With the assistance of Tang Li, acting head of USC's East Asian Library, the USC Libraries have acquired an extensive collection documenting historical events and daily life in modern China between the years 1910 and 2022. Featuring nearly a thousand video, image, audio, and text files, the Bill Einreinhofer China Archive emerged from a series of public television documentaries produced by the three-time Emmy Award winner and emeritus chair of the New York Film Academy's Broadcast Journalism department.
Einreinhofer’s television programs include China Now: To Get Rich Is Glorioius; The Hidden China; Sichuan Stories; and So Very Far From Home.
“The archive is unique in that it spans modern Chinese history from the early twentieth century through the second decade of the twenty-first century,” he said. “ And while it includes footage of pivotal historical events, it also captures everyday life among both the privileged and powerful, as well as ordinary Chinese families. The archive is the product of more than three decades of research, and incorporates images of China at the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the ‘Warlord’ period, the ‘War of Resistance,’ the Chinese Civil War, the early years of reform and opening, and the growth of an increasingly important consumption-driven economy.”
The processing of the Bill Einreinhofer China Archive also provided an excellent opportunity for the USC Libraries to experiment with new tools and to improve workflows for describing and providing access to digital archival collections. In the processing of Einreinhofer’s files, archivist Bo Doub used new technologies to link the description of the born-digital files across the USC Libraries’ digital asset and collections management systems. The finished product allows users to navigate between an archival finding aid and the USC Digital Library's copies of these assets available to the public, which include transcripts, audio, photographs, and video.