THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Sound and vision blog

2 posts from December 2007

18 December 2007

Engaging People with digital content

The Archival Sound Recordings (ASR) team is always looking for ways to expand the ASR site – not just in terms of content but in usability.  And usability these days means a great deal more than having a clear design and easily navigated menus.  What sites like ours really want to create is a community of practice around its content: a growing and dynamic body that will interact with the material, repurpose it, and share the results as widely as possible.

This is why two members of the team attended a seminar held by the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) earlier this month.  QIA describes itself as a champion of “excellence and innovation in the provision of learning and skills”.  The seminar itself was the start of a four-month programme to see how the content of resources such as ours can be expanded upon and interacted with in Further Education colleges; in particular, how content can be recombined into multimedia learning “journeys”.

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07 December 2007

The Secret History of the African Writers' Club

On our content information pages, we describe the African Writers’ Club recordings as “invaluable to students of African Studies, and in particular to students of the rich vein of creative writing in Africa in the middle of the 20th century.”  While this is true, it does not begin to explain the story of how these recordings came to be made, and why.

While the first broadcasts were made in 1962, the story actually begins in 1950, with the establishment in Paris of a body called The Congress of Cultural Freedom.  The Congress was the brainchild of the US National Security Council, which had recently shifted its European priorities from de-Nazification to anti-Communism.  One of the first fruits of this change of focus was the establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and it was the CIA who would bankroll the Congress...

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