- guardian.co.uk | Wednesday 28 January 2009 13.07 GMT
The BBC is to put every one of the 200,000 oil paintings in public ownership in the UK on the internet as well as opening up the Arts Council's vast film archive online as part of a range of initiatives that it has pledged will give it a "deeper commitment to arts and music".
Mark Thompson, the BBC director general, unveiled the ambitious plans today at a London event showcasing the corporation's music, arts and culture output for 2009 and beyond.
The move may help the BBC get back on the front foot after almost a week of negative headlines over its refusal to broadcast the Gaza humanitarian aid appeal.
A partnership with the Public Catalogue Foundation charity will see all the UK's publicly owned oil paintings – 80% of which are not on public display – placed on the internet by 2012.
The BBC said it wanted to establish a new section of its bbc.co.uk website, called Your Paintings, where users could view and find information on the UK's national collection.
The Public Catalogue Foundation, launched in 2003, is 30% of the way through cataloguing the UK's collection of oil paintings.
In addition the BBC said it was talking to the Arts Council about giving the public free online access to its archive for the first time, including its wide-ranging film collection dating back to the 1950s.