The UK’s web archive is pretty rubbish, therefore Iterasi (highlighted by TechCrunch) is a great addition to the web.
Rather than merely bookmarking a URL, you can archive the actual page, and can continue archiving the page on a regular basis if you so wish. The only downsides to the site are that it only allows you to archive on a daily basis (for the front pages of news sites you may want to archive more regularly), and it only archives when your computer, with its list of scheduled saves, is turned on.
The potential for webometric studies is obvious, it would seem as though even the most technologically incompetent of us can now simply collect longitudinal data. For example, Google searches may be collected on a daily basis to see how the results or the number of hits changes…and once you have archived a page, it’s very simple to then embed the page:
It also has potential for bloggers; when they discuss a page or story bloggers can now be sure that their readers will have access to the page that they saw rather than an updated version. How content providers will react to the archiving of their content is yet to be seen.
Less than a week ago the BBC announced that it had come to an agreement with Adobe allowing it to stream programmes with Flash. Whilst there are no exact dates as yet, the BBC doesn’t seem to be messing around. They announced in their Archive Newsletter last night:
We’re also launching a new media player that uses Flash instead of RealPlayer or Windows Media. We have to stress that as this is more to help us with technical aspects of the trial, it won’t be released to everyone, sadly. We’ll be e-mailing a selection of triallists soon with more information. We’re sorry, but we won’t be able to extend this group of triallists, but we thought you’d like to know that it exists, even if we can’t give everyone access to it.
At this rate the streaming should be completely rolled out by Christmas, and come Christmas Day the Queen’s speech will fit into my schedule…surely that must be treasonable!
As I never tire from saying, I am huge fan of the BBC. Therefore I was pleased to note last week that they were trialling access to their archive, and unlike previous trials, I was quick enough off the mark to get accepted as part of the trial. This morning my password arrived.
Currently the archive provides streaming access to 781 programmes, 488 television programmes and 293 radio programmes, with the promise of more being added all the time. Whilst the streaming quality is not as good as the iPlayer video, it will no doubt placate the ISPs and Apple users who have been complaining about the iPlayer.
Whilst 781 programmes is a drop in the ocean that is the BBC archive, it is nonetheless a very broad selection of programmes, and is likely to appeal to vast swathes of the public. From those who wish to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane, to researchers who are interested in the changing attitudes of the British public.
The only annoying aspect is that there are generally one or two episodes of any particular programme, whilst this is likely to change in the future as more programmes are added, that’s not much solace for someone who has just watched the first episode of The History Man, and is waiting for part two! But who couldn’t be forgiving with a 1970 episode of the Basil Brush show to look forward to?