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Published on January 24, 2008

Author: Massimo


Digitisation in the British Library: strategy and partnerships:  Digitisation in the British Library: strategy and partnerships John Tuck Head of British Collections Association des Bibliothécaires Francais, Paris, le 9 juin 2006 Overview:  Overview 3 main funding streams: DCMS grant-in-aid (£89m) Annual trading income (£25m) Donations (£4m). Generates value to the UK economy each year of 4.4 times public funding. Helping people advance knowledge to enrich lives National library of the UK, Serves researchers, business, libraries, education & the general public. Collection fills over 650km of shelving and grows at 11km per year. 1.25 Tb of digital material through voluntary deposit. The largest document supply service in the world. Secure e-delivery and ‘just in time’ digitisation enables desktop delivery within 2 hours. Over 250 years of collecting. Beneficiary of legal deposit, and c. £16m annual acquisitions budget. 3 main sites in London and Yorkshire. 2,250 staff. Collection includes over 2m sound recordings, 5m reports, theses and conference papers, the world’s largest patents collection (c. 50m) London:  London St Pancras, Central London Opened 1998 Basement storage for nearly 12 million volumes Reading Rooms and exhibition galleries King’s Library Colindale, North London Newspaper Library opened 1932 Reading Room, storage, microfilming Yorkshire :  Yorkshire Boston Spa, Yorkshire Site used since 1961 Storage on 6 levels plus outlying buildings Document supply to remote users Acquisition and cataloguing Reading Room Support functions Context: British Library: Key Statistics:  Context: British Library: Key Statistics National library of UK, created by statute 1972 Merger of 7 institutions, oldest British Museum library 1753 Research-led mission, but other audiences also served 150,000,000 collection items 655km of shelving, 94% full (262km new build under procurement) 23,200,000 catalogue searches last 12 months 5,300,000 collection items consulted 2004/5 4,100,000 unique visitors to main website last 12 months 46,000,000 main website page hits last 12 months 11,000,000 digitised pages viewed last 12 months £121,000,000 income 2004/5, 73% Grant in Aid 2,250 fte staff The British Library: Audiences:  ADVANCING KNOWLEDGE High R+D Industries Prof. Services Creative Industry Bespoke Services Research Services Document Supply Service Reprographics BUSINESS Publishing Industries SMEs On-site Visits School Tours Web Learning EDUCATION School Libraries Teachers Students 11>18 Lifelong Learner Visitors (child + adult) Exhibitions Events Tours Publishing PUBLIC Lifelong Learner Document Supply Resource Discovery Training Best Practice LIBRARIES Lifelong Learner Public Libraries Public H.E. Libraries Reading Rooms Bespoke Services Reprographics Publishing Document Supply Searching Tools RESEARCHER Scholars Lifelong Learner Postgraduate/ Undergraduate Commercial Researcher Broadcasting e.g. BBC Publishing e.g. OED Librarians The British Library: Audiences Digitisation at the British Library: Background:  Digitisation at the British Library: Background Digitising for more than ten years Three main categories: Heritage items, e.g. Beowulf, Gutenburg Bible ( Larger scale projects where aim is to create a more comprehensive resource that can be viewed as a single collection, e.g. Collect Britain Commercially funded projects that fund parts of the collection and then sell or license the digital collection, e.g. Early English Books Online and Eighteenth Century Collections Online Reasons for Digitising (1):  Reasons for Digitising (1) National Audit Office report (2004): The British Library: providing services beyond the reading rooms ‘Digitisation enables users that are unable, or would find it difficult, to access the Library in person to access some of the wealth of material and knowledge that the Library possesses. Conversely, it enables the Library to reach a range and size of audiences of users that it would not otherwise be able to accommodate.’ For full report, see Reasons for Digitising (2):  Reasons for Digitising (2) To increase and enhance use of the collections by providing access both to users who visit the Library and to remote users, e.g. Collect Britain ( To assemble digitised educational, cultural or scientific materials that are held by different institutions, making ‘virtual’ collections that have a combined value greater than their component parts, e.g. the International Dunhuang Project (, Codex Sinaiticus To advance research and scholarship Reasons for Digitising (3):  Reasons for Digitising (3) To reduce handling of original physical items by providing digital versions To improve resource discovery, through OCR, enhanced searching capabilities, etc. Generate income from those products with market appeal that can be exploited commercially by a partner, or by the British Library itself, consistent with the aim of maximising accessibility to the collection, e.g. BL’s Images Online; Early English Books Online, etc. British Library Strategy for Digitisation: up to 2001/02:  British Library Strategy for Digitisation: up to 2001/02 Approach to digitisation up to 2001/02 largely driven by external funding opportunities Focus on individual projects not necessarily linked to a broadening access agenda Aim was to gain a body of experience with digitisation projects; valuable experience and knowledge upon which a future strategy could be built Some of these projects have had sustained impact, e.g. Lindisfarne Gospels, Turning the Pages British Library Strategy for Digitisation: current strategy:  British Library Strategy for Digitisation: current strategy Focus on building large digital collections Focus on large collections of digitised newspapers Focus on large collections of publicly accessible audio material Development of software applications for e-learning, etc. Partnerships with other organisations to create larger virtual collections Fundraising for small digitisation projects to broaden access to the collections Criteria Applied for Assessment of Digitisation Proposals:  Criteria Applied for Assessment of Digitisation Proposals The likelihood of widening access to the collections The likelihood of advancing research and scholarship The likelihood of reducing handling of fragile originals Evidence of actual or potential demand Development of a critical mass of related material Likelihood of sustainability Extent to which cultural restitution issues are addressed Extent to which Library’s service and property strategies are supported Criteria Applied for Assessment of Digitisation Proposals (contd.):  Criteria Applied for Assessment of Digitisation Proposals (contd.) Maintaining an appropriate balance between public good (freely available) and commercial (chargeable) resources Minimising the call upon government grant-in-aid, to avoid drawing resources away from the Library’s traditional core services Avoiding duplication with other digitisation programmes Minimising intellectual property right issues Significant Projects: British Newspapers 1800-1900:  Significant Projects: British Newspapers 1800-1900 Project Objectives To digitise up to two