Thursday, July 30, 2009

American History in Video Offers a Unique Collection for Teaching and Learning

During the 2009-2010 academic year, the Cheng Library is serving as part of a nationwide advisory group to Alexander Street Press and will be evaluating its product American History in Video, an online database currently providing over 1,400 documentary, archival, public affairs, and newsreel videos in streaming format covering the span of U.S. history. Each video is accompanied by a complete transcript that can be searched to identify the most relevant segments of footage for research and teaching purposes. In addition to its search engine, the web-based interface supports browsing of the complete collection by historical era, specific years or events, people, places, and topics. The database also provides the creation of personal accounts students and faculty can use to compile and share customized playlists or collections of clips from individual videos.

Significant parts of this collection include:

* 292 television interviews on public policy topics conducted between 1951 and 1955 for the CBS television interview series "Chronoscope." The interviewees include government officials, business leaders, political figures, and public intellectuals discussing topics of the early Cold War era. Each program is approximately 15 minutes long. The original kinescopes were donated to the Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Branch of the National Archives by the program's sponsor, the Longines-Wittnauer Watch Company;

* 370 programs produced for the History Channel from series including "America at War," "Biography," "Battleline," "Civil War Journal," "Great Blunders in History," "Investigating History," and several others;

* 256 newsreel films produced during World War II by the Office of War Information and financed by the U. S. government for screening in U.S. and overseas theaters. Most of the films are approximately 10 minutes in length and addressed both military operations and stories and events on the U.S. home front during the war;

* An additional 540 newsreels produced between 1957 and 1964 by Universal Studios as part of the long-running (1929-1967) series Universal Newsreel. These newsreels have been in the public domain since being turned over to the National Archives in 1976 and approximately 400 Universal Newsreels covering other time periods during the span of the series are available in the Moving Image Archive at the Internet Archive.

Please contact Richard Kearney with any questions about using American History in Video.

No comments: