BBC R&D

Posted by Chris Lowis on , last updated

During the summer months the team are concentrating on two main projects, with the unhelpful abbreviations ABC-IP and FI-CONTENT. We'll cover the main developments in those first, and then take a look at what else is happening around the team.

ABC-IP

Or, "The World Service Prototype" as it's known by those working on it. We're investigating ways of opening up the world service archive, to make it searchable using automatically generated metadata and to get listeners to help us to improve that metadata.

Duncan added user registration, authentication and authorisation this week. He used Devise and CanCan to help with this process. Andrew was busy customising Twitter Bootstrap to better fit the BBC's 'GEL' style guidelines, while Pete was iterating on the interface and doing some wireframing for the next set of features. I added a feature to allow listeners to suggest a better image for an episode while Yves worked on loading some massive RDF dumps from Ookaboo into our application's triple store.

Yves also found time to release a project which will help other people to evaluate automated speech recognition algorithms using the BBC's Reith Lecture series. One of the challenges in the ABC-IP project has been the accuracy of automated transcription software when run on an archive that contains a lot of different accents and manners of speech - something that the world service archive has in abundance. By releasing our evaluation methodology we hope to make it easier to get help from the wider community.

FI-CONTENT

The FI-CONTENT project is currently focussing on authentication using our nascent prototype set-top box platform 'EgBox'. Dan got a remote control talking to the device this week, now he's able to change channels, increase the volume and run through a RadioTAG-like authentication process using the "friendly rubber buttons on an actual bit of plastic". Meanwhile, Vicky and Joanne were scoping and designing a study about the methods and interactions used for authentication. And Sean, when he wasn't recruiting, went to Geneva to present, with George, some of Chris N's P2P-LIMO work to the Rencontres Mondiales du Logiciel Libre (World Meeting on Free Software). He came back having found out what a head-end is, if you can't guess Wikipedia can help.

Other Projects

The Web Audio working group mailing list is a little quieter at the moment, giving Olivier the change to focus on some use case and requirements documents, and to play around with Chris Wilson's excellent drag-and-drop Audio API explorer tool.

This week, Vicky also attended the the CBeebies Connected Studio event. She teamed up with some external companies to pitch two different ideas and is looking forward to hearing the results.

Links

  • An interesting article about the inner workings of the BBC News user-generated content verification unit.
  • Did you know the Victoria and Albert Museum have an API? Me neither.
  • Finally, we were sad to hear about the closing down of Kasabi and wish our friends over there all the best in their future work.