Jinfo BlogMy Favourite Tipples from a BBC archivist

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By Margaret Katny

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My Favourite Tipples are shared by Margaret Katny, senior media manager at the BBC. She shares her favourite online resources which cover audio, TV, film and archive materials, in particular for output from the BBC and other British broadcasters.


I work for BBC Archives and I ensure that BBC radio and television programmes are managed and made accessible for research, re-use and heritage purposes. I write policies and guidelines, advise BBC staff on anything and everything to do with BBC programmes past and present and liaise with members of the public and heritage institutions in the UK and abroad. The following websites make my BBC life easier:

  • Genome: This covers BBC Radio Times listings from 1923 to 2009. Users can search the scanned versions of Radio Times for programmes, people, dates, Radio Times editions or indeed any free-text terms.

    It is a great resource which fills the gap left by the absence of a publicly available catalogue of BBC broadcasting. I often recommend Genome to members of the public who are invariably surprised to learn that such a resource exists and delighted to be able to use it.  
  • British Library Sound catalogue: The British Library has a collection of 200,000 hours of radio recordings going back to the 1920s which, coupled with the on-demand access for researchers, is a formidable resource for all interested in an audio history of this country.
  • BBC Contributor Access: If I were paid every time I was asked "how can I get a copy of a programme in which I featured", I would be rich. The Contributor Access process allows anyone who has made a substantial contribution to a BBC programme to apply to get a copy of this programme for personal use. Contributors have to pay for the copy to be made as the BBC has to cover its costs.

    Another useful "permissions" site is Getty Images (formerly BBC Motion Gallery). This deals with requests for commercial use of BBC clips. They find, clear and license content for re-use and have a visually pleasing website.
  • BBC Written Archives Centre: Like many large institutions, the BBC archives its own history, and its paper archives contain thousands of files, scripts and papers from the BBC's beginnings in 1922 to the present. The Written Archives Centre is a constant source of fascinating information available to academics undertaking research, writers commissioned to write about BBC history or commercial project researchers.

For fun:

  • Zinio: My local public library in London collaborates with the London Libraries Consortium to offer borrowers over 300 eMagazines. You can download and keep lots of magazines every week - all for free.

An article in Jinfo which I found particularly interesting:

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