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Thursday, November 10, 2005

BBC Radio's experimental audio-tagging project

I was scanning my feeds today, and came across this little audio find in the Boing Boing blog:

Public could help BBC to index archive

Posted: 1 November 2005 By: Robert Andrews


The BBC could ask listeners to write programme information about its radio news bulletins in order to make its vast archives more accessible to future generations of licence payers.

Under the Annotatable Audio project, radio listeners would be able to mark and add descriptive keywords to segments of programming they want to flag for bookmarking or sharing with others. It means they could highlight a specific item within a lengthy bulletin stream and return to that particular point later.

Inspired by Flickr and Wikipedia, the project is a private, early-stage pilot of social software produced at BBC Radio and Music Interactive that lets listeners slice programmes into chunks that can be identified by using tags.

Influential blogger Tom Coates, who oversaw development at the BBC, showed a demonstration in which a user marks individual headlines within a Radio 4 bulletin then adds descriptive text that can be used to make segments searchable.

"Over the next few decades, it's pretty clear that the massive archives of content that every broadcaster in the world has accrued over the last 70 or 80 years will start to appear on-demand and on the internet," he wrote.

"How are people supposed to find the specific bit of audio or video that they're looking for? What if what you're looking for is not a complete, coherent half-hour programme, but a selection of pertinent clips [such as] features on breaking news stories?

"We decided to look towards the possibilities of user-created annotation and metadata... that might allow the collective articulation of what a programme or speech or piece of music was about and how it could be divided up and described."

Searchable data is already added by journalists to radio and television clips that are posted to the BBC News site and an earlier prototype let readers tag stories on the site. Annotatable Audio project concepts may be used in future services, Mr Coates said.


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