New Television Workshop Collection

The WGBH Archives' New Television Workshop Collection Project

The WGBH Archives acquires, organizes, preserves and provides access to the WGBH Educational Foundation's historical records. In addition, the WGBH Archives manages the organization and preservation of the Foundation's current administrative records and production assets.

In 1997 the WGBH Archives was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant, #97-3471-6008. The purpose of the grant was to arrange and describe the documentation and production assets of a major experimental video art production center at WGBH, called the New Television Workshop (NTW). Materials in the NTW Collection include early video arts works that pre-dated organization of the New Television Workshop and ancillary but related video art works produced by WGBH.

The New Television Workshop Collection media materials were identified, appraised and reformatted in keeping with current WGBH preservation standards; video was remastered to Betacam SP for preservation and VHS for screening purposes. Photos were placed between glassine sheets and photocopied when necessary. Documentation was cleaned and refoldered.

The project cataloging model was based on existing standards in the moving image cataloging field. Works consulted included: Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts: A Cataloging Manual for Archival Repositories, Historical Societies, and Manuscript Libraries,compiled by Steven Hensen; Archival Moving Image Materials: A Cataloging Manualby Wendy White-Hensen; Moving Image Materials: Genre Terms,compiled by Martha M. Yee. The NTW project staff consulted the current revisions under consideration for the White-Hensen and Yee works. A collection level MARC record was submitted to the Research Libraries Group, Inc. (RLIN) bibliographic database.

Citations from theLibrary of Congress Subject Headingsand Moving Image Materials Genre Termswere assigned, with slight revision, to provide subject access. It has been assumed that the genre terms "personal/independent works" or "experimental works" (as it appears in the Library of Congress' draft revision toMoving Image Materials: Genre Terms) applied to all the works in the New Television Workshop Collection. To avoid redundancy, they were not assigned in the context of the NTW Finding Aid.

The NTW Collection was described in a relational FileMaker Pro 3.0v4 database. Using scripts designed by database consultant Thom Shepard, the contents were exported to static HTML pages, creating a web-accessible version of the NTW Finding Aid.

Samples of the New Television Workshop programs were selected to excerpt digitally. These were captured and compressed on an Apple PowerMac workstation, aided by Blue Ice compression hardware, and software from Media Cleaner Pro, Sorenson Video Developer, and QDesign Pro. Still frames from the clips were chosen and converted to JPEG image files. Artists and rights holders were contacted by the Rights Clearance Coordinator at the WGBH Resource Center.

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Please contact the WGBH Archives with comments and questions. Artists involved with the New Television Workshop are encouraged to communicate with us.