January 20, 2022

BBC Begins Using “Automated Data Architecture” to Help with Discovery, Navigation of Permanently Available Programs

From the About the BBC Blog:

Currently there are over 15,000 permanently available programmes, largely radio programmes, on the BBC website dating back decades, but they can be very difficult to find. From today, we’re launching a new piece of technology called ADA (Automated Data Architecture) that unearths and helps people navigate the BBC’s rich archive of permanently available programmes.


What we wanted to do was to find a way of connecting up all of these programmes in an automated way, and make it easier for our producers so they could spend all their time on creating the programmes we love. The BBC News and Sport websites use linked data to populate their pages, so with the infrastructure already set up to create and add tags, it seemed like this would be useful in connecting programmes.


Most programmes do not have any way of browsing by subject though, especially one off documentaries and short series. They can be found by searching, but only if you already know what you are looking for and what it is called. Even then it’s very hard to find something new or surprising, even though there are so many programmes available.


Categories are added by Wikipedians because they believe them to be important facets of the subject of the page, so they are likely to be more interesting than a dry statement of fact about each subject. They are also checked by other Wikipedians and will be removed if they disagree, so there’s a certain amount of quality control built in as well.

Using these categories, we built a beta system where we simply tagged each programme with its subject, gathered the Wikipedia categories for that subject automatically and matched them up, providing links between the programmes. This automatically created the navigation architecture that we needed, without us having to spend hours designing and updating it.

Read the Complete Blog Post

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.