For most of my BBC career, the website wasn’t really about TV & Radio. Discussion were filled with talk of news, sport, weather, recipe finder, GCSE Bitesize, initiatives like iCan and products like Connector, MyBBC, and search.
There were lovingly crafted programme showcases for the top shows like Eastenders and Doctor Who. And there was Radioplayer, well ahead of its time.
But most programmes had no coverage (a temporary schedule snippet notwithstanding) as I discovered in my first few weeks at the BBC. Part of my job was to respond to users who had emailed us via the ‘contact us’ link on the search engine. Query after query asked for information about a programme recently and not so recently seen or heard. We resorted to back catalogues of RadioTimes and lots of apologetically framed replies.
Now the situation is somewhat different, with a number of projects having re-homed programme content on the internet, mostly notably:
- iPlayer 7 day catch-up, TV and Radio
- Catalogue (currently offline) Text based records of the back catalogue, based on the BBC’s internal catalogue produced by Information and Archives
- Archives Trial collections of archive audio, video and written material
- Programmes A page for every programme from October 2007 onwards, some with embedded audio & video from iPlayer
Diverse teams tackling the original problem (no programme support) from slightly different angles and a more experimental, innovation-friendly culture has resulted in an information architecture headache. Part one of solving the resulting problem is integrating the data from Catalogue into Programmes. I’m sure that’ll be a cinch 🙂