TV News Record: McCain returns to vote, Spicer departs

A weekly round up on what’s happening and what we’re seeing at the TV News Archive by Katie Dahl and Nancy Watzman. Additional research by Robin Chin.

Last week, Sean Spicer left his White House post and Anthony Scaramucci, the new communications director, made his mark; Sen. John McCain, R., Ariz., returned to the Senate floor to debate–and cast a deciding vote on–health care reform; and fact-checkers examined claims about Trump’s off-the-record meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and more.

McCain shows up in D.C. – and on Face-O-Matic

Last week, after we launched Face-O-Matic, an experimental Slack app that recognizes the faces of top public officials when they appear on TV news, we received a request from an Arizona-based journalism organization to track Sen. John McCain, R., Ariz.. Soon after we added the senator’s visage to Face-O-Matic, we started getting the alerts.

News anchors talked about how McCain’s possible absence because of his brain cancer diagnosis could affect upcoming debates and votes on health care.

Reporters gave background on how the Senate has dealt with absences due to illness in the past.

Pundits discussed McCain’s character, and his daughter provided a “loving portrait.” Then coverage shifted to report the senator’s return to Washington, and late last night his key no vote on the “skinny” health care repeal.



White House: Spicer out, Scaramucci in 

After Sean Spicer resigned as White House communications director, Fox News and MSNBC offered reviews of his time at the podium.

On Fox News, Howard Kurtz introduced Spicer as someone “long known to reporters as an affable spokesman; he became the president’s pit bull,” and went on to give a run-down of his controversial relationship with the press. The conclusion, “He lasted exactly, six months.”

MSNBC offered a mashup of some of Spicer’s most famous statements. These include: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” and “But you had a – you know, someone who is as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

Late this week, Ryan Lizza published an article in The New Yorker based on a phone call he received from the new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, in which the new White House communications director used profanity to describe other members of the White House staff he accused of leaking information. That article soon became fodder for cable TV.



Schumer, Ryan weigh in on Mueller

As Special Counsel Robert Mueller widens his investigation into Russian interference in U.S. elections, speculation is running high on TV news that President Donald Trump might fire him.

Fox News ran a clip of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D., NY., saying, “I think it would cause a cataclysm in Washington.”

MSNBC ran a radio clip from House Speaker Paul Ryan, R., Wis.:  “I don’t think many people are saying Bob Mueller is a person who is a biased partisan. We have an investigation in the House, an investigation in the Senate, and a special counsel which sort of depoliticizes this stuff and gets it out of the political theater.”



Fact-check: Transgender people in the military would lead to tremendous medical costs and disruption (lacks context)

In a series of tweets this week, President Trump wrote, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow… Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming… victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

For FactCheck.org, Eugene Kiely reported, “Although Trump described the cost as ‘tremendous,’ RAND estimated that providing transition-related health care would increase the military’s health care costs for active-duty members ‘by between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually.’ That represents an increase of no more than 0.13 percent of the $6.27 billion spent on the health of active-duty members in fiscal 2014.”



Fact Check: Nixon held meetings with heads of state without an American interpreter (true)

Speaking on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, said:  “Apparently, President Nixon used to do it because he felt, didn’t really trust the State Department, at that point, providing the translators and didn’t necessarily want information getting out, leaking, that he would want to keep private.”

“True,” wrote Joshua Gillan for PolitiFact: “Presidential historians, historical accounts and Nixon’s own memoir show this was the case. But it’s notable that even in the example most comparable to Trump’s meeting with Putin, when Nixon used only a Soviet translator during two meetings with Brezhnev, official records of the meeting exist.”



Fact-check: Allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines will mean premiums go down 60-70% (no evidence)

Not long before the Senate took up health care reform, President Donald Trump said “We’re putting it [allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines] in a popular bill, and that will come. And that will come, and your premiums will be down 60 and 70 percent.”

FactCheck.org’s Lori Robertson reported the “National Association of Insurance Commissioners — a support organization established by the country’s state insurance regulators — said the idea that cross-state sales would bring about lower premiums was a ‘myth.’”



Fact-Check: When the price for oil goes up, it goes up, and never goes down (false)

In an interview Sunday about the new Democratic Party national agenda, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D., N.Y., said, “We have these huge companies buying up other big companies. It hurts workers and it hurts prices. The old Adam Smith idea of competition, it’s gone. So people hate it when their cable bills go up, their airline fees. They know that gas prices are sticky. You know … when the price for oil goes up on the markets, it goes right up, but it never goes down.”

