BBC Programme Index

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Brock
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BBC Programme Index

Post by Brock »

(This probably belongs in "Current Television" and "Radio and Spoken Word" as well!)

BBC Genome has now morphed into BBC Programme Index, containing post-2007 information from iPlayer and Sounds as well as the Radio Times listings up to the end of 2009, along with links to playable programmes. There's an article about it here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/artic ... x-archives

Looks like a massive improvement, although I haven't got my head round all the technical details yet...

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stearn
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Re: BBC Programme Index

Post by stearn »

Not sure about a massive improvement.

From what I can tell, is it all the same notes, just not in the same order, with the basic Genome archive data and the PIPs data (that was/is available via https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes) essentially the same. There have been some cosmetic changes, but it looks like it has been created with phone/tablets at the fore (presumably as this is the way the majority of users have interacted in the past) and to push iPlayer and Sounds.

The underlying software has changed, and that has meant the way the search works has also changed. Posts on the BBC Genome Facebook page are moaning that this is a step backwards - from the quick searches I have carried out, it is certainly not as quick or easy to find the right results, and some functions just don't work.

It is interesting that the original concept was for PIPs to be the main data structure, with Genome acting as a the secondary source of information. PIPs was always a record of what was broadcast, albeit from around 2007, whereas Genome, and the Radio Times it was created from, was a record of what was intended for broadcast.

Shoehorning any data from one structure into another is always going to present problems, and Genome had structural anomalies that were never fully sorted out (the Radio 4 FM and LW split being an obvious one).

Whilst having one point of reference for listings is certainly a good idea, for me, the two distinct datasets and the slightly different approach required to research in either wasn't an issue, and I knew what the results meant. The billing in some places that this is a new archive and makes more of the BBCs past available is sloppy and actually lining up the archive for a fall. Just because there is an archive listing doesn't mean there is a show accompanying it to watch.

Brock
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Re: BBC Programme Index

Post by Brock »

stearn wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 4:01 pm
Not sure about a massive improvement.
Well, for instance, if I want to look up all episodes of Desert Island Discs (1942-present) then I can do so with a single search. I couldn't do that before.
The underlying software has changed, and that has meant the way the search works has also changed. Posts on the BBC Genome Facebook page are moaning that this is a step backwards - from the quick searches I have carried out, it is certainly not as quick or easy to find the right results, and some functions just don't work.
Can you give me an example please? I've noticed that the "@title" tag I used to use on Genome doesn't work, and maybe there are others.

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stearn
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Re: BBC Programme Index

Post by stearn »

You are quite right, you can now do a single search, although Desert Island Discs doesn't have just one dedicated site, it has two in addition to being featured in listings!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/brand/b006qnmr?page=116

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qn ... des/player

I did say though, that it was the same notes, just not in the same order. The information has been available for a long time - there is nothing new that I can see unless you want to include incremental updates to daily listings. If the single search did work, then it may be better but, as you have found out, the @ searches don't work. There are updated details on the FAQs page, and you can use Boolean equivalents (https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/faqs). The filters don't necessarily work either. Obviously the new functions are really aimed at the PIPs data as it has the genre tags etc., but these just don't exist in the Genome data. Having a single point of reference is indeed a good thing, but if the searching falls flat on the older dataset, surely it is better to leave that dataset with search functions that apply and work until they can be categorised properly. Manage expectations.

For those who choose not to use Facebook, here is a post from the BBC Genome group and replies that stood out:

Alex Pearson
BBC Genome I've been using BBC Genome for the past two years now. Firstly for my undergraduate dissertation and now for my Postgraduate dissertation. I must say that this update is dreadful! The layout of the entire thing is terrible and in my opinion much less functional than before. Trying to search for programmes is much more difficult than before. The overall look of the update is like you've pulled it straight out of the 00's. I am really disappointed with this and actually quite angry as it has made the final stretch of my research that little more difficult when it didn't need to be. If something ain't broke don't try fixing it! Update: The more I use it the worse it gets. Why did we need to see all the pages of an issue at the left side of the screen? Now the issues can't be almost full screen because of this stupid feature.
· Reply · 1 d · Edited

Oswald Daisy
Alex Pearson I don't think this update is aimed at serious researchers - it's for mobile phone users & to tempt people to the delights of SOUNDS & iPlayer! Currently, searching for "RADIO Only" (as media type) gives ZERO Radio Times listings.
· Reply · 9 h

Alex Pearson
Oswald Daisy I've noticed that too! Took me ages last night for the website to stop saying there wasn't anything to show when I knew there was. They really need to fix this terrible update and removed many of the terrible features it now has.
· Reply · 6 h


As an aside, one upshot of the merger of the two dataset was highlighted by another in the thread:

Robert Paul Richardson
I was searching Genome today for BBC1 listings for Sat 3 December 1983 but they don't seem to exist. All that comes up is a single episode of "Bergerac".


The edition covering 3-9 Dec 1983 wasn't published (as I replied to Robert and said), but the single entry for Bergerac did appear. This is because when it was repeated on BBC1 in 2015 (27th Oct) the date it was first broadcast was included in the listing. There is certainly scope for a lot of cross-pollination between the two datasets.

The new layout has removed image icons for channels from Genome data, but includes icons and images for BBC Online data. There is text to say what channel, but when you consider the iPlayer interface, or the Radio Times, you will have a channel logos for the channels - they are easy to spot and reinforce the brand.

There are more channels that I expected though. I never looked for non-BBC (outright) channels on iPlayer or bbc.co.uk/programmes but UKTV channels (Dave, GOLD, Drama, Good Food etc.) are now included - this was highlighted with the dig into Bergerac. The FAQs says the BBC doesn't have the rights to reproduce non-BBC listings, so I am not altogether sure why they are there. They crop up under Regional Variations but they are most definitely NOT regional variants being on national digital channels, but then again, the FM/LW split on Radio 4 comes under this Regional Variants category as well.

It is subjective, of course, but I stand by my comment on not being sure it is a massive improvement. There are pros and cons to the merger into Programme Index and, at the moment, I think the cons outweigh the pros.

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Re: BBC Programme Index

Post by Brock »

On second thoughts, I think you may be right. There are programmes listed as "BBC Radio 4 FM" from as long ago as 1946!

https://pi.bbcgenome.com/schedules/serv ... 1#at-21.15

If you go to the original Home Service listing, it's there as a "regional variation" with itself:

https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/s ... 1946-01-21

I presume that's because the recording was preserved in the archives and is now listed under Radio 4, but it doesn't make a great deal of sense when combined with the Radio Times listing...

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stearn
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Re: BBC Programme Index

Post by stearn »

More likely because of this: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03kpwv9 - listed as Radio 4, Home Service and Third Programme, but on a Radio4 web page. I think it originally was part of an archive collection - a separate strand of microsites covering specific topics. They were very good but discontinued some while back, with content sometimes re-used elsewhere.

I certainly don't want to be too critical, but there were a lot of anomalies in Genome that required sorting. It would take a lot of effort that required an understanding of the channels that existed and how they map onto each other, and how the information was presented in Radio Times - which adapted over the years to suit available space, tastes and programme maker demands. Shoe-horning that information into a completely different structure, even if completely correct, was going to be, erm, interesting, but doing so when it has issues just compounds the muddle. Remember, the listings data in Genome had already been processed from what was printed in Radio Times to standardise the format, and had been crowd-sourced since to correct OCR and other errors.

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