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Project Overview
Rights and Reproduction

Project Overview:

This project was supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The Senator John Heinz History Center, located in Pittsburgh's Strip District, maintains a collection that includes 55,000 books, 600 maps, 300 serial titles, 50,000 linear feet of manuscripts, 500 microfilms, 300 regional newspapers, and 700,000 photographs depicting more than 250 years of Western Pennsylvania’s history. In addition to these holdings, the Library and Archives owns over 3,000 rolls of archival film, from industrial footage to personal "home" movies, which document life in Western Pennsylvania during the 20th century. The first undertaking of its kind at the History Center, this project will create and polices and procedures for future film digitization projects.

The stock footage shot by Bill Beal, a Pittsburgh filmmaker active from the 1940s through the 1990s, was chosen as the focus for this project. After reviewing over 250 portions of film, Library and Archives staff chose about two hours worth of footage for reformatting. The selected footage contains iconic images of Pittsburgh from the 1960s through the 1980s, from scenes of local industries to aerial views of a rapidly changing cityscape. The films were cleaned and reformatted to Digibeta tape and MPEG-2 files. About ten minutes worth of footage was then selected for conversion into streaming file formats for online use through the Life in Western Pennsylvania website. The default viewing format is Flash video, a widely used cross-platform format that offers relatively high-quality images with low file sizes. Windows Media Video and Quicktime versions are offered as well. The JW FLV Player, a flash player distributed under a Creative Commons license, is used to play the streaming flash files on this site.

Rights and Reproduction:

The Senator John Heinz History Center is the copyright owner of this material. The clips presented on this site are for personal, research and educational purposes only. Duplication of any of these images for commercial purposes is expressly prohibited.

Please contact the Library and Archives for information regarding commercial use of material from this collection.

(412) 454-6402 (P)
(412) 454-6028 (F)


Art Louderback Project Supervisor
Lisa Lazar Project Director
Debbie Day Project Manager
Matt Strauss Project Manager
David Grinnell Chief Archivist

Special thanks to Betty Arenth and Lori Presto of the Senator John Heinz History Center, Dr. Gary J. Delorenzo of the California University of Pennsylvania, Miriam Meislik of the University of Pittsburgh, Ron Baraff of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, Joe Morrison of Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pat Stromberg, the Heinz History Center's Marketing and Communication Departments, as well as the rest of the staff at the Library and Archives.


Photographs survey Contact the History Center Link to History Center