What will we do when we get there?

2

Welcome! Digital Broadcast Archives (DBAs) are coming our way! Who will use them and what kinds of archives will those users want? The BBC has a huge archive of digital and analogue material which is currently difficult or impossible for the public to access. The television and radio programs from the past 50 years are a fascinating resource, but how can they be made available to the public in new ways? What are the hurdles and what are the opportunities? How will ‘digital citizens’ use such archives, what tools will they need? What would be the gold standard of emerging DBAs?
We are exploring such questions in a pathfinding project drawing on the BBC archives of environment programmes. Situated within a perspective of digital ideology, we are aiming for a bottom up view of the kinds of uses, tools and creative opportunities of DBAs, as informed by a wide range of potential users. For the last 15 months we have been thinking these questions through with a variety of audiences at workshops and in interviews around the country, hearing from wildlife and interactive documentary film makers, university and school students, school teachers and academics, international environment journalists, IT experts, NGO organisations and others. We have met some inspiring people, had a lot of fun, and found that there is a huge appetite for this new digital resource. We thank our participants so far for their affirming, informative and sometimes surprising contributions.

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