Where to find video archives in the UK

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The invention of the Internet has significantly changed our lives. It had been made some things much easier and most of our activities have moved from the real to the virtual reality world. Libraries and national archives are becoming increasingly deserted since no one bothers going there anymore if they can find the information they need online. With this rising global trend, many such institutions have embraced the change, refusing to become a thing of the past. Nowadays, many of the archives have their own website with easy to navigate online catalogues which make the research my easier and faster.

The problem, however, remains the fact that not many of them offer direct access to their materials. The issue might be the fact that videos take up large amounts of virtual space, or that many of them have not been digitized yet but still exist only on videotapes. So, even if you find what you need, you would still need to go to the actual archive or library to get the hard-copy of the material you need.

If you are searching for some video archives, these are the top 5 ones to check.

  1.      BBC Motion Gallery

If your research is related to the news topics, then BBC Motion Gallery is the right choice. It has over 125,000 online videos available from as early as 1922 up to yesterday’s news. This archive offers an exclusive opportunity to browse through decades’ worth high-quality content.

  1.      The British Film Institute (BFI)

When it comes to the most comprehensive database for British film and television archives it is definitely the BFI one. However, the material such as films, posters, books and stills that they have at their disposal is not available online. On their website, you can only access the catalogue and get some guidelines on how to get access to this material.

  1.      British Council Film Collection

For all those documentary buffs out there, British Council Film Collection is definitely the right choice. The good thing is that all the material is accessible online, and there is a free download option. However, there database consists of only 120 videos about British culture made in the 1940s.

  1.      British Pathe Film Archive

British Pathe is the world’s first digital news archive which contains more than 3,500 hours of film archives covering a wide range of topics such as news, sport, social history and entertainment from 1896 to 1970. All the material is free of charge for the UK schools.

  1.      FOCAL International

FOCAL which stands for the non-for-profit organization called The Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries International was created with the goal of making the use of library footage, images, stills and audios easily accessible. FOCAL is trying to encourage people to do research properly and to make it easier.

Doing a research is never an easy task to carry out. However, the more effort you invest, the happier you will feel once you have found exactly what you were looking for. Although still years away from offering full online access to the video archives, all these institutions have made a significant effort to make searching easy and fun.