HU OSA 297-0-1 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Russian Broadcast 1953-1995

Identity statement

Reference code
HU OSA 297-0-1
Title
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Russian Broadcast 1953-1995
Date(s)
1953 - 1995
Description level
Series

Context

Name of creator(s)
Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, Inc.
Archival history
In 1999, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty donated their broadcast and corporate archives to the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University, California including the thousands of analog audio tapes that make up RFE/RL’s sound archives. With support from Hoover, Radio Svoboda journalists digitized and described their contents before the tapes were physically transferred from Prague to California. Hoover then donated the material to OSA in Budapest for processing, including the creation of additional metadata for the digitized audio files and prepare the archive for online publication. Radio Liberty’s Russian language broadcast material arrived to Budapest in November 2014. The files received are totaling 3.1 TB, the number of files is 203.936. Half of them are sound files in compressed .WAV file format, the other half are related .XML files, exported from RFE/RL’s database in Prague, with broadcast from 1953 to 2014. (101.968 WAV sound files and 101.968 XML files) OSA selected, processed and described the early files only, dating from 1953 to 1995, created in the Munich period of RFE/RL. The Munich files constitute 26% of the total amount of files OSA received. The XML files contained technical and most often descriptive metadata about the sound files dating 1953-1995. The workflow for the processing was set up in March 2015, and was designed to reuse the already existing metadata but in a new structure. A bi-lingual metadata schema (Russian and English) as well as a processing plan for item (program) level description were designed. The work plan involved extraction and exporting of existing metadata relating to dates, title, summary and name of contributors (creators) from the XML files into OSA’s database. The manual processing followed the automated metadata export, and was also applied to files without reusable metadata. Additional work of establishing creators and RFE/RL studios where the programs were recorded was also part of the processing work. The compressed .WAV audio files were recoded and reformatted into MP3 for on-line publication. The cleansed and fully processed collection of the over 26 thousand audio files are published along with their related descriptions via the ‘Digital Repository’ at OSA.

Content and structure

Scope and Content (Abstract)
The collection contains 26147 unique audio files that were produced and broadcast by RFE/RL’s Russian Service. Spanning from the very first program on air in 1953 till 1995, when RFE/RL moved from Munich, Germany to Prague, Czech Republic, the broadcast archive of these 42 years cover turbulent times: from Stalin’s death, the harshest battles of the Cold War, the emergence of dissident movement with Samizdat as a part of it, the hopeful times of Perestroika to the crash of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the new Russia, struggling to overcome its heritage.
Scope and Content (Narrative)
The over 10 thousand hours of recordings give an unparalleled insight into the politics and the fight for human rights in the Soviet Union; into everyday life of the Russian-speakers living in the USSR or abroad, in a diaspora; into the Russian literature, though unpublished, suppressed and unwanted, yet making its way to the grateful readers; into the differences and disputes between the three waves of Russian emigration with their uneasy relationships in the West; into Russian culture in exile, which would soon make its way back to the motherland. The broadcast archive include various genres of Radio Svoboda: newsreels and special broadcasts; talk shows written and edited by famous writers, poets, musicians, historians and analysts; literary readings by authors or actors and radio plays; samizdat reviews; liturgies and talks by Orthodox Church reverends; music programs, interviews and press-conferences with fresh emigrants and many, many more. The original open-reel tapes containing Radio Liberty’s live broadcasts of the ‘Munich period’ (1953-1995) were preserved, archived, digitized and systematized by the Russian Service’s staff in Prague in the late 1990’s. RFE/RL donated both the tapes and the digitized copies to Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University. In 2015 Hoover Institute authorized OSA to create metadata for the digitized audio, process the collection and prepare the archive for publication online.
Accruals

Not expected

Conditions of access and use

Conditions governing access
Not restricted
Languages
Russian
Call Number Description