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CBC Digital Archives

Meet the Archives Staff

Archives Staff

What kind of people work in the CBC Archives? Here are some of the positions that help keep the archives of CBC Radio and CBC Television in operation.

Librarians (Radio)

CBC Radio listeners and viewers probably don't think twice when they hear excerpts of CBC Radio broadcasts - interviews, speeches or performances - aired on current programs. But none of those nostalgic sound bites would be possible without CBC's media librarians, who perform the essential role of preserving and providing access to CBC's 70+ years of radio broadcasting history. Librarians research and locate archival clips for producers, and also respond to breaking and topical news stories by identifying and compiling the best archival material for programming use. Librarians also help external users - broadcasters, professors, film makers - who wish to licence CBC material for use in their projects.

Librarians rely on the Radio Archives' computerized database to find and retrieve material. A majority of the archives' contents has been catalogued, but there is still older material as well as new programming to document. Librarians ensure that key information about CBC's Radio holdings is entered into the database for future access. They also digitize older radio formats, ensuring that vulnerable old formats are preserved for future use.

Broadcast Technicians (Video)

The primary strategy for video preservation at the CBC is migration. Broadcast technicians use their knowledge of videotape formats and production processes to select the most appropriate masters for transfer, and to ensure that the recording is as good as possible. They typically go through about 50 tapes a week. Less than half of those will be selected, cleaned, and transferred to new digital masters. When the recording is in progress the technician will be noting additional information such as changes to the title information, faults in the video signal, and interesting or unusual aspects of the program. They become quite knowledgeable about the content of the programming and often rediscover programs with the early work of now well-known celebrities and personalities.

Media Librarians (Film)

Similarly, film librarians view and assess all of the CBC's film holdings however the primary preservation strategy is long-term storage. The librarians determine which elements are necessary for preservation (in general, two copies of picture and audio along with original negatives) and also assess the material for its reuse potential as stock shots. The permanent material is then readied for future use and placed in environmentally controlled vaults. As with the broadcast technicians, any corrections or additional information about the content or condition is noted during playback.

Film Inspectors

Film inspectors check and prepare the material ahead of its migration and ensure that it is transferred as needed. They check that the quality of the resulting videotape meets the standards and requirements of CBC or another client, and that the tape reaches its requestor. They too add information they glean from the film during the course of their work, and update the status of the holdings so that the people involved in the next step, cataloguing, are able to accurately identify what they will be describing.

Preservation Coordinator (Television)

The preservation coordinator is responsible for suggesting preservation needs and tracking the progress of approved projects in the television libraries as well as the ongoing operations of the film library. They participate in disaster planning and coordinate salvage efforts when needed. They also provide general advice and information on preservation practices.

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