Programme archive database created as part of DMI is up and running – but older system is cheaper and easier to operate
The BBC is considering keeping a 40-year-old programme archive database system that was due to be replaced by new technology from the failed Digital Media Initiative, as it is cheaper and easier to operate.
On Monday it emerged that the BBC is paying IBM £3m a year to run the only part of DMI that is up and running – a programme archive database called Fabric.
However, just 163 staff use Fabric regularly to find details of footage and many of them have complained that it is worse than the system it was supposed to replace, known as Infax, which is 40 years old and costs £780,000 a year.
Infax was due to be switched off in March. According to an internal memo seen by MediaGuardian Infax may be reprieved as the BBC has “commissioned a project” that will “identify the key limitations of Fabric” for producers.
Last weekend Fabric failed across the BBC and the memo admits there have been problems, but says: “We have had ongoing releases of functionality in Fabric since go live which has addressed previously missing or clunky functionality.”
It goes on: “We recognise that there are still a limited number of areas who are reliant on Infax. We are in discussion with all parties/areas who have raised concerns and will continue to consult across affected areas, to ensure that we capture all issues and consider these in advance of making any final decisions on what happens next.”