THE BRITISH LIBRARY

The Newsroom blog

2 posts from April 2015

22 April 2015

Recording the election

The UK General Election means that we have been busy with the video recorders. As well as our regular intake on newspapers and the special web archive collection being built up by the British Library and other legal deposit libraries, we have been recording many extra television programmes relating to the General Election for our Broadcast News service. In our multimedia, multiformat, mobile-driven world, television is still the medium which leads the news agenda in the UK and serves as the focal point for debate.

Here's a run-down of what we're recording, all of which is available soon after broadcast on Broadcast News, available in our Reading Rooms at St Pancras and Boston Spa.

Broadcastnews

General news

We record selected television and radio news programmes from 22 channels on a regular basis, and so pick up on all the main news reporting on the election - from BBC1, BBC2, BBC4, ITV1, Channel 4 and Sky News, as well as the somewhat less intense election reporting from Al Jazeera English, CNN, RT, France 24 and others. 

ITVdebate

The ITV Leaders' Debate

Debates

The will-they, won't they arguments over the live debates with party leaders dominated media discussions in the run-up to the formal launch of the General Election period. There was no repeat of the three-way leader debates that so riveted the nation back in 2010, but the compromise solution for 2015 generated variety, much interest and plenty of online debate. We have had Cameron & Miliband: The Battle for No 10 (Channel 4 tx. 26/3/2015), with Jeremy Paxman grilling David Cameron and Ed Miliband and Kay Burley fielding questions from a studio audience; the ITV Leaders' Debate, with Julie Etchingham hosting a memorable seven-way debate between the leaders at their podiums (ITV tx. 2/4/2015); and the BBC Election Debate (BBC1 tx. 16/4/2015), hosted by David Dimbley, featuring the leaders of the five main opposition parties. We have also recorded Scotland Debates (STV tx. 7/4/2015) and the Leaders' Debate - Scotland (BBC1 Scotland tx. 8/4/2015), the Newsbeat Debates on TV and Radio 1, the Daily Politics Debates, and several others.

Thisweek

The ubiqitious Andrew Neil

Discussions and commentaries

Accompanying the news, we of course have the discussion programmes. Analysing it all have been the Daily Politics, Sunday Politics and This Week (all hosted by Andrew Neil), Election Tonight, Question Time, the Andrew Marr Show, The Agenda, Murnaghan, Newsnight, and even the Election Late Show

Interviews

The number of interviews with the party leaders seems prodigious. ITV has had its Spotlight interview series with Tom Bradbury, BBC1 had has the Leader Interviews with Evan Davies, there have been the Newsbeat Interviews on BBC TV and radio, numerous interviews on general news and current affairs programmes, and ad hoc pieces to camera being picked up by BBC Parliament.

BBC Parliament

The BBC Parliament channel has thrown open its schedules to capture many of the interviews, reactions, manifesto launches and campaign events of which we only see highlights in the main news programmes. So, for example, the manifesto launches include those of the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party, Ulster Unionist Party, Alliance Party, SDLP, Green Party, UKIP, Democratic Unionist Party and the Christian People's Alliance, as well as the Scottish and Welsh branches of Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens and UKIP, and assorted youth manifestos.

Green

The Green Party's 'boy band' election broadcast

Election broadcasts

Party election broadcasts are a television staple, and for this election it is noticeable how stylishly made most of the broadcasts are, aiming as they are to attract not just television viewers but an online audience intent or liking or disliking the same videos on YouTube. So far we have broadcasts from the Conservative Party, Green Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Scottish National Party, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, and UKIP.

All party election broadcasts shown on the BBC are currently available via iPlayer.

Newzoids

Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond on Newzoids

Satire

We are also recording the many news satire programmes that are popping up: Have I Got News For You, ITV's new puppet show Newzoids, Channel 4's The Last Leg, which has a special focus on the election, and programmes created for the election period itself: Jack Dee's Election Help Desk and Charlie Brooker's Election Wipe on BBC2, Ballot Monkeys on Channel 4 with its up-to-the-minute gags, and the planned post- election programmes including Election Autopsy (with Frankie Boyle) and Rory Bremner's Election Report.

We will be producing a special collection page for the election recordings on Broadcast News, once the election is over.

 

01 April 2015

Newspapers remotely

Afro_american

African-American newspapers

Users of the British Library's newspaper collections have three main choices: if they have a Reader's Pass, they can come to the Newsroom at our St Pancras site, or use the reading room at our Yorkshire site in Boston Spa; or they can subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive, the service that provides access to our digitised British and Irish newspapers - 400 titles, and now over 10 million pages. We also have historic newspapers available via Gale Digital Collections. All electronic newpspaers resources to which we contribute or to which we subscribe are freely available to anyone with a Reader's Pass who comes to either our St Pancras or Boston Spa sites.

It is possible, however, to access some newspaper collections remotely i.e. wherever you might be sitting, and without payment. A small number of newspaper collections that we have licensed from third parties (so not newspapers from our physical collections that have been digitised) are available via the British Library's Remote Eresources service. This isn't so well known about, and is more than worth highlighting. It's a service available to anyone with a Reader's Pass, and all you need to do is enter your username and password, agree to the conditions of use, and you're in.

Africanamerican

The newspapers all come via Readex, who provide a wide range of online research resources to academic libraries. Their newspaper and news-related offerings that we can provide access to remotely are:

  • African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 - provides online access to approximately 270 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience. This unique collection features papers from more than 35 states - including many rare and historically significant 19th century titles.
  • Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans 1639-1800 - contains virtually every book, pamphlet and broadside published in America during the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Early American Newspapers, Series I - reproductions of hundreds of historic newspapers, providing more than one million pages as fully text-searchable facsimile images. 
  • Latin American Newspapers Series 1, 1805-1922 - part of Readex's World Newspaper Archive, this database provides access to more than 35 fully searchable Latin American newspapers including key titles from Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Peru.
  • World Newspaper Archive: African Newspapers, 1800-1922 - part of Readex's World Newspaper Archive. African Newspapers includes over 30 fully searchable African newspapers including key publications from Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

We have other news-related resources available via Remote Eresources:

  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Daily Reports 1974-1996 - US government operation which translates the text of daily broadcasts, government statements, and select news stories from non-English sources. Covers: Middle East & North Africa, 1974-1987; Near East & South Asia, 1987-1996; South Asia, 1980-1987; Sub-Saharan Africa, 1974-1996; China, 1974-1996; Asia & the Pacific, 1974-1987; Eastern Europe, 1974-1996; Soviet Union, 1974-1996.
  • US Congressional Serial Set - reports, documents and journals of the US Senate and House of Representatives in full text, 1817-1994. 

For more on our Remote Eresources, and what you can and cannot do with them, see our FAQs page.