Democracy Now! Audio and Video Production

Why we use PBCore

PBCore was first used in the Democracy Now! archive by our former archivist, David Rice, but we continue to use it because it fits our needs. We have limited resources and rely on interns to catalog our production material, so we need a metadata standard with which one can familiarize oneself quickly, but can also accommodate details including content description, and instantiation information such as media format and specifications. Although our archive contains a great deal of physical media, our production team now works in a “tapeless” environment. Keeping track of duplicates or redundant copies of file-based media would be difficult without PBCore’s instantiation elements.

How we use PBCore

We are using PBCore to archive raw footage that is shot in the Democracy Now! studio or in the field, along with edit masters and other footage that is incorporated into our daily broadcast. Democracy Now! interns watch all incoming production footage and catalog it, improve records from media assets that are no longer in production and have been prioritized for preservation, and use PBCore to catalog unprocessed materials that may or may not have been used for production. We also subscribe to Reuters’ live and packaged feeds, which are delivered with .xml records that we can map into our PBCore FileMaker Pro database. We have also spoken with other PBCore users about footage swaps, but have not yet acquired any new material or corresponding records.

Before adopting PBCore, our archive was not using a formal cataloging standard, so implementing a new system did not involve a migration of a large body of data. Spreadsheet information and metadata, for example, from, have been incorporated into our PBCore database. Our FileMaker Pro database was designed by David Rice, and a considerable amount of time was invested in making the database compliant and able to output records that pass PBCore validation. Making this FileMaker database or one like it available for free to the A/V archives community might be a great step for PBCore, because although FileMaker Pro has many limitations, it is also one of the only database software products available that is easily edited and reconfigured by users. Our Filemaker/PBCore database suits our needs very well with few exceptions, allowing us to access our content in meaningful ways in our busy, newsroom environment.


Nicole Martin

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