Experimental prototype of BBC Programme Catalogue
I missed this at first in the slew of announcements about the BBC Creative Future initiative, but last week the BBC launched an 'experimental prototype' of its programme catalogue, comprising details of nearly a million programmes (here's the relevant press release).
Tom Loosemore from the Beeb spoke about this at an event I attended last Thursday, and described his delight at finding the detailed records that their librarians had been keeping for decades. Just last week I was criticising the many online music databases that don't recognise that "The Beatles" and "Beatles, The" might be the same thing. The BBC benefits from having proper information professionals (and at the same time threatens them with job cuts, but that's corporate rationality for you).
Nevertheless, I did find the odd lapse in the data, along with a range of trainspotter entries, during a twenty-minute play with the catalogue. (These are simply observations, not criticisms, as they all fall within the disclaimer on the home page.)
- Not all Neil Youngs are the same: the one we know and love is clearly differentiated in the catalogue for other miscreants like 'Neil Young (former car thief)' and 'Neil Young (hype contributor)'.
- But some Siouxsies are: as well as Siouxsie Sioux, one cataloguer has mis-represented her as Siouxsie Sue. (Stuart Maconie's Cider with Roadies renders Siouxsie's surname as 'Sue' throughout. It also spells Ritchie Blackmore's first name no less than three different ways in different places. Such things annoy me.)
- Siouxsie's catalogue entries (link above) do not link to the entries for Siouxsie and the Banshees: the database seems to know that Frank Zappa 'often appears with' Anne Nightingale, but not that Siouxsie often appeared with her band.
- Speaking of Frank, the catalogue includes Charles Shaar Murray's Radio 3 programmes about him, but not Mark Radcliffe's. It has Neil Young's interview with Richard Skinner about the Freedom album, but it doesn't have his interview with Johnny Walker about the Harvest Moon album, first broadcast on 14 November 01992.
- It doesn't appear to have details of the Peel Sessions, although these are catalogued elsewhere in the BBC, and some slots on Peel's Top Gear programme, like Captain Beefheart's, are included.
- Surely Paul Gambaccini did more than seven programmes in 02005: he's on every week!
- Slap me on the patio; I'll take it slowly: I remember watching both broadcasts of this programme; the penny finally dropped and things were never quite the same for me again.
- You can get tag clouds for each individual in the catalogue. Given the different ways she was involved in many news programmes, I thought Jill Dando's would be interesting. (But I'm not sure I was right.)
The first mash-up based on catalogue data is already available.
Posted by David Jennings in section(s) BBC, Curatorial on 2 May 02006 | TrackBack