Press Office

Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

Press Releases

BBC and British Library join forces to broaden access to their archives

Joint press release from the BBC and British Library

Significant partnership to integrate access to material is welcome news for researchers

The BBC and British Library will today sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), in an innovative approach to make the content and assets of both organisations more widely available.

Managed by a joint steering committee, the MOU seeks to develop new ways of integrating access to nearly a million hours of BBC TV and radio content and more than 150 million British Library items – significantly increasing access to research material across both national institutions for the benefit of researchers and the wider public.

Signed by Mark Thompson, BBC Director-General, and CEO of the British Library, Dame Lynne Brindley, the MOU also proposes that the BBC and British Library collaborate to develop viable approaches on important issues – such as rights management, distribution of archive content, digitisation and storage.

Mark Thompson said: "The BBC and the British Library share many of the same purposes – to guarantee public access to content in an open realm, creating a space where people can debate and exchange ideas and experiences. Unlocking the wealth of content in the British Library and BBC archives is a great opportunity as well as an immense challenge. It is vital we partner, harnessing the power of digital technology to give the public the access they deserve."

Dame Lynne Brindley said: "Providing increasing access to our collections using digital technologies is a primary goal of the British Library. This partnership not only demonstrates that we are keen to share content for the benefit of today's researchers and the knowledge economy, but also expresses our continued commitment to supporting the government's vision of building a Digital Britain.

"Through this MOU we aim to create a model of best practice which will allow the Library to develop similar opportunities with other public institutions. Providing unparalleled access to joint information services and world-class digital archival content will truly enable the business, academic, scientific, research and creative communities to flourish."

The agreement follows MOUs signed earlier this year between the BBC and the British Film Institute and the BBC and The National Archives.

Notes to Editors

The BBC Archive is one of the largest multimedia archives in the world, held in 27 locations across the UK.

As well as close to a million hours of TV and radio programmes it also holds six million still photographs, over four million items of sheet music and over half-a-million documents and records.

Explore more than 80 years of UK and BBC history with the BBC Archive website:

Programmes, documents and images bring the past to life and reveal forgotten stories, available to UK audiences.

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries.

It provides world-class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection.

The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation.

It includes: books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, newspapers, photographs and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages.

Further information is available on the Library's website at


To top

Press releases by date:

Press release by:

RSS feeds:

Related BBC links

Related web links

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.