I think I just died and went to heaven: “The BBC plans to open up its archive to make a treasure trove of material available to everyone.” [via Ben Hammersley]
Ever wondered what’s in that archive? Who looks after it? It turns out there’s a huge database that’s been carefully tended by a gang of crack BBC librarians for decades. Nearly a million programmes are catalogued, with descriptions, contributor details and annotations drawn from a wonderfully detailed controlled vocabulary.
I’m the lucky developer who gets to turn this hidden treasure into a public website. No programme downloads yet, but a massive searchable programme catalogue.
In the early part of next year, you can look forward to a public beta with extensive programme details and broadcast histories. There are “On This Day” schedules that go back to 1933. It’s got full contributor histories, and Really Good Search. I can’t begin to describe the depth of this dataset – it had an entry for the one time in the 1990s when my dad was on local TV news as a spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council. The cataloguers have worked hard on this stuff for years, and it deserves a wide audience.
If you’ve got ideas on how you’d want to track down an obscure sci-fi drama from the 80s or a radio play from 1962, drop me a mail.
First request: the Woman’s Hour serialisation of Rebecca from the 1990s. I thought Mrs de Winter was played by Joanna David and Mrs Danvers by Anna Massey but I might be getting confused with the BBC tv adaptation. Or maybe they starred in both.
What about you, anything from the BBC radio archives you’d love to see available for download?