Saturday, May 16, 2009

TV 's future can benefit from looking back ..


There’s a danger for many that at the mention of the words archive and library they will suffer a near instantaneous draining of all blood from the head and a sudden feeling of sleepiness but Archive is big news in the TV world.

Roly Keating gave a great performance as the speaker at the inaugural Jane Mercer memorial lecture under the auspices of Focal International and with the support of the London section of the Royal Television Society. The lecture held at the former LWT centre earlier this week was well attended and those present had there attention held by the enthusiasm of the speaker

Although diplomatically distancing himself from a previous euphoria where it was considered realistic to release much of the BBC’s treasures as ‘creative commons’ he spoke eloquently about the long term aspirations to enable deep access to significant footage and documents held by the BBC.

Undoubtedly there are issues around the vast cornucopia of material over half a million hours of TV and a similar amount of radio plus rushes, stills and documents. The related logistics and rights clearances for such a gargantuan task is enough to raise a cold sweat in even the most able of archivists and explains why Roly was talking of a timescale of something like a decade.

Unusually for a BBC executive Roly seemed to be happy to speak with a refreshing lack of corporatist flannel and kept to a minimum the repetition of the current BBC's ‘partnership’ mantra but rest assured this is a topic that is as significant as it is immense in the future of broadcasting and multimedia authoring and it seems the BBC has the right man leading on it.
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