Pop Up Archive and PRX Launch Audio Archiving Service

    by Anne Wootton
    March 5, 2013

    This post was co-written by Bailey Smith, co-creator of Pop Up Archive, with help from Jake Shapiro, CEO of Public Radio Exchange.

    We believe that archiving can be so easy it doesn’t even feel like archiving — and that an entire new generation of meaningful content is waiting to be created, unlocked from the archive and unleashed on the world.



    It’s been an amazing few months since Pop Up Archive won the Knight News Challenge in September, and we’re excited to share our progress with you. At the end of 2012, Pop Up Archive and PRX teamed up to build a web-based archive system that addresses the needs of content creators and archivists as they attempt to harness quality audio material. We’re energized and inspired by the Pop Up-PRX collaboration, and we’ve spent 2013 so far hunkered down in Oakland, Calif., and weathering a blizzardy week together in Cambridge, Mass., developing the system. At the time of this writing, Pop Up Archive is just about ready for use by anyone with audio and the will to save it. Together with PRX and audiovisual preservation expert Dave Rice, we’ll debut Pop Up Archive in March at a workshop we’re giving at SXSW:Interactive.


    Pop Up Archive is a simple system for organizing and accessing audio and related material. We’re leveraging emerging technology and standards to build an archive of oral history material with new methods for search and discovery as well as public and private storage options. We’ve secured records and accompanying content from larger organizations like WNYC and Illinois Public Media as well as independent producers and small archives like The Kitchen Sisters.


    i-8b2eb7f146a0b54706eeabad1eae7762-logo-prx copy.jpg

    Pop Up Archive has looked to PRX’s approach and unique role in the public media community ever since we started thinking about audio archiving at the Berkeley School of Information. We’re excited about this partnership because we share ideals and motives, but also because we get things done and we do them well. We’re both passionate about architecting the future of media while staying very close to the ground when it comes to user habits and workflows. We’re thrilled that PRX members will be some of the first to test and take advantage of Pop Up Archive.

    what it does

    So what does Pop Up Archive do exactly?

    1. Preserves digital audio. Valuable cultural material is lost every time a hard drive dies or a folder gets erased to make more space on your laptop. Pop Up Archive enables anyone to add archival records and safeguard media privately on Pop Up Archive servers or publicly at the Internet Archive.
    2. Makes it easy to add metadata. Pop Up Archive uses speech-to-text software to create useful subject tags about your audio automatically. You’ll also be able to add custom metadata using a simple form or by importing your existing CSV or XML records.
    3. Enables anyone to search, filter, and access a substantive database of archival material from oral history archives, media stations, and individuals. However, we realize that not all audio is ready to be shared, so users will also be given the choice of storing their audio publicly or privately.

    We’re eager for any and everyone to test our batch upload and auto-tagging process so we can improve the service and find out what features are most desirable. Come visit Pop Up Archive and PRX at our workshop, where we’ll provide archiving advice of all stripes to anyone interested, open house style. Registration full? Come anyway, for a short presentation at 9:30 a.m. or anytime through 1:30 p.m. on Monday, March 11. Follow us on Twitter or visit popuparchive.org for updates.

    Before arriving in California, Anne Wootton lived in France, and managed a historic newspaper digitization project at Brown University. Anne came to the UC-Berkeley School of Information with an interest in digital archives and the sociology of technology. She spent summer 2011 working with The Kitchen Sisters and grant agencies to identify preservation and access opportunities for independent radio. She holds a Master’s degree in Information Management and Systems.

    Tagged: #pubmedia archiving oral history Pop Up Archive prx radio sxsw

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