Foreign Broadcast Information Service FBIS
World News and Open Source Intelligence
The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) was run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency from 1941-2004. Since the 1940s, FBIS has monitored, translated, and republished selected foreign radio and television broadcasts, newspaper articles, government news agency releases, and political speeches. FBIS primary users - US government officials - determined which stories are included, so political, military, economic, and environmental topics are the major emphases. The translations were published as quickly as possible--usually within a few days of original publication--in a series of daily reports. In 2004, FBIS became the Open Source Center.
In 1996, FBIS became available online through the World News Connection database, maintained by NTIS. As of 2014, the Open Source Center stopped sending these translations to NTIS. Therefore the World News Connection database is no longer available, except as an archival collection. However, the UO has not bought the archive.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) operates a similar service, and the CIA and BBC Monitoring cooperate to share information and divide regional responsibilities. BBC Monitoring is available through Lexis Nexis (UO only) from 1979 to today. To search BBC Monitoring in LexisNexis:
- Click on the down-facing arrow next to "Advanced Options" under the search box
- In the Advanced Options window, start typing "bbc" in the Source box
- "BBC Monitoring: International Reports" will appear as the top option - select that
- Select desired date ranges to limit results (there are many thousands of reports in this database)
- Click the Apply button
- Enter keyword search terms in the original search box
- NOTE: If you want to limit to a particular country, use Advanced Options, and "Select segment": Geographic. Enter your country name betweeen the parentheses, and click Apply.
For more information on the scope, history, and use of open source intelligence by the US and UK, see
Leetaru, K. "The Scope of FBIS and BBC Open-Source Media Coverage, 1979-2008." Studies in Intelligence 54(1): 17-37.
The University of Oregon Library has FBIS translations in a variety of formats since 1946.
1946-1951 (paper): FBIS Daily Reports (White Book version). Each daily issue contains several sections, each dealing with a world region such as the Soviet Union or the Far East. Location: Documents, Shelving Range C16A.
1/1952-3/1974 (microfilm): FBIS Daily Reports (White Book). Location: Microforms Collection, Microfilm D 839.U63.
1974-1977 (paper): FBIS Daily Reports (regional series). The UO Library has only the regional series for China (1974-1977), Eastern Europe (1974-1977) and the Soviet Union (1974-1976). Location: Documents, Shelving Range C16A.
1978-August 1996 (microfiche): FBIS Daily Reports (regional series). Daily Reports for the entire period for all regions is available in microfiche, and printed indexes are available for varying periods for each region. A CD-ROM index (DOC-LC/CR JA1.I53 1991-96) covers the years 1991-1996 for all regions. Location for Daily Reports: Microforms Collection, Documents Microfiche PREX 7.10.
1996-most recent recieved (CD-ROM): FBIS Publications (DOC-US PREX 7.10/3) Quarterly CD-ROM disks contain the full texts of FBIS articles from all regions. This CD-ROM product is unrelated to the World News Connection (WNC) online service (see next entry), and includes some articles not found in WNC.