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Host AMAsSarah Nguyen, Dana Gerber-Margie & Mary Kidd, Preserve This Podcast
AMAs >  Preserve This Podcast

Preserve This Podcast

organization Preserve This Podcast
When December 2 2019 @ 11:30AM (EST)

Dana Gerber-Margie (@theaudiosignal) listens to podcasts while living in Madison, Wisconsin. She earned her Master’s in Library & Information Studies at UW-Madison, and has worked as an A/V Archivist for WiLS and the Wisconsin Historical Society. She is the co-founder and co-editor of theBello Collective, a publication about podcasts and storytelling.

Mary Kidd (@kiddarchivist) is an archivist and illustrator. By day, she works for New York Public Library’s Special Collections Division. She has worked on audio/visual preservation projects for New York Public Radio, the Magic Shop Recording Studio, and the XFR Collective, a non-profit organization that transfers at-risk media off magnetic tapes to digital format for individuals and groups with limited means. She enjoys creating drawings, zines, gifs, and other artful tidbits to make archiving, and the technology that supports it, accessible, approachable and fun for everyone.

Sarah Nguyen (@snewyuen) is the Project Coordinator of Preserve This Podcast. She is an advocate for open, accessible, and secure technologies through a couple gigs during her studies as a Master of Library and Information Science candidate at the University of Washington: Assistant Research Scientist for NYU Libraries and archivist for the Dance Heritage Coalition. Offline, she can be found riding a Cannondale mtb or practicing movement through dance.

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Questions now closed.

7 Questions
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Tom Slack Staff asked this question 3 months ago

Hi team, thanks for participating here. I’d love you to go into more detail about how you all got into this line of work?

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Preserve This Podcast replied 3 months ago

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Dana: Thanks for bringing us on, Tom! I appreciate it. My love for podcasts and love for archives overlapped early on. I started working at a library paging special collections and I quickly got bored of my iPod Nano music, so my dad actually suggested I download an episode of This American Life. Standard gateway drug. I started listening to podcasts outside of TAL and haven’t stopped! That was over ten years ago. I earned my Master’s in Library & Information Studies in 2013, and at first tried to get archives on board with using podcasts for outreach. In 2015, I founded The Audio Signal, which then joined forces with another newsletter to become the Bello Collective in August 2016. Around then I also started moving away from podcasts as outreach and worrying instead about the lack of podcast preservation. Institutions weren’t paying attention, and I wanted them to.

Preserve This Podcast replied 3 months ago

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Hi Tom. Mary here: I got my Master’s in Library Science in 2014, where I took a class in audio preservation (where we learned about things like, how magnetic mediums like cassette tapes and reel-to-reels are at risk of losing the information encoded on their physical substrates forever). This got me into a gig doing tape and disc cataloging at a recording studio in New York City called the Magic Shop, followed by a fellowship at New York Public Radio. It was here that I worked on a project focused on preserving/archiving the radio station’s born-digital files, which helped me understand that digital files are at just as much at risk as physical objects.

Preserve This Podcast replied 3 months ago

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Hi Tom – thanks for having us! Sarah here. I’ll speak for myself, while Dana and Mary will chime in with their stories:
Currently, I’m a Masters in Library + Information Science (MLIS) graduate student, where we learn about librarianship, archival practices, information ethics, and much more. I met our producer, Molly Schwartz, through a different job where I was digitizing ~120 VHS tapes. Molly trained me on how to use to digitization equipment at the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). Originally, I wanted to apply to work to manage METRO studios but that job was taken. I knew I wanted to work with Molly and METRO in any capacity, and the Preserve This Podcast position coincidentally opened up. Like many others, I worked in college radio for a short time and knew I loved community audio. So, what better way to fuse my two interests together, audio and archiving through Preserve This Podcast. I feel blessed to be able to join this PTP
team and I hope to be able to continue this work even after our grant-funding ends.

tanay soft Staff asked this question 3 months ago

Is what you’re saying that when a podcast hosting company goes under do we all lose our podcast epsiodes for good?

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Preserve This Podcast replied 3 months ago

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Hi Tanay! Mary here. This is a great question to ask: not all podcast platforms will last forever, nor can they guarantee this. And more importantly, those who subscribe to podcast hosting services may not always be able to pay the recurring podcast host fee.

Podcast hosts provide audio file hosting services, so if a host were to go down unexpectedly, subscribers would immediately lose access to any podcast episodes they did not download to their listening device, such as a smartphone or laptop. What Preserve This Podcast tries to get across is, if podcast creators have a backup of their own files, in case a podcast host goes down, these audio files are not lost “for good”. We advocate that all podcasters have a 3-2-1 backup plan in place (you can read more about that in our zine http://preservethispodcast.org/assets/PreserveThisPodcast_Zine_Online.pdf)

Geoff Roly Staff asked this question 3 months ago

Hi team, are the big podcasters of today adhering to the methods you advocate for to retain their content or are they taking their eye off the ball like the smaller players?

