment.
Let's use some recent examples. Dateline had the show
they did on the GM truck. NBC in the agreement with the GM has
agreed never to show that again. Now, unfortunately we do not
have it, but if we had it, that is not something we would agree
to. That is a published document. We would make that document available.
Now, if we had an agreement with NBC, it would almost
force us in a situation like that to be a part of NBC's agreement
that it could not be shown again.
One of the problems with that is, then what is a very
significant document for the study of mass communications
disappears. It is a significant document for precisely the
reason why it is disappearing. This is a case where what they
did is significant and it needs to be studied. It needs not to
MS. RINGER: That does not seem to me a cogent argument
against licensing though.
MR. LYNCH: I think eventually when you get to the kind
of licensing like you have talked about earlier and more ASCAP
style of licensing.
MS. RINGER: Yes.
MR. LYNCH: Then I think it could work, but at this
point I think that they are not ready and we are not ready for
that kind of a negotiation and yet we keep talking to networks
and keep trying to do something like that.
MS. RINGER: Okay. I am just curious and I really do
not want to take this group's time with it, but there was a case
and it has not been mentioned, involving off air taping by an
archive. Were you involved in that?
MR. LYNCH: CBS sued the Vanderbilt Television News
Archive and at that time, I was an indexer at the archive. So I
knew almost nothing about it, except that the suit existed.
MS. RINGER: Have you been affected by the outcome?
MR. LYNCH: I mean yes we were significantly affected
by the outcome, mostly for the good.
MS. RINGER: Tell me why.
MR. LYNCH: Through the copyright law.
MS. RINGER: Yes. That is what I was trying to get at.
MR. LYNCH: The new copyright law, which really was a
response to that situation and also a lot of luck. I mean having
Senator Howard Baker interested in it and having him as the
leader in the Senate. All these things sort of fell together and
really helped the archive.
But that law which allows us to do what we were already
doing to begin with was significant. Now I think the strongest
weight in our working with the networks is that while there has
been the occasional thing they would rather had not happened,
there was a show in which they replayed some tape of Afghanistan,
which was supposed to have been current battle footage at the
time and it was not current battle footage and another news
program discovered it and played it back and showed that it was
not current footage.
Things like that which CBS would rather had not
happened or another network would rather it had not happened.
While there are those occasional things, what they have
learned through I think all the years that the archive has been
there is what they expected did not happen.
What they expected were a whole lot of lawsuits, all
using Vanderbilt tape. What they expected was that our tape
would turn up on the new cable channels, except they had not
defined the cable channels yet so our tape would be all over A&E.
That is not what has happened. It is not that it does
not occasionally turn up there and I wonder how. In fact, it
turned up in Apollo XIII.
I have no idea how it got there, but we think it got
there because we loaned the tape to NBC and NBC sold a copy to
the studio, which would be great, because that means they got a
copyright fee for that and there have been several occasions
where that has happened.
Where we have loaned a tape to someone who used it and
paid a copyright fee and in many cases we loaned it directly. So
there was no cost to the network for that.
MS. RINGER: That legislation, it preceded the case. I
do not remember the details of the case, but it was after 1978.
MR. LYNCH: The case started through in 1975.
MS. RINGER: Maybe we better not get into that.
MR. MURPHY: Let's close with one more question.
MR. FRANCIS: I just wanted to really think out loud.
Hearing about the way C-SPAN was put together and how the cable
channels got together to create the operation, makes me wonder if
we could consider a similar way of dealing with the preservation
Let's say a group of cable companies came together to
help fund television preservation. Maybe the funding could then
be continued with income from services that operation could offer
to the academic and commercial communities.
We are in the age of public/private agreements. Would
anyone like to comment on this idea?
We have to look into it in more detail, but it does
seem that it could assist us with preservation of television.
MR. BROWNING: Let me make a couple of points. One is
that C-SPAN is non-profit. So, there is a factor there, but it
was the voluntary public service of the cable industry.
That they volunteered to make this available and while
the cable operators pay a small fee of four cents a month, that
is small compared to what they would pay for a Turner channel,
networks, et cetera.
The second thing is that there is a large growing
business which is the video clipping service and they do take
revenue which could be available to the networks and there is a
major company that does this in major cities.
People think that our timely delivery is important. If
something is too slow, they will buy a copyrighted product from
another commercial operation that exists in many cities.
So there is revenue. It is hard for the networks and
all the commercial entities to get together, because they are all
doing a certain amount of sales of their own products through
There is the models in other small cities. I mean it
is a big inconvenience for a local television station to provide
copies of your grandmother's 100th birthday, because you did not
So some local television stations have agreements with
companies in the town to make copies and sell that with a fee
back or just to get rid of the headache, because they say it is
$50, you bring your own tape and they do not want to do that,
because that is not their business in the broadcast market.
Finally just to say a couple of other things. Off air
taping forces an organization because you have to time stamp it.
You know when it happened and you have that record. It forces
you to deal with those tapes that came in every day.
Second, it can distinguish between published and
unpublished material. There is material that C-SPAN has
collected, a very small amount, that has not aired. It would be
the case of the Kerrey and Clinton joke, which they decided was
not public affairs. They were eavesdropping as opposed to
There is also the case where John Glenn whispers to
Warner and it is before the hearing starts and the question is,
if it did not go on the air, we do not have it and we do not sell
So if the network wants to have its own policies for
the material that they did not use that allows them to do that
and that is important.
You do not have to worry when you make a copy from the
C-SPAN archive that you copied something that where the audio was
turned down during airing, because that is a C-SPAN policy on
something like that.
Finally, under our license, we have material which is
copyrighted by others that we do not distribute. Now, we are not
required to destroy that and if you came to campus you could look
at that, but there are copyrighted materials that are obtained on
a courtesy basis by C-SPAN telecast.
Their policy allows an educator to record that and use
it, but it does not permit us to sell it, if C-SPAN does not own
That is a very small portion, but that allows a
licensee and the licensor to still protect its interest or in our
case, protect C-SPAN, because C-SPAN is also sensitive to whether
they are making money off of other people's productions.
But these are all C-SPAN cameras taping things that
C-SPAN owns the copyright, which is what we primarily deal with.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, panelists.
Let's have the next panel, please. Good afternoon, and
let's begin with our first panelist, Mr. Martin Gaston, president
of Veir, Incorporated, the News Library.
STATEMENT OF MARTIN GASTON,
THE NEWS LIBRARY, PRESIDENT, VEIR, INC.
MR. GASTON: Hello. I would like to begin by thanking
Southwest Airlines for bringing me here today. As important as
these hearings are to our project and the public at large, the
innate financial fragility we currently face placed us into a
difficult decision of having to choose between paying for our
videotapes for the next month or paying for airfare to be here
today. With the gracious assistance of Southwest Airlines, I am
able to do both.
Secondly, I would wish to thank the Library of Congress
for allowing my family the opportunity to speak today and for
conducting these proceedings with the goal of preserving that
which is truly Americana, the nation's film and video history.
I am here today on behalf of a new non-profit company
and subsequent public library system that my family and I have
created known simply as the News Library system.
These news libraries are providing an infinite amount
of current and historical information to the benefit of school
students, teachers, scholars, researchers, universities,
corporations, governmental offices, medical centers, et cetera,
by allowing people to quickly access audiovisual news information
relevant to their specific needs.
My family has been recording, indexing and archiving
daily audiovisual news programming for nearly 20 years. Our
collection of over 70,000 videotapes is estimated to contained
over 300,000 hours of news information encompassing well over
3,000,000 different stories covering literally an infinite amount
of subject matter.
Our founder and patriarch Joe Allen Gaston, was an
award winning news reporter and cameraman for ABC, NBC and CBS
networks and affiliates throughout Texas.
After winning multiple headliner of the year awards as
well as UPI and AP news film awards, he realized that the news
and information being broadcast each night across the nation was
not being stored and archived by anyone, often not even by the
local broadcasters themselves.
Joe Gaston knew that meant losing a unique educational
and historical perspective of our culture. So, he began
accumulating his special collection in 1979 to address this
He continued logging, indexing, recording and archiving
daily audiovisual news programs until his death in 1990 and my
family and I have carried on the enormous task of maintaining
this educational and historical collection right up through
A recent Roper Poll discovered that over 81 percent of
Americans receive most of their daily news and information and
amazingly over 51 percent of Americans receive all of their daily
news and information from evening television news broadcasts, yet
should someone be away from their television set during these
broadcasts, there is not a single location in the world today
where the public has free access to the very information that
they so heavily rely upon for their daily supply of current news
There is a virtual wealth of information being
broadcast to the world with literally no one logging, cataloguing
and archiving this information for access by the general public.
In an October 3, 1991 speech on the Senate floor,
Senator Orrin Hatch stated, "Broadcast news has unprecedented and
nearly limitless influence over public opinion. News programming
is, however, as ephemeral as it is powerful - it vanishes once it
More often than not, the broadcasting stations
themselves are not archiving their broadcasts due to the cost
restraints associated with maintaining a reserve of this nature.
It is simply not cost effective.
It is a shame that what we can only call visual history
is currently not being treated as such. The national commitment
to broadcast news and to the access of information therein is
permanent. Therefore the commitment to its archival preservation
for later public research and dissemination must be addressed.
The broadcast news information industry is one of the
few, if not only, information providers in the United States that
does not have a full service public library system responsible
for its indexing, cataloguing, archival preservation and
Existing libraries are neither equipped nor trained
properly to undertake such an enormous daily task. The public
request for research and educational access cannot be met because
of limited resources and minimal expertise in this field.
Thus, my family has created and opened the Joe A.
Gaston memorial, broadcast news library system with initial
branches in Dallas and Houston, Texas.
The News Library is a research and educational
collection. It is a not-for-profit service available to anyone
having need of the information for purposes of reference,
research and review.
Patrons agree not to rebroadcast material from the News
Library and not to duplicate it in any respect. All audiovisual
information must be checked out and is on loan only.
Our visitors are able to check out anything they wish
for a period not to exceed 90 days. Not unlike existing
libraries, ours is designed to provide true public access to the
collections we maintain.
The goals of our news library system are simple and
direct. We seek to provide for the dissemination of broadcasted
information to the public, to provide a historical and visual
archive of local, national and international issues and images,
to create an environment in which news broadcasting is fully
appreciated, to enlighten children on the value and importance of
news broadcasting as an instructional tool for education and to
provide access to television news broadcasts from around the
world so people can remain in touch with their homelands,
regions, cultures or heritage.
Our mission statement was established to honor the
collection we maintain. It reads: The News Library System
strives to be the preeminent repository of news broadcasting
while providing for the dissemination and preservation of
broadcast information within a responsive, stimulating and
enlightening environment conducive to learning and research.
The collection we maintain grows daily with the airing
of each day's news and events. We have only one collection
policy, that of recording and archiving all the news we can. We
believe that it is impossible to filter or select news
information today for the future users of tomorrow.
No one can tell what news of today will be important to
someone years or decades from now. Thus, we capture and archive
all we can.
We record on 1/2" VHS videotapes and are very
deliberate about the storage and maintenance procedures for the
collection. Air temperatures, humidity and purity are all
The tapes are rewound annually and dusted weekly. We
strive to do all we can to keep each newscast and its storage
medium alive for as long as possible.
Our collection is indexed and catalogued using a
specialized system of coding that we have developed over the
years. Stories are paraphrased and summarized not transcribed.
Each is coded by subject matter and its length is also
noted. We can search by subject, channel, date, time, name,
word, et cetera, providing the ability to truly use the
collection as a reference tool for education and research.
The ability to learn from the news is overwhelming. I
would invite anyone here to recollect a significant news making
event, any event they wish.
I propose that unless you were an eyewitness to that
event, your recollection and in fact your predominant memory of
it altogether was formulated by broadcast news, either radio or
As we began to develop the idea of creating this type
of a library, the public certainly had a say in our decisions.
The testimonials that follow and actually are appended to this
statement are but a small sample of the multitude of requests and
appreciative correspondence which aided in our decision to pursue
the creation of the News Library System.
I would like to read a couple of those now, but in
light of time I will just read one, being from a teacher at
Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District, just outside
She wrote in 1993, "Thank you very much for agreeing to
send me news footage on the story of baby Jessica" whom I am sure
we will all remember, "who fell in the well in south Texas
several years ago free of charge.
"I had contacted all of the TV stations in Houston and
none were willing to release the footage at all. I want this
footage to use in an E.S.L. classroom." English as a second
"We recently read several old newspaper articles and
magazine articles about the event. My students were fascinated
by the story, but they could not quite visualize what exactly
"None of them were living in the United States at the
time of the incident. I think it will really help them visualize
what they have already read about and will make reading have more
meaning to them.
"I spoke with several other teachers in the building
who said that they would love to have a non-profit service of
this type available to them to aid in classroom instruction from
time-to-time. Thanks again for being of service."
Our dedication to the preservation and dissemination of
broadcast information is steadfast. We desire to create a
library environment with children's centers and school field
trips, artifact exhibits, lecture series programs, a broadcast
news hall of fame and a people's choice annual newscasting award
banquet, all of which is designed to create an environment in
which news broadcasting is fully appreciated and preserved in the
But a lot stands between us and our goals. Foremost of
these is the problem of deteriorating tapes. The reproduction of
our earliest master tapes has become a priority for our project
and money is the underlying restraint.
The systematic reproduction of our master tapes
requires capital that we do not have, yet greatly require.
Alongside of the problem of failing tapes is the problem that for
every tape we lose, we are adding three additional tapes.
Space is as important a concern for us as is the
replacement of our earliest master tapes. We estimate that we
will outgrow our current facilities within the year and will
require substantially larger space at that time. These are the
two most pressing issues we face today.
Also troublesome is the need to reorganize our research
database to provide a unified and complete research collection.
The coding system we currently use was developed only a couple of
years ago and has only recently been standardized for the daily
The earliest material in our collection was logged
differently and must be relogged using the standardized coding
system that we have now adopted.
It is estimated that over 50,000 hours of news
information must be redone in order to provide a unified and
standardized research collection.
This will require much more staff than we currently
have and speaking of staff, another problem we face currently is
that our staff is minimal at best. Having opened our doors in
January of this year as a public library, we have not as yet
developed the financial resources to hire any staff.
The staff is currently my family and myself, four
people total. The daily news information is being recorded and
archived, but we have been forced to spend our time fund-raising
and fulfilling requests instead of logging the news and
maintaining our research database.
We see this as only a short-term problem enduring only
until the public becomes aware that we exist and begins to
financially support our endeavors, but nonetheless a problem.
The above mentioned problems have all been addressed
and accounted for in our capital campaign entitled news to use
into the next millennium, information for education campaign.
Our goal is to raise three and a half million dollars
to be used over three years for solving the problems we face
currently and to subsidize the cost of operating a library of
this nature. We are slowly but surely attracting attention and
To conclude, I would say that we have learned much as
we continue to develop our unique News Library System. Fund
raising is more difficult than anything that we have ever tried
The ongoing reply we continue to hear is that funding
is currently available for specific programs, not projects.
Develop a program within your project and it might get funded,
but do not submit entire projects for the seed costs will not be
covered. This is distressing because we must first secure our
project before we can create programs. It is a vicious circle
that we are learning to participate within.
It is our hope and desire that these proceedings today
will conclude that ours and the programs of our colleagues will
warrant substantial funding participation on behalf of the
Library of Congress.
My family's News Library project requires only the
assistance necessary to aid in covering our seed costs for space
and equipment. For our project, we will cover the rest.