For PolitiFact, Louis Jacobson reported, “This comment takes a well-known phenomenon and exaggerates it beyond recognition. While experts agree that prices tend to go up quickly after a market shock but usually come down more slowly once the shock is resolved, this phenomenon only occurs on a short-term basis – a couple of weeks in most cases.”

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You’re Invited to a Community Screening of PBS series, AMERICAN EPIC: Sunday July 30 & Aug 6

In celebration of the launch of the “Great 78 Project” the Internet Archive is sponsoring a Community Screening of the PBS documentary series “American Epic”, an inside look at one of the greatest-ever untold stories: how the ordinary people of America were given the opportunity to make 78 records for the first time.

“Without the recording lathe, Willie Nelson would have never heard the Carter Family sing. Neither would Merle Haggard or Johnny Cash. These portable machines toured the country in the 1920s, visiting rural communities like Poor Valley, West Virginia, and introducing musicians like the Carter Family to new audiences. This remarkable technology forever changed how people discover and share music, yet it was almost lost to history until music legend T Bone Burnett and a few friends decided to bring it back.” Charlie Locke – WIRED

The program will be introduced by Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive.

Please RSVP on our free Eventbrite page.

Date: Sunday July 30th  – “The Big Bang” (:54 min) & “Blood and Soil” (:54 min)

Date: Sunday August 6th  – “Out of the Many, the One” (1:24min) & “Sessions” (1:57min)

Time: Doors Open at 6:30 pm – Screening(s) at 7:00 pm

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where: Internet Archive Headquarters 300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco, CA

“American Epic” Teaser: https://youtu.be/jcbATyomETw

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Internet Archive Artist in Residence Exhibition — August 5–26

By Amir Esfahani

Ever Gold [Projects] is pleased to present The Internet Archive’s 2017 Artist in Residence Exhibition, an exhibition conceived in collaboration with the Internet Archive presenting the culmination of the first year of the Internet Archive’s visual arts residency program, featuring work by artists Laura Hyunjhee Kim, Jeremiah Jenkins, and Jenny Odell.

The Internet Archive visual arts residency is organized by Amir Saber Esfahani, and is designed to connect emerging and mid-career artists with the archive’s collections and to show what is possible when open access to information meets the arts. The residency is one year in length during which time each artist will develop a body of work that culminates in an exhibition utilizing the resource of the archive’s collection in their own practice.

During the residency Kim, Jenkins, and Odell worked with specific aspects of the Internet Archive, both at its Bay Area facilities and remotely in their studios, producing multi-media responses that employ various new media as well as more traditional materials and practices.

Public Programming: Saturday, August 5th, 4-5pmBrewster Kahle, Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive, in conversation with Laura Hyunjhee Kim and Jeremiah Jenkins. Moderated by Andrew McClintock, Owner/Director of Ever Gold [Projects].
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 5th, 5-8pm
Location: Ever Gold [Projects] 1275 Minnesota St
Exhibit Dates: Aug 5–26, 2017

Jenny Odell: “For my projects, I’m extracting “specimens” from 1980s Byte magazines and animation demo reels—specimens being objects or scenes that are intentionally or unintentionally surreal. These collected and isolated images inadvertently speak volumes about some of the stranger and more sinister aspects that technology has come to embody.”

Jeremiah Jenkins: “Browser History is a project is about preserving the Internet for the very distant future. I will be transferring webpages from the Internet Archive and elsewhere onto clay tablets by creating stamps with the text and images, then pressing them into wet clay. After being fired, the slabs will be hidden in caves, buried strategically, and submerged in the sea to await discovery in the distant future. The oldest known clay tablet is a little over 4,000 years old. The cave paintings in Lascaux are around 14,000 years old. The oldest known petroglyphs are near 46,000 years old. It’s conceivable that these fired clay tablets could last for 50,000 years or more. The tablets will be pages from websites that document trade, lifestyle, art, government, and other aspects of our society that are similar to the kinds of information we have about ancient civilizations.”

