The richest repository of cultural material in the country would have to be the ABC – so it is exciting and maybe even alarming to hear that Auntie is experimenting with the idea of opening up its archives so that members of the public can access and even re-use and remix the material.

The experiment is taking place under Pool, the social media project developed within Radio National. Pool is a groundbreaking experiment in User Generated Content. Users can upload text, music, photos, videos, documentaries or whatever and the content is made available for others to view and use. It’s worth taking a look, or you can read more about it here.

Tentatively, the team opening up the archives plans to start in Darwin in the next few weeks with the release under an open licence of a small amount of footage. The plan is to then move into other areas, slowly releasing slices of archive content. Says Social Media Producer Kate Gauld:

Releasing the archives under open licences is the goal. The platform for the release (and inviting back  reused/remixed/repurposed material) will be Pool. The theme we choose (Darwin, censorship, oldest archives etc) is just a way to isolate a tiny slice in a very large pie (perhaps we could crowdsource where to look next?!).

The project is part of a wider initiative by Creative Archive Australia – a program of the Queensland University of Technology’s Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation) to investigate the feasibility of opening up material from government institutions. The ABC project will be the first “test case”.

It’s an expansion on the theme of Media as Application – something I blogged on last week.

And for the ABC, it is one part of the ongoing issue of how to preserve the credibility of the brand, and at the same time become a more porous and interactive institution (in fact, less of an institution and more of a space).

The ABC released a Discussion Paper on User Generated Content last year. I gather that we will be seeing some results, in the way of new Editorial Guidelines for UGC, before too long. Should be interesting

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