Evocative Video Collection of Houston History Now Available Online

Thanks to a TexTreasures grant funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), over 500 unique archival KUHT Collection videos have been digitized and are now available online.

Betty Ann Bowser and JD Houston, hosts of Almanac

Betty Ann Bowser and JD Houston, hosts of Almanac

Emily Vinson, audiovisual archivist in University of Houston Libraries Special Collections, collaborated with colleagues* to realize the project goal of preserving and making accessible a large scope of fragile video from the 1980s and 90s, and to accomplish this within one year.

The KUHT Collection is home to roughly 2,000 films and over 12,000 video assets, preserving the broadcast and production history of the nation’s first educational, non-profit television station. Notable and newly-digitized series from the collection include Almanac, The Capitol Report, J.D.’s Journal, and Ryan’s Roundtable. Scholars from a wide range of disciplines, as well as Houston history enthusiasts, will find high research value and interest in the collection, which provides an insightful and colorful snapshot of Houston and Texas in the late 20th century. Much of the content addresses critical issues in society and politics, such as race relations, the AIDS crisis, zoning and voter laws, crime, education, consumerism, prison reform, and immigration, many of which hold relevance today. Alongside the fast-paced news magazine formats, a number of human interest stories and documentaries are also accessible.

Viewers can find the video collection on the newly-released UH Libraries Audio/Video Repository, which is searchable and provides high-quality desktop and mobile playback. Powered by Avalon Media System, the repository was developed to accommodate the Libraries’ ever-growing audio and moving image collections.

Related: University of Houston Magazine | “Preserving the Past: Archivists are using today’s technology to ensure our history isn’t forgotten”

The TexTreasures grant provided funds for the digitization of the open-reel videotapes, a high-risk format with a lack of accessibility due to obsolete playback options; as well as compensation for the student assistants whose work on the project was integral to a successful outcome.

Vinson noted that the KUHT archive has been taken in by UH Special Collections over the past 15 years, and preservation efforts are ongoing. While previous projects include the digitization of early films from KUHT’s educational era, this is the first time that video from the collection has been translated and made widely accessible.

Visit the KUHT TexTreasures online exhibit.

TexTreasures is a yearly competitive grant program of TexShare, a consortium of Texas libraries joining together to share print and electronic materials, purchase online resources, and combine staff expertise. TexShare is administered by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC).

The TexTreasures awards are made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to TSLAC under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.

IMLS is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 123,000 libraries (link is external) and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

*The KUHT TexTreasures project could not have been completed without the expertise of a group of individuals comprising UH students and Libraries staff. Special thanks goes to Carolann Madden, Victoria Moreno, Jess Nowak, Anne Washington, Diana Dulek, Christin Zepeda, Bethany Scott, Marcus Elizondo, Sean Watkins, Andy Weidner, Matt Richardson, Drew Krewer, Christian Kelleher, Mary Manning, and Mark Cooper.

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Posted on October 18th, 2017 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on Evocative Video Collection of Houston History Now Available Online