Laura Hyunjhee Kim: “The Hyper Future Wave Machine is a project that positions the years 2017 and beyond as a speculative future based on audiovisual ephemera published in the years 1987 to 1991. Born in the late ’80s, I wanted to explore the technological advancements and innovations that were popularized during the nascent years of the World Wide Web. Utilizing the Internet Archive as a time machine, I searched through the archived commercial and educational media representations of networked technology, personalized computers, and information systems. Often hyperbolic with a heightened emphasis on speed, power, and the future, slogans from those past years are still relevant and surface aspirations that continue to introduce the “next big thing” to the present generation: “REALIZE THE FUTURE, YOU ALREADY LIVE IN.” As the title of the project suggests, the work revolves around an imaginary media access system, namely the Hyper Future Wave Machine (HFWM). Described as a three-way-cross-hybrid existing/nonexistent/and-yet-to-exist metaphysical machine, the concept came from contemplating data portability and the trajectory of human-machine interface technology that seamlessly minimizes physical interaction. From buttons to touchscreens to speech, would the next ubiquitously applied interface operate using some sort of nonverbal neural command?”

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TV News Record: adventures with Face-O-Matic

A weekly round up on what’s happening at the TV News Archive by Katie Dahl and Nancy Watzman

This week we bring you adventures with Face-O-Matic; fact-checks on President Donald Trump’s legislative record and on health care reform; and we follow the TV on use of the term “lies” and “lying.”

Here’s a face, there’s a face, everywhere a face…

Face-O-Matic, our new experimental Slack app that finds faces of political leaders on major national cable networks, has given us a whole new perspective on how imagery is used in news production. Sure, Face-O-Matic picks up clips of President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R., Ky., and others speaking, whether on the floor, at press conferences, or at a luncheon.

However, often these elected officials’ faces are used to illustrate a point a news anchor is making, or in footage without audio, sometimes as a floating head somewhere on the screen, or as part of a tweet. Face-O-Matic even picks up faces in a crowd.

Face-O-Matic can help find frequently re-aired clips.

Face-O-Matic can find even images that are only briefly displayed on the screen.

Face-O-Matic finds both still and video of Trump in a single clip.

Please take Face-O-Matic on a spin and share your feedback with us, tvnews@archive.org. This blog post explains how it fits into our overall plan to turn TV news into data. To install,  for now you’ll need to ask your Slack team administrator or owner to set it up. The administrator can click on the button below to get started. Visit Slack to learn how to set up or join a Slack team. Questions? Contact Dan Schultz, dan.schultz@archive.org.

Fact-check: Trump has signed more bills than any president ever (wrong)

News cameras captured Trump saying, “We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president ever.” (A moment later, he commented that he doesn’t “like Pinocchios,” referring to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker rating system.)

Glenn Kessler, reporting for that same fact-checking site, explained why Trump is not, in fact, besting his predecessors in the White House when it comes to bill signing. But, he refrains from stating how many Pinocchios the president had earned: “Tempted as we are to give the president Pinocchios for his statement, he seemed to be speaking off the cuff and was operating on outdated information from his first 100 days. We don’t play gotcha here at The Fact Checker, and we appreciate that he added a caveat. He certainly appeared to pause for a moment and wonder if he was right. For Trump, that’s a step in the right direction…But he’s way off the mark and actually falling behind in legislative output.”



Fact-check: “bushel” of Pence claims on health care reform (range from “twists the facts” to “false”)

Also writing for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, Michelle Ye Hee Lee checked a number of statements Vice President Mike Pence made about the Senate health care reform bill during an appearance at the National Governors Association.

These included, for example, the claim, “I know Governor Kasich isn’t with us, but I suspect that he’s very troubled to know that in Ohio alone, nearly 60,000 disabled citizens are stuck on waiting lists, leaving them without the care they need for months or even years.”

Lee wrote that this claim is false: “[T]here’s no evidence the wait lists are tied to Medicaid expansion. We previously gave four Pinocchios to a similar claim….The expansion and wait list populations are separate, and expansion doesn’t necessarily affect the wait list population….Whether people move off the wait list depends on many factors, such as how urgent their needs are, how long they’ll need services and whether the states have money to pay for them. Many times, a slot opens up only if someone receiving services moves out of the state or dies.”



Follow the TV

There’s been much controversy in news gathering circles about when, whether, and how to invoke the word “lie” when reporting on public officials. One of our archivists, Robin Chin, has noticed a number of prominent uses of the term by commentators in recent TV news coverage.

For example, here’s Shepard Smith on Fox News on July 14 saying, “Jared Kushner filled out his form. I think it’s an F-86 saying who he met with and what he had done… He went back and added 100 names and places. None of these people made it… Why is it lie after lie after lie? … My grandmother used to say when first we practice to — oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. The deception, Chris, is mind boggling.”

