The BBC has launched ‘Chronicle’, a project which will see BBC Northern Ireland’s television archives made available online, in partnership with JISC and the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC).
’Chronicle’ will digitise part of the BBC’s vast archive footage, stored since the 1920s, for use in Northern Irish and UK further and higher education. Authorised users will have access to the footage which covers landmark moments in Northern Ireland’s history, including the appointment of BBC Northern Ireland’s first television news reporter in 1955, The Troubles, and the launch of digital technology.
The move to digitise the archive footage comes after calls for the preservation of footage between 1963 and 1981 which is at risk of deteriorating. Footage filmed after 1981 was recorded on Beta or Digibeta tape, which is a longer lasting medium than 16mm.
Martin Doherty, Department of Social and Historical Studies, University of Westminster, which is reviewing the academic value of the project, says, “The value of the BBC Northern Ireland News footage cannot be overstated. Access to this corpus of materials means that at the same time as fostering understanding and appreciation of ‘The Troubles’ within education, the academy is also given the opportunity to build on this through new avenues of research using innovative techniques.”
Caroline Thomson, Chief Operating Officer, BBC says, “The BBC is committed to making the best possible use of its enormous archive, and this project is an important step forward in finding ways to use archive material to serve both the academic community and the BBC's broader public purposes.”