WGBH News and Media Relations


April 20, 2017

American Archive of Public Broadcasting Launches Crowdsourcing Game

FIX IT players identify errors in transcripts from a rich archive of public media

BOSTON  (April 20, 2017)WGBH Educational Foundation (WGBH) on behalf of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is pleased to announce the launch of FIX IT, an online game that allows members of the public to help AAPB professional archivists improve the searchability and accessibility of historic public media content. FIX IT players can rack up points on the game leaderboard by identifing and correcting errors in machine-generated transcriptions that correspond to AAPB audio. Listen to clips and follow along with the corresponding transcripts, which sometimes misidentify words or generate faulty grammar or spelling. Each error fixed is points closer to victory. For grammar nerds, history enthusiasts and public media fans, FIX IT unveils the depth of historic events recorded by public media stations across the country and allows anyone and everyone to join together to preserve public media for the future.

“Players can make sure that the transcripts of speeches and lectures of political leaders like John F. Kennedy, civil rights heroes such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and iconic writers like Simone de Beauvoir are accurate for better access,” said Karen Cariani, Senior Director of the WGBH Media Library and Archives and WGBH Project Director for the AAPB. “I’m thrilled that IMLS funded this innovative effort improve the American Archive transcripts.”

“The development of the FIXIT game gave our team a fantastic opportunity to use some new technologies to solve a difficult challenge: how to get users to have fun correcting transcripts of historic programs,” said Jim Bodor, Senior Director of Digital Product Development, WGBH Digital. “We think we found some interesting ways to get users to help preserve the rich history of public media,”

For the past four years, the AAPB, a collaboration between Boston public media station WGBH and the Library of Congress, has been working to digitize and preserve thousands of broadcast and never-before-seen hours from public radio and public television’s more than 60 year legacy. FIX IT is made possible with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the more than 70,000 transcripts created by Pop Up Archive, which makes sound searchable using cutting edge speech-to-text technology.

FIX IT features three challenge areas:  error identification, error correction and validation of other players’ corrections. The more players participate, the more points they rack up. Players can choose to explore topics of particular interest or direct your efforts toward preserving the unique broadcasting history of a specific station or state while tracking individual progress against other players on the leaderboard.

"This unique partnership between the public media community and the Library of Congress is establishing an essential resource for understanding our history,” said Trevor Owens, Senior Program Officer at the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “With the launch of FIX IT, it's now possible for everyone to join in on this partnership. What an exciting way to engage with and help make these significant historical recordings useful and usable for people around the world,”

Organizations across the country like Lifelong Learners: An Independent Collaborative in Metro West Boston and C89.5/KNHC, a community radio station in Seattle whose professional staff is training the next generation of broadcasters, are already planning to incorporate FIX IT in classrooms and educational materials. The NYU Prison Education Program will encourage its formerly incarcerated students to play the game to help develop editing and digital skills.

Visit fixit.americanarchive.org to help preserve history for future generations. Players’ corrections will be made available in public media’s largest digital archive at americanarchive.org.


About the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation to coordinate a national effort to preserve at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity and provide a central web portal for access to the unique programming that public stations have aired over the past 60 years. To date, over 40,000 hours of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized for long-term preservation and access. The entire collection is available on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress, and more than 18,000 programs are available online at americanarchive.org.

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a leader in educational multimedia, including PBS LearningMedia, and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards…even two Oscars. Find more information at www.wgbh.org.

About The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States - and extensive materials from around the world - both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, our grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.



WGBH Media Relations

Emily Balk

Catherine Burke