million pages of British national, regional and local newspapers from microfilm To offer access to that collection via a searching and browsing interface on the Web Funded by Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Higher Education Funding Council, England (HEFCE) Further bid for additional funding submitted in May 2006 Aims and Objectives for British Newspapers Project:  Aims and Objectives for British Newspapers Project The project will unlock hidden resources for the study of the nineteenth century and the Victorian period Content focus on London national newspapers, English regional newspapers, home country newspapers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Access to a broad range of valuable learning materials, many of them unique, and hitherto available only in London-based reading rooms, in hard copy or microform Ability to search across the different titles and to draw together materials relating to a wide range of research and learning topics British Newspapers Project: Audiences:  British Newspapers Project: Audiences Free access and full functionality to all users in UK Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE), including repurposing of content for teaching/learning Free access and full functionality to all users in British Library Reading Rooms Free access and full functionality to all users in UK public libraries, publicly funded schools In process of agreeing and defining a platform for hosting and delivery of service using third party supplier for this and all digitised newspaper content Solution will combine free and full access as above; differentiated access to some audiences; and added value revenue generating services British Newspapers Project Website:  British Newspapers Project Website Further updates to Project on BL web site: Longer-term goal to help join up outputs of UK, US, European, Australian newspaper digitisation in context of European Digital Library, IFLA collaboration Significant Projects: Archival Sound Recordings:  Significant Projects: Archival Sound Recordings Project also funded by Joint Information Systems Committee Aim is to digitize 4,000 hours of content from the collections of the Sound Archive; goes live later this year Bid for further funding submitted in May 2006 Content includes: Beethoven string quartets; 80 years of performance Popular music tracks; African field recordings; Sony radio awards; oral history; jazz, interviews with architects/designers; contextual information about records and players Same audiences as for British Newspapers: full public access where rights permit For more details of project see Significant projects: Codex Sinaiticus:  Significant projects: Codex Sinaiticus Fourth-century Codex Sinaiticus is one of the two earliest Christian Bibles The Codex is the remains of a huge handwritten book that contained all the Christian scriptures of the old and new Testaments, together with two late first-century Christian texts, the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas The Codex is dispersed between four institutions: St Catherine’s Monastery The British Library Leipzig University Library The National Library of Russia, St Petersburg International Codex Sinaiticus Project:  International Codex Sinaiticus Project A major international partnership has been agreed and was formally signed at the British Library on 9th March 2005. Aims of the project include: Full conservation, codicological and palaeographical examination of the Codex Conservation work to stabilise the Codex for digitization and preservation for the future Define and undertake scholarly work on the Codex and to deliver a range of electronic and printed products Key product will be a website freely accessible to all To undertake research on the history of the Codex International Codex Sinaiticus Project:  Project overseen by international project board External funding sought for the project Successful funding awards and grants from: Arts and Humanities Research Council Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Niarchos and Leventis Foundations International Codex Sinaiticus Project Out of Copyright Books: Partnership with Microsoft:  Out of Copyright Books: Partnership with Microsoft Microsoft and the British Library: a strategic partnership to digitise out-of-copyright books Microsoft and the British Library will work together and deliver search results for this content through the new MSN Book Search MSN is working with the Internet Archive to digitize the material Out of Copyright Books: Selection: Scope:  Out of Copyright Books: Selection: Scope British printed books Period: Nineteenth century, avoiding material included in EEBO and ECCO Out of copyright – very important for BL This means authors who have died before 1936 We work with organisations representing authors and publishers to ensure an agreed approach BL creates list of authors active in the nineteenth century and alive after 1936 for exclusion Out of Copyright Books: A New Approach To Selection:  Out of Copyright Books: A New Approach To Selection Item by item selection no longer feasible (ECCO and EEBO built up based on decades of selection) Determined by a need for high numbers digitisation and for fast progress Solution: subject-based ranges of items, shelved according to nineteenth-century classification system Out of Copyright Books: Benefits for our users (1):  Out of Copyright Books: Benefits for our users (1) Meets the need of long standing trend among researchers and teachers For teachers: ‘Expanding the curriculum’: previously not possible due to the unavailability to students of non-canonical texts No point in digitising mainly texts which are available in easily accessible modern editions (i.e. going beyond Penguin Classics) For researchers: ‘Abandoning the literary canon’ Out of Copyright Books: Benefits for our users (2):  Out of Copyright Books: Benefits for our users (2) It will be possible to see authors in the context of the published universe of the nineteenth century. Who was important then – not the same as who is important now (for instance a category on “Female English Poets”) For the general public: famous authors will be included - but a whole new world will also become available Out of Copyright Books: Benefits for the British Library:  Out of Copyright Books: Benefits for the British Library Selection by category exploits the potential of the new technology Building up a coherent body of material, from a collection management point of view (no need to go back to the shelves for other digitisation projects) Greater ease in coordinating with BL held metadata (i.e. within the BL Integrated Library System) Greater ease in the work flow for the delivery of items from the shelves to the cameras Out of Copyright Books: Audiences:  Out of Copyright Books: Audiences Access will be to everyone for own personal academic research purposes Aim is to achieve 25 million pages, starting late in 2006; 10 scanning stations with throughput of 320k pages per week Full details of search capabilities yet to be agreed but will be delivered through new MSN Book Search which launches in late 2006 We will store JPEG2000 as master file format

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