Lib Dem Voice

BBC launches new Democracy Live website

Here’s how the BBC describes its new Democracy Live website, which covers the Westminster Parliament, the European Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly:

It brings together for the first time in the BBC, live and on demand video coverage of proceedings in our national political institutions and the European Parliament. Democracy Live builds on previously available content in the form of video streams, guides and biographies.

But the real magic lies in the site’s search function, which is unlike anything the BBC has done before.

By its very nature, the business of politics can be lengthy. Can you/would you watch an entire six-hour long debate from the House of Commons? Possibly. But you’d need to be a battle-hardened political observer or someone with a very keen interest in the subject to do so.

Democracy Live gives you the ability to search for a specific word or words spoken in the proceedings and the results will give you links to the points in the video where they were spoken. The ability to home in on the passages which are of direct interest and relevance to you is at the heart of Democracy Live’s purpose.

Our search is powered by a speech-to-text system built by two companies called Blinkx and Autonomy which create transcriptions of the words spoken in the video.

There is some overlap with the services provided by They Work For You, but in particular the BBC site brings both a very clever search tool – and the ability to use the BBC’s reach and profile to help information about our Parliaments and Assemblies get to a larger audience.

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