About Project Vietnam

In 2008, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded a National Leadership Grant to the WGBH Educational Foundation Media Library and Archives (WGBH) along with the University of Massachusetts-Boston Healey Library (UMB) and the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL).

The grant supported the digitization of filmed interviews and stock footage gathered for the 1983 WGBH miniseries, Vietnam: A Television History, much of which had only been seen a handful of filmmakers during production of the documentary. This material had been largely inaccessible to researchers and, thanks to this project, was rescued from disintegration and made available at Columbia University through WGBH's OpenVault video repository. The grant also supported Project Vietnam, an initiative between CCNMTL, WGBH, and the University of Massachusetts-Boston to introduce these videos and accompanying custom analysis tools into classrooms at Columbia University.

The digitized source materials housed in OpenVault include extensive interviews from important witnesses of the war, such as General Vo Nguyen Giap, Commander-in-Chief of the Vietminh, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister; Tuu Ky, Ho Chi Minh's secretary; William Westmoreland, Superintendent of West Point, Commander of U.S. Military Assistance Command in Vietnam, Chief of Staff of U.S. Army; and a range of US and Vietnamese soldiers and civilians. Stock footage in the archive derives from sources as varied as U.S. network news sources, international agencies such as the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Co.), HDS (Hanoi Documentary Studios), and STH (Studio Hamburg), footage of fighting from government agencies such as the CIA, Dept. of Defense, Library of Congress, and the National Archives.

As CCNMTL executive director Frank Moretti explained, "This project represents an important partnership between public television, academic institutions, and a digital media and education center where the collaboration produces a profound and lasting impact on the teaching and study of the Vietnam War."

Additionally, Project Vietnam laid the groundwork for CCNMTL to develop its newest multimedia analysis environment, MediaThread. MediaThread is CCNMTL's innovative, open-source platform for exploration, analysis, and organization of web-based multimedia content. MediaThread connects to a variety of image and video collections (such as YouTube, Flickr, library databases, and course libraries), enabling users to lift items out of these collections and into an analysis environment. In MediaThread, items can then be clipped, annotated, organized, and embedded into essays and other written analyses, which can be shared with classmates, or larger audiences. MediaThread is the evolution of the Center's work on Project Vietnam.


Project Vietnam was developed by the following staff members at CCNMTL and WGBH.

Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning
Executive Producers: Frank Moretti and Maurice Matiz
Producers: Ryan Kelsey and Mark Phillipson
Project Manager: Maria Janelli
Lead Designer: Elizabeth Day
Designer: Marc Raymond
Lead Technical Architect: Jonah Bossewitch
Programmers: Schuyler Duveen and Ethan Jucovy
Lead Digital Media Specialist: Stephanie Ogden
Digital Media Specialist: Brian O'Hagan
Communications and Outreach: Dana Hoover and Briana Ferrigno
Grant Support: Elizabeth Manning

Karen Cariani: Director of WGBH Media Library and Archives
Peter Pinch: Director of WGBH Interactive Technology
Karen Colbron: Project Manager
Paul Plutnicki: Business Manager
Sarah Grafman: Interactive Producer
Chris Beer: Developer