And here’s Tom Brokaw on July 16 on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” saying: “Certainly there are atmospherics here that call to mind Watergate, the kind of denial of the obvious and the petty lying that is going on. But at the same time, Watergate, I like to think, was there by itself and this president is entangling himself in that kind of discussion they we’re having here today when it’s not in the interest of anyone, most of all this country, when we have so many issues before us. It’s got to get cleaned up.

On July 17, on “CNN: Tonight With Don Lemon,” here is David Gergen saying: “Other presidents succeed at this by just being straightforward about the facts. And it’s gone on for so long and so duplicitous and so much double speak that you begin to wonder, this is quite intentional. This may be quite intentional. You create a fog bank of lies and uncertainties and vagueness and create so many different details that people just sort of say, the hell with that, I don’t want to watch this… My sense is that a lot of Americans are starting to tune out…”

Search captions for terms you are interested in at the TV News Archive. For trends, try the Television Explorer, built by data scientist Kalev Leetaru, and powered by TV News Archive data, which can provide quick visualizations of terms broken down by network.

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Internet Archive TV News Lab: Introducing Face-O-Matic, experimental Slack alert system tracking Trump & congressional leaders on TV news

Working with Matroid, a California-based start up specializing in identifying people and objects in images and video, the Internet Archive’s TV News Archive today releases Face-O-Matic, an experimental public service that alerts users via a Slack app whenever the faces of President Donald Trump and congressional leaders appear on major TV news cable channels: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. The alerts include hyperlinks to the actual TV news footage on the TV News Archive website, where the viewer can see the appearances in context of the entire broadcast, what comes before and what after.

The new public Slack app, which can be installed on any Slack account by the team’s administrator, marks a milestone in our experiments using machine learning to create prototypes of ways to turn our public, free, searchable library of 1.3 million+ TV news broadcasts into data that will be useful for journalists, researchers, and the public in understanding the messages that bombard all of us day-to-day and even minute-to-minute on TV news broadcasts. This information could provide a way to quantify “face time”–literally–on TV news broadcasts. Researchers could use it to show how TV material is recycled online and on social media, and how editorial decisions by networks help set the terms of public debate.

If you want Face-O-Matic to post to a channel on your team’s Slack, ask an administrator or owner to set it up. The administrator can click on the button below to get started. Visit Slack to learn how to set up or join a Slack team. Questions? Contact Dan Schultz, dan.schultz@archive.org.

Add to Slack

To begin, Dan Schultz, senior creative technologist for the TV News Archive, trained Matroid’s facial detection system to recognize the president;  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R., Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D, NY; and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D., Calif. All are high-ranking elected officials who make news and appear often on TV screens. The alerts appear in a constantly updating stream as soon as the TV shows appear in the TV News Archive

For example, on July 15, 2017 Face-O-Matic detected all five elected officials in an airing of MSNBC Live.

As can be seen, the detections in this case last as little as a second – for example, this flash of Schumer’s and McConnell’s faces alongside each other is a match for both politicians. The moment is from a promotion for “Morning Joe,” the MSNBC show that made headlines in late June when co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were the targets of angry tweets from the president.  

The longest detected segment in this example is 24 seconds featuring Trump, saying “we are very very close to ending this health care nightmare. We are so close. It’s a common sense approach that restores the sacred doctor-patient relationship. And you’re going to have great health care at a lower price.”

Why detect faces of public officials?

First, our concentration on public officials is purposeful; in experimenting with this technology, we strive to respect individual privacy and harvest only information for which there is a compelling public interest, such as the role of elected officials in public life. The TV News Archive is committed to these principles developed by leading artificial intelligence researchers, ethicists, and others at a January 2017 conference organized by the Future of Life Institute.

Second, developing the technology to recognize faces of public officials contained within the TV News Archive and turning it into data opens a whole new dimension for journalists and researchers to explore for patterns and trends in how news is reported.  

For example, it will eventually be possible to trace the origin of specific video clips found online; to determine how often the president’s face appears on TV networks and programs compared to other public officials; to see how often certain video clips are repeated over time; to determine the gender ratio of people appearing on TV news; and more. It will become useful not just in explaining how media messages travel, but also as a way to counter misinformation, by providing a path to verify source material that appears on TV news.

This capability adds to the toolbox we’ve already begun with the Duplitron, the open source audio fingerprinting tool developed by Schultz that the TV News Archive used to track political ads and debate coverage in the 2016 elections for the Political TV Ad Archive. The Duplitron is also the basis for The Glorious ContextuBot, which was recently awarded a Knight Prototype Fund grant.

