WSLS-TV News Film Collection Launches Online

Roanoke children receive their Salk polio vaccine shots, 4/25/1955.

A still from the news film collection: Roanoke children receive their Salk polio vaccine shots, 4/25/1955.

Leigh says:  The WSLS-TV news film collection has been part of the life of Preservation Services for so long that the public access launch of its clips and scripts on August 5 seems anticlimactic. Of course, the release of the collection online is the whole reason why we’ve been working so hard over the past five years. It’s really a time of exuberance and satisfaction for everyone who worked on the project.

The approximately 13,000 clips and 18,000 pages of anchorperson scripts from WSLS-TV in Roanoke, Va., from 1951 to 1971 will be presented online in batches over the next few months. The first 3,400 or so are browsable at the collection’s Virgo homepage at search.lib.virginia.edu/wsls or searchable by keyword in the larger Virgo catalog. Or check out an online exhibit about the collection.

The WSLS collection has been so important in my work life, it’s as if I’m sending my baby out into the world. I feel personally responsible for any mistakes in the description of the clips, any substandard viewing experience of the videos, any means of confusion with access to the collection online, and any disappointment in the collection’s intellectual content. Silly but true.

I sincerely hope that the collection will become a valuable asset to students and scholars, as well as the general public. At any rate, I like it. It’s my own moving image time capsule.