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Preserve This Podcast replied 3 months ago

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Mary here. Our project primarily focuses on podcasters working outside of podcast companies, who are producing podcasters at home, in their spare time, or on top of a day job. That said, we did distribute a survey in late 2018 to look at podcaster behaviors. Some of the respondents here were podcasters who work at a media company or institution, and the results suggest that some — not all — media institutions have some sort of backup system in place. You can review the results of this survey here. Of particular interest to you might be the results on pages “Behaviors” slides (http://preservethispodcast.org/assets/PodcastPreservation_SurveyFindings_Feb2019.pdf).

This is not to say more or less podcast institutions have a robust archiving and preservation system in place. I think a more targeted environmental scan is needed to say whether or not there are systems in place, such as a 3-2-1 backup plan, file/folder management, a digital preservation policy or metadata management approach. Our best guess? Most podcasters probably have some sort of backup plan in place, but could probably stand to improve their overall systems to ensure long-term viability of their files.

Liam Shawl Staff asked this question 3 months ago

When should you starting thinking about preserving your show? From episode 1 or when you get some success?

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Preserve This Podcast replied 3 months ago

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Dana: Liam, do it now! Podcasters are creators, and most of them aren’t doing it just for success — because there is no guarantee of traditional “success” in this industry. Traditional success is difficult to define among podcasters, since many aren’t making enough to go full-time but they have a dedicated community. What you’re doing is labor and work, and others’ perceived notion of success shouldn’t determine your pride in it. Also, the core of our curriculum — organizaton, storage/back-up, and metadata/description — can be applied to all media, from digital files to your paper files. I also like to note that our concepts are great not just for preservation, but also an easier workload for you … If your stuff is named well, and backed up, you can easily find it later. Win win!

Sean Phillips Staff asked this question 3 months ago

Heya team, is the hardest part of your job educating folk on best practices? How do you manage that challenge?

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Preserve This Podcast replied 3 months ago

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Dana: Great question, Sean. Honestly, I think the hardest part is helping folks after they’ve listened to the last episode, or read the zine in full, or attended our workshop. The process can feel overwhelming when you’re just getting started. We recognize that it’s WORK to transcribe shows, add lots of description, keep on a back-up schedule, etc etc, on top of everything else people do to keep a podcast show going. As archivists, we think of the end product as being something beautifully kept for your grandchildren or scholars in 50 years, but for podcasters getting by day to day, we try to hit home how much these systems can fuel higher productivity down the line. We also do our best to show that we’re open to ongoing questions, and that we’re here for the long haul, long past our grant funding ends. Another thing we’ve done at the end of workshops is highlighting a Quadruple P — your Personal Podcast Preservation Plan — and asking what one step you’ll do next week, or next month, to get your podcast on that journey. Some people have things as simple as “buy a hard drive” or “come up with filing system.” We have people share with each other, which inspires more actions. We also hope that people form archiving “buddy systems” to keep each other accountable. 🙂 And remember — you are not aloe-ne! https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/4293390-you-are-not-aloe-ne?store_id=183448

Mauricio Bara Staff asked this question 3 months ago

Whihc podcast host do you recommend to avoid some of these problems?

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Preserve This Podcast replied 3 months ago

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Any host that offers a 301 redirect. We use Simplecast but that doesn’t mean it’s the be all end all. Any reputable podcast hosting platform should have documenation in their FAQ or elsewhere about a 301 redirect. If they don’t, contact their support team. In our last episode: RSS Resuscitations (https://radiopublic.com/preserve-this-podcast-WDJY3A/s1!7df2c), we talk to LibSyn, Simplecast, and Audioboom representatives. Each of them have their own approaches to dealing with Podfade. LibSyn is interesting since they unofficially, but technically do data dumps once a quarter. So there’s an off chance that you’ll be able to retrieve your podcast data after closing your account, but it’s a risk. Currently, our resolution to long-term podcast hosting platform is a mixture of GitHub Pages and Internet Archive. We’ll post documentation on how to set that up by January 2020 the latest.

JB Baker Staff asked this question 3 months ago

Any examples of nightmare cases of lost content you can share?

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Preserve This Podcast replied 3 months ago

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Hi JB. Mary here. This is one of PTP’s favorite questions, not because we love to inject a good dose of fear in our audience (!), but because we do want to promote the idea that data loss is possible and very real. This is based on the fact that storage platforms like the “cloud” have a physical component to them (a server in a room somewhere on planet earth), and that data storage also assumes that you have the financial means to pay for backup services. We collected a great thread of “nightmare” stories on our Twitter account (@preservethidpod). This obviously represents just a slice of the greater horror story tapestry that is the modern day digital tapestry. But, we encourage you to give this a read when you get a chance: https://twitter.com/preservethispod/status/1088491872752943105

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