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WGBH: The Ten O'Clock News
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The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant #ND-10004-01 provided WGBH with funding to preserve 523 news tapes, catalog them, and create this Web site. The grant period was one year, from January 2002 to January 2003.

The tapes included in The Ten O'Clock News project were identified, appraised and preserved through the Media Access and Preservation Center at WGBH. All of the original tapes were on 3/4-inch videocassette, a videotape format that is nearly obsolete. As these tapes age, they deteriorate and become damaged. The Production Services Department at WGBH reformatted the tapes onto Betacam SP and digital Betacam for preservation, with VHS copies for screening purposes. The Betacam SP and digital Betacam masters are now stored in the Archive's temperature- and humidity-controlled vault. The original 3/4-inch cassettes have been retained.

The tapes included in the project belong to five distinct categories:
    Air checks
    Full-length news shows, either 30 minutes or 60 minutes in length. These shows were taped during the live broadcast. Some of the early air checks have visible time code from the original video recording.

    Edited story masters
    Three- to six-minute news stories or interviews prepared by reporters for the daily broadcast. Raw footage from the news stories was often added on to the end of these tapes.

    Original footage
    Tapes with raw footage shot for a news story. These tapes may include interviews or a reporter's introduction to a news story. Original footage tapes are also referred to as field tapes.

    Live feed
    These tapes were recorded from news feeds at live events such as press conferences.

    A compilation of related stories put together on a single videotape.

    Acquired tape
    News tapes acquired from television stations or news organizations other than WGBH.

A record for each tape was created in a Filemaker Pro 4.1 database. Most tapes do not have proper titles, and were assigned descriptive titles, which are indicated by brackets. Each record includes extensive description of the content of the tape, as well as information such as a title, the date and the names of reporters who worked on the news stories, as well as a link to an extensive log of the action and narration. The collection is searchable on-line using five criteria: subject keyword, personal name, corporate name, date and geographical location.

The Ten O'Clock News Web site includes 233 streaming video clips from the news tapes, varying in length from thirty seconds to three and a half minutes, with a total of 476 minutes of video. The video clips average two minutes in length. Some clips feature a news story in its entirety, while other clips are brief excerpts from interviews, air checks or original footage. Some footage and unlicensed third-party material has been edited out of some clips; these edits are indicated by one- to two-seconds of black where the edit was made. The clips were chosen to represent the diverse subject matter and different points in the time period covered by the project. A still image is included with the database record for those tapes not represented by a video clip.

Clips were taken from a mini DV copy of each tape using an Avid DV Express program. The clips were exported as QuickTime files and compressed on an Apple PowerMac workstation by members of the WGBH Interactive Department.

Limited paper files directly related to the 523 individual tapes are included in The Ten O'Clock News project. The presence of these files is indicated in the tape formats section of each record. These files belong to two categories:
    Some tapes have a corresponding file folder referred to as a log. These folders contain reporters' and editors' hand-written notes about original footage or sheets indicating the names of key figures in an edited news story.

    Day-to-day records of each Ten O'Clock News broadcast. The scripts contain the anchor's introduction to each news story and a list of the key figures in each news story.

Access to the collection was developed according to current standards in the moving image cataloging field. The subject keywords are modified Library of Congress subject headings. The metadata tags in each record are compliant with the Dublin Core metadata model.

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The Ten O'Clock News Project is a production of the WGBH Archives.
©2003 WGBH Educational Foundation.