A new initiative launched this month, entitled Newsfilm Online, has made over 3,000 hours of news film from the last century available to students across the country.
Collaborating with the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC) and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), news corporation ITN have made it possible for university and college students in the UK to access more than 65,000 film and television news broadcasts online.
As well as moving images, the database includes over 10 million stills and associated data from the ITN/Reuters Archive, which is one of the largest of its kind.
Murray Weston, chief executive of the BUFVC believes that “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 online collection is being lauded as an invaluable resource, allowing access to these primary sources on a greater scale than has ever been possible before.
A host of historical events are recorded in the archive, from the first moon landing in 1969 to the 11 September terrorist attacks. In addition to major breaking news and political stories, footage of cultural, sporting and scientific developments from the last 100 years are also charted.
Dr Richard Howells, director of the centre of culture, media and creative industries research at King’s College London, said: “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 newsfilm for viewing on the researcher’s own PC.”
The archive, to which academic institutions can subscribe free of charge is downloadable, can be held locally, and is intended for use both in independent research and as a teaching aid across a range of subjects.
While staff and students have unlimited access to the whole of the database, the collection of stills can be searched and browsed by the general public on the database website.