Broadcasting Audiovisual Data is an initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to enhance discoverability of archival radio collections using a linked open data framework. A partnership between MITH and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the project is an expansion of the previous NEH-funded project Unlocking the Airwaves. While Airwaves was centered on virtually reuniting one set of geographically separated collections, the National Association of Educational Broadcasters' (NAEB) paper and media collections, Broadcasting A/V Data will connect the linked NAEB collections to three additional complementary collections of educational radio, community radio, and public radio history. These include The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) collections at UMD Libraries; the Wisconsin Public Radio (WHA) collections at University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries; and the WLB/KUOM collections at University of Minnesota Libraries.
Educational and public broadcasting collections are a window into the history of the American experience. These collections are not just about unique content. They’re also about unique people and organizations. We’ll use those people and organizations as connective tissue between siloed collections of historic radio to promote new discoveries not just about the history of broadcasting, but about the history of how Americans shared their stories with each other during some of our nation’s most culturally tumultuous decades.
MITH, UW-Madison and our content partners will also be building on the work of other national projects, including the Social Networks and Archival Context Cooperative (SNAC) project and Wikidata, both of which increase context and discoverability for archival collections through the use of linked data and archival authority aggregation. We will also extend and augment workflows for creating new data endpoints for increased access to all four collections. This will include surfacing select people and organizations to Wikipedia, and the creation of 'linked open exhibits' with a team of scholars who will craft new scholarship made possible by the newly-linked collections.
The project will be a model for future initiatives that seek to connect and contextualize disbursed a/v collections, by innovating new workflows and methods for integrating archival collections data in a way that reaches diverse user groups, ranging from expert scholars to the general public. Linking these collections will enable robust research across a number of fields across the humanities, including media studies, cultural history, sociology, and more.