reading notes: 25 years of C-Span

Browning, Robert. “Creating an Online Television Archive, 1987-2013.” International Journal of Digital Curation, no. 9.1 (2014). Accessed November 10, 2014. doi:10.2218/ijdc.v9i1.288

“By utilizing technology at the beginning, we kept pace and never fell behind in the collection, organization, and management of the information we recorded.” (p.10)

Browning’s recent article in IJDC provides insight into the successful development of a C-Span video archive over the past 25 years. It’s interesting to discover how an archive kept pace over a period (1987-2013) that saw such significant evolution in computing technology. Browning discusses the archive’s process for capturing video, selecting file formats, preserving and duplicating files, indexing and providing access. It strikes me that two key factors are at play in the success of this project—continuous collaboration with IT staff and steady funding/support of the archive. Browning doesn’t discuss either of these factors in depth, but the amount of indexing done for all content and the overall adaptability to change is truly impressive. The current access system for the C-Span Video Library is also really nice with cool features to help users save and share videos. I would really love to read more accounts like this of other successful (or not so successful) digital archiving projects that cover a wider range of file types and subject matter.

As of writing this post, the C-Span archive has captured 207,468.0700 hours of programming!

From the C-Span Video Library- Betsy Wade Oral History Video. Wade was the first woman copy reader at The New York Times and eventually a chief copy editor and columnist—and as an added bonus she begins the interview by sharing how important the public library was to her as a teen.

The reading notes posts found on this blog are intentionally question-filled and causal. Each notes post serves as a sort of open journal record of my professional development reading as the MIT Libraries Fellow for Digital Archives. See the introduction post for more on this series. I welcome suggestions for future readings—current or archival!

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