YouTube versus the national film and sound archive: Which is the more useful resource for historians of Australian television?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Television and New Media, 2011, 12 (2), pp. 154 - 173
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This article compares YouTube and the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) as resources for television historians interested in viewing old Australian television programs. The author searched for seventeen important television programs, identified in a previous research project, to compare what was available in the two archives and how easy it was to find. The analysis focused on differences in curatorial practices of accessioning and cataloguing. NFSA is stronger in current affairs and older programs, while YouTube is stronger in game shows and lifestyle programs. YouTube is stronger than the NFSA on "human interest" material-births, marriages, and deaths. YouTube accessioning more strongly accords with popular histories of Australian television. Both NFSA and YouTube offer complete episodes of programs, while YouTube also offers many short clips of "moments." YouTube has more surprising pieces of rare ephemera. YouTube cataloguing is more reliable than that of the NFSA, with fewer broken links. The YouTube metadata can be searched more intuitively. The NFSA generally provides more useful reference information about production and broadcast dates. © 2011 Sage Publications.
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