The American Archive of Public Broadcasting: From Repository to Resource

In June 2019, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded WGBH a grant to enhance usability of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The grant will support a two-pronged effort to make the AAPB a better resource for researchers, educators, academics and the public. The AAPB will work with Brandeis University’s Lab for Linguistics and Computation, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop open-source tools and workflows, to capture detailed metadata from AAPB radio and television programs. This metadata, descriptive information about the people, places, dates and conversations in the archive, is a powerful way to improve access and discoverability of content.

The grant from The Mellon Foundation also designates funds for increased outreach efforts and continued relationship-building with public media stations and other organizations across the country. AAPB staff will identify underserved and underrepresented regions and guide their public media stations through the process of securing grant funding for digitization. AAPB will continue proactive outreach to scholars and educators and supporting the advisory committees established by the Mellon Foundation’s previous grant. These relationships will help improve the diversity and representation in the AAPB’s content and improve access and usage of this vast resource.

This two-year grant follows The Mellon Foundation’s 2017, $1 miillion grant to WGBH which funded improvements to the AAPB’s intake capacity, collaborative initiatives and support systems for contributing stations.