However, others here and across the nation are in need
of much more. I am aware of many small archives that are run by
only a small department of a larger institution or even by a
All are equally important as we begin to address the
issue of the establishment of a comprehensive national television
and video preservation program concerned with preserving
America's television and video history and heritage.
The task at hand is to understand what exists today
across the nation and then decide how best to assure that these
endeavors are maintained and preserved for future generations of
Across the nation today, funding is the crucial element
to the success of our nation's archives, if only to develop a
starting point from which we can then proceed into the
communities we serve and solicit additional contributions and
On behalf of my wife, Virginia, my brother, Darren, my
mother, Beverly and my daughter Kaya, who is incidentally now the
third generation of my family to be involved with the daily
preservation of audiovisual news programming, I thank you for
your time and for the opportunity to present these views.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you for your statement.
Our next speaker is Lisa Wood, the audiovisual
archivist at the Margaret King Library at the University of
STATEMENT OF LISA WOOD, UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY, AUDIOVISUAL
ARCHIVIST, MARGARET KING LIBRARY
MS. WOOD: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to
speak today on the state of television and video preservation,
especially in our local and regional archives across the country.
The University of Kentucky's audiovisual archives
contains one of the largest university based collections of
archival film, video and audio recordings in the country. The
collection also includes 400,000 photographic images utilized by
media producers throughout the nation. With 22,000 films and
3,000 videotapes, the audiovisual archives include University
generated programming, the works of Kentucky's independent media
producers and the state's most extensive collection of local
television programming. The broadcast collections in particular
are unique to the state and contain documentation extremely
important to present and future historians of the commonwealth.
The major difficulties we have encountered in enhancing, managing
and preserving these resources lie primarily in providing the
staff, funding, equipment and space needed to support this
The University of Kentucky's audiovisual archives has
taken the initial steps toward preserving that part of Kentucky's
heritage which has been captured on film and video basically
through storage and collection. To move beyond these basic
functions, the audiovisual archives must seek out ways to enlarge
its staff and increase its funding.
Currently, access and preservation activities are initiated as
needed and the archivist bounces from one urgent issue to
another, as there is little time or money for properly planned
Such projects to improve the audiovisual archives
situation must be undertaken soon because storage space is
becoming increasingly limited as the production of television and
video proliferates. As the video and film sits on the shelf
uninspected and not reformatted, the materials will continue to
degrade. Each reference use of the original materials runs the
risk of destroying the only copy of the information. In
addition, without proper documentation, finding aids and
equipment, retrieving the information is ineffective and
inefficient at best. This will eventually result in a loss of
information about Kentucky culture.
The value of local and regional television and video
materials as resources for research, teaching and production is
significant. Research can be done in a number of subject areas
documented on the films and videos contained in the University of
Kentucky's Audio-Visual Archives. Scholars of Kentucky history
might find much of our news footage valuable including stories on
the Kentucky Derby, area floodings, the development of education
reform and the impact of tobacco on the local economy. Social
historians will find a great deal of materials on issues that
have affected our national consciousness including the awareness
of domestic abuse, early computing history, the tightening of
health and safety regulations, the development of environmental
concerns and student demonstrations during times of international
Just as newspaper, manuscripts and personal papers play
a significant role in understanding our history, regional
television news, special reports and interviews are essential to
our understanding of the recent past. Local stations act as
filters through which Americans come to understand current
events, shape their political opinions, develop their sense of
culture and measure their quality of life. People's aspirations
are both reflected and influenced by the television and video
they watch. A well rounded representation of our national
culture and attitudes depends on the preservation of our regional
audiovisual materials. Such representation requires that
programs produced for local audiences are granted an equal chance
of surviving time as those produced by the national media.
In addition to aiding scholarly research about our
time, archival footage held in local and regional repositories
can enhance the quality of both purposeful and casual educational
programs. The University of Kentucky's audiovisual archives has
been accessed for a variety of uses in current media productions.
A documentary filmmaker viewed footage on the Frontier Nursing
Service as background research for an upcoming project and a
researcher who is writing a thesis on the Frontier Nursing
Service spent an entire week dealing with our photographs and our
video. HBO sports has contacted the archives regarding footage
of the 1966 NCAA championship game, which marked a turning point
in college basketball's acceptance of black players. Subject
studies of mining, college basketball, agriculture, medicine,
horse racing and Kentucky history would be incomplete without
footage from our archives.
There are also many levels of personal use of the
television and video materials in our broadcast archives. A
woman called requesting footage of her father who had died when
she was young, but whose image had been captured on film as an
occasional voice from the farming community on the local news. A
student accessed the news footage from the WAVE television
archives to complete a multimedia sculpture commenting on the
violence of our time. Such personal uses of regional footage
enable people to revisit their past and enrich their
understanding of their lives. The local television materials in
our archives contain valuable personal memories as well as the
collective memory of a city, region and state. Again, preserving
such footage has a value that might be irrevocably lost if we are
not able to improve the state of our regional audiovisual
Enhancing traditional funding for preservation and
access programs would help regional and local archives
significantly, but the most drastic need is for funding that is
specifically focused on the needs of regional archives. This
could include funds for increasing audiovisual archives staff and
operations as well as grants developed to preserve regional
history. In addition, greater support of local PBS stations
could open a showcase for footage that is stored in regional
repositories. Finally, wider distribution of information about
grants and other financial opportunities would increase the ease
of applying for external funding.
Corporate and private assistance with funding and
sharing of resources should be encouraged and would enhance the
variety of opportunities available for audiovisual archives.
Cooperation between public and private sectors would require that
the main networks and their affiliates begin to take a more
direct role in video and television preservation. Local
affiliates should be encouraged to assist operationally and
financially in the effort of preserving the footage they produce,
not only as a profitable opportunity, but as an informational
service to the community. Media producers and audiovisual
archivists should work together to develop a nationwide equipment
saving and maintenance program. A national resource for the
donation and acquisition of equipment will not only assist
producers in disposing of obsolete machines, but it will also
provide a source of equipment needed to play archival materials.
National attention, especially from producers,
broadcasters and the viewing public, is vital to the preservation
of American history as it is recorded on television and video
materials. Film preservation efforts like the National Film
Registry Tour and American Movie Classics Film Preservation drive
can provide models for programs that could enhance the
understanding of the need to preserve television and video
resources. Such efforts could partner large video rental chains,
telecommunication companies, video producers and broadcasters
with audiovisual archives to not only make the American public
aware of the imminent loss of moving image productions, but also
to enhance financial resources for preservation. A wide-scale
campaign would support and encourage greater public efforts,
commitment to public service and donations by private individuals
and companies. The preservation of our national culture depends
on the development of a community oriented environment, support
of public programs and an understanding of benefits gained
through such corporate citizenship.
The regional audiovisual archives greatest need is for
a collaborative effort to educate the people who have found
themselves in charge of media collections. Audiovisual
archivists within universities, state governments and historical
societies generally have not been through formal film and videos
archives training. Their duties are split between various kinds
of materials and they cannot afford to concentrate entirely on
film and video. As a result, regional audiovisual archivists may
not have sought out the literature, the professional groups and
the funding possibilities available to assist them in maintaining
their moving image archive collections. Meanwhile, television
and video collections deteriorate and become sources of
frustration because the archivists are not familiar with the
problems and solutions facing institutions with media
A wider understanding of standards, funding
possibilities and educational opportunities could empower
audiovisual archivists with the knowledge of the potential
available to them. The Association of Moving Image Archivists,
archival programs and library schools provide an important
framework for audiovisual archivists, but education should be
enhanced through regional societies, available publications and
traveling workshops. Public archives and institutions should be
prompted to allow for more professional education in their budget
and to encourage their employees to attend the needed workshops
and meetings. Archivists need to have more thorough training in
project management skills, promoting the needs of their
collections and professional standards for non-print materials.
With the proper knowledge of the needs of their
collections and the potential opportunities that may be
available, audiovisual archivists will begin to create their own
standards, educational opportunities and funding possibilities.
Overall, the moving image archives profession needs to learn how
to do more with less, to identify priorities and to develop
In considering the state of video and television
preservation in the United States, it must be recognized that
local and regional repositories of such material tend to be under
funded, understaffed and under utilized. Yet some of these same
archives hold some of the richest moving image material
documenting the history and culture of the United States over the
past 50 years. Additional funding opportunities, national
awareness of the preservation situation, collaboration between
public and private sectors and increased educational
opportunities for moving image archivists are fundamental to
preserving the nation's heritage as it has been captured on a
wide variety of television and video materials.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Lisa Wood.
Our next speaker is Thomas Connors who is the curator
of the National Public Broadcasting Archives at the University of
STATEMENT OF THOMAS CONNORS, NATIONAL PUBLIC BROADCASTING
ARCHIVES, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, CURATOR
MR. CONNORS: Thank you, Bill, for the opportunity to
speak to you and the panel today.
The National Public Broadcasting Archives is a unit of
the University of Maryland at College Park Libraries. The Public
Broadcasting Archives serves as the archival depository for the
major entities of American Public Broadcasting.
These entities include the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting, the Public Broadcasting Service, National Public
Radio, Children's Television Workshop, the Association of
America's Public Television Stations and other organizations
involved in non-commercial radio and television programming and
The National Public Broadcasting archives also collects
the papers of individuals who have made significant contributions
to public and educational broadcasting in the United States.
The archives was founded in June, 1990. It was
initiated by Dr. Donald R. McNeil, an educator and former lay
member of the PBS board of directors.
Don McNeil was in the position of bringing together the
heads of several public broadcasting organizations and
representatives of the UMCP libraries to negotiate an agreement
for archival services. Prior to this, nothing existed in the way
of systematic archive activity within public broadcasting.
I just wanted to note here that Don McNeil passed away
on February 8, after a long and slow decline in health. It is
interesting that Don started his career as the assistant director
and then acting director of the State Historical Society of
Wisconsin in the 1950's.
He was instrumental in establishing the mass
communications collection there. So, it was a nice way I think
to end his professional career as he started it, which is with an
In his last days, he remained aware of the progress of
the public broadcasting archives and was always available to
advise and we will definitely miss him.
The early mission of the National Public Broadcasting
Archives focused on the textual record of American public
It was felt that the collecting activities of the
Library of Congress and the National Archives in the area of
public broadcasting media was addressing the issues of
preservation of and access to film and tape.
When I joined NPBA in early 1993 however, it was
becoming clear that there were audiovisual materials that were
falling through the cracks, that were not being collected by the
Library of Congress or the National Archives.
So we decided that the Public Broadcasting Archives
should become involved in certain aspects of the collection and
preservation of moving image and audio materials as well as
I think this is important to emphasize, because the
textual materials that we have document and support the ultimate
product of the whole process, which is the program that is aired.
I think if we are talking about the archives,
television archives, moving image archives, we should be talking
about textual materials as well as moving image material.
I will concentrate my remarks on the issues of moving
image preservation and access as they show up in the work of the
National Public Broadcasting Archives.
We currently hold some 800 two-inch videotapes from
WETA, which is a local public broadcasting station. Some 2,000
three-quarter inch video cassettes from PBS. Some 100 one-inch
videotapes from Maryland Public Television.
About 500 three-quarter or half inch cassettes also
from MPT and 500 kinescopes and several hundred two-inch
videotapes from the Agency for Instructional Technology, which is
located in Bloomington, Indiana.
We have agreements with all of these organizations to
provide this service. Program titles include surviving copies,
for instance, of Hodge Podge Lodge, which was a children's
television program produced by MPT in the 1970's, Live from the
Birchmere, Live from Wolftrap, Town Meeting, several shows
produced by NPACT, which was the National Public Affairs Center
for Television, a production unit that hot into some hot water in
the 1970's when the Nixon administration did not like the kinds
of programs that they were producing.
There are also tapes of 1970's vintage PBS coverage of
professional tennis. Shows like PBS Late Night and Over Easy,
plus in-house closed circuit video communications between PBS and
We expect to be receiving more videotapes from WETA,
MPT and PBS in the coming months. So, it is a fairly small
collection. But it is a coherent collection at this point, and
it will grow, as these things grow.
The main local problem we face is environmental and I
raise that, that is proper storage space, temperature, humidity
levels, and I raise this because I think you have spoken to some
representatives of institutions that are really cutting edge and
they have their materials under fantastic environmental control.
I think you will find, and you may have found in the
other hearings that you have held, that a lot of moving image
material out there is collected in historical societies and
stations for that matter under environmental conditions that are
less than optimal.
Our own problem with environmental control is something
that has been ongoing and we do see some resolution in terms of
rehabbing the entire HVAC system in our building.
However, more crucial that the problems associated with
physical storage and maintenance of videotape is the larger
problem of reformatting for preservation and for access.
The two-inch videotape reels that many program masters
are recorded on range in age from 25 to 35 years. In our case,
these seem to be in fair condition physically, but we know that
they have exceeded their natural life span and will require some
kind of reformatting.
Cost wise it is impossible to transfer all the programs
we hold to a more stable videotape format. It is therefore
necessary to devise a selection process so that the best of our
public television program holdings are sure to be preserved.
In this statement, I obviously am contradicting my
colleague, Douglas Gomery, who was speaking this morning and
saying that we should try to keep everything.
In resolving this problem of reformatting, I am
envisioning a three-tiered scheme that clearly delineates one,
those programs that are the best and most representative examples
of the 50 years of educational and public television in the
Two, those that are good and worthy programs to be
reformatted for preservation as finances allow and three, those
programs that will be allowed to live out their lives in the
medium of their provenance.
I had the opportunity recently to pursue development of
this scheme and I will now speak about my progress in that
Last year, I along with a colleague in public
broadcasting archives applied for and was awarded a Bentley
Library Fellowship to study the issue of archival appraisal of
public television programming.
The Bentley Historical Library, as you may know which
is at the University of Michigan, co-sponsors with NEH and the
Mellon Foundation fellowships given to archivists who reside in
Ann Arbor in the summer months for the purposes of studying some
problem or issue in archival theory or administration.
My partner in the fellowship is Mary Ide, archivist
from WGBH in Boston, who is here today. In the course of our
work at the Bentley, we derived a set of guidelines that we think
begins to address the problem of selection.
Our underlying argument is that those who have dared to
propose selection guidelines for television and video have been
either strongly oriented to the physical medium, that is the
state of deterioration where if you have a tape that is shedding,
you transfer it as quickly as you can, without necessarily asking
what is this that I am transferring. Or they have been all
inclusive in their content categories. Let's do all public
affairs. Let's do all cultural performance, et cetera, et
We were looking for a more stringent set of appraisal
considerations to guide us in making decisions regarding
reformatting for preservation and the considerations we derived
is an interpretative framework, not so much a checklist to say
yea or nay, as to whether something is reformatted or not, but it
is an interpretative framework to understand the program that we
are talking about.
We came up with several guidelines. The first has to
do with program origin or provenance. The second is cost of
retention. The third involves implications of the selection
decision and the fourth involves reference potential. The fifth
guideline involves certain critical value considerations.
We derived these through a study of the traditional
archival canon, as far as appraisal goes. Bill Murphy I know has
spoken in these terms as well and as we were doing this study at
the Bentley, we did not realize that you had been talking about
this. So, it is nice to know that we are in the ballpark.
What we need to do next is to test our guidelines to
see how they work in day-to-day archival practice. Of course I
should say here too that Mary and I are a good team, because I am
looking at things from a national programming viewpoint and she
was looking at things from a station viewpoint.
I think if we continue this work we will come up with a
good model that covers public broadcasting in general.
Of course you will be speaking to public broadcasting
people this afternoon so it will be interesting to hear what they
have to say.
