BBC News educates you as you read the news

Summary:I couldn't think of a fancy title. Had I done so I would have called it "Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Book of Sudoku"; nevertheless it'll do.

I couldn't think of a fancy title. Had I done so I would have called it "Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Book of Sudoku"; nevertheless it'll do.

After my daily (hourly in some cases) browse through the BBC News website to quash my horrid addiction to current affairs and what's going on in the world, I noticed on one article about a Roman head being discovered. (If you saw that title, you're gonna click, right?).

They're working with Apture; a service provided which allows websites to show rich multimedia content as well as many other things. Working with the BBC, they've added a way to allow the user to delve into parts of the story with history, other web content and suchlike, without leaving the page, complementing your reading experience.

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The Beeb wrote on their help pages:

"We are doing this trial because we want to see if you enjoy exploring background material presented in this way. It's part of our continuing efforts to provide the best possible experience.

In addition to background material from the BBC News website, we are also displaying content from other sites, including Wikipedia, You Tube and Flickr. We have done this to find out what you think about us offering you related material from other sources."

Many academics will tell students not to trust Wikipedia; however this can be disputed until the cows come home, then disputed even more with the cows themselves. On the other side, you'll hear academics saying "only trust websites of .gov, .edu, and .ac.uk", being university and Government websites. That aside, when has anyone truly trusted their own government?

Students using news articles for research isn't uncommon, and allowing those writing essays to have access to background knowledge through multimedia and website resources opens up the learning process to keep juggling documents to a minimum.

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For pages selected, in a small "advertisement style" floating popup, it displays the content it finds on that particular thing. It works brilliantly in Firefox 3, Internet Explorer 7 and even seems to work alright in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 which is nice to know. Although not many "advertisement style" floating popup services do, you can easily switch it on and off.

I hold my hands up and say, bloody well done BBC. This will make life a lot easier for those researching articles.

Topics: Browser, Collaboration, Software Development

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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