Volunteering at the BEHP

Photo of Paul in the archive

I have been volunteering for the BEHP (British Entertainment History Project – www.historyproject.org.uk -  a hugely valuable collection of interviews with people who have worked in the Film, TV, Theatre and Radio industries) since April 2017. I am pursuing a career change from digital marketing to archives management because I am passionate about collecting and cataloguing elements of history that tell fascinating stories about society.

I am working on a project to audit the archive by filing and cataloguing copies of audiocassettes, minidisks, CDs and DVDs for each of the 700+ interviews to help volunteers find them for digitising and adding to the website.

What I like most about the collection is that it celebrates professionals who are perhaps as not as well known to the public but have still made significant contributions to the entertainment industry in many different roles. In a way, it brings the credits at the end of shows to life!

Over the last six months I have enjoyed working with my fellow volunteers to find logical ways to file the material and filling in the metadata gaps for the content management system. I am impressed by the wide range of interviewees we have recorded as well as the skills required to film, edit, archive and publish the interviews.

What I have taken away from the experience so far is that the process of optimising the archive is iterative and that a pragmatic approach is best to maintain momentum while identifying opportunities for future improvement.

I am proud to be involved with the project and look forward to seeing it continue to grow as a valuable resource for anyone interested in how their favourite shows are made.