All of these lines of exploration should help journalists and researchers who currently can only conduct such analyses by watching thousands of hours of television and hand coding it or by using an expensive private service. Because we are a public library, we make such information available free of charge.

What’s next?

The TV News Archive will continue to work with partners such as Matroid to develop methods of extracting metadata from the TV News Archive and make it available to the public. We will develop ways to deliver such experimental data in structured formats (such as JSON, csv, etc.) to augment Face-O-Matic’s Slack alert stream. Such data could help researchers conduct analyses of the different amounts of “face-time” public officials enjoy on TV news.

Schultz also hopes to develop ways to augment the facial detection data with closed captioning, with for example OpenedCaptions, another open source tool he created that provides a constant stream of data from TV for any service set up to listen. This will make it simpler to search such data sets to find a particular moment that a researcher is looking for. (Accurate captioning presents its own technological challenges: see this post on Hyper.Audio’s work.)

Beyond this experimental facial detection, we have big plans for the future.  We are planning to make more than a million hours of TV news available to researchers from both private and public institutions via a digital public library branch of the Internet Archive’s TV News Archive. These branches would be housed in computing environments, where networked computers provide the processing power needed to analyze large amounts of data.

Researchers will be able to conduct their own experiments using machine learning to extract metadata from TV news. Such metadata could include, for example, speaker identification–a way to identify not just when a speaker appears on a screen, but when she or he is talking. Researchers could create ways to do complex topic analysis, making it possible to trace how certain themes and talking points travel across the TV news universe and perhaps beyond. Metadata generated through these experiments would then be used to enrich the TV News Archive, so that any member of the public could do increasingly sophisticated searches.

Feedback! We want it 

We are eager to hear from people using the Face-O-Matic Slack app and get your feedback.

  • Is the Face-O-Matic Slack app useful? What would make it more useful?
  • Would a structured data stream delivered via JSON, csv, and/or other means be helpful? What sort of information would you like to be included in such a data set?
  • Who is it important for us to track?
  • What else?

Please reach us by email at: tvnews@archive.org, or via twitter @tvnewsarchive. Also please consider signing up for our weekly TV News Archive newsletter. Or, comment or make contributions over here, where Schultz is documenting his progress; all the code developed is open source. (One observer already provided images for a training set to track Mario, the cartoon character.)

The weeds

The TV News Archive, our collection of 1.3 million+ TV news broadcasts dating back to 2009, is already searchable through closed captions.

But captions don’t always get you everything you want. If you search, for example, on the words “Donald Trump” you get back a hodge-podge of clips in which Trump is speaking and clips where reporters are talking about Trump. His image may not appear on the screen at all. The same is true for “Barack Obama,” “Mitch McConnell,” “Chuck Schumer,” or any name.

.

Search “Barack Obama” and the result is a hodge podge of clips.

Developing the ability to search the TV News Archive by recognizing the faces of public officials requires applying algorithms such as those developed by Matroid. In the future we hope to work with a variety of firms and researchers; for example, Schultz is also working on a separate facial detection experiment with the firm Datmo.

Facial detection requires a number of related steps: first, training the system to recognize where a face appears on a TV screen; second, extracting that image so it can be analyzed; and third, comparing that face to a set known to be a particular person to discover matches.

In general, facial recognition algorithms tend to rely on the work of FaceNet, described in this 2015 paper, in which researchers describe creating a way of “mapping from face images to a compact Euclidean space where distances directly correspond to a measure of face similarity.” In other words, it’s a way of turning a face into a pattern of data, and it’s sophisticated enough to describe faces from various vantage points – straight ahead, three-quarter view, side view, etc. To develop Face-o-Matic, TV News Archive staff collected public images of elected officials from different vantage points to use as training sets for the algorithm.

The Face-O-Matic Slack app is meant to be a demonstration project that allows the TV News Archive a way to experiment in two ways: first, by creating pipelines that run the TV News Archive video streams through Artificial Intelligence models to explore whether the resulting information is useful; second, by using a new way to distribute TV News Archive information through the popular Slack service, used widely in journalistic and academic settings.  

We know some ways it can be improved, but we also want to hear from you, the user, with your ideas. In the words of Thomas the Tank Engine, we aspire to be a “really useful engine.”

