Opinion: Urban historian

POSTED: 12/13/13 5:14 PM

You gotta love this story: an American women spent 35 years of her life recording the TV-news. That resulted in a ridiculous collection of 140,000 videos. Oh, wait, we take back the word ridiculous, because the lady did something truly remarkable. She recorded the news wishing that one day the material would be of historical value. Unfortunately she did not live long enough to see her dream come through. Last year Marion Stokes passed away at the age of 83, leaving behind the history of Philadelphia from 1986 to 2012 and from Boston, where she lived from 1977 until 1986.

The Internet Archive, a virtual library for TV-archives, wants to digitalize Stokes’ videos. Stokes also recorded the national news, working with several video recorders at the same time.

Turning the video into bits and bytes will cost $2 million, but it will be worth it. Roger MacDonald, the director of The Internet Archive, expects to find unique material in the collections because TV-stations in the 60s and 70s routinely wiped their films because it was too expensive to maintain an archive.

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