What I think I want to do next is to hire a moving
image archive specialist to run the film and tape in our custody
and to create a database of information on each program based on
our selection guidelines. I think that database, what begins to
emerge, would be very useful in seeing whether these guidelines
work or not.
We have been pursuing this from an archives profession
point of view of course, but we think it necessary to include the
industry itself in our discussion so another step that we have to
take is introducing what we are doing to the public broadcasting
I think this goes for the larger discussion of
preserving television programming in general, this is also a
point of dispute, but I think the industry must be made to
understand its responsibility in the work of preserving its own
When people say that they have produced something, that
they have a product, and the product went out and that is all
they have to do, it does not make sense to me. Corporate
archives exist to maintain the institutional memory of the
corporation in question and I think national networks could see
this as well.
Just one last thing I want to point out is that
collateral to the project that I have just described, this
appraisal guidelines project, is another effort that I would like
to mention briefly.
This is the Public Broadcasting Program Index project
whose aim is to produce a complete online catalogue index of
public and educational radio and television programs.
Contained in each program record, among other
information, would be information on where a master tape of the
program exists and who owns the rights to that program.
The program index project is a consortium effort among
several organizations recently initiated by SOUNDPRINT Media
Center, Inc. and we are trying to find some funding to begin to
establish this program index.
I have only spoken about what is happening in a small
corner of the moving image archives scene and I look forward to
hearing what others have to say and I have certainly gained from
what people have said so far.
There are many issues to be addressed obviously and I
have only spoken about those issues that affect me most directly
at this moment.
I would recommend that some kind of continuations
apparatus be established and I think you mentioned this, this
morning, Mr. Francis, that some kind of continuations mechanism
be established as a result of these hearings so that those of us
who are speaking here today, representatives from academia, from
the television industry and from the preservation professions can
begin to speak to one another more systematically than we have in
Perhaps a follow-up conference would be useful and I
just wanted to say that I would be happy to lend my energies to
organizing and realizing such a conference. Thank you.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Tom Connors.
Our next speaker is Paolo Cherchi-Usai, the curator of
the Motion Picture Department at George Eastman House.
STATEMENT OF PAOLO CHERCHI-USAI,
GEORGE EASTMAN HOUSE INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM OF FILM AND
PHOTOGRAPHY, SENIOR CURATOR, MOTION PICTURE DEPARTMENT
MR. CHERCHI-USAI: I would like to thank you for this
opportunity to express my views about the future of video and
television preservation in this country.
I would like to start by saying that the archive where
I operate has a fairly small collection of video and television
programs, about 2,000 compared with a collection of motion
picture films that exceeds 18,000.
However, I have noticed in the past few years some
remarkable similarities between the questions we are addressing
today and the questions we addressed when we started dealing with
the preservation of photographic moving images.
Basically I belong to a generation of archivists that
became preoccupied with moving image preservation because of the
disparity between the poor quality of the images we were seeing
and the much better quality of the "originals" from which these
images were taken. We began to investigate the cause of this
disparity, and soon discovered that for some time whenever
photographic moving image was preserved it was fairly common to
accept as inevitable the destruction of the element from which
the reproduction was taken.
This practice was natural, and to some extent almost
desirable, given the dangerous flammability of the nitrate motion
Now we may as well take the same approach when we think
of the preservation of media and television programs and items,
because it is true that we already are surprised at the poor
quality of video and television reproductions of programs and
artifacts made a very, very short time ago.
On an international scale let's go to the issue of the
destruction of these moving images. There is and possibly never
will be any reliable statistics on this point, but from an
estimate made with the collaboration of fellow archives all over
the world, it would be fair to assume that less than the 0.001%
of the video and television moving images produced since 1950 has
The general public has some awareness of the loss of
moving image from the beginning of the century, but is certainly
not as aware that the phenomenon of moving image destruction is
much wider than it has ever been.
From an archival standpoint, there is a silent
agreement among archivists that differs again from the official
pronouncements of professional archival associations.
For years a catch phrase among film archives has been
we must preserve, restore and show everything and we try to stick
to this principle. In practice, we simply preserve, restore, and
show what we can.
The point has never perhaps been made explicitly, but
we have given up from the start the notion of preserve, restore
and show everything when it comes to video and television
Archives and archivists tend to be highly specialized.
We try to preserve video and television about sports, about news,
about political events, but we lack a comprehensive preservation
I am talking about highly civilized countries. I am
excluding purposely the developing countries that do not even
dealt with the issue. In the photographic moving
image, the issue of preservation was in a way a contradiction in
terms, given the fact that photographic film was meant to be
used, consumed and thrown away after its commercial use.
This contradiction is pushed to extremes in the case of
video and televised images. Again, let's face it, we are still
considering as a preservation tool something that was hailed and
publicized as something that denies the very notion of
preservation. Something you can use to record and erase and
record again moving images.
Here is another even more telling contradiction I
think. The creation of moving images has never been such a
democratic phenomenon as it is today. But the selection of video
and television images has never been so power-oriented as it is
A revealing case in point might be the situation that
we are witnessing in European countries where if you look for any
televised footage of the student riots in 1968, a rather
important event in European history, you will hardly find more
than a couple of hours of footage of very, very bad quality.
This is only one of many examples that can be made about this
How do we tell the public that preserving video and
television programs is necessary? Again, I have to make a bridge
between video and television preservation and photographic moving
We had been trying and we are still trying to convince
the public that transferring film onto video is not a good idea.
We all receive letters and phone calls from people who
find their home movies, find their films and think that they have
to be preserved on video and we are telling them no, do not do
it. It is wrong. Film should be preserved on film.
Well, I have not heard any plausible way I can convince
anybody that while a film should not be preserved on video, still
yes, we should preserve video on video because in that case the
preservation is necessary.
Whenever we think of any fund raising project for video
and television preservation, this is a contradiction we will have
to come to terms with, but what is worse to me is that this is
only the beginning of an even more radical contradiction
widespread in our role as archivists on this point.
I say this is only the beginning because I think we are
discussing here our last attempt to apply a conventional notion
of preservation to the last remains of the moving image conceived
as something that can be carried by an object.
Corporate executives are clear. They are saying that
CD-ROM's, laser discs are the swan song of the image carrier in
the way we have been used to perceive it so far and there will be
This end of an era will have several consequences on
our job and I would like to just briefly list the main ones.
First, on a positive noteI think that museums will witness a
major change in their roles as guardians of the last moving
images perceived through objects. Museums will find themselves
with objects that nobody cared about before but that have now
become important; museums will rise in stature as repositories of
the last images that people can actually touch.
Second, the very notion of the moving image as an art
of reproduction will no longer make sense. Physical reproduction
will be replaced by the electronic distribution of a single
master print through new media technologies.
Third, image manipulation will become overwhelming and
uncontrollable. I think it is already overwhelming and
uncontrollable, but it will be even more so.
More and more the way we look at moving image will
resemble to the way we look at oral cultural and oral tradition.
Because of the disappearance of an object, we will be
dealing with entities that change through time so fast that their
conservation may as well be compared to the conservation of the
oral tradition and the museum of the moving image of the future
may well be thought of as a museum of oral history.
As a consequence of this, I would like to add that
while I am not a lawyer and not a copyright expert, I really see
no way in which the corporate copyright laws of today are
anywhere close to adequate to cope with this phenomenon of
inotropic dispersion of images.
Well then what to do? Because this is only the
beginning, I would dare to propose something that may find
ourselves here 20 years from now when we will be discussing the
preservation of the World Wide Web and Internet information.
First, there should be a World Wide Web preservation
act. Given the direction of today, we should start thinking of
what are we going to do with this huge amount of moving images of
which we have no control whatsoever. How many hundred thousands
do exist? Nobody knows.
Second, in practical terms, I see no alternative to a
combined strategy between the public and the private in this
I see a centralized management in the directions of
technology for the preservation of image on video and television
and a decentralized strategy in terms of access to the restored
objects, whatever these restored objects are, with management and
access linked by experts capable of going back and forth between
the private and the public, the center and the periphery, when it
comes to knowing how these technologies can be improved.
Finally, I would make an appeal to go beyond the
national boundaries in this respect. If we are really convinced
that the proliferation of moving images is a worldwide
phenomenon, I certainly think it would not be unreasonable to
recommend the Congress to make any possible effort to get the
United Nations involved in this case and to make an appeal for
the creation of internationally accepted standard for the
preservation of video and television images.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you.
We have heard some very compelling statements. I am
sorry, we do not have time for questions right now. The
cafeteria will be available for service until two o'clock.
I would like to convene the meeting at 2:15. Please be
back at 2:15. Thank you.
(Whereupon, at 1:40 p.m., the hearing was recessed, to
reconvene at 2:15 p.m., this same day, Tuesday, March 26, 1996.)
A F T E R N O O N S E S S I O N
MR. MURPHY: Good afternoon. I hope you have all
enjoyed your lunch. Welcome to the next session of our hearing
on the Preservation of American Television and Video.
We are going to begin with a panel of people involved
in broadcasting and production. Our first speaker will be Barry
Sherman, who is a professor and director of the Peabody Awards,
School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. Hello, Barry.
STATEMENT OF BARRY SHERMAN, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, PROFESSOR AND
DIRECTOR, PEABODY AWARDS, SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM
MR. SHERMAN: Hi, Bill. It is a great honor to be here
today and in many ways I feel that my testimony is a bridge from
what began earlier today and will continue this afternoon,
because I bring three different perspectives to the table.
Number one, as an educator who received his Ph.D. at
Penn State in the mid 1970's and professed to teach the first
course at Penn State's University Park campus on the history of
At that time, it was debatable whether television had a
history, whether that history was worth teaching and if you
decided to teach the history of television, whether there was
access to the original materials for the study of television. So
I bring that educator's background to the table.
In addition, the Peabody Awards and archive at the
University of Georgia represent an unbroken line from 1940 and
since television's first entry in 1948 of the best work each year
produced by radio, television stations and more recently cable
In that sense, we have at the University of Georgia an
unmatched archive, an archive I will tell you a little bit about
that has both the same advantages and pitfalls of all the other
archives represented earlier today.
I am first up on a panel of broadcasters and production
people. It is our job at the Peabody Awards to recognize and
encourage the best in broadcasting and cable each year and to
provide a beacon, if you will, the "Q" chip, the quality that
says to an increasingly skeptical public and political arena that
yes, what a lot of people do in broadcasting and cable is
valuable, is significant and has impact on people's lives for the
Each year we sit in judgment of 11 or 1,200 television
programs and from those select only the very best. I will point
out a little later that we preserve all of those 1,200 and
celebrate each year between 25 and 35 programs or individuals for
Let me put on my educator hat for a second and speak
briefly from an article I wrote for the forthcoming manual for
the administration of television news archives on question number
one for this panel and for many people in the audience, why save
I attempted in chapter one of that manual to make the
case for television preservation. Most historians embrace
Santayana's oft-quoted maxim that those who cannot remember the
past are condemned to repeat it.
This is the primary impetus to preservation. To
develop a collective memory, a record of our experience. For
centuries books, letters, paintings, sculpture and other arts
have been painstakingly preserved, catalogued and made available
to varying degrees to succeeding generations.
How many contemporary historians however have been
willing to make the leap to the artifacts of the electronic age,
Indeed the very terms in our language used to describe
a second look at television materials, rerun and repeat, seem
pejorative to suggest diminishing value over time.
The argument that broadcast programming, particularly
the output of commercial television is deserving of preservation
and curatorial effort traditionally accorded print materials is
often very difficult to make.
It strikes at the nature of archives, libraries and
museums and their proper function in society. It dredges up
longstanding debates about the relative importance of moving
images and the spoken word when contrasted with the presumed
preeminence of books.
It kindles philosophical and ideological arguments
around such topics as cultural bias, commercialism, high and low
culture and the amorphus issues that we debate today about impact
It presents perilous technical and personnel problems
from obsolete formats to issues of signal degradation, from the
need from curators and scholars, to the essential expertise of
engineers and other technicians.
Let me make the case that television briefly is as
deserving as film for historic preservation. Some years ago a
former advertising executive presented four arguments for the
elimination of television.
Essentially his main points were that the medium is by
its nature impersonal, it separates people from actual
experience, its images stultify the imagination and generally dim
the brain and that the medium is inherently biased against
accuracy, subtlety and difference.
Like many broadsides, there is a kernel of truth in
each argument which makes the manifesto compelling, but it is
precisely these reasons which make TV preservation essential. It
is not just television.
With all its faults, limitations and biases, the
television image is above all an invaluable and irreplaceable
history of our life and times.
One good reason to uncover and preserve vintage
television is to address a common misconception that film
predated the development of television and that is therefore in
some measure film is superior.
Because of the commercial success of the kinescope and
nickelodeon parlor and the mass production of celluloid prints
and negatives, plus paper prints made for copyright purposes,
many films survive from the mediums early days.
However, saved for some old rickety equipment in the
hands of a few collectors, the product of television's
progenitors has largely disappeared.
As a result, there has been a persistent celebration of
the primacy of film over the television image, a sense that
somehow celluloid is better, more artistic or more worthy of
preservation than is television.
This conceit is often reflected in the archival
community as a predisposition to preserve film, videotape movies
over television shows.
It is important to appreciate that experiments which
led to the development of film and television were simultaneous.
Both media sprung from a common ancestor, the advent of
photography and advances in physics, electronics and optics in
the mid 19th century.
While one set of experimenters and entrepreneurs moved
into motion pictures, Muybridge, Edison, M_li_s, Porter, et
cetera, a second group of lesser known inventors was making
attempts to transmit pictures through the air.
Just briefly, in 1882 an Englishman named William Lucas
described electronic television. By 1884, a primitive form of
television had been demonstrated in Germany by Paul Nipkow.
As film moved from side shows and music halls into
prominence as a legitimate if silent art form, early forms of
television were developed and publicly demonstrated.
By the 1920's, even as the first radio stations were
built, television receivers were being marketed by John Logie
Baird in Great Britain and by Charles F. Jenkins in the United
States and the same time that the Jazz Singer was revolutionizing
motion pictures, television plays were being produced in
Schenectady, New York and in California.
Mary Pickford's film Taming of the Shrew was already a
staple of young hobbyist Philo T. Farnsworth's regular television
The point is that the archival value of film has been
demonstrated somewhat ironically due to its photographic base,
its record of mass production and the happenstance of the
tenacity of celluloid stock.
Television on the other hand was conceived from the
beginning as a live electronic medium, was not mass produced or
distributed until the late 1940's and perhaps most importantly
lacked a significant means of preservation until a quarter
century after the emergence of sound movies.
In the interest of time, I will move on, but to sum up,
I think in preserving film we preserved the most important visual
artifact of a 19th century technology rooted in chemical and
mechanical processes, the camera and the projector, the very
remnants of the mechanical age.
Video however and television programming is almost a
perfect metaphor for 20th century visual experience. It is
rooted in the same physics, optics and microelectronics that
brought us into the atomic era.
Its emphasis on immediacy, impermanence and for good or
ill commerce represent to succeeding generations in some measure
the values of our 20th century society, particularly in the west.
My point is that neither film nor television debate
that one is superior or better is moot. Both deserve our
attention and our efforts at preservation.
In that regard, we at the Peabody Awards have been
annually recognizing the best in broadcasting and cable each year
and attempting in our very under funded way to preserve it.
Bill, am I okay for time here?
MR. MURPHY: About three more minutes.
MR. SHERMAN: Good. In the next three minutes I will
tell you about the Peabody Awards. Peabody Awards were begun in
1938 by a committee of the National Association of Broadcasters,
which was interested in founding a Pulitzer prize for radio.