Face-O-Matic on GitHub

Follow TV News Archive progress in recognizing faces on TV on the following GitHub pages:

Tvarchive-faceomatic. The Face-o-Matic 2000 finds known faces on TV.

Tvarchive-ai_suite. A suite of tools for exploring AI research against video

This post is part of a blog series, TV News Lab, in which we demonstrate how the Internet Archive is partnering with technology, journalism, and academic organizations to experiment with and improve the TV News Archive, our free, public, online library of TV news shows. 

 

 

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IMLS Grant to Advance Web Archiving in Public Libraries

We are excited to announce that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has recently awarded our Archive-It service a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant from its Continuing Education in Curating Collections program for the project Community Webs: Empowering Public Librarians to Create Community History Web Archives.

Working with partners from Queens Public Library, Cleveland Public Library, and San Francisco Public Library, and with OCLC’s WebJunction, which offers education and training to public libraries nationwide, the “Community Webs” project will provide training, cohort support, and services, for a group of librarians at 15 different public libraries to develop expertise in creating collections of historically valuable web materials documenting their local communities. Project outputs will include over 30 terabytes of community history web archives and a suite of open educational resources, from guides to videos, for use by any librarian, archivist, or heritage professional working to preserve collections of local history comprised of online materials.

We are now accepting applications from public libraries to participate in the program! Please help us spread the word about this opportunity to the entire public library community. You can also visit the program’s webpage for more information and the project’s grant materials are available through the IMLS award page.

Curating web archives documenting the lives of their patrons offers public librarians a unique opportunity to position themselves as the natural stewards of web-published local history and solidifies their role as information custodians and community anchors in the era of the web. We owe a debt of thanks to IMLS for supporting innovative tools and training for librarians and look forward to working with our public library friends and colleagues to advance web archiving within their profession and for the benefit of their local communities.

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Film Screening: Lost Landscapes of LA on August 7

By Rick Prelinger

Lost Landscapes of Los Angeles (2016, 83 minutes) is an experimental documentary tracing the changing city of Los Angeles (1920s-1960s), showing how its landscape expresses an almost infinite collection of mythologies. Made from home movies and studio-produced “process plates” — background images of the city shot by studio cinematographers for rear projection in feature films — Lost Landscapes depicts places, people, work and daily life during a period of rapid urban development. While audience  members are encouraged to comment, discuss and ask questions during the screening of this silent film, it is also a contemplative film that shows the life and growth of the U.S.’s preeminent Western metropolis as the sum of countless individual acts.

Lost Landscapes of Los Angeles is the latest of Rick Prelinger’s “urban history film events,” featuring rediscovered and largely-unseen archival film footage arranged into feature-length programs. Unlike most screenings, the audience makes the soundtrack — viewers are encouraged to identify places, people and events; ask questions; and engage with fellow audience members. While the films show Los Angeles as it was, the event encourages viewers to think about (and share) their ideas for the city’s future. What kind of a city do we want to live in?

Rick Prelinger is an archivist, filmmaker, and educator. He teaches at UC Santa Cruz and is a board member of Internet Archive. His films made from archival material have played at festivals, museums, theaters, and educational institutions around the world. Lost Landscapes of San Francisco (11 episodes, 2006-2016) plays every autumn in San Francisco. He has also made urban history films in Oakland and Detroit, and is currently producing a New York film for an autumn premiere. He thanks Internet Archive and its staff for making this film possible.

Get Tickets Here

Monday, August 7th, 2017
6:30 pm Reception
7:30 pm Interactive Film Program

Internet Archive
300 Funston Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118

Posted in Announcements, Event, Movie Archive | 1 Comment

TV News Record: Donald Trump Jr makes “email” popular on TV again

This week the term “email” took on a new meaning in the annals of political controversy, President Donald Trump traveled to Poland, and the Senate continued to struggle with health care reform.

Email back on TV following Trump Jr.’s release of email exchange

Email as a technology may be on the way out (or just evolving), but its place in political history, already assured, got an even bigger boost this week when Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday released a June 2016 email chain in which he exclaimed “I love it” to the prospect of receiving damaging information about Hillary Clinton through Russian intermediaries.

The term “email” is spiking again on TV news broadcasts, though it has not yet climbed to levels in the lead up to the November 2016 elections. In those months, particularly Fox news networks hammered on storylines of both hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to do official business while serving as secretary of state.

However, with congressional and federal investigations of possible Russian tampering with the elections underway, we are early in the life cycle of this story. Stay tuned, and remember that searching terms on TV news is just a few clicks away on Television Explorer, which is fueled by TV News Archive data.

