Securing institutional support for a national mission

On August 5, 1968, Vanderbilt University Libraries (then, the Joint University Libraries) began recording, preserving, and providing access to the news broadcasts of the three national networks. Since then, Vanderbilt has captured more than 40,000 hours of news broadcasts, creating the largest collection of American broadcast news in the world. Most remarkable about this case is the longevity of the Television News Archive. The Archive has always been financially challenged, but it has developed a multi-faceted strategy for sustainability that includes grants, subscriptions, and an innovative partnership with another major collecting organization, the Library of Congress. The public importance of the Archive and the support it receives from major campus stakeholders have both been critical to its longevity.

This case study is one of eight conducted as part of an IMLS-funded project in collaboration with the Association of Research Libraries. The final report, Searching for Sustainability: Strategies from Eight Digitized Special Collections, offers findings drawn from all eight cases, highlighting the ways in which libraries and cultural heritage organizations have undertaken to move their special collections into the 21st century through digitization and ongoing investments to ensure the collections remain valuable to users over time.