In 1939, based on the Pulitzer model at Columbia
University, the NAB approached the School of Journalism at the
University of Georgia about sponsoring the radio Pulitzer.
By 1940, the NAB had withdrawn its support. The estate
of George Foster Peabody was involved and I add parenthetically
Mr. Peabody gave his visage to the most significant Ameritorius
public service rendered each year by broadcasting, but unlike
Pulitzer no money.
So each year the Peabody Awards exist and the Peabody
archive exists year-to-year through the entry fees which are self
perpetuating. There is no endowment.
There is no line item in the University of Georgia's
budget for the ongoing administration of both the Peabody Awards
and the Peabody Archive. That is something that we are
addressing quite directly.
The Peabody Archive is essentially a happenstance of
history. It consists of all of the entries submitted each year
since 1940 and it exists in the University of Georgia library
simply because the dean of the College of Journalism, John
Eldridge Drewry, never threw anything away.
He was a visionary in the sense that he felt it might
be important some day to keep all correspondence associated with
this new radio award and as a consequence, even though they did
not have equipment to play the materials, the 16mm kinescopes and
two-inch videotapes, which began to make their way to us in the
The Peabody Award Archive holds most entries in the
radio category since 1940 and for television from 1948 to the
present. We have an estimated 6,000 radio transcription disks,
8,600 quarter inch audio reels and about 5,000 audio cassettes.
We have about 2,500 16mm kinescopes and prints. About
1,500 two-inch video reels (both high band and low band) and more
than 16,000 three-quarter inch video cassettes.
These are all original archival materials. When
producers enter the Peabody Awards, we simply guarantee that we
will preserve their entry. We do not assume any copyright
interest in an entry and no duplication or distribution of
Peabody Awards entries is ever made without prior approval of the
I will sum up by saying what might be a good or
positive outcome from these hearings and how might Peabody be
First, I think it is essential that we in the
production and educational archival communities make the case as
successfully as the film industry has for the preservation of
film and television and these hearings are the first important
step in that direction.
The greats of television broadcasting, many of whom are
still living, it is imperative as film preservation did with the
giants of silent and early sound features that we get the Walter
Cronkites and the David Brinkley's to speak about the
impermanence of their original broadcasts and those of us who
hold some landmark broadcasts can be essential I think in
generating that message.
I think one thing we might do, though it is a daunting
task, is to try to create the registry, the list of indispensable
television broadcasts and follow along perhaps with the
indispensable video and yes, based on this morning, the
indispensable Web pages and the indispensable CD-ROM's.
It is an important job, but as a television historian,
I believe with 50 years of hindsight we can point to significant
broadcasts that changed the nature of this country and the world.
Third, I would like to come out of this hearing an
interdisciplinary advisory board to make recommendations about
the best content produced each year by broadcast and cable and
the best means of preserving that.
With Peabody as I said at the beginning, we are the "Q"
chip. We could take a leadership role in identifying the best
work of networks, international broadcasters, local stations and
production companies and I volunteer, even though none of us has
the time, to serve on such a committee if formed.
Thank you, Bill.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Dr. Sherman.
Our next speaker is William Jarvis, vice-president and
general counsel of WETA television.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM JARVIS,
WETA-TV, VIDE-PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL
MR. JARVIS: Thank you very much for inviting me here
to testify today. I am sure that you have heard from all of us
and you will continue to hear from all of us that we agree on
First, we agree that there is a pressing need to
systematically record and preserve our national treasures and
resources in television and video.
Second, while each of us may have a prediction on the
direction of future technology, none of us can foresee the exact
road which will take us there.
Third, with the multitude of institutions and
individuals involved in creating this resource, we have not and
we will not accidentally arrive at a sensible archive system.
So I particularly thank you for investigating this
pressing need. Part of your work today, I understand, is to
identify the central issues and problems in the creation of a
permanent record of our television and video media.
I bring to you the perspective of a station centrally
involved in creating the content of interest to current and
WETA is the third largest producer of programs for the
public television system. We produce The NewsHour with Jim
Lehrer, Washington Week in Review, David Frost's interviews with
world leaders and politics and culture.
We have produced a variety of multi-part series on such
issues as the FBI, health care, competitive challenges in our
education system and we have completed extensive coverage of
public and governmental affairs.
WETA also does its part to celebrate the cultural
treasures of our nation. Many of you may have sat on the Capitol
lawn during the Memorial Day and Fourth of July concerts watching
our crews crawl among the orchestra members, so you are aware
that WETA produced those concerts live for the nation.
In addition, we have produced the stellar series In
Performance at the White House and The Kennedy Center Presents.
Among WETA's most renowned documentary programs are
those of Ken Burns, The Civil War, Baseball, his forthcoming
series on The West and his forthcoming series focusing on the
profile of great Americans.
To put it simply, we have a lot of tape. Even now as
we are starting to produce digitally, we have amassed over 30
years of tape archives, including Congressional hearings as
recent as Waco and starting with Watergate.
Fortunately, we have been able to archive our tapes
from 1966 to 1978 with the University of Maryland. In addition,
some of our materials are already with the National Archives.
Others, such as the Watergate hearings, are already with the
Library of Congress.
Since 1978, we have stored and maintained on our site
all of our taped and filmed materials. We now store about 10,000
hours of programming and this is increasing at the rate of about
400 hours per year.
As our primary mission is to serve audiences by
producing and broadcasting quality programs, we cannot and should
not be using our limited resources substantially to function as a
On the other hand, we have created these programs
because we feel they are important hallmarks of our nation and we
do feel a responsibility to make access to this material to
current producers, educational institutions and individual
So we do respond to dozens of requests each week for
access to our holdings. Therefore, the central issues which we
have found with respect to what you are investigating are these
three. First, indexing and access to the materials. Second, the
format of the materials. Third, the rights to the materials.
First, indexing and access. Before 1990, we had a
trickle of requests for access to our materials primarily from
other public affairs or public television producers or
occasionally from a particularly enterprising or dedicated film
Since 1990, we have had a rising flood. We cannot
really explain what the change has been. Our suspicion is that
the wealth of information that is being shared now via the
Internet or through other databases account for this growth.
Six years ago a call would come in to our offices with
the following request. Hey, WETA, did you guys do one of those
concerts at the Capitol? I am looking for footage of James Earl
Jones doing some reading. Do you have any?
Now the call is more likely to be, WETA you produced
the 1990 Memorial Day concert with Colleen Dewhurst reading a
Viet Nam soldier's letter and I need minutes 23 through 28 with
James Earl Jones performing Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait.
We have not been able to account for the change in the
way that people now have such specificity, but we do know that
lacking a central resource service, a researcher who is looking
for something in particular is more likely to spend days and days
chasing leads, hearing from us, well we might not have done it,
it might be WGBH or hearing from WGBH it might be WETA. Of
course we then spend many hours researching and redirecting those
So need number one is a central cataloguing system.
While accounting for past tape and past programs is a daunting
proposition, clearly we can and must start a shared catalogue of
what we are producing today.
Second, to the messy issue of format. Our tape from
1966 to 1978 was primarily quad two-inch tape. I am told it is
very heavy. Ninety minutes of programming weighing 27 pounds.
They do not normally let the general counsel involved in any of
From 1978 through 1996 it has been primarily one-inch
tape, although we also have some Beta and three-quarters inch for
promotional reels, source footing and field stock.
Converting that archive to digital or even to fresh
tape is expensive in materials and time. When we are providing
tape for researchers and producers now the video must be
duplicated in real time, meaning for example that those 10,000
hours of tape currently in our archives would take 10,000 hours
to store on fresh tape with current equipment.
The technology to convert cheaply is also probably not
going to be anybody's top priority, since such a project by its
very nature is self limiting, but that is an area of
technological development which would greatly aid preservation.
Each of us might prioritize what should be converted,
but then you would probably have ten stations individually
converting the President's state of the union address and no one
converting performance programming as a first priority.
As you consider the technical recommendations for
current archives and for conversion, the judicial use of
resources in making those conversions will benefit us all.
A second need therefore is for suggested archival
guidelines, format recommendations and organized communication
among producing and archival institutions about who is converting
Finally, the rights. I am an attorney so I find this
area of most interest. As your initial queries suggested, there
is indeed a murky world of copyrights and ancillary rights
associated with every piece of tape that we have ever produced.
Of course with every cultural and technological advance, the
issues become more complicated.
All of us associated with public television production
15 years ago may have cleared the rights for educational use, but
as we have talked about already today, suppose a student using
the footage wants to put the thesis on the Internet?
Cable distribution, Internet distribution, video sales
and even CD-ROM's were unanticipated by our predecessors and it
is almost impossible for us today to be able to predict what
forms of media are going to exist in the future.
An institution charged with bringing the American
public the highest quality of programming, WETA's first priority
is to produce and broadcast programming.
The question is, should we be spending the limited
resources entrusted to us to clear the broadest possible rights
so that those in the future could use them?
Again, suggested standard rights information archived
simultaneously with the listings in the central catalogue system
would at least be a reasonable starting point.
At WETA we keep what we call a pedigree file on the
materials that we produce so that at least any of my successors
will be able to find the details of the agreements which have
been made today for those particular programs.
Researching past footage can be much tougher, but some
general guidelines for the technological advances in education
resources would be another good step.
Finally, my caveats with respect to these suggested
guidelines. We may work hard but make some of the wrong choices
today and we may do the equivalent of choosing to store on laser
disc or create a convoluted archive process so arduous that
creators would forego cataloguing their works rather than
precipitate the paper work.
After all, I can tell you from working with all of the
talented producers that WETA attracts that these people are
artists first and administrators second.
The task of archiving are far from their minds when the
film is in final edit. The responsibility for archiving must
rest clearly with a specific participant in this collaborative
process. Either the producer or the distributor or the
We must establish a set of guidelines for formats and
rights and an established way of communicating our holdings and
accessibility, which is clear, simple and flexible to accommodate
these artists and our changing media environment.
Every day WETA and public broadcasting stations
throughout the country are creating and broadcasting programs of
quality to share with the public. I encourage your efforts to
coordinate the ways in which we can continue that service long
beyond the initial broadcast.
My colleagues and I will gladly offer to continue to be
Thank you very much.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you.
Our next speaker is Mr. David Liroff, vice-president
and chief technology officer for WGBH.
STATEMENT OF DAVID LIROFF,
WGBH-TV, VICE-PRESIDENT AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
MR. LIROFF: I agree with Barry and Bill. I do not
envy your assignment sitting here listening to us all day and
there is the risk that the few new ideas in the mix will get lost
and washed over.
So I am going to assume that you know who WGBH is. We
produce about a third of the prime time schedule for PBS:
Masterpiece Theater, NOVA, This Old House, Julia Child,
Frontline, American Experience.
What is less well known about us is that about ten
years ago we began to evolve away from being principally in the
broadcast business and got into the business of using
telecommunications technology for education--using CD-ROM's,
online computer services, interactive video disks and the like.
I want to cut to the chase, because I am concerned that
we are speeding off into the future at 90 miles an hour with our
eyes firmly fixed on the rear view mirror, and there is an
opportunity here that we need to identify quite specifically.
The new digital electronic media technologies allow us
the opportunity to develop a comprehensive and integrated and
holistic approach, not only to the preservation of the television
and video media themselves, but also with all of the records that
are associated with these materials.
I raise the issue now not to overwhelm us, because it
does seem to be overwhelming, but to identify an opportunity
which might otherwise pass us by.
Much of the focus of all of these conversations here
and in New York, where my colleague Judy Crichton of The American
Experience spoke to the panel, have focused again on the
television and video materials themselves.
But I would strongly recommend that one of the outcomes
of this process should be to look at the related production
files, contracts, releases, field production notes, director's
and editor's notes, production stills, captioning and descriptive
video data. I will get back to that in a moment.
Promotion and publicity, derivatives of the multimedia
products and computer online services. We have laughed several
times about the Internet and trying to get a handle around that.
David Fanning, who is the executive producer of
Frontline, now refers to the broadcast television program as the
executive summary of the materials that have been gathered in the
course of production.
If you access the Frontline home page on the Web, you
find there enormous volumes of material which they did not have
time to include in the program. A full length transcript of
interviews, only two minutes of which might have appeared in the
RealAudio feeds--as you know you can access audio on
the Internet--containing the full audio recordings which were
only excerpted for the broadcast program.
Original documents that the producers used in preparing
their analyses. This becomes very much a part of the record
The good news is that much of this material is in
digital form already. Nick Negroponte at the Media Lab at MIT
talks about atoms and bits, and we think of these things as the
physical artifacts. Where to store them. Where to move them.
Where to keep them.
In fact, when they enter the digital form, they become
far more accessible, so that the challenge of keeping the
Frontline home page material that is related to a broadcast
program is hardly as formidable now, because it is in digital
form, as it might have been two or three years ago.
Now I want to say a word about captioning. This is, I
will say immodestly, one of those nuggets that I would like to
call your attention to.
WGBH started captioning back in 1972 to help people who
were deaf or hearing impaired be able to appreciate programs to
which they would not otherwise have access. In 1990 we started
descriptive video, which is television for the blind, which
sounds like an oxymoron, but is growing in its use around the
As I was listening this morning to the problems that
people are having just with cataloguing and indexing video
materials, right now there are literally tens of thousands of
hours per year of television programs that are fully captioned
and an increasing number that are described as well.
The captioning data provides a near verbatim content
guide to what is on those tapes. The captioning center at WGBH
captions the CBS evening news and there is a data string that
goes with that broadcast that has a virtually verbatim transcript
of that program.
Now the reason why at the moment this is--if you will
again pardon my immodesty--a bigger idea than it might otherwise
be is that the FCC announced about a month and a half ago--
Chairman Reed Hunt--that they are about to initiate a notice of
proposed rulemaking pertaining to the extent to which producers
should be required to caption their programs for television
and/or cable, and another rulemaking that will explore the issue
of providing descriptions for those who are blind or visually
Frankly it had not occurred to me until this morning
that the Library of Congress and every archivist has a vested
interest not only in seeing that these audiences have access to
these materials, but in having the producers required to caption
these programs, because that gives you a content handle on the
The incremental cost of captioning compared to the
production cost is quite small and WGBH does it. The National
Captioning Institute in Washington does it.
There are now, I understand, some three dozen or more
for-profit captioning companies around the country, because when
the FCC required that all sets of 13 inches or more be required
to have captioning decoders back in 1991, that created the demand
for this industry to develop.
So the cataloguing and indexing could be done by the
producers. We keep looking for where the money is going to come
It could be required, and would have not only the
benefit of providing access to hearing impaired viewers and
perhaps to visually impaired as well, but also giving us a handle
on the material which is embedded in the material itself.
Now the idea of being able to engage in this kind of
one stop shopping, that is you access the video materials and in
the same database or related databases are all of the related
It may sound like a pipe dream and applying it
retroactively it probably is, but what are we going to do going
forward? The technologies that we are using now, particularly in
the digital realm, make it a lot easier to think of the kinds of
hot links, as they are called on the World Wide Web, where you
pull up the visual image here, you link to the contracts, the
scripts, the releases, the other print materials that go along
Now there are relatively few computer systems on the
market these days that begin to address these problems, and we
are working with some software and hardware developers to try and
get a handle on this so we can put our arms around the whole
But it would be extraordinarily helpful to have some
guidance, some standards, some performance measures of what these
systems might be able to do. Some standardized glossaries so
that different organizations who are pursuing this idea can talk
with each other and share their information with each other.
Even an indication of best practices from the Library
of Congress would be extraordinarily helpful as we and others--I
have spoken with several people here who are working on the same
kinds of problems--develop a way to address these problems.
