Position Title: Assistant Archivist
Degree/Year: MSIS, 2009
“The iSchool prepared me for very well for a career as a media archivist, especially the hands-on instruction I had in media preservation.”
Emily Vinson (MSIS '09) is an Assistant Archivist working at WNYC (New York City's Public Radio Station) on a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project to digitize, catalog, and make available to the public 660 hours of recordings from the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC collection. The selected recordings have been chosen from among approximately 10,000 open reel tape and 13,000 lacquer transcription discs and include "dramas, parades, news conferences, musical performances, and interviews." When completed later this year, the reformatted items will be shared with the New York City Municipal Archives, the NYPL General Research Division, Rogers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, University of Maryland National Public Broadcasting Archives, the CUNY La Guardia and Wagner Archives and the Library of Congress.
Emily and another UT iSchool alumna, Haley Richardson, have have spent the better part of two years preparing these materials for public consumption. The work involves trips to and from the municipal archives to pick up materials and hours of cleaning materials to prepare for transfer. Each transfer occurs in real-time and the items are recorded at a sampling rate of 96kHz and 24 bits and then fully cataloged. Once completed, these recordings will be made available to the public and scholars in a variety of different ways.
Throughout the process of digitizing these recordings, Emily and Haley have been maintaining Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project blog, where some of the transferred recordings are made available in streaming audio format. They have also established a Twitter account for former NYC Mayor Fiorello La Guardia (@mayorlaguardia), a persona which has become a sort of patron saint for the project, where snippets from transcriptions of the recordings are tweeted as well as updates on the status of their digitization efforts.
Prior to working at WNYC, Emily was a fellow in Preservation Administration with the New York Public Library and she plans to continue working in media archives at the conclusion of the project.