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Archives and Special Collections: IBA Archive


Introduction to BU's IBA Archive

Please note: The term ‘IBA Archive’ incorporates the Independent Television Authority (ITA), Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and Cable Authority (CA) archives.

Background on the IBA (ITA, IBA & CA):

  • Independent broadcasting was established in the UK by an act of Parliament in 1954 and as part of this the Independent Television Authority (ITA) was set up to regulate and control this. It was renamed Independent Broadcasting Authority [IBA] as part of the Sound Broadcasting Act in 1972. The cable system, created in 1985, was placed under the control of the Cable Authority.
  • The Broadcasting Act of 1990 substantially reorganized independent broadcasting. It reassigned the regulatory duties of the Independent Broadcasting Authority and Cable Authority to two newly formed bodies: the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and the Radio Authority.
  • The ITC is in charge of licensing and regulating all non-BBC television services, including ITV (renamed Channel 3 in 1993), Channel 4, and cable and satellite services. The Radio Authority has responsibility for granting franchises for up to three new national commercial radio channels and for licensing and regulating local commercial stations.
  • JISC Archives Hub record.

Collection size, scope and type:

  • Bournemouth University received this archive donation from The Office of Communications (OFCOM) in 2008.
  • Approx. 1100 boxes in total containing 21,000+ paper files (each file can contain 1 - 400 documents, approx. 1 million documents total).
  • This Archive is a record of the workings of these regulatory bodies and which contains official publications and communication, internal correspondence and reports as well as many letters and communications from members of the public, leading media figures, politicians and literary and cultural figures with relation to both the technical and social implications of broadcasting.
  • This Collection is not digitised, it can be visited and physically used by pre-arranged appointment (more details below).
  • This Collection has never been fully itemised / listed / catalogued - we have records listing the majority of file titles, but we don't have a list or catalogue of every single, individual document contained within each file. Therefore the content may not always be located as per our records (e.g. we may discover that an item you request is missing).

Location of this Collection:

  • Approx. 360 of the IBA Archive boxes are located in Talbot Campus Library's mobile shelves.
  • Most IBA Archive boxes (nearly 800 boxes) are held in an off-site storage facility (BU Library Staff supporting BU's archives have to request delivery of boxes from this facility in advance; that site cannot be visited).

Any questions?

Searching for BU's IBA Archive materials

Requesting access to BU's IBA Archive

  • Access to the archives is by appointment only (Mon-Thurs 9.30am-4.30pm, Fri 10am-4pm) 
  • We require at least 20 working days' notice and a completed IBA Request Form (link below this box) before we can confirm your visit date(s). Your form will state your requested visit date(s), to be negotiated case-by-case
  • Up to 8 IBA Archive files may be researched per visit day (8 files, not 8 boxes: each archive box contains multiple files and each file may contain hundreds of individual documents).
  • If you wish to access more than 8 files, we'll need to negotiate and arrange more than just a one day visit.
  • We require at least 20 working days' notice of your request to allow processing.
  • Every single document in each IBA Archive file needs to be Data Protection checked, considering special category data and personal data which may need to be redacted. This is a time consuming procedure that we must complete before your visit. We request and appreciate your patience and flexibility when liaising with us to arrange your visit date(s).

Citing and Referencing BU's IBA Archive materials

If you're going refer to any Bournemouth University IBA Archive materials in your work - published or unpublished, for research or teaching - please email to follow our permissions process.


Examples showing how to cite IBA Archive materials in the main part of your work:

The following guidance is based on BU Harvard style of referencing, so if you're using a version of a Harvard referencing style, this will apply. If you're using a different referencing style in your research work or publication, then you'll need to mention this in communications with, as part of your case when you're negotiating permission to publish using IBA Archive materials.

  • from the local community members and local politicians to start community radio services (IBA 1989).
  • [Insert document description here] from an Independent Broadcasting Authority Archive (IBA 1989) reveals...
  • In a letter to the Independent Television Authority's [Employee's job title stated ***] from a member of the public living in England dated February 1970 (ITA 1970), the individual comments on an episode of the TV programme...

*** Stating the name of an IBA employee for example or an individual depends on your ethical responsibility as a Researcher, Data Protection / redaction considerations, and permission from BU's Archives and Special Collections Team. Please liaise with us by emailing if you're going to be referring to any IBA Archive materials in your work.


Adding IBA Archive materials to Reference List / Bibliography at end of your work:

The following guidance is based on BU's referencing guidance: Unpublished sources (e.g. lectures, internal documents, leaflets, posters etc.) - open point o.

Details to include, order and format:

Organisation, Year of file / document. Title of IBA Archive file: description or title of document within file that's being referenced. Place: Organisation. Archive details (File numbers). Unpublished.


  • IBA, 1989. IBA Incremental Contract Application Sunset Radio, 11 Nov 1989. Bournemouth University. IBA Archive (File 3995473, 0480/28). Unpublished.
  • ITA, 1970. TV Programmes Jan 1970 - Dec 1971: Letter from member of public to ITA's [Job title stated here ***], 12 Feb 1970. Bournemouth University. IBA Archive (File 1234567). Unpublished.

*** Stating the name of an IBA employee for example or an individual depends on your ethical responsibility as a Researcher, Data Protection / redaction considerations, and permission from BU's Archives and Special Collections Team. Please liaise with us by emailing if you're going to be referring to any IBA Archive materials in your work.

BU's IBA Archive details

Title IBA/ITA/Cable Authority Archive
Dates 1954-1990
Physical Description and Location 232m. of shelving. Paper documentation in files, multiple files per box. Some IBA Archive boxes are located in Talbot Campus Library's mobile shelves. Over 900 IBA Archive boxes are held in an off-site storage facility (that cannot be visited - box delivery service to Talbot Campus Library is arranged).
Arrangement The archive is arranged in approx. 1100 archive boxes, 21,632 separate files approx. 1million documents.
Finding Aids From December 2021 the IBA Catalogue was introduced as a new discovery tool. From 22 June 2022 IBA archive catalogue records were integrated to become available via BU's new Library Management System OCLC. Previously, an IBA PDF database document was used which became out of date and is now an internal use only document.
Access/Reproduction Restrictions

If you wish to consult this archive please fill in an IBA Archive Request Form. Viewing material is by prior arrangement only. Consultation will be in The Sir Michael Cobham Library. All researchers will be required to sign disclaimer forms before viewing material.

Contents and Scope This is a large archive containing among other items Authority committee minutes and papers, Authority papers, Cable franchise applications, Director General's correspondence, Engineering Director's correspondence, Policy files, Programme contractor files, Programmes files, Radio Consultative Committee minutes and papers, Radio contract applications, Radio Director's correspondence, Research for reports, Television Director's correspondence
Source of Acquisition OFCOM
Administrative /biographical history The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) 1972-1990 was the successor to the Independent Television Authority (ITA) 1954-1972. The IBA amalgamated with the Cable Authority 1984-1990 to become the Independent Television Commission (ITC) in 1990. In 2003 the ITC became part of OFCOM - the Office of Communications.
Language English
Archival History The archive remained in the custody of OFCOM until transfer to Bournemouth University in Oct 2008.
Control number M0069052DO