One of the elements of this idea is that an
organization's archives becomes the first stop when material
comes in from the field, not the last stop. It comes into the
archives in digital form and it never physically leaves the
Those who want to use it access it from digital
servers. Again this is not pipe dream stuff. This is quite
possible to do today. So that you have in one place a repository
not only of the media materials themselves, but ideally the
related documents that go with them.
We have the opportunity to do that now going forward.
Again, I do not suggest that this is necessarily a way to address
the problems of the vast holdings that many of us have, but the
question is, what are we going to do tomorrow?
I do not know who said this. It is attributed to Casey
Stengel, the line that the future is going to be just like the
past, but only longer. What we know for sure is that is not
true. When we say okay, how are we going to deal with these
issues tomorrow, this is one of the areas I would very much
encourage you to explore.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Liroff.
Our next speaker is Mr. Glenn Clatworthy from the PBS.
He is the Associate Director of Program Data and Analysis.
STATEMENT OF GLENN CLATWORTHY,
PUBLIC BROADCASTING SERVICE, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PROGRAM DATA AND
MR. CLATWORTHY: Well, having the misfortune to follow
Mr. Liroff in sequence, I will now launch into my dry, flat,
canned presentation so please bear with me.
Let me start out today with a brief description of PBS.
PBS is a private, non-profit corporation whose members are
America's public television stations. Founded in 1969, PBS
provides quality television programming and related services to
345 non-commercial stations serving all 50 states, Puerto Rico,
the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.
PBS is a national distributor of public television
programs. However, we do not produce the programs we distribute.
Instead, PBS accepts programs offered for national distribution
by a presenting entity, typically a public television station
like WETA or WGBH, which may be representing its own productions
or productions acquired from american independent producers and
PBS does not own the copyright to the programs it
distributes. Rather we acquire the broadcast rights to a program
for a limited number of airings over a limited period of time.
When this period comes to an end, a program is said to have
Over its 26-year history, PBS has accumulate an archive
of over 100,000 programs on commercial quality videotape and 16mm
Our broadcast rights to the bulk of the programs in
this collection, including most programs distributed by PBS and
our predecessor, National Educational Television, have expired.
The PBS archival collection consists of two major
sub-collections, including PBS programs and series as well as
programs from the National Educational Television era.
NET was the public television organization that
preceded PBS, distributing programs by mail and/or national
interconnection from the late 1950's until approximately 1970.
Acquired by PBS in the late 1970's, the NET collection
consisted of over 9,000 videotapes and films. Slightly over half
of the collection was on 16mm film. The remainder was on
The PBS collection contains copies of virtually every
PBS program broadcast since the network went on the air in 1970.
It consists of over 100,000 reels in various formats, including
one-inch, two-inch, D-2 and D-3 videotape.
At least 7,000 reels from this set belong to our
current collection, that is, programs to which PBS has current
broadcast or distribution rights.
PBS' current technical operating specifications require
that program presenters submit a broadcast quality master and
backup of every program accepted for broadcast on PBS. While our
policy for archival retention has varied over time, PBS has
retained at least a master copy of virtually every program we
have distributed over the past 26 years.
PBS' current policy is to retain a digital D-3 master
and backup copy of every program with the expectation that we
will donate the master to the Library of Congress after the
expiration of rights.
Videotape and film masters for both the PBS and the NET
eras are maintained in a secure, climate controlled facility in
Springfield, Virginia. Unfortunately, no single centralized
inventory or descriptive database system is available for the
entire archival collection.
In fact, the NET and PBS collections are tracked using
two separate computerized inventory systems. A third system,
which I manage, called the PBS Program Databasem contains
comprehensive information about PBS programs broadcast since
Descriptive information for National Educational
Television programs and PBS programs broadcast prior to 1987 is
maintained in paper files, various computer files, microfiche and
in various shoe boxes around the company.
No descriptive electronic or paper materials are
available for public research at PBS or via computer networks
PBS has chosen to support archival preservation and
scholarly research through ongoing agreements with the Library of
Congress and the National Public Broadcasting Archives at the
University of Maryland. All requests for scholarly access to PBS
materials are routed to these two institutions.
In 1990, PBS agreed to contribute papers and other
historical materials to the new National Public Broadcasting
Archives. To date, several hundred boxes of archival paper
materials and three-quarter inch viewing cassettes have been
transferred to the NPBA.
On September 15, 1993, PBS signed an agreement, an
instrument of gift whereby it would donate its collection of
expired public television programs to the Library of Congress.
In the first phase of our support for the agreement, my
department, Program Data and Analysis, evaluated the entire NET
collection to determine the best copy of every distinct program.
As a result, PBS offered almost 8,000 pieces of
archival film and videotape to the Library. The LOC accepted our
archival offering and transferred the materials to its own
facility in September, 1994.
Currently, neither PBS nor the Library of Congress is
in the position to exchange the full archive of expired PBS
programs. Because of other recent demands, the PBS tape library
has not had the resources to do a full inventory of the PBS
At the same time, the Library of Congress has expressed
that it does not have the storage space for the entire PBS
collection nor does it expect to in the near future.
As a result, Program Data is evaluating the PBS
collection for valuable, at-risk sub-collections in the hope that
the Library can expand its storage space gradually to accommodate
Our urgent focus is on two-inch videotape. The
two-inch tapes stored in our warehouse are up to 35 years old.
The integrity of these materials clearly is at risk.
Moreover, since most public television stations and
independent tape facilities no longer support two-inch transfers,
our ability to provide any form of access to materials on
two-inch tape also is at risk.
Our most recent project was to identify programs for
which a single two-inch copy exists. In July, 1995, I made a
supplementary offer of almost 8,000 two-inch videotapes to the
Library. I am pleased to say that we received notice last Friday
that the Library expects to be able to acquire this new
sub-collection within the next two months.
Now I would like to address some of the practical
challenges to the mission of archival preservation. TV is a
just-in-time medium. Distributors tend to focus on the TV
present and near future and often do not have the interest or the
resources to protect and document the television programs of the
Many priceless local television productions, for
example, have been lost to the dumpster or to the ether, because
the producing stations did not have the resources to maintain
For the past 26 years, PBS has functioned as a safe
harbor for producers of national public television programs by
maintaining its extensive archival collection. Unfortunately,
our own facility is only so wide and so deep.
The good news is that our ongoing agreement with the
Library provides us with a mechanism for preserving historical
public television programs. However, PBS has to balance three
important sets of needs.
As a membership organization, we provide services to
our member stations. We define services to include reasonable
access by stations to the programs and series they provided to
As a corporation, PBS has made a multi-million dollar
investment in programming. Although our distribution rights to a
program may have expired, we must be certain that we will have
reasonable access to a broadcast master in case we contract to
redistribute it in the foreseeable future.
Finally, we are aware of the public need as evidenced
by the continuing enthusiasm for public television and by the
ongoing preservation efforts of such institutions as the Library
Today I would like to make the following
recommendations on the subject of archival preservation. To
fulfill its mandate to preserve a permanent record of the United
States television history, the Library must continue to pursue
the resources to acquire, preserve and document historic
In particular, we hope that the library will be in a
position to accept continuing donations from PBS with special
emphasis on the aging two-inch collection of videotapes.
In the longer term, the Library and PBS, as well as the
Library and other institutions, should form a combined strategy
for evaluating, inventorying, transferring and preserving
This strategy may involve the Library offering
assistance in re-inventorying large collections. The Library
also must be prepared to document and preserve acquired materials
quickly, replacing deteriorating masters and adding descriptive
catalogue entries to the public record as soon as possible.
Finally, the Library should be prepared to make viewing
copies of archived tapes and films available for scholarly
research in a timely manner.
Our MIS department at PBS has a descriptive phrase that
I believe also applies to archival preservation. It is called
single point of failure. Any unique copy of a historical
television program, whether it is on videotape, video disk or
hard drive, is a single point of failure for a bit of history.
The storage medium can either present a viewable image
of a program or it cannot, in which case a bit of history has
been lost forever.
Ultimately, the best model for long-term archival
preservation is ubiquity, the widespread distribution of
television programs via both current and future media.
I believe that the ubiquity model for archival
preservation dovetails nicely with the tremendous public and
commercial interest in television history.
The public is fascinated by older television programs.
Meanwhile TV networks, distributors and production companies are
hungry to acquire, process and deliver programming.
Therefore, it is in our best interest to find a common
path that provides for archival preservation, yet opens the door
to the ubiquitous distribution of historic programs. To this
end, the Library should work with donating institutions to ensure
reasonable access to archived materials.
Further, we recommend that the Library be open to new
initiatives and partnerships with both public and private sectors
to restore historic television programs and to make them widely
available to the American people.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Clatworthy.
Our final speaker for this panel is Mr. Edward Coltman,
Executive Director of New Media for the Corporation for Public
STATEMENT OF EDWARD COLTMAN, CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW MEDIA
MR. COLTMAN: Thank you for the invitation to describe
the activities that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with
respect to television and video preservation.
CPB, as you probably know, is the organization that was
established by the Public Broadcasting Act in 1967 to develop
high quality public telecommunications services throughout the
CPB is prohibited by law from producing programs and
from owning or operating distribution systems such as
Therefore, the corporation fulfills its
responsibilities for developing high quality program services
chiefly by making grants to and contracts with program makers and
distributors, particularly public broadcasting stations, among
them the stations represented today by Bill Jarvis and David
In addition to the television program fund, which is
our principal grant making organization at CPB, there are two
distinct ventures in which CPB collaborates with the Annenberg
Foundation to develop education related materials.
These are known as the Annenberg/CPB projects and they
operate in somewhat different circumstances from those of the
television program fund.
Like the program fund, the Annenberg projects make
grants to and contracts with program producers who generally hold
copyright to the programs, but the Annenberg projects typically
own all distribution rights for the products in which they have
provided production funding.
In general, I think it is worth remembering that for
nearly 30 years the programs of public television have had an
undisputed place in the core of America's cultural treasure.
CPB therefore has a very strong interest in the
physical preservation of that legacy for scholarly and artistic
The Public Broadcasting Act in fact authorizes CPB to
establish and maintain or contribute to a library and archives of
non-commercial educational and cultural radio and television
As CPB is primarily a grant making organization,
original production materials or high quality master tapes rarely
come into CPB's custody.
Therefore, our strong interest in preservation is
largely effected through other parties, principally through the
program makers from whom you have heard.
In addition though, for at least the last decade, CPB
has provided modest funding to the Museum of Television and Radio
in New York to support its archival and preservation activities.
During the last few years with CPB's funding, the
Museum has typically acquired about 30 hours of public television
programming per year and has catalogued, maintained and preserved
an additional 60 hours per year from earlier acquisitions they
CPB also periodically donates to the National Public
Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland the
television and video materials that we acquire when we make
production grants to program makers.
Typically a producer is required upon completion of the
program to deliver to CPB a reference copy of viewing quality.
CPB has already donated to the National Public
Broadcasting Archives most of its television and video materials
for the years 1969 through 1987.
Currently we have on hand videotape copies of
approximately 2,800 television and video programs, completed or
first broadcast on public television since 1987.
Additionally, the Annenberg/CPB projects have similar
copies of about 1,700 television and video programs completed
since 1983, all of which are still in video cassette
distribution. Master tapes for these Annenberg programs are in
the custody of the Annenberg projects' distribution contractor.
The collections of both CPB's television program fund
and the Annenberg/CPB projects will probably be growing more
slowly in the future than they have in recent years as fewer new
programs receive production funding from CPB as the funding of
CPB itself declines.
CPB does not undertake any special physical
preservation activities with respect to our own collections of
video and television materials nor are we aware of any
significant losses from those materials.
The materials in our collections are not typically made
available to researchers or outside parties until they have been
donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, at which
time we place in the donation no restrictions whatsoever on
making those materials available to researchers or other parties.
From the standpoint of a grant making organization, we
have no particular recommendations to offer you today with
respect to legal incentives that might encourage preservation.
But in general we do think that economic incentives
have a powerful effect, so that copyright holders will undertake
the preservation, if they stand to realize a financial gain from
the preservation of that material which they could not otherwise
obtain were it not preserved.
We are not experts in the nature and cost of physical
preservation activities and so I will not offer you any advice or
information on that score, but I would like to note that a
considerable part of any broadcaster's air time represents
material for which there is relatively little or no reasonable
expectation of subsequent viewer interest, or of reuse in the
normal activities of broadcasting.
Therefore, there is very little prospect that the
copyright holder to that material is likely to undertake that
I am talking here about interstitial material,
promotional material, commemorative material, all the kinds of
things that fill in the overall context of television and which
can be extraordinarily important to preserve for scholarly
purposes with relation to media studies.
In a sense, our view is that these are the materials
for which it is likely that the permanent record of American
television is most likely to depend on scholarly institutions
rather than on the owners of copyright in the materials
themselves. I would like to thank you again for the invitation.
I would be happy to answer any questions.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you.
Questions? Comments? David?
MR. FRANCIS: I think this has been a most valuable
panel, certainly for me, because it has helped to explain the
rather complicated nature of public television.
Obviously one of the things that the Library is worried
about, because it cannot undertake the entire preservation of
public television on its own, is duplication of effort.
It is clear that there is program material both at PBS,
at the affiliates, and possibly elsewhere. I am just wondering
if in CPB's grant giving capacity it could assist with what
several people have indicated is particularly important, namely
the preparation of an index of holdings in these different
locations. Then, any decision on preservation or the making of
access copies could be based on accurate information. I would
hate to think that we are duplicating the preservation of even
I do not know whether this is a feasible idea, but it
would be a most valuable service. If we could get information,
it would help us make intelligent decisions. We all want to
ensure that the programs are preserved and made accessible to
MR. COLTMAN: I feel certain that we would be very
happy to talk further with you about how we could make this
MR. MURPHY: Mr. Clatworthy, you said there were 345
stations in the PBS system. I wonder if you have a means of
communications with those stations to convey information about
preservation and storage requirements for videotape.
In the last few years, a lot of information has become
available and we do not know that people from the PBS stations
are participating in the archives movement. Some are, many are
How can we communicate with them to give them this new
information that is available?
MR. CLATWORTHY: Well, we have an electronic
communications system that just went into place last year and so
we do have the mechanism for distributing whatever archival
information we think is important. It is literally a matter of
pressing a button and it can be out there.
MR. MURPHY: Have you sounded the alarm about two-inch
tape, not so much the tape itself, but the problem of equipment
obsolescence and the growing difficulty of being able to find on
the one hand equipment and on the other the people with the
requisite skills to be able to transfer two-inch tape.
MR. CLATWORTHY: Sounded the alarm, no, I cannot say
that we have done that. I think all of us who are in the
producing or distribution game though have been generally aware
of what is happening to the system.
We have certainly been in touch with WETA, and I
believe that WGBH continues to have two-inch transfer capability.
The owners of large collections have been in
communication with each other as a rule, but no, I would not say
that the information has been transmitted to every station. I am
not sure what most stations are doing with their local two-inch
collections, if they still have them.
MR. BURKE: About what percentage of the station's
output over the air is local that is not distributed to others?
I mean WETA produces so many and WGBH produces so many.
MR. COLTMAN: On average of the total air time of
stations, about seven percent of the total air time is locally
MR. BURKE: Is that mostly news?
MR. COLTMAN: It is rarely news. In fact, most of the
news programs produced by local stations have gone out of
production in recent years. There have been a few recent start
ups, but it is mostly a public affairs discussion program sort of
MR. BURKE: I assume then since that is not of general
interest to everybody that not much is being done with that
MR. LIROFF: From an archival respect?
