Randall Library Receives Grant to Digitize Local News Footage

Thursday, October 24, 2019

UNCW’s Randall Library has received a $44,870 grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources for the digitization of over 1,400 u-matic tapes containing footage from local news station WWAY. The grant is part of CLIR’s “Recordings at Risk” initiative, a national program that supports the preservation of rare and unique media.
The tapes to be digitized span from 1982-1999 and constitute the portion of the collection most in danger due to their age, format and condition. Once digitized, the library will make all of the files freely available through its digital collections website.
“Right now, this local news footage covering a key time in the region’s history is unavailable because of the format on which it is housed,” said Nathan Saunders, associate director for library specialized collections at Randall Library. “Digitizing the tapes makes this important record freely available not only to students at UNCW, but to anyone around the world interested in southeastern North Carolina.”
Randall Library received the tapes from WWAY in 2018, along with their full support to make their content more readily available through digitization. According to Saunders, the preservation of the tapes constitutes a critical need due to their valuable subject matter and the rarity of such records.
“The footage contains a chronicle of a rapidly growing coastal region confronting a changing social and political landscape while navigating longstanding racial and environmental issues,” said Saunders. “These tapes are especially important because WWAY is one of only two area stations carrying television news since the 1960s and is the only station whose news collection is archived.”
In addition to Saunders, several individuals at Randall Library were involved in obtaining the grant, including Special Collections Librarian Rebecca Baugnon, Digital Initiatives Librarian Ashley Knox and Digital Projects Specialist John Knox. An important facet of the university’s Strategic Plan is to capitalize on key partnerships, strengths and employee interests to increase our community, regional and global impact.
This project is supported by a Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources. The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
--Christina Schechtman