Skip to main content

Fast Facts

Media: Base collection (1972-1995)--13,120 105 x 148mm microfiche; 1939-1972 backfile -- 758 reels of 35mm microfilm. Complete with 1997.
Sources Covered: Call for more information

Get Started


  • Share


In the summer of 1939, with a world war on the horizon and many of the normal communication channels about to disappear, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) began monitoring radio broadcasts in other countries. They began with five countries. Since then, monitoring has grown to include over 100 countries.

Throughout the world, the BBC continually monitors major foreign radio broadcasts from strategically placed listening posts. Transcripts of broadcasts are then edited and translated into English.

In addition to being useful for studying current global affairs, the BBC Summary of World Broadcasts chronicles important historical events, such as the first man in space, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the Chernobyl incident. Included are detailed accounts of events from different perspectives--some factual, some propaganda. These uncensored transcripts often provide critical information not available through "official" news sources.

Due to the overwhelming quantity of broadcasts, the BBC Summary of World Broadcasts provides a representative sample of the material monitored. Publications and topics include speeches by national leaders; military, political, economic, scientific, and cultural developments and appointments; propaganda trends, including subversion and incitement to revolt (particularly by means of "freedom stations" purporting to operate within the country addressed, but in reality outside it); and radio developments. During time of war, publications also include official war communiqués, news reports from the fronts, reports indicative of resistance activities, and news and talks giving indications of public morale.

The BBC Summary of World Broadcasts is available in sets organized by region, by time period, or both. Prior to 1947, all parts were grouped together into one series in Digest of World Broadcasts (the publication's original name). In the years that followed, groupings varied in size and number (for example, from 1947-1949, the Summary of World Broadcasts was divided into three parts: U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe; Germany and Austria; and the rest of the world). Publication frequency also varied, from daily publication in 1939 to six days a week. (At times, frequency was five times a week and periodical.)

Also included is The Monitoring Report, a brief summary of the major items and trends of broadcasting throughout the world, which was published daily from April 1940 to January 1947 and five times a week from 1947 to November 30, 1996.


Complete Collection 1939-1997

14,920 fiche
758 reels

Complete fiche backfile, 1973-1997

14,920 fiche

Complete reel backfile, August 1939-December 1972

758 reels

Individual years, all parts, 1972-1997 (per year)

Approx. 500 fiche

Complete Digest of World Broadcasts, 1939-1947

196 reels

Complete Summary of World Broadcasts, 1947-1959

205 reels

Complete Summary of World Broadcasts, Second Series, 1949-1997

362 reels

Summary of World Broadcasts, USSR, 1947-1997

135 reels

Summary of World Broadcasts, Eastern Europe, 1947-1997

141 reels

Summary of World Broadcasts, Far East, 1949-1997

146 reels

Summary of World Broadcasts, Middle East, 1949-1997

124 reels

Summary of World Broadcasts, The Rest of the World, 1947-1959

32 reels

Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean, 1993-1997

393 fiche

Eastern European Collection, 1972-1993 & Central Europe, 1993-1997

3,306 fiche

The Far East/Asia Collection, 1972-1993 & Asia Pacific, 1993-1997

3,953 fiche

The Middle East, 1972-1997 (including Africa & Latin America 1972-1993)

3169 fiche

The USSR and former USSR Collection, 1972-1997

3,299 fiche

Individual Geographic Sections, 1972-1997 (per year)

Approx. 125 fiche

Complete Collection of Monitoring Reports, 1977-1996

620 fiche

Monitoring Reports, 1972-1997 (Individual years)

Approx. 24 fiche

Related Products


A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century

Eight-volume English edition reprinted in two volumes; two very scarce volumes of the German edition, which were not translated into English, reprinted in a separately available third volume.

Learn More


A Concordance to the Poems of Dylan Thomas

Romantic. Affirmative. Rhetorical. The poetry of Dylan Thomas urged readers to ponder life as they never had before. Researchers now have access to a concordance and word list keyed to the 1978 printing of Dylan Thomas: The Poems, edited by Daniel Jones.

Learn More


A People at War

Letters, diaries, memoirs, and other personal papers from the Civil War holdings of the Library of Congress. Edited by John R. Sellers.

Learn More


Lessons from the Chifley Library Flood

How an Australian library is rebuilding after losing an entire floor in an unprecedented natural disaster.

Learn More

On Her 100th Birthday, a Holocaust Survivor Looks Back

Honoring victims of Nazism and exploring learning opportunities on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Learn More