There’s an Archivist for That! An Interview with Camri Kohler of the PBS Utah

This is the newest post in our There’s an Archivist for That! series, which features examples of archivists working in places you might not expect. In this article, Camri Kohler talks about her job as the Archivist for PBS Utah.

1. How did you get your gig?

While I was in grad school at the University of Utah, I worked part-time as an AV archival project assistant at the Marriott Library, specializing primarily in U-matic tapes. Then once I graduated with my MLIS, AV specialists in the library science field were pretty rare, and I was already familiar with U of U assets. PBS Utah is owned by the university, and they were hiring their first full-time archivist as I was finishing school. The archivists of the Marriott Library and I still work together all the time.

2. Tell us about your organization.

PBS Utah was originally KUED. When Brigham Young University’s PBS station went private, we became the only PBS station in the state, so we changed our name. We’ve been making wonderful nature, music, human interest, local, and historical programming since 1957 and we have wonderful weekly episodic programs like The Hinckley Report, Utah Insight, and This is Utah.

3. Can you describe your collections?

Our collections are both analog and digital, ranging from 1” reels to ProRes digital files and everything in between. We have multiple formats and instantiations for all of our programs, including Figure it Out! which are exercise videos produced in the 70’s along with an on-set pianist, and Family Circle, a panel discussing the pros and cons of women in the workplace. We also have documents, photos, and music preserved as assets to those programs.

4. What are some challenges unique to your collections?

Because Digital and AV archives are still such a new priority, the community is small. I’m not just the only AV archivist in the building, I’m the only archivist. I don’t have anyone to share the workload with, or to plan with, or innovate with. It can be a lot of pressure, particularly because few people in the production environment have a good understanding of what my job entails. 

5. What is your favorite part of your job?

I love finding the fun, niche programs we made in the past! They say a lot about the times in which they were created and it’s values and interests. Making those programs accessible digitally, bringing them into the present, is so gratifying!

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