In April of 2015, the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) was awarded a grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to develop a National Digital Stewardship Residency program focused specifically on the area of digital audiovisual preservation in the realm of public media. Over the course of the 27-month grant, the AAPB will send seven residents to serve out ten-month residencies in organizations that create and hold public media content, working to develop effective digital stewardship models for this crucial aspect of American heritage.
Like the ongoing NDSR programs in DC, Boston and New York, the AAPB NDSR is built around a cohort model and will feature a preliminary immersion course, an ongoing mentorship program, and frequent educational opportunities throughout the residency. However, rather than focusing on one geographic urban area, the AAPB NDSR will place residents at geographically distributed locations around the United States, encouraging the residents to use virtual networking to benefit individual projects and support the cohort.
Unlike previous residencies, the AAPB NDSR will also focus specifically on the unique challenges of preserving of digital audiovisual materials. This will allow residents to gain hands-on professional experience with this highly complex and high-risk area of content, which very few library and information science Master’s programs focus on in any detail. It will also help to address the lack of staffing of professional archivists at public television and radio organizations around the country. By providing skilled young professionals to work with the organizations in developing digital preservation plans for their material, the AAPB NDSR program will not only create a cohort of skilled professionals in the field of digital audiovisual preservation, but also play a key role in the ongoing preservation of public media content.