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By Mercedes Bunz: The BBC and the British Library are collaborating on a digital technology project to open up the institutions’ archives, w…

By Mercedes Bunz: The BBC and the British Library are collaborating on a digital technology project to open up the institutions’ archives, with the aim of giving the public greater online access to a vast cultural treasure trove.

Under a memorandum of understanding to be signed by the two organisations today, they will collaborate on the daunting task of digitising the British Library’s archive of more than 150 million items collected over the past 250 years, as well as nearly 1m hours of TV and radio output from the BBC, which has been broadcasting since 1922.

The BBC and the British Library will establish a joint steering committee to develop a uniform approach across the two organisations on issues including rights management, distribution of archive content, and technical issues of digitisation and storage. By working together the two organisations also aim to share the cost of digitising their archives.

“Unlocking the wealth of content in the British Library and BBC archives is a great opportunity as well as an immense challenge,” said the BBC director general, Mark Thompson, who will sign the agreement with the British Library chief executive, Dame Lynne Brindley. “It is vital we partner, harnessing the power of digital technology to give the public the access they deserve.”

Brindley said: “Through this memorandum of understanding we aim to create a model of best practice which will allow the library to develop similar opportunities with other public institutions. This partnership not only demonstrates that we are keen to share content for the benefit of today’s researchers and the knowledge economy, but also expresses our continued commitment to supporting the government’s vision of building a digital Britain.”

Robert adds: Off the back of it’s iPlayer, the BBC is offering cultural institutions a digitisation service. It previously signed a deal with the British Film Institute.

This article originally appeared in © Guardian News & Media Ltd..

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