MR. BURKE: Yes.
MR. LIROFF: That is a safe assumption, yes. My guess
is and Bill would have to speak on behalf of WETA, at WGBH we do
not distinguish between national and local in terms of our
archival responsibilities, but that is driven largely because of
the volume of nationally distributed programming we have produced
over the years.
My guess is that smaller local stations, where the need
to over record on videotape because they did not have enough
money to save it or a place to store it that much of that
material is being lost.
MR. JARVIS: I think that is accurate that much of what
we do we do not distinguish between what is national and what is
Maybe we have the idea that everything we do has
national implications, but I think that primarily that would be
an issue for stations that do not produce the volume of materials
that a WGBH or WETA or maybe even WNET end up producing.
MR. CLATWORTHY: Fortunately, we do track anything that
goes out over our satellite interconnection. So anything that is
put on the satellite by any station at any point is going to be
stored in our traffic database.
However, there is no national registry for information
about local public television programs. So it is kind of a
silent problem. We only know that they are gone when someone
looks for them and they simply are not there anymore.
MR. BURKE: One other question does Corporation for
Public Broadcasting receive its funding only from the government?
MR. COLTMAN: About 98 percent of it.
MR. BURKE: But Ford or Mellon?
MR. COLTMAN: Yes, there are occasional philanthropic
MR. BURKE: Okay. Thank you.
MS. RINGER: I have been terribly concerned about the
future of public broadcasting. Maybe I should ask this question
of the next panel and maybe I will, but what do you see as the
effect of the new Communications Act on public broadcasting and
the political posture that we seem to find ourselves in?
What I am really saying is, are you all going to go
away in another 20 years or are you going to still be around?
MR. LIROFF: Well, the short answer is that if the
commercial media figure out a way to address the educational and
cultural needs of the society, then we ought to celebrate and
turn off the lights and go home. Forgive me my skepticism that
that is likely to occur.
MS. RINGER: I have a dish in the country and you had a
whole lot of channels there for awhile. Now I have trouble
getting one, but I can get all the A&E and the Bravo and this and
that that I want and I watch a lot more of them than I do of
public broadcasting anymore. This is just a personal observation.
MR. LIROFF: As of March 1, PBS has a feed on direct
TV, the direct satellite.
MS. RINGER: Yes, but I have the big dish.
MR. LIROFF: Well, if you have the big C band dish,
there is also a 24-hour--
MS. RINGER: Yes, but it does the same thing over and
over again. I cannot get NETV in Nebraska because it is not a
MR. LIROFF: To your question about the
Telecommunications Act and funding for public broadcasting, they
are really two largely separate issues.
That is the deregulation of the industry and this
massive rewrite of the regulation will have relatively little
direct effect on the funding for public broadcasting, which is
just these days being debated in Congress.
Congressman Jack Field's committee in the House, Larry
Pressler's committee in the Senate are considering funding for
One of the proposals that has been put forward is the
creation of a trust fund of sufficient size so that the interest
produced by that trust fund would allow public broadcasting not
to have to go back to the government for annual appropriations.
That is being debated literally these weeks. Without
being sure of the outcome, we believe that we have dodged the
zero-them-out bullet, but it is likely that we are going to take
our lumps in whatever decisions are going to be made.
MS. RINGER: Also, this is just one year, and of course
this could keep coming up over and over again. What I see is
enormous concentrations of power in communications as a result of
that Act that I think is like to freeze you all out in the long
run. I sincerely hope I am wrong.
MR. LIROFF: Again, I am confident that the need for
the kinds of services we provide will continue, whether the
funding to support that will be there is the question.
MR. MURPHY: Barry, you mentioned the possibility of a
national registry for television materials. Has Peabody ever
issued an award for television preservation and if not, do you
think that that might be a good idea to develop public awareness
of the value of preserving television materials?
MR. SHERMAN: I think that is an excellent idea.
Ironically enough, we did get the AMC film preservation effort
entered. It did not win last year.
I think Peabody is an appropriate venue if not the
appropriate venue and I have often said that we can, in concert
with the library, be the knight in shining armor.
We have all heard as recently as this morning John
Lynch's continuing problems and other individual archives
continuing problems dealing with the networks and what they
rightly see as something they have copyright interest in and
after market, if you will.
In the new technologies we were discussing at lunch,
that probably for the first time there is an appreciation for the
archive in a television station or network, because it is an
Ted Turner proved to everyone that the value of your
company is based on what is on the shelf and a lot of these
stations regardless of the condition, the fact that they have
some archive on the shelf creates an asset value for them.
Getting back to your question, I think such a panel,
such a committee as was established for film preservation could
unite each of the major production entities, the Peabody and
other agents of recognition.
I think of the Emmy NATAS as well and even perhaps some
of the major market or regional Emmy operations, because together
we could all identify both national and local programs of
significant value and say, regardless of who owns that, let's
attempt to preserve it and maintain it.
I think it would give the publicity hook that frankly
film preservation has enjoyed for about a decade now. I think
the typical viewer thinks: "Gee, every show must exist because it
is TV and it is on VHS."
I think nothing could be further from the truth, as we
all know, but the lack of public awareness, indeed the boomerang
effect, the public perception that indeed television is being
preserved and being preserved in a user friendly fashion.
I think we really have to attack that and address that,
while frankly many of these superstar anchors are still with us.
We have a lot of persuasive ability with those target groups.
I can see Oprah doing a series of spots. Nevertheless,
I think Peabody is one agency and that as I was listening,
thinking through our list, if we were trying to put together that
first list, we could start with the winners list.
That would be both national and local and indeed some
international programs, though I think our mandate here is
clearly American television video heritage.
MR. MURPHY: Well, panelists thank you very much.
We will now take a 15-minute break.
[Whereupon, a short recess was taken.]
MR. MURPHY: Welcome back. We are going to continue
with our next panel of broadcasters and production organizations.
The first speaker will be Elizabeth Sullivan, Library Manager,
CNN, the Washington Bureau.
STATEMENT OF KATHY CHRISTENSEN, PRESENTED BY ELIZABETH SULLIVAN,
CNN, LIBRARY MANAGER, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU
MS. SULLIVAN: Thank you and hello. I am here to
deliver the prepared remarks of Kathy Christensen, who is CNN's
vice-president for news, archives and research. Kathy is home
with the flu exacerbated by a frog in her throat.
In producing 24-hour news programming, CNN gathers a
large amount of video from around the world on a daily basis.
This material consists of video shot by CNN camera crews and
items acquired from other television stations and news agencies.
The role of the archive is to support the production
needs of CNN's cable networks, CNN, Headline News, CNN
International and CNNfn, as well as other endeavors such as CNN
Interactive, the Airport Channel and CNN NewSource.
The archive contains new video from 1980 to the present
and in terms of format the collection consists of one-inch reels,
three-quarter inch cassettes, Betacam and Beta SP cassettes, with
the largest percentage being on Beta tape.
The format of archive material is determined by the
production format of the network. Deadlines can be very short,
given the live 24-hour nature of CNN and archive video must be
capable of immediate playback for editing purposes.
Given that edit facilities at CNN are equipped with
analog Beta machines, the predominant format of the archive is
Beta SP tape.
The physical environment for the CNN collection is
adequate, though not ideal. The temperature, relative humidity
and fire protection are that of an air conditioned office
The CNN archive is relatively young and we are now
beginning to address preservation issues. We have not yet
devoted significant resources to a formal preservation project
though some of the early one-inch reels have been transferred to
Beta SP tape.
The main archive collection is housed at the network's
headquarters in Atlanta and for the most part represents material
that is fed into Atlanta.
We also have a number of branch libraries in various
CNN bureaus and these collections are made up of the field tapes
shot by the bureau camera crews.
The libraries in the larger bureaus catalogue their
material in the central library computer system. The Atlanta
library has duplicate copies of only a very few items and the
tapes in our bureau collection function as backup for a
significant amount of our news coverage.
The library is responsible for determining what will be
archived and what will not be kept. With round-the-clock
programming, we do not keep a copy of every hour of CNN air.
CNN consists of two types of material. Anchored news
programs and feature shows such as Larry King Live, Crossfire and
Inside Politics. We do archive the feature shows in a program
For the news shows, however, what we archive is not the
program itself, but the video from the news that is covered on
We keep all edited stories by CNN reporters, selected
stories from our affiliates and the raw video associated with
news stories and events, material that lacks a narrative audio
track and may be anywhere from a couple minutes to several hours
There are exceptions to this policy and that comes for
live coverage of major stories. We have, for example, CNN's
program coverage of the dismantling of the Berlin wall, the
Oklahoma City bombing, the Soviet coup, the LA riots and of
course we have each hour of programming for the six weeks of the
CNN video is catalogued in a computerized database
which contains approximately 600,000 records. The majority of
the records include both bibliographic data and video
Bibliographic data consists of the title, date, length,
reporter name, type, such as package, program, raw, et cetera,
geographic locations and basic key words such as personal and
corporate names and subject terms.
The video descriptions are detailed logs that tell you
exactly what is seen. The remaining records consist of
bibliographic data only.
Up until recently, no one outside of the company has
had direct access to information about materials in the archive,
with research being provided by library staff to clients
interested in licensing video for rebroadcast or in-house
production use and to viewers who want a copy of a program or
story for viewing purposes.
We have now placed approximately 30,000 database
records on a Website that is geared primarily to those
individuals interested in video for production use. We are
considering placement of the entire database on the Web to allow
access for other purposes, such as research by scholars and
As a professional librarian, my particular interests
and expertise fall into the area of cataloguing and access. The
effort that we devote to physical preservation of video will have
no real meaning without adequate cataloguing.
Intellectual control is essential. If you do not
catalogue a collection well, you simply have a roomful or a
warehouse full of tapes. It is a dead thing. A morgue.
One of the most daunting aspects of a national
preservation program is the shear volume of television material
that exists and each month and year it grows even larger.
CNN recently began a project to place a copy of its
Gulf War programming with the Library of Congress. Six weeks of
24-hour coverage. It took us three months to dub exactly one
I would like to see the Library of Congress establish a
facility that would allow for off-air taping of television
programs. This would obviously be a large undertaking, but it
would centralize the process and eliminate all the resources now
devoted to acquiring material from the networks.
What the networks could provide would be the
cataloguing of the material in digitized form. This is perhaps a
pipe dream on my part, according to Kathy, but I would like to at
least put it on the table as we discuss preserving and providing
access to television programs.
The archives of the news networks represent a distinct
component of the country's television and video heritage. While
entertainment programming provides an interpretative view of our
culture, news video is a historical record of social, economic
and political issues and events both domestic and international.
The primary mission of a network news archive is to
support the production needs of the network. Because
preservation and cataloguing are important factors toward meeting
that aim, I believe we have a framework for coordinating the
efforts of news archives and those of a national preservation
I would like to contribute to establishing such a
program and I look forward to any assistance that the Library of
Congress is able to provide. Thank you.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you.
Let's turn to our next speaker, Mr. Peter Gardiner,
Vice-President, Corporate Film/Video Services of Warner Bros.
STATEMENT OF PETER GARDINER,
WARNER BROS., VICE-PRESIDENT, CORPORATE FILM/VIDEO SERVICES
MR. GARDINER: Good afternoon. Thank you for
accommodating our schedule so that I could speak to you today for
Warner Bros. instead of at the Los Angeles hearings. I
I would also like to add to Mr. Liroff's comments about
papers. Warner has two archives, the film archive building which
houses the elements and does the cataloguing, but also a
corporate archive, which is administered by Lee Adams and we have
made many donations to UCLA, USC and continue to keep some of
this material with us on the lot.
In doing The Wild Bunch restoration and in doing the
Giant restoration the existence of all of this old paper work and
all of these old paper materials proved invaluable, especially in
The Wild Bunch restoration because there were a lot of opinions
regarding what was and what was not Mr. Peckinpah's cut.
It was amazing how many people, as I just said to
Mr. Liroff, wanted the movie to be the way they wanted it, rather
than the way Mr. Peckinpah wanted it. The paper work that we had
was in fact the one that proved which version was correct. So it
was a very valuable remark and I have already made use of the
retention of that paper work.
The preservation and protection of television elements
is varied and complicated due to the large amount of material and
the multiple forms of media that can be used to produce, finish
and deliver programming for TV.
The issues relating to public access and specific
budgets will not be addressed here as they are Time-Warner and
Warner Bros. Corporate matters. However, the following is what
Warner Bros. is currently doing to protect and preserve our
various television elements.
The old shows that were originated in black-and-white
film or the Warner classics as they are called, these are
protected by black-and-white fine grain masters, most of which
are composite and some of these contain the actual original
commercials as aired.
We have the original negatives as well and in many
cases magnetic masters and/or separate sound track negatives.
Many of these classic Warner Bros. shows from the
1950's, such as 77 Sunset Strip and Maverick have also been
mastered to D-1 digital videotape.
The older shows originating on color film have been
affected by the explosive growth of the international television
market and this has caused an extensive remastering program to be
New interpositive elements are being created from the
original negatives to meet the technical specifications of the
program and therefore because historically television materials
were not protected because of budget constraints, these new
interpositives will now be added to the archive library.
This affects series as well as movies of the week and
in some classes perennial classics such as Roots are also
protected by silver separation Y.C.M.'s.
Old shows originating on videotape have been subjected
to rerecording. The two-inch library has been pretty much
completely done and the older one-inch we are currently looking
They have been rerecorded to D-1 or DCT and any video
original material in the library is part of an ongoing process of
evaluation and re-recording as necessary.
Any magnetic sound restoration or preservation for the
film material in the above categories takes place at the Warner
Hollywood Sound Archives Facility, which was built for the
overall archives and preservation program and does both feature
and television work.
New production has a comprehensive standard that must
be adhered to. The standard was written with the understanding
that it covers not only current production delivery but future
asset management and archive issues as well.
This includes the use of 35mm negative which must be
cut regardless of whether the show as finished on video or not.
Guidelines that relate to the use of 3-perf and 16mm,
both of which must also be cut, as well as shows that original on
video also have specific standards for both video and audio
production and delivery.
A few quotes from this format policy to illustrate the
protection hopefully for the future. Item A is a 35mm, 4-perf
negative composed in the camera 1.33, but protected for 1.78 in
accordance with attachment A.
Whether or not the show is finished on videotape, a
fully cut negative including AB cut negative for simple opticals
and final cut composite negative for all others must be delivered
on a prompt basis to assure timely delivery of PAL transfers.
Further down in the standard, whether three or 4-perf
is used, careful composition in the camera must ensure that such
things as electronic repositioning are utilized only when
When electronic fixes are needed, complete
justification as well as documentation for the work performed
must be provided. This is essential for the proper creation of
current PAL masters as well as the recreation of the program for
future format masters, which as well all know could be
practically anything these days.
The use of super 16 as a third alternative is only
acceptable with the express prior approval of Warner Bros.
Corporate management and the cut super 16 negative must be
delivered as in 35mm production.
So we are trying very hard to continue to create
archival material wherever possible so that we hopefully can
anticipate future format changes, et cetera.
In the interest of time, you will have a current copy
of the standard for your reference.
A related issue is that of video only finish, even
though the original is photographed on film. The production
standard was created partially to ensure that the original
negative is cut under almost all conditions.
However, Warner Bros. has done tests on shows that we
own, almost entirely by acquisition I would like to add, wherein
we successfully completed the reconstruction of uncut negative
for shows that were finished on video, but unfortunately at a
very high cost.
As you already know, Warner Bros. has constructed a
state-of-the-art archive facility on the Burbank lot. The cut
original negative and master video elements that are created for
television are stored here, as well as the materials from the
classic television years that we are most fortunate to have.
