Open Productions Initiative

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An initiative from Intelligent Television, U.S. documentary makers, full information at



Intelligent Television’s Open Production Initiatives serve as one sort of new model for the distribution of open content and open educational content in particular to the broader interested public—a model based in video and film media, produced in the best traditions of documentary television, and meant to be distributed in various complementary ways. The two Open Production Initiatives for this project are being developed in association with Columbia University Center for New Media Teaching and Learning and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Courseware project. This project also will explore the potential for new sources of support from the commercial sector for the missions that culture and educational institutions are serving, especially in the realm of digitization and digital media services. The project is intended to have a significant (positive) material impact on the economic health of cultural and educational institutions and the dialogue between these institutions and industry. The Hewlett Foundation’s support for this project is being administered by the New America Foundation, a leading independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy institute based in Washington, DC.

“Open Production Initiatives" and Moving-Image Repositories With the maturation of newer trends in technology, education, culture, and television especially, there is a profound opportunity to develop and produce new types of valuable educational television projects. Digital technology has rendered the production and distribution of media less expensive, more able to be multi-purposed, more durable, and more portable, so that it can be watched and heard and read on almost every device with a screen or a speaker. University, high-school, and grade-school students and teachers have become accustomed to deploying video and audio assets in the classroom and in homework. Libraries and museums are moving to push parts of their holdings online and on-screen, often converting or even producing rich media to do so. And television producers and distributors are searching for what they call new models of broadcasting in the digital age. With the generous support of Library and Archives Canada and JISC, Intelligent Television has been developing new models of “Open Production Initiatives" in association with cultural and educational institutions. The subject of one of these models—the Suez Canal crisis of 1956—will draw upon many international collections of materials on the history of the 1956 invasion, the peacekeeping effort that followed, and the history of the Middle East and foreign involvement there. This Open Production Initiative will make available as widely as possible new and old material produced and reformatted for the programs. The story is about 1) the foreign policies of a number of countries active in the Middle East; 2) a number of countries in the Middle East and the presence of foreign countries and foreign economic interests there; 3) a multilateral peacekeeping operation; and 4) how public interests and public and private media relate to one another in wartime. The collections of video, audio, books, newspapers, films, journals, documents, manuscripts, images, and online resources include those at the BBC Archive; the ITN Archive: the U.K. Public Records Office; the U.S. Library of Congress; the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration; Library and Archives Canada; the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Egypt’s Library of Alexandria; Israel’s Ben-Gurion Archives; and materials at other universities, archives, and research collections around the world. (