Search of term “emails” on Television Explorer, fueled by TV News Archive data. (Click on image to see larger.)



Following the TV 

The Watergate movie “All the President’s Men,” made the term “follow the money” an inspiration for journalists everywhere; thanks to the TV News Archive, enterprising reporters and researchers can “follow the TV” – find and link to past statements of public officials relevant to a current story.

With this week’s news putting Russia’s involvement in the election back in the headlines, past statements by members of the Trump camp become interesting watching. For example, here’s former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in July 2016, saying “that’s absurd” to the allegation of a Putin-Trump connection.  Here’s Donald Trump Jr. in July 2016 saying it was “disgusting” to say the DNC email hack was perpetrated by the Russian government to support Trump. And here is advisor Kellyanne Conway in December 2016 saying “absolutely not” to a question about whether the Trump campaign was in contact with Russians trying to influence the election.



Factcheck: Obama knew about Russian interference in election and did nothing about it (mostly false)

At a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda last week, President Trump said “Barack Obama when he was president found out about this, in terms of if it were Russia, found out about it in August. Now the election was in November. That is a lot of time he did nothing about it.”

According to Lauren Carroll reporting for Politifact, the Obama administration took several steps after learning of the interference. Among them: “Obama personally confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin and told him to back off… On Oct. 7, the Obama administration publicly identified Russia for the first time as being behind election-related hacks, issuing a joint statement from Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence… Also, throughout August and up through the election, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson encouraged state-level election officials, through official statements and phone calls, to protect voting-related systems from cyber intrusions…However, the Obama administration took its most significant actions against Russia after Nov. 8. In late December, Obama ordered 35 Russian diplomats and suspected intelligence agents to leave the United States, and he also imposed narrow sanctions on some Russian individuals and organizations.”



Factcheck:  Billions are pouring into NATO because of the Trump administration (four Pinocchios)

During a speech in Poland last week, President Donald Trump said about about his calls for increased defense spending by other countries for NATO, “As a result of this insistence, billions of dollars more have begun to pour into NATO.”

“These budget decisions were made during the 2016 calendar year, before Trump became president,” reported Michelle Ye Hee Lee, for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker. She quoted Alexander Vershbow, former deputy secretary general of NATO, who said: “Who deserves the most credit? Vladimir Putin. It was the invasion of Crimea, the launching of insurgency backed by Russia in Eastern Ukraine, that was the wake-up call for the majority of the allies.”



Factcheck: hundreds of thousands will die if the Senate health care bill passes (can’t say)

With the Senate debating health care reform, FactCheck.org checked a recent statement by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D., Calif, where she said, “We do know that… hundreds of thousands of people will die if this bill (Senate health care bill) passes.”

Lori Robertson and Robert Farley wrote, “the research uses terms like ‘could’ and ‘suggests’ and ‘cannot definitively demonstrate a causal relationship,’ not the definitive ‘will’ favored by opponents of the bill. We can’t say whether any specific projection is a correct or valid number.”

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Net Neutrality Day of Action is Tomorrow, July 12!

Tomorrow, the Internet Archive will join with a huge list of Internet companies and organizations to protest the FCC Chair’s stated intentions to do away with net neutrality protections established by prior Commissioners.

Among other actions, the Archive will be displaying a pop-up message tomorrow on our sites to demonstrate the severity of this threat and simulate an Internet in which ISPs are given free reign to provide selective access to the web.

Organizations and site owners can learn more about joining in the Day of Action here.

Private individuals can help by 1. sending a letter to the FCC to voice your support for net neutrality (the deadline for comments is coming up fast!) and 2. spreading the message on social media.

The people fought back PIPA and SOPA before and we’re ready to stand up again!

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How to play and play with thousands of digitized 78rpm records


There are over
50k uploaded recordings from 78’s from users, and there are now 10’s of thousands of high-bitrate unrestored transfers of 78’s that are part of the Great 78 Project.

With this many, it gets hard to find things you want to explore.  Here are some techniques I do:

Again, I recommend the “play items” link as it plays along like youtube does.

To download for research and preservation purposes:

  • Download right hand side of a “details” page, and you can click to see the whole list of files.
  • There is the “best” stylus version (according to an audio engineer at George Blood Co) that is renamed to be itune-ish compatible, but all the stylii recordings are there in flat and equalized formats, and each of those in FLAC and MP3 formats.

