May 28, 2022

Wow! BBC to Open Vast Radio Archive Online, Will Include Spoken Word Programming Back to 1940s

Wow! Still in the working title stage. Set to go live within a year.  Of course, we hope that the content is accessible outside the UK.

UPDATE: From the BBC Radio Blog: An Archive for the Future

We have already started the work. Over 20 hours of each week’s Radio 4 output is added to the archive. We are also going back from the current schedule to build collections of the most relevant, useful, educational speech radio content that will supplement our current programming or agenda. Listeners inspired by Jim Al-Khalili’s Life Scientific on Tuesday mornings can explore many more of the themes by listening to hundreds of archive programmes gathered in Radio 4’s Science Explorer. Later this year a further 500 editions of Desert Island Discs going back to 1987 will be available as streams or downloads.


Radio 3’s archive enables us to build a comprehensive audio guide to the world of classical music. We began with the Proms this summer where concert information was linked to relevant editions of Composer of the Week or Discovering Music. The site attracted record numbers of users. Look out for more of the same in the Symphony project which has started this week.

From The Telegraph

The service is being developed for launch “within the next 12 months”, said Tim Davie, director of BBC Audio and Music. “Audiopedia”, its working title, may yet become its formal name, he added.

“The BBC is working on how best to present Audiopedia at the moment but most people will probably access the new on demand content via other pieces of related content they are already listening to across the BBC website,” he explained.


As well as searching and listening to the archive, “Audiopedia” users will be able to share programmes with their friends.

The BBC is in the process of digitizing its audio and TV archives. Currently around 20 hours a week of Radio 4 archive is being added to “Audiopedia”

Here in the U.S., the C-SPAN Video Library provides searchable access to most everything that has ever aired on all of the C-SPAN networks including book talks, author interviews, rallies, and so much more. Of course, plenty (understatement) of content from the U.S. Congress too! (-: By the way, it’s free to search access and also free to view video online.

See Also: Congratulations to C-SPAN! The Wonderful and Important C-SPAN Video Library Wins a Peabody Award (April 1, 2011)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.