I just received a copy of “8”- a collection of essays about a research collaboration between the BBC and the Arts & Humanities Research Council. Eight academic studies looked at public participation in BBC new media. (I was the BBC partner on one of the studies which looked at the Capture Wales Digital Storytelling project. ) The other studies include a study of public feeling about use of the BBC archive – through local responses to material from the Miner’s Strike ’84/85 – a fascinating subject because it’s so contested, and a valuable piece entitled “ugc @thebbc” which takes apart the catch-all category of ”user generated content” by analysing who actually sends stuff in to BBC News and elsewhere, and makes some important distinctions between types of ‘audience material’. The studies say a lot about the willingness of the audience to become creators, as well as the considerable barriers to getting involved which lead to the unevenness of participation right now. You can download all the studies and the 8 commentaries at the project blog.