Cataloguing and inspection are done at this time and we
are continuing to combine the television and feature cataloguing
and computer archive systems and they are constantly also being
reevaluated because not only do we find now that we have format
problems on the actual material, we are beginning to have format
problems in the programs for the archives that we are trying to
catalogue. So it only seems to get more complicated as we go
Additionally, Warner Bros. is exploring the impact and
use of new technologies, including digital storage systems, new
production formats and techniques, technologies and development
and ways to solve the problems relating to the preservation and
restoration of older video elements, due to continuing machine
and format obsolescence.
This is being done at Warner Bros. as a comprehensive
project that includes all phases of production, distribution,
archives and preservation and the potential use of the emerging
new technologies for all of these related areas. Thank you.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you.
Finally for this panel Mr. John Craddock, the Director
of Post Production, East Coast Business Affairs for Home Box
Office in New York. John.
STATEMENT OF JOHN CRADDOCK, HOME BOX OFFICE, DIRECTOR, POST
PRODUCTION, EAST COAST BUSINESS AFFAIRS
MR. CRADDOCK: Thank you. I speak to you today
representing HBO and really wearing two hats, both as a former
professional librarian and as a film editor with 20 years of
experience as a post production specialist in the production and
distribution of films and videotape to non-theatrical, television
and feature film markets, both domestically and internationally.
For the past four and a half years, I have been
director of post production for HBO's east coast production unit
and head of its post delivery planning and operations team.
Home Box Office, now a Time-Warner Entertainment
Company, is a pay cable television service established in 1972 on
which subscribers can see first run theatrical movies uncut,
uncensored and uninterrupted by commercial breaks within a few
months of their first theatrical release.
This concept revolutionized cable from being simply a
way to improve reception into a completely new medium and remains
the core of HBO's programming today.
From the beginning, HBO also licensed the transmission
of live sports events. Its very first transmission was a
Vancouver-New York hockey game in 1972. Other early highlights
included such major events as the Mohammed Ali/Joe Frazier fight
However, to create a unique identity, HBO has also
produced original programming to support the feature film
presentations licensed from the major studios and independent
In 1976, we produced our first original. Robert Klein,
on Location, the first of 444 stand-up comedy programs which
helped revolutionize the presentation of comedy on television in
In the past 20 years, we have produced almost 3,500
programs to which we still hold rights to over 2,800. In
addition to the comedy specials, these include nearly 200
documentaries, 135 feature films, 720 sports specials and over
1,000 episodes of series of various kinds, ranging from Not
Necessarily the News to Inside the NFL and the Larry Sanders
Show, plus nearly a thousand music and family specials.
A quantity of production and I might add a quality of
production that is unrivaled in the cable industry. If our
recent record for producing Oscar and Emmy award-winning programs
is any indication, then perhaps in the television industry as a
In fact, it was one of our productions, One Survivor
Remembers, that won the Academy award for the best documentary
short subject last night.
In the documentary field we may now be the largest
single producer of long form socially conscious programming
outside the grant supported sector and public television using
some of the finest documentary film makers working today,
tackling controversial subjects in a depth you will not find in
the magazine formats of commercial television.
Our original feature films have through the strength of
their scripts attracted actors and directors who do not normally
work in television creating a niche of quality programs such as
in And the Band Played On, Citizen X, Truman and Tuskegee Airmen
that could not have been made for commercial television. It is
these programs with which we are concerned today.
It could be safely said that HBO has a copy of every
program it has produced since 1976 and this includes much of the
pre-print film, audio and video material that goes into the
making of the program.
Many of these programs are produced under license
agreements, under the terms of which we are delivered a videotape
which remains the property of the copyright holder, but from
which we can make as many copies as we need.
We also have the right of access to other pre-print
materials in the producer's possession for the duration of the
license, which is generally the copyright term.
We now have eight different production units. HBO
Original Programming on the east and west coasts, HBO Picture and
HBO NYC which produce feature films, HBO Sports, HBO Independent
Productions and HBO Downtown Productions which produce
programming for other networks and HBO On-Air, which produced our
promotional material, each with a different mandate and each
functioning with a great deal of autonomy.
The rapidity with which HBO expanded its production
capacity has led to some inconsistency in delivery and retention
policy from unit to unit.
In response to this, a post delivery policy and
planning report was prepared last year in which the materials
that are essential to the retention of a title were evaluated and
a company wide archiving policy was adopted.
For example, original cut negatives, final sound
masters and the separate pre-mix tracks generally known as stems
will be kept in perpetuity or for the duration of the license,
whereas the disposition of negative out takes and production
sound tapes will be reviewed after five years, that being
considered the period during which any changes to meet marketing
or creative interests are most likely to occur. Working elements
that can be easily reproduced from the originals will be reviewed
after one year.
I should add that in the case of documentaries the
license agreement usually precludes the reuse of the out takes in
any other program. So, they are not available as a stock footage
We acknowledge that the explosion of interest in
American television programming overseas has stimulated interest
in preserving these assets for us in other markets.
It now makes good business sense to plan more carefully
for international use so that elements such as fully filled music
and effects tracks for dubbing into other languages and textless
backgrounds for title and subtitles are now a standard part of
our delivery requirements.
It was with this need in mind that we are expanding the
database created by HBO Studios, which bar codes and tracks all
the elements that have passed through its doors to include
elements that are in storage in our name in other parts of the
United States and other countries or to which the producer has
given us the right of access.
Our interest in preservation was further accelerated by
the problems involved in remastering the Time Life Films
catalogue which we now administer.
This consists of 192 feature length films, six
documentary series, including five seasons of the Wild Wild World
of Animals, all made originally for broadcast by the commercial
networks in the early 1970's and licensed to Time Life for
domestic syndication and international distribution.
Time Life originally took delivery of these on 16mm
reduction negatives, which was the medium for television
distribution at the time, but had the right of access to 35mm
The 16's no longer meet today's television standards
and the existing one-inch masters made during the early 1980's
are equally unacceptable.
Time Life Films went out of business in 1980 and its
files lay dormant for some time. Some of the labs and vaults
where materials were stored have also gone out of business.
Tracing the whereabouts and availability of the
original film elements today is a paper chase requiring
determined research. When we do locate the originals, we
frequently find that there is no interpositive, placing the aging
original negative at risk.
This experience has been an object lesson in the
importance of maintaining constant vigilance of both the records
and the materials themselves.
I am pleased to say that we have now allocated funds to
make protection interpositives of all these pictures, which also
serve as a source for remastering to digital tape in order to
service the renewed interest in their distribution.
With our consciousness raised by the problems attached
to the Time Life Films collection, we are also addressing issues
of protection and longevity for HBO's own productions.
We now recognize the importance of keeping copies of
programs in separate locations. Current air masters and their
back ups are kept at our transmission center at Hauppauge on Long
Island and at the HBO Studios on 23rd Street in Manhattan.
The main library of our back list of videotapes is kept
at a storage facility in Manhattan a few blocks away. Still more
material is in vaults in New Jersey and the bulk of our west
coast inventory is in storage in north Hollywood.
We also have materials in storage in London and in
Toronto. The bulk of the film negative are held by the labs that
originally process the film. All of these facilities are fully
professional, industry recognized vaults that conform to the
temperature and humidity standards recommended for the short and
mid-term storage of film and videotape.
We are now addressing the issue of long-term storage of
film negative and are considering options for the refrigerated
storage of this material.
We are also transferring older negative originals and
magnetic sound masters to inert plastic containers to further
ensure their future stability. In all, there must be nearly
100,000 film and tape elements in storage between our various
Although we can rest comfortably with the knowledge
that the videotapes of all our programs do exist, we cannot be as
secure about their future.
Other witnesses have reminded you of the short life
expectancy of videotape itself and of the proliferation of
incompatible formats which rise and wane with often alarming
So, I will not belabor that point any further, except
to say that HBO itself has progresses from two-inch to one-inch
to D-2, briefly to DCT and we are now engaged in remastering all
of our air product to digital Betacam, which looks as if it will
be the domestic and international standard for the next few years
As the collection continues to grow, perpetual
retransferring will become a financial burden difficult to bear.
At present we only examine and retransfer as a program reenters
our transmission cycle, which in the case of older programming
will become less and less frequent.
As interest diminishes, we will have to determine what
to preserve in the newer medium. As you have been told by other
witnesses, the problem of selection is further aggravated by the
near impossibility of determining what posterity will find
Another serious factor we have to contend with is the
rapid expansion of random access electronic editing by means of
computer technology with such machines as the Avid and the
For our major dramatic productions, we do still cut
negative, create interpositives and transfer directly from edited
film to tape.
As film is a longer laster storage medium, we are fully
protected for transfer to new media of transmission in the
future, such as high definition television.
For documentaries and family programming and series,
the future is not as secure. Even though the edit decision lists
created by the computer allow for match back to the film
negative, the negative is not usually cut at the present time.
In fact, on many of these programs, it is a mix media
of part film, part videos. There is no intact negative possible
for the entire production, but in theory it can be cut at a
However, the rapidity of change in the computer world
could leave our successors in 20 years time with no hardware that
can play back today's software and therein lies a future of
further obstacles to remastering this valuable material for
In conclusion, I would like to say that as a former
librarian I am by nature a collector and it distresses me to see
anything discarded that one day might be of interest to someone
However, reality bites. Joni Mitchell once sang that
they paved paradise and put up a parking lot. Substitute film
storage vaults and you will recognize our dilemma. However, I
see some hope.
The improvements in compression technologies and the
development of new storage mediums, such as the digital disc, may
prove to be the safeguard for this medium that microfilm and
microfiche were for the printed page, enabling us to preserve for
the future without forever expanding the footprint it now takes
to do so.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much.
David, do you want to start?
MR. MURPHY: Well, let me start. Ms. Sullivan, by now
CNN has acquired tens of thousands of field cassettes; perhaps
over 100,000. Are all of those saved? Are you weeding them out
and if so, what criteria are being used?
MS. SULLIVAN: Well, that is a good question and I have
to tell you that I have been the library manager in the D.C.
Bureau for a little over a year so I am still trying to sort
through the collection that we have in Washington, D.C., the
video collection, which exceeds 50,000.
I can tell you that we are still trying to figure out
the role of headquarters, the library in Atlanta as it relates to
the bureau libraries. It is important to point out that
sometimes bureau needs differ from Atlanta's with respect to
weeding and selection of tape.
So, I can speak for the D.C. bureau and our selection
process. We receive over a 100 tapes a day and right now we have
trucks full of video that we are either trying to integrate into
the collection, catalogue or discard, but generally what we do is
receive the tapes daily and we decide whether to keep them based
on their importance with respect to what is currently important,
and deemed to be of historical significance.
I should point out that much of the tape we receive is
also in the Atlanta library. I have to say that sometimes it is
a difficult judgment call to make. We also have a shelf of what
we call 30-day tapes (kept for 30 days) that are comprised of
hearings and press conferences.
Overwhelmingly we receive politically related video.
We decide whether this material is going to be 30-dayed, but then
we have a lot of input from our editors, who can look into the
database and see that something has been 30-dayed and that it is
not slated to become a part of the permanent collection and we
are in sometimes a difficult situation because after all, they
know the collection very well and they use it incessantly.
So, it is a fine line as archivists and librarians
making decisions about what we are going to keep based on its
value for the short-term, but then we have editors who also like
to have input into this process.
So what we try to do is be as embracing as we can,
since they do use the material and they know the collection, but
sometimes we just have to impose a decision on them.
I know Kathy has some fairly stringent guidelines. It
is not that we do not, but I have to say that I am fairly new and
I am still trying to sort through this collection. I come from
audio. I used to be at National Public Radio and I was acting
manager of their audiotape collection. This is quite a leap from
audio to video.
MR. FRANCIS: You have described a very impressive
There are a large number of cable networks springing up
all over the place. A lot of them are undertaking production in
some way or other.
Is there any cable network organization where issues
like preservation are discussed, or could be discussed? I am
really not sure how the cable industry is organized as regards
communication between the cable operators.
MR. CRADDOCK: Not that I am aware of at this level.
There may be some sort of loose association of cable managements
to serve their special interests in dealing with government
regulation or so forth, but I do not think this kind of subject
has ever been discussed.
MR. MURPHY: Peter, first a brief question. Is
geographical disbursal part of your preservation strategy for
MR. GARDINER: Yes. Generally what has happened is
that since we do retain multiple copies and we have our own
facilities, such as California video center down by the airport
as well as the building and the building is divided, plus we have
secondary storage on the lot.
Materials are moved around so that the same copies are
not in the same place. The original negatives and the
interpositives are stored separately as well.
MR. MURPHY: Okay. The public often identifies the
most popular television programs with the networks that broadcast
them, but in fact the programs, especially those on prime time,
are owned by the producers or production studios like Warner
What is the line of demarcation between what the
networks own and what the studios own? How do you go about
retrieving your materials or do you?
MR. GARDINER: Well, generally what has happened is, it
is, even though as you point out the networks are the entity
identified with the show, the materials are actually produced by
us and we distribute to the networks.
So essentially they have the air copy and/or the air
tape or whatever. The medium. We retain all of the production
materials and storage materials for time. So if we need
something in the future, we generally do not go back to them,
because we have also retained it at the studio.
MS. RINGER: Just a couple questions. This is for my
own information. Warner Bros. owns HBO, right?
MR. CRADDOCK: Time-Warner owns both.
MS. RINGER: Time-Warner owns HBO.
MR. CRADDOCK: Yes.
MS. RINGER: Who owns Time-Warner?
MR. GARDINER: Time-Warner owns Time-Warner and
Time-Warner owns Warner Bros. It gets confusing because the
Warner is in Time-Warner and Warner Bros.
MS. RINGER: Time-Warner is independent. Where does
Turner fit into this?
MR. GARDINER: This is on the record and I am here in
MS. RINGER: You do not need to answer that.
MR. GARDINER: I can answer it by telling you that it
is a good question. I can also answer by telling you we have all
been asked not to discuss the very question.
MS. RINGER: Okay. My only other question involves the
physical masses and masses of stuff you all have. How much of it
is in digital form? How much of it has been recorded digitally?
Do you know? Let me go down the row.
MS. SULLIVAN: Okay. Once again, very little in
Atlanta and nothing in the D.C. bureau, but I should point out
that right now the New York bureau is doing some digital
recording and storage.
MS. RINGER: Do you have any idea how much is planned
for the future?
MS. SULLIVAN: Well, I think that is what everyone is
talking about, that is are we going to move towards digital
storage, but nobody that I know of seems to have any time line
when that might be accomplished.
MS. RINGER: Well, it seems clear from what has been
said today that the more of that the easier it will be to
MS. SULLIVAN: Right. Of course it is tremendously
MS. RINGER: Yes.
MS. SULLIVAN: Not that that is a reason not to do it,
if that is what should be done, but I think--
MS. RINGER: Retrospectively, but if you do it at the
MS. SULLIVAN: I agree. I was just talking about that
earlier today that if we were ever going to do that, we would
have to just forget about any sort of retrospective endeavor and
just work from this point. We have the infrastructure to do it
and the means to do it, let's do it from this day forward.
MR. GARDINER: The rule of thumb basically is as I
pointed out earlier, it is somewhat ironic that the 77 Sunset
Strip, et cetera, are just out there in black and white film for
all these years before there was renewed interest and probably
never even saw a two-inch because it was aired as prints in those
days and everything else. Now it has all been recorded onto D-1.
You will also see in the production standard that
digital is now called for, for television production. So I think
probably from the standpoint of both the older material and new
production, you can pretty much look at the last three years, it
may be a little conservative.
