Posted by BBC Research and Development on

It’s my turn to write weeknotes this week, and it’ll be my last for a while, as I’m about to go on a sabbatical for a year! So this is rather a bittersweet edition of weeknotes for me - It’s sad to be leaving, but on the plus side - I can’t wait to see what everyone gets up to over the next year, and reading about it every week on the blog, and if this week’s edition is anything to go by, there’s lots of exciting work going on:

Data Team

The data team spent the last sprint doing a hackweek on improving recommendations and metadata, investigating how we could use things like Microgenres and Sentiment analysis to improve the discoverability of our content. They also joined the BBC wide ‘TagFest’ event investigating how our programme metadata can be improved, and finished the first release of the new version of our speech to text model. They’ve also welcomed Glenn Davidson, a senior software engineer from the BBC Rewind team in Northern Ireland to the team on a two-week long ‘Hot shoes’ placement, and also (temporarily) said goodbye to Ollie who has finished his graduate placement with us, and is now going to BBC India for his final placement before rejoining us early next year!


Team Anansi

Team Anansi also temporarily said goodbye to Nicky - who is going on a one year attachment as a commissioning editor in the Voice team. She’ll be missed, but she’s left behind a load of fascinating projects all of which are continuing at full pace - our synthesized voice and accent study in particular which is progressing nicely - they’ve got 22 different voices recorded, with only a few accents left to be covered, and have been user testing the interface for our public survey to be launched in the new year in collaboration with Trevor Cox from the University of Salford. Alongside that, the work on Audio AR continues apace - ‘Looking for Nigel’ is in beta testing, and ‘Not a Robot’ is being refined for future public demonstration.


Internet & Society Team

Over in the team formerly known as ‘Better Internet’, we’ve finally got a name that the whole team are happy reflects our work and interests - massive thanks to Alicia for guiding us through the process of choosing it! Over the last two weeks we’ve been preparing for our first big project of the new year - we want to investigate using games as a research tool to understand better what our audiences (and in particular our younger audiences) want or need from an online public service. We had a couple of workshops to better understand our own definition and expectations of ‘public service’, as well as researching game mechanics and discursive design and building prototype games to test out some small ideas about how this could work using Ink. Alongside this, Holly and David have been analysing the results of our study into memory, technology and reminiscence among young people, and Libby, Holly and David have been interviewing BBC journalists and editors about their fact checking practices for our collaboration with FullFact!