Illinois Public Media

How we use PBCore

In 2009 Illinois Public Media was one of 22 stations participating in the American Archive Pilot Project (AAPP). The AAPP provided funding to discover, digitize, and catalog public radio and TV content on the Civil Rights Movement produced from 1954 to 1975, and World War Two-related content produced in relation to the Ken Burns documentary The War. Illinois Public Media found in its archives some 270 hours of content in these two categories. After digitizing the analog audio and video materials, Project Director Jack Brighton built a cataloging tool based on the PBCore 1.2 schema using IPM’s website Content Management System, ExpressionEngine. EE is based on open source technologies (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) and is extensible via third-party add-ons. Descriptive metadata was entered into the CMS by catalogers after viewing and listening to the content. Technical metadata was extracted automatically from the proxy digital media files, including file size, MIME type, bit rate, duration, and other elements contained in PBCore’s Instantiation-level records. The result was a complete catalog of all materials which was easily published as a public website, and as PBCore XML records.

Both the html and xml expressions of Illinois Public Media’s AAPP materials are available here.

Why we use PBCore

Brighton says purpose of creating the PBCore XML records was to allow automatic exchange of all metadata from Illinois Public Media’s CMS to the American Archive Pilot Project portal. To facilitate this exchange via http, he created a collection “wrapper element” around the several hundred PBCore records he created. The AAPP portal built by Oregon Public Broadcasting was able to simply ingest IPM’s PBCore collection. Metadata was entered once into the IPM system, and PBCore served as an exchange format with the AAPP system.

A blog posting with more technical details on this case study is available here.

How PBCore changed our workflow

At the time of the AAPP, a root-level PBCoreCollection element wasn’t part of the PBCore schema. With the release of PBCore 2.0, this method of wrapping many PBCoreDescriptionDocuments in one collection element is valid and officially supported. Illinois Public Media is now developing the next generation of its PBCore cataloging tool based on the PBCore 2.0 schema, and is making this PBCore tool the center of its workflow for media producers. As they add content to the IPM website, producers are in essence (and without knowing anything about PBCore) cataloging each media asset based on the PBCore standard.


Jack Brighton
Director of New Media & Innovation
Illinois Public Media

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