Marshall Libraries launches new Web site called 50 Years Ago Today: As Seen on WSAZ-TV News

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University Libraries today launched a new Web site called 50 Years Ago Today: As Seen On WSAZ-TV News at a news conference in the Special Collections Department of Morrow Library on MU's Huntington campus.

The Web site is accessible at www.marshall.edu/50yearsago/.

"With the click of a mouse, 50 Years Ago Today: As Seen On WSAZ-TV News will allow viewers on the Internet to watch vintage film and video of local, state and national news that occurred 50 years ago on that exact date, as written and reported by the WSAZ-TV news staff of 50 years ago," said Barbara Winters, dean of University Libraries.

Winters said 50 Years Ago Today: As Seen On WSAZ-TV News is a collaborative effort between WSAZ-TV and Marshall University, literally 32 years in the making.

"WSAZ-TV gifted Marshall with its film, video and paper archival materials beginning in 1976, and we gladly continue to be the repository and custodians of these priceless film and video images to this very day," Winters said.

Winters said Andrew D. Earles, Technical and Content Supervisor for Special Collections, originated the concept for the 50 Years Ago Today project. Winters said Earles, who is in charge of digitizing the WSAZ news footage from fragile film and video to sturdy DVD, came up with the Web site idea the day before the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik.

"Andy mentioned to Special Collections Curator Lisle Brown that he and Media Technical Assistant Lori Thompson had WSAZ news stories from the year 1958 already digitized and 'in the can,' " Winters said. "Andy's idea of putting it on the Internet for the entire community to 'tune in' and enjoy was a winner, and when Lisle passed along Andy's concept for the Web site to me, I heartily concurred."

Winters said Libraries Web Services Librarian Floyd Csir worked with Earles, Information Technology Video Services Producer/Director Eric Himes, Information Technology's Daniel Saez and Brian Williams of Marshall's Center for Information Technology to arrive at ideas for a Special Collections "destination Web site" that would make the community history fun and accessible to Internet users.

Saez served as the Web site's Conceptual Designer and Project Coordinator, with Williams providing the technical know-how and creative input as the site's Programmer and Art Director.

Seeking to give context to and complement the vintage news images that appear on the Web site, Marshall Libraries received permission from noted area author and media producer David E. Carter to showcase images from his 1999 book, "Friends We All Grew Up With: A Fifty Year History of WSAZ TV," published by London Books Ltd.

The film to digital media process at Special Collections

1. The WSAZ 16mm news film is run through a special projector that takes the light and images and converts both into digital data. The film runs in "real time," which is time consuming but necessary for quality and clarity.

2. The digital data is then transferred onto a DVD, which has the capacity to hold two hours of film/video content. (NOTE: Two hours equals four newsreels equals between 15 and 30 clips)

3. The information on the DVD is then fed into a computer and run through an image editing program, which breaks each clip apart and assigns each its own appropriate clip number, and converts that information to Windows Media video for eventual streaming online.

Representation of actual news scripts

Scripts that appear in this presentation are scripts actually written by the news department and read on air by the on-air personality for that particular story. Once we film and video, clips are matched to their respective scripts whenever possible.

Selected scripts are retyped in a Microsoft Word document. Each individual script has its own file on the Marshall server, which relates to the appropriate clip.

For more information about Marshall University Libraries Special Collections in particular, contact curator Lisle Brown at (304) 696-2344) or visit www.marshall.edu/LIBRARY/speccoll/.

For more information about the Marshall University Libraries in general, contact Dean Barbara Winters at (304) 696-2318 or visit http://www.marshall.edu/LIBRARY/.