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Launching today (October 3rd 2008), Newsfilm Online (www.nfo.ac.uk) will give students and staff in academic institutions unprecedented access, free of charge, to more than 65,000 film and television news stories online – the equivalent to 3,000 hours of moving image material from 1910 to 2006. The new service also includes 10 million stills and associated catalogue data from ITN Source – the ITN/Reuters Archive – one of the world’s largest newsfilm collections.

Newsfilm Online is the outcome of a landmark, three-year collaboration between academia, the broadcasting industry and the public sector, namely the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC), ITN and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) which funded the initiative with £2.3 million of capital investment
Murray Weston, Chief Executive of the BUFVC says: “The launch of Newsfilm Online is the result of significant public investment. This commitment recognises the value of providing long-term access to archive moving image content for learning.”

“Archive newsfilm is an essential resource for researchers, and much-valued by teachers and students across a diverse range of subject disciplines. The Newsfilm Online collection includes individual news stories, unreleased content, single subject documentaries and unedited footage as well 25,000 items of supporting content, such as scripts and running orders.”

Weston continues: “Newsfilm is among the most dominant media to have influenced public opinion during the 20th and 21st centuries. It is a record of people, places, attitudes and events of significant historical, social and cultural importance: from the Wall Street Crash in 1929 to the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001, and from the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 to the Miner’s Strikes of 1984.BUFVC has been championing the importance of newsreels and its use in academia for the last 60 years, much of which we had to salvage from tips!”

The downloadable content from Newsfilm Online can be held locally and delivered in learning environments both in and out of the lecture theatre. It can be used for independent research as well as integrated into teaching materials across a range of topics and academic levels. The massive extent of material available allows for access to news stories whose eventual value and magnitude may not have been recognised at the time of initial broadcast. Similarly available are news stories of great importance on their original transmission, which have since been relegated to obscurity.

Although only staff and students at subscribing institutions will have unlimited access to the 65,000 film items, the 10 million stills and supporting information can also be searched and browsed by the public via www.nfo.ac.uk. This online service was created and is hosted by the national data centre EDINA at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr. Richard Howells, Director of the Centre for Cultural, Media and Creative Industries Research at King’s College London, explained: “Newsfilm Online is going to prove invaluable to scholars and researchers throughout the arts, humanities and human sciences. Newsfilm to date has been an under-used resource, partly due to its relative inaccessibility. The beauty of Newsfilm Online is that in addition to providing a wide and searchable catalogue, it delivers the newsfilm for viewing on the researcher’s own PC. This is a hugely welcome step for all researchers of visual culture, especially with the growing recognition of the importance of visual (as opposed to simply verbal) evidence today.”

Stewart Purvis, former Chief Executive of ITN, who was instrumental in bringing about the collaboration with the BUFVC, said: “It is very gratifying to see the fruition of a project of this kind which offers long term value for learning from the commercial news journalism of ITN and other sources. The collaboration between the British Universities Film & Video Council and ITN/Reuters to select, prepare and deliver content for Newsfilm Online could be a landmark. It points the way to exciting long-term developments in using broadcasters’ video to support learning”.

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Editor’s notes


About the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC):
The British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) is a representative body that promotes the production, study and use of moving image, sound and related media in higher and further education. Among its many services are the British Universities Newsreel Database (BUND); the Television & Radio Index for Learning and Teaching (TRILT); the Moving Image Gateway and the Off-Air Recording Back-up Service for UK television. The BUFVC is part-funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Councils www.bufvc.ac.uk

About the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) promotes the innovative application and use of information systems and information technology in HE/FE across the UK. It is a strategic advisory committee working on behalf of the funding bodies for HE/FE in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It also works in partnership with the Research Councils. www.jisc.ac.uk

About ITN Source (the ITN/Reuters Archive)
ITN Source is one of the world’s largest newsfilm collections. It holds all ITN programmes from 1955 to the present day, including News at Ten, Channel 4 News and 5 News. It also holds the Reuters Television news agency collection, and a number of cinema newsreel collections. It hosts the renowned British Pathe collection, which received a New Opportunities Fund grant to digitize its collection of cinema newsreels for public access. www.itnarchive.com

For further information:
For all press enquiries and further information about the British Universities Film & Video Council, please contact:
Sally Bowles or Jane Bradley at JBA PR on: 7801 6255 or email: sally.bowles@jbapr.com or jane.bradley@jbapr.com.
Spokespeople are available for interview, and sample stills from Newsfilm Online are available for media use.


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