Comprising digital recordings of hundreds of thousands of American and international TV news programs from 2005 to the present and featuring capture, search and playback capabilities that go beyond those of other public news archives, the UCLA Library's newly launched Broadcast NewsScape opens up transformative possibilities for teaching, research and publication.
The technology developed for the platform captures closed-captioning streams, on-screen text and detected visual shapes, along with video feeds, which can be searched or browsed. Now in its initial launch phase, Broadcast NewsScape is accessible at http://newsscape.library.ucla.edu to users on the UCLA campus or those connecting from off-campus via the campus network. Project managers hope to launch the platform to the entire University of California scholarly community in the future.
"This important new resource benefits students and faculty at UCLA and offers a model to educational institutions and libraries worldwide," said University Librarian Gary E. Strong. "It provides access to media coverage of contemporary events, and its comprehensive capture and search capabilities have the potential to transform scholarship and, through it, our understanding of our world."
The current contents of Broadcast NewsScape include more than 200,000 recorded news shows from over 100 distinct programs, totaling approximately 150,000 hours, plus more than 1.1 billion words of accompanying closed-captioning text and program listings. All are indexed and time-referenced to enable full-text searching and interactive playback. The platform is continuously updated, and news feeds are determined in consultation with faculty.
The history of this platform began in the early 1970s, when UCLA professor Paul Rosenthal launched a project to tape television news; although the project continued throughout the ensuing years, the resulting archive was not highly used due to the difficulty of searching the contents of the analog tapes.
To address this challenge, in 2005, professors Tim Groeling and Francis Steen in the UCLA Department of Communication Studies began developing a system that captured news programs and saved them in a digital format; this new platform dramatically expands the system's capabilities and features.
"Broadcast NewsScape makes television amenable to rational analysis and makes it possible to think systematically about everything that's happening on the screen in terms of all the visual content, as well as the audio," Steen said. "It allows types of scholarship that have not previously been possible and gives UCLA the capacity to become a center for this type of research, which can revolutionize communications studies."
Funding from a number of sources was essential in the early stages of this project's development, including from the UCLA Office of the Dean, Social Sciences; the UCLA Office of Instructional Development; the California Endowment; and the UCLA Common Collaboration and Learning Environment. Development of the technological infrastructure was partially funded by a National Science Foundation Cyber-enabled Discovery and Innovation grant. Support has also been provided by UCLA Social Science Computing and the UCLA Institute for Digital Research and Education.
The UCLA Library's participation has been supported by the Arcadia Fund's $5 million gift to transform UCLA Library collections. The platform's contents and structure may be relevant to the UCLA Library's project focusing on ephemeral media of the Middle East, also funded by Arcadia.
The UCLA Digital Library Program digitizes and publishes online content drawn from UCLA collections and engages with U.S. and international partners to build innovative digital collections, services and technologies in support of UCLA's mission of teaching, research and public service.
The UCLA Library, ranked among the top 10 research libraries in the U.S., is a campus-wide network of libraries serving programs of study and research in many fields. Its collections encompass more than 9 million volumes, as well as archives, audiovisual materials, corporate reports, government publications, microforms, technical reports and other scholarly resources. More than 100,000 serial titles are received regularly. The UCLA Library also provides access to a vast array of digital resources, including reference works, electronic journals and other full-text titles and images.