To download many records for research and preservation purposes (requires linux or mac and command line skills):

  • Install the Internet Archive command line interface
  • To download metadata in json from our 78 transfers, in bash:
    • for item in `./ia search “collection:georgeblood” –itemlist`; do curl -Ls https://archive.org/metadata/$item/metadata ; echo “”; done
    • I installed gnu parallel to speed things up (I use “brew install parallel” on a mac)
    • ./ia search “collection:georgeblood” –itemlist | parallel -j10 ‘curl -Ls https://archive.org/metadata/{}/metadata’ > 78s.json
  • To download all of files of the high bitrate transfers (and is repeatable to update based on failures or new additions):
    • ./ia download –search=”collection:georgeblood”      (14TB at this point)
  • To download only the metadata and Flac’s:
    • ./ia download 78_–and-mimi_frankie-carle-and-his-orchestra-gregg-lawrence-kennedy-simon_gbia0006176a –format=”24bit Flac” –format=”Metadata”
  • To download only the metadata and mp3’’s of all ragtime recordings:
    • ./ia download –search=”collection:georgeblood AND ragtime” –format=”VBR MP3″ –format=”Metadata”

If you want to do more on downloading specific sets, I suggest the documentation or joining the slack channel.

How You can Help: Please help find dates for these 78’s

We are doing some by automatically matching against 78discography.com and discogs.com, but many are done by hand, finding entries in billboard magazine and on DAHR the like.  But many still need dates.

If you would like to help, then please do research and post your findings in the review of a 78rpm record, citing your sources.  Then someone with privileges will change the metadata in the item.

The complete collection has date facets on the left reflecting the dates we have found.  But we only have dates for about half, and there are thousands of 78rpm sides posted each month so we need help!

To find what others have done, you can list them in the order of the most recent reviews.

The most recent ones that do not have a date nor a review are here.  This is a good starting place.

But again, these need dates.  If you tried and could not find anything online, then please post a review to that effect so others do not spend time on the same one.   

If you find other information, or know other information about the performer, performance, or piece, please put it in.  Also links to youtube, wikipedia, and old magazines like cashbox and billboard.  

For those that get into it, we invite you to join the slack channel (a great tool if you have not used it already), then that is where there is some discussion.   Caitlin@archive.org can set you up.

Oh, and I have gotten a bit obsessed, and this is a twitter feed of a digital transfer every 10 minutes which I visit more times than I should probably.

Restoration techniques:

I have been using Dartpro MT – I like it because it has a “Filter builder” –
the program doesn’t like 24 bit but I transfer at 24/96,000 , resample to
16/96000 then decrackle starting with a setting of 50 repeating the process
with an increase each time by another 10 i.e. 50, 60, 70, 80 (maximum) if
more noise is still there, I run repeatedly at 80 until the reported
interventions get to a number of 4000 or so. I can then manually remove any
clicks that are left.

I don’t use the denoise or dehiss, preferring to use declick  at very low
settings (78’s don’t have hiss – what you hear as hiss is the combination of
many little clicks.

I start with a setting of 2 then 4 then 6 . I leave the settings the same
then just find whether 1 or 2 or 3 passes will polish the higher noise away.
Decrackle doesn’t affect the high frequencies but declick does. This process
takes a little time but I almost never find that any distortion is
introduced to the sound.  I hate getting to the end of the record where the
really growly trumpet sound is a distorted mess, and this workflow prevents
that. – Mickey Clark

My “go to” software for restoration work is Izotope. However, I also have Adobe Audition, Diamond Cut, Pro Tools, Samplitude, and Sound Forge available for specific situations. As Ted Kendall points out: Hearing and Judgment play the major roles in both transfer and restoration. To that I would add Experience. And, as always, start with the best possible source.

Get Involved

Please write to the Internet Archive’s music curator  bgeorge@archive.org or more generally to info@archive.org .

Please join this project to:

  • Share knowledge. Help improve the metadata, curate the collection, contact collectors, do research on the corpus, etc.
  • Include your digitized collection. If you have already digitized 78s or related books or media, we’d like to include your work in the collection.
  • Digitize your collection.  We’ve worked hard to make digitization safe, fast and affordable, so if you’d like to digitize your collection we can help.
  • Donate 78s.  We have 200,000 78s, but we are always looking for more.  We will digitize your collection and preserve the physical discs for the long term.

If you are in the bay area of California, we can also use help in packing 78’s for digitization and please come over for a lunch on a Friday.

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