That is the bench mark. The early 1990's for
everything going digital. Anything that is a re-record or
anything that is a re-record for preservation skips the media
that it is on and also goes directly to digital.
But from a point of view of how much has been done, it
is very hard to say because you are dealing with both the
historical material and also the news production.
MS. RINGER: Mr. Craddock?
MR. CRADDOCK: Well certainly everything we produced in
the past five years has been done digitally and anything that we
have rebroadcast in that time has been transferred to a digital
So I would say that is at least 1,000 programs, which I
would say that 2,800 we still have rights to, because our
production is accelerating all the time. This year our
production is going to be 50 percent higher than it was last
MS. RINGER: For the last--
MR. CRADDOCK: Five years.
MS. RINGER: --five years.
MR. CRADDOCK: So I would say at least 1,000 programs.
I should caution one thing there. It is usually the air master.
We always have at least three copies of a videotape.
There is either the original film to tape transfer from
a film negative or the electronically edited master that is
delivered to us, from which we make an air master and a back up
master, at least. Sometimes we have more copies than that.
MS. RINGER: Are you registering for copyright?
MR. CRADDOCK: Yes.
MS. RINGER: What do you deposit?
MR. CRADDOCK: Usually we send a 3/4" copy, but if we
are asked for something else, if we have film print, we can
MS. RINGER: You could supply?
MR. CRADDOCK: On some programs.
MS. RINGER: All right. Out of curiosity, do you
consider the digital as good as film in terms of quality?
MR. CRADDOCK: In terms of image quality, well it
reproduces as accurately as what is put on it in the first place.
MS. RINGER: I have heard with respect to these little
dishes that they only get four colors and that the quality is not
as good. That may be the transmission and not the recorded
MR. CRADDOCK: If that is the case, that would be the
MS. RINGER: Okay. Thank you.
MR. MURPHY: CNN does not register its programs for
copyright. Has there been any consideration or discussion about
changing that policy?
MS. SULLIVAN: I can answer this much and just say,
yes. I do not feel equipped to really elaborate. I hate to say
this, but I could have Kathy get back to all of you in greater
detail on many of these issues.
Again, in addition to having oversight of a video
collection, I also have oversight of day-to-day research. So, I
am not totally immersed in this as much as many of my colleagues
here today, but I have to tell you that I have learned an awful
lot. It has been very interesting.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much.
MS. SULLIVAN: Thank you.
MR. MURPHY: We will have our next panel.
We started out with a panel of two, but we had a last
minute cancellation and so Jim Lindner, president of Vidipax, has
the speaker's table to himself. I will now ask you to give your statement.
STATEMENT OF JAMES LINDNER, PRESIDENT, VIDIPAX, INC.
MR. Lindner. I have been fortunate to participate in
these proceedings as both a panel member and as a speaker today.
I would like to thank the Library of Congress for having these
hearings in the first place and for allowing me to participate in
both of these capacities.
In many ways I am fortunate being one of the last
speakers in this process. I have had the opportunity of hearing
many of the statements of those before me. Many of those
statements reported on many of the problems associated with
saving our videotape heritage.
There is little that I can add of substance in this
area. The point has been made many times. Simply put, magnetic
media was never designed to last forever and many institutions
and individuals around the world are finding our that their
collections are becoming difficult to properly play back for many
We are in serious danger of losing a significant part
of our visual and audio heritage, but that is very well known
now, indeed it was very well known before these hearings.
I would like my contribution then to be to offer some
ideas that can be implemented that are reasonable, cost effective
and can actually achieve something.
Before I do, I think it is important to briefly state
my background and therefore my position and biases on the
subject. I am the president of Vidipax, Inc., which is in the
magnetic media restoration business.
Our company is headquartered in Manhattan and we employ
about ten people whose main job is to save the materials we speak
of for our clients. One of our clients is the Library of
Congress and many of our clients have appeared as witnesses in
these proceedings and given statement.
Since its formation, Vidipax has saved literally
thousands of tapes and have been fortunate to receive awards for
our work. We try to publish articles on the subject as broadly
as possible to as wide an audience as possible and we also
frequently give educational seminars and speeches on an
Our clients come from many different geographical
regions, vary from individuals with a single tape of personal
interest to mega media conglomerates that have thousands of tapes
that are extremely valuable and document important historic
We literally have a museum of old equipment that we
maintain of many different formats and we have a storeroom filled
with these machines that we use largely for parts to keep the
main machines running properly.
Our staff is well trained and many of them are young,
so that the knowledge of how to run this equipment will not be
lost. As you know, most of the early operators of the equipment
have largely retired at this point in time.
Our rates are very reasonable and we assist artists and
independent video makers who are less able to financially afford
our services whenever possible.
Bottom line, we are a very small company that is proud
to do some very good work. We are not yet profitable, but we can
On a personal level, I am chairman of the board of the
Anthology Film Archives in New York, a non-profit organization
which is one of the largest archives for independent film and
video in the world. Anthology has struggled to survive for 25
years and truly is the home of independent film and video in this
In summary, my experience is in actually restoring
magnetic media and then helping many organizations and
individuals that have tapes that they need to play back.
The problems that we have heard in these hearings are
large and diverse and at first blush may seem hopeless. How can
one reconcile the diverse needs of independent video producers
and art organizations who have barely enough money to pay the
phone bill with the needs of large departments of larger
corporations whose images, which are known as their assets,
literally trace our history for 40 years and are now first
starting to realize some income from their investment, only to
have blatant copyright violations threaten their survival.
How does one reconcile the fact that manufacturers have
a direct economic incentive to introduce new video formats as
technology allows them to offer new and important features to
their customers to the plaintive cries of libraries and archives
asking for a single Holy Grail video or digital format to
transfer all of their materials to.
I would like to get back to this later after I have
read my prepared statement, because digital media has its own
problems, which need to be discussed.
These are not neat problems to address and many
solutions in fact may work at cross purposes to different groups
who all have their specific needs. There are some things that we
all share in common, however.
We all share the belief that at least some of this work
needs to be saved and we all share the fact that we are largely
dependent on the equipment and tape manufacturers to provide
products that are used in the production of video materials in
the first place.
As an aside, I am extremely disappointed that so few
manufacturers that have profited so greatly by making this
equipment and selling the tape have participated in this process.
Clearly they perceive that they have little to gain by
participating. After all, they have already sold the equipment
that has recorded the images and sold the tape that the images
are stored on.
Since most archives do not purchase much tape or
equipment, but rather inherit it, their lack of interest is
understandable although it is extremely disappointing and myopic.
I personally challenge the equipment and tape
manufacturers to remove their collective heads from the sand and
assist us in saving our visual heritage. Who knows? They
actually might make money doing it, once they give it a try.
But what is one big need that we all have that the
Library of Congress can assist in? We collectively share the
need to know more and the need to make sense and deal with the
huge volume of materials that are being generated every day.
Clearly the problems are difficult to neatly tie up in
a box and therefore the solutions are similarly ungainly. That
does not mean that they are hopeless and therefore should be
abandoned for more fertile fields.
Some of the suggestions made during these hearings,
while laudable, are virtually impossible to implement from an
economic and political standpoint. Indeed, some of them fall
beyond the purview of the Library of Congress and into private
industry and other organizations, both non-profit and government,
whose charter is more appropriate.
I personally do not feel that it is appropriate for
government to compete with the private sector and if there is a
need in the market for restoration and other services that need
will and has been responded to in the private sector by companies
such as ours.
I do think that there are many things that do fall
within the grasp of the Library that would make a real and
meaningful contribution that are relatively simple to implement
and that are appropriate to the role of the Library.
One of the biggest needs that we all share is to be
able to learn more about the problems that we share in common and
some of the solutions that have been offered. Contrary to common
belief, there is actually quite a bit of research that has
occurred in the past about different aspects of magnetic and
To that end, anyone doing research in this area has
been frustrated by the difficulty of getting articles and
research that has already been published.
Many of these periodicals are long out of print, were
produced by companies that have long stopped distributing them,
appeared in extremely limited circulation publications or are
very technical proceedings of symposia that have occurred on an
international basis with limited circulation.
As such, a bibliography should be undertaken that
broadly examines various aspects of the problems of magnetic
media, preservation and the associated issues of collection
Mr. Gerald Gibson of the Library of Congress has
produced a document that is a good start and those efforts should
be dramatically expanded. Creating a bibliography is one thing.
Actually being able to find and read the articles is another.
Unless one lives in Washington, D.C. or has access to a
very large university library and has a great deal of time to
spare, actually getting your hands on these periodicals, many of
which are long out of print from esoteric sources, is a virtual
If the Library could make a collection of these
articles and make the collection of these articles available
electronically, a great service would be provided.
Video materials that are not seen are not of much
interest to the general public and therefore die. As such, the
issue of access is important, but also building an audience for
the diversity of our video heritage is extremely important.
Screenings of diverse materials to a broad audience
across America will develop interest in video that few have seen
before. As such, the diversity of video becomes one of its
The Library could put together a show that traveled to
different cities all across America on the cultural history of
television and could have public screenings be a part of that
Many for profit organizations would benefit from such a
travelling show and I think that corporate sponsorship, perhaps
from some of those organizations that have testified at these
hearings, is very possible.
Such an exhibition could concentrate more on who we are
as people and the impact of television and video on us, as
opposed to being a show that simply panders to reruns of 1950's
situation comedies. I am sure that many of the smaller archives
would be extremely happy to participate in such a project.
Education, in my opinion, is an appropriate role for
the Library of Congress and unfortunately there is virtually no
education of today's video producers or film makers on how to
take care of materials that they handle on a daily basis so that
they will survive for the future.
Distributing a small brochure to film and video
students that outlines why preservation of these materials is
important and the role that the Library of Congress in preserving
our audio visual heritage would be very useful.
Further, producing a curriculum outline that could
denote one day in a film or video student's college education as
a media handling and preservation day would be extremely helpful
in building awareness and hopefully saving materials that we will
be trying to save 15 years from now.
Such a curriculum could include a video presentation on
how to handle media, on how the media materials are manufactured
and even discussing copyright issues from the source would I
think be extremely well received.
Again, I think corporate sponsorship of such an
initiative would be quite achievable if it is desired. I for one
would be happy to participate in such an effort.
Finally, a plea for the Library of Congress collection
itself. If there is an area where Congressional appropriation
should be requested, it should be here. The Library simply has
far too many materials now that are far too valuable for them not
to be protected.
The task at hand is far too large for those who are
expected to currently do it and the budget and therefore the
effort associated with the protection of video within the Library
of Congress is minuscule, particularly when compared to the large
budgets spent on preserving paper documents.
Simply put, magnetic media is an orphan even within the
Library of Congress. Even with external vendors such as our
company the rate at which Library of Congress is able to restore
its own materials is so slow, the resources so small, that much
of the material is doomed based on current appropriations.
Perhaps physician heal thyself is an appropriate
moniker. Nevertheless, many of the materials that the Library
currently has on deposit are already old and in a serious state
of deterioration. I know, because we have restored some of them.
A delay in restoring them will seal their fate forever.
Finally, I urge the Librarian of Congress to save the
materials already within the Library's custody and to take a
leadership position in being a role model for all libraries and
collections around the world.
Simply put, most librarians are paper people, having
been trained and having worked with paper for their entire
careers. I am not arguing against paper preservation, rather I
am arguing for magnetic media preservation and further argue for
the inclusion of magnetic media into Library Science and Archival
curricula, both within the Library and within the academic
community at large.
It is ironic that those who have been entrusted to save
these materials have received virtually no training on how to do
it and are extremely ill equipped to deal with the virtual tidal
wave of magnetic media that have already started to inundate
I urge the Library of Congress to take a leadership
position and demonstrate to the libraries of the world that
libraries are not just for books. Librarians, archivists and
curators must learn how to preserve and manage the many media
types that hold different types of information.
I argue for media equality or perhaps better put, I
argue for media parity. Our librarians and archivists must
embrace all media, because their expertise is a vital element in
the survival of our cultural heritage.
MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Jim.
MR. FRANCIS: You were going to talk about digital
technology. I really did not want us to go without hearing your
MR. LINDER: Yes. I think that there is a tendency for
people to discuss or think of digital as this magic solution to
everything. Frankly I am quite technical and digital does not
mean anything as such.
There are many different types of technology. There
are many different techniques for storing information, none of
which are perfect and all of which rely on media.
Frankly, if the piece of tape or media that the digital
information is stored on ends up as sort of a solid hockey puck,
it really does not matter whether it is ones or zeros or analog
information. The fact of the matter is, is that the failures
that we have seen are really media failures for the most part.
A particular concern as far as digital technology is a
concern that in many cases either you have everything or you have
nothing. I personally have seen many cases of digital recording,
some of which we have done ourselves, that have had problems
where you end up with literally nothing.
Digital tape is approximately one-third the thickness
of regular. Analog recording media. There is virtually no
long-term history on digital media to really tell us that it is
going to be around. The fact that it is one-third thinner I
think is a very great concern.
D-1 is an example that has been talked about this
afternoon. It is essentially an obsolete format. D-2 is hardly
manufactured by Sony. It is mostly on a special order type of a
There have been several new formats that have been
digital formats, which have very heavy compression, which I think
is of question and needs to be discussed. It is of questionable
value in an archive type environment.
So, I view digital media as having a whole host of
problems. We are going to start saying 15 years from now, gee,
why did we not do this? Why did we not do something else?
MR. FRANCIS: Can I just follow up on that? What do
you really recommend an archive does now, that is thinking about
a 100-year preservation cycle?
Should it be undertaking analog and digital
preservation or just analog? We have to make decisions about
this and I am worried about what we should be doing at this
MR. LINDER: A hundred years is sort of daunting for a
person such as myself, but I will take a shot at it. I think
that the most prudent decision is to spread the risk as widely as
That means having multiple copies on multiple formats,
both analog and digital, that are held in different locations so
the strength is in multiple formats of different types.
I think one thing that is clear is that whatever single
decision you make right now will be wrong. So, if you choose one
single format, forget it.
We recommend to most of our customers to minimally make
two copies, one on an analog format, which, despite whatever
else, we know how to make it play back, it may not be perfect,
but you can get an image, as opposed to a digital recording, when
sometimes you can get nothing.
MR. MURPHY: Jim, in earlier testimony witnesses
identified two-inch and half-inch open reel as crisis formats.
What, in your opinion, is the next crisis format?
MR. LINDER: In my opinion, three-quarter inch umatic
is by far the biggest long-term problem that we are facing. With
half-inch open reel, the tape sales were in the tens of
thousands. With quad, the tape sales were relatively small,
because they are so expensive and in limited distribution.
With three-quarter inch umatic, we have millions and
millions and millions of units out there, most of which have been
environmentally abused on a rather regular basis. We
are running 24 hours a day now doing umatic work, if that gives
you any indication. So umatic is a very, very severe concern.
MR. MURPHY: Well, I think we are at an end. I want to
thank you all very much for your attention and interest. Thank
(Whereupon, at 4:45 p.m. the hearing was adjourned.)
CASE TITLE: THE CURRENT STATE OF AMERICAN TELEVISION AND
VIDEO PRESERVATION: A PUBLIC HEARING
HEARING DATE: MARCH 26, 1996
LOCATION: WASHINGTON, D.C.
I hereby certify that the proceedings and evidence are
contained fully and accurately on the tapes and notes reported by
me at the hearing in the above case before the
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.
Date: April 9, 1996
GREGG J. POSS
Heritage Reporting Corporation
1220 L Street, N. W.
Washington, D. C. 20005