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ETech: The BBC's New Infrastructure for an On-Demand World

I attended a fantastic presentation by a bunch of folks from the BBC. They created a system for assigning unique identifiers, and adding metadata, to every BBC television and radio program. This data can then be used to generate a web page for a given show based on the unique identifier, which would serve as sort of a "permalink" for a given BBC TV show.

This type of system could be very useful to any major media organization, and the BBC folks have developed the SMEF, or Standard Media Exchange Framework for providing a method for media orgs to start developing such a system.

Once this kind of system is in place, and there are relatable relationships between content entities, there are many applications that could live on top of such a data repository. Recommendation and discovery features that you subscribe to and automatically integrate with your calendar would be damn cool. Additionally, each page serves as sort of a historical document for a given TV show. Wouldn't it be interesting, for example, to go back and see what folks were saying about ESPN's Playmakers back when it was launched? Or, to click to the ESPN2 schedule on March 17, 2004 to see what was on, and maybe pull down some show over the wire and burn it to a DVD?

You can check out this page on the BBC Radio 3 site as an example of how the BBC is innovating through the development of a system architecture that is more suited to an atomic interweb world.

After the presentation, I went and talked with Tom Coates--one of the presenters--for a good 20 minutes or so. Just got home and clicked through to from some link on Technorati, and realized that Plasticbag is Tom's blog! Hah! Anyways, Tom was super passionate about the system and we had a good chat about the impetus behind the project, how they got buy-in from the many groups at the BBC that this project touched, and some of the tradeoffs they had to make when implementing the sytem.

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Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer


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