The collection at the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR) at the University of Hawaii West Oahu is extremely valuable from a historic and cultural standpoint. It includes all of the raw material, elements and complete programs from the Rice and Roses series, shot by Chris Conybeare and Joy Chong-Stannard over the last 30 years for PBS, as well as oral history interviews related to program themes. These shows and oral histories feature rare interviews with prominent figures and people involved in events and movements that shaped Hawaii, as well as footage of major civil rights and labor-related events in Hawaiian history. The approximately 2,000-item collection is mostly video, with a small collection of 16mm films, some reel-to-reel and vinyl audio and 31 radio transcription discs from the 1950s.
The University of Hawaii will be building the Henry Ku’ualoha Giugni Digital Archive, a moving image archive on the new UH West Oahu campus, set to open in 2012. The archive will house numerous local moving image collections and will implement the MAVIS system for cataloging. It is understood that the CLEAR collection will then be housed in the archive, but will continue to belong to CLEAR. I spent the summer working with Chris and Joy on a comprehensive assessment of the collection to prepare it for this transition. Our goals were to come up with a summary that would define the collection and set it apart from the rest of the archive, create a database that will be easily imported into MAVIS and to organize the current storage facility for the best possible archival practices and easier access to the materials that are currently in frequent use. My time at CLEAR was extremely rewarding. The librarians, technicians and producers in Hawaii are passionate about taking care of their collections (as witnessed at a well-attended digital preservation workshop organized by David Rowntree and John Walko of Scene Savers), and are dedicated to raising funding for and awareness of their preservation needs. Their passion and work ethic was infectious, and I became very attached to the CLEAR collection, its producers and their colleagues.