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WGBH Media Library and Archives announces findings of Assessment for Scholarly Use

1 February 2009

Report evaluates educational value of WGBH’s archival collection of over fifty years of television and radio holdings

Report and discussion forum available at

The WGBH Media Library and Archives has made available the findings of its Assessment for Scholarly Use, an examination of the public broadcaster’s television and radio holdings that date back 50 years. Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project sought to determine the educational value of WGBH’s archival collection for academic research and instruction by designing a model assessment tool and methodology available to any organization seeking to survey its audio-visual collections.

The report and model assessment tool are now available at Open Vault, a searchable online digital library featuring 1,200 multimedia clips drawn from WGBH programming. To access the report and tool, click on “About Us” at Visitors can also participate in a discussion forum where they can post comments and responses.

At the start of the evaluation, the MLA housed approximately 29,000 programs and 570,000 associated production media and documents. Through this project, staff completed the evaluation of all WGBH qualifying television programs and radio series as well as the WGBH Forum Network (an online archive of public lectures). Results show that the majority of WGBH’s archived holdings assessed have enduring value for academic audiences.

“We are excited by these results and hope that WGBH’s extensive media archives will make important contributions to scholarship and classroom learning in the future,” said MLA Director Karen Cariani. “We also hope that other organizations will adopt and adapt this assessment tool for their collections’ needs and invite them to share their feedback on our discussion forum.”
This is the first stage of the MLA’s Digital Library project, a proposed three-phase endeavor to create an online resource that provides scholars and educators access to WGBH archival content with research and classroom value. With the continued support of the Mellon Foundation, WGBH is currently working on Phase Two of the Digital Library, building a prototype specific to researchers’ needs in order to deliver archive content to scholars. This phase will be complete in the summer of 2009.

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such celebrated national PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other award-winning primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. Boston’s last remaining independent TV station, WGBH produces local TV productions (among them, Greater Boston, Basic Black and Maria Hinojosa One-on-One) that focus on the region’s diverse community, while WGBH 89.7 FM is Boston’s NPR Arts & Culture station, offering a rich menu of classical, jazz, blues, news programming and more. WGBH is the leading producer of online content for—one of the most-visited dot-org sites on the Internet—a major producer for public radio and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities. For its efforts, WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors, including Oscars, Emmys, Peabodys and duPont-Columbia Journalism Awards. Visit WGBH on the Web at

Press Contact:

Karen Frascona