Tag Archives: British Library

Quiet, please… In praise of the British Library

“My favourite place to work in London, my private club and second home, was once described by Prince Charles as “the assembly hall of an academy for secret police”. He was directing his ire specifically at Humanities 1, the main reading room of the British Library. It’s true it doesn’t possess the Beaux Arts grandeur of New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room, where the soaring ceiling is decorated with gilded plaster roses surrounding a cloud-tossed sky. By contrast Hum 1, as it’s invariably known, is a little bureaucratic, even dowdy, furnished with sober oak tables and green leather chairs. But its plainness is what makes it such an excellent place to work: a zone of mutual concentration, a temple consecrated to the endless delights of learning more about the world.” (via The Guardian)

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British Library hits the right note with purchase of Gilbert and Sullivan archive

“More than a century of productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operas and the working life of the company for which they were created has been bought by the British Library from the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. The collection includes prompt scripts, musical scores, photographs, costume designs, pay lists, reel to reel recordings, a set of clothes peg dolls dressed as characters from HMS Pinafore and some devastatingly frank comments on auditions.” (via The Guardian)

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British Library Chief Librarian confirmed CILIP Trustee

“The British Library’s Chief Librarian Caroline Brazier will join the Trustee Board of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals from the start of 2016. Caroline has a wealth of experience developed over thirty years of working in libraries in the UK and internationally. Caroline has worked in academic, research and national library sectors involved in research, the development of standards and digital developments. She is also currently a Trustee of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Britten Pears Foundation and the Saga Trust. (via CILIP)

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How The British Library handles information architecture & ecommerce

“In some ways, the notion that an institution like the British Library has to market itself at all is fairly new. Indeed, my step father wrote a paper on exactly that topic (marketing is a family affair, you know). But not only does the British Library have to create ‘customer value’, it has to do so online, casting as wide a net as possible and relying on its website to engage and even convert(!). With the aid of analysis from its brilliant blog, let’s have a look at the British Library’s improvements to website information architecture.” (via econsultancy)

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British Library turns down Taliban archive because of UK terror laws

“The British Library is refusing to store a collection of Taliban material because of UK anti-terrorism legislation. It took the decision not to store the archive, which has been compiled over the past three years, on legal advice. The library was told that it could be in breach of the law if it made the material, which includes Afghan Taliban maps, radio broadcasts and news papers, accessible. Since 2012 experts have been translating the archive into English as well digitising the information.” (via The Telegraph)

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Libraries could outlast the internet, head of British Library says

“Stop worrying about whether libraries will survive the digital age, the head of the British Library has said, as he argues that they could outlast the internet. Roly Keating, director of the British Library, said he was shocked at how many “smart people” still questioned whether libraries were still viable in the modern age. Saying the institution had countless values worth defending, including trust, he argued that libraries could prove the most “powerful and resiliant network yet”. “These values predated the internet,” he said. “And if we get it right may yet outlast it.” (via Telegraph)

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British Library Expanding Its Endangered Archives Online

“At a moment when libraries and archives in the Middle East face threats of damage and destruction from war and ideology, the British Library has announced that it has now made four million images from its Endangered Archives program available online. The initiative, established in 2004 and supported by the Arcadia Fund, has so far financed 246 projects in 78 countries, attempting to preserve manuscripts, records, newspapers, photographs, sound archives and even rock inscriptions that are at risk of loss or deterioration.” (via NYTimes.com)

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Inside British Library’s low-oxygen archive

“Newspaper sales may have dropped by more than 40% over the last decade, but more than seven million of them are still sold every day. The British Library save at least one copy of every paper printed – more than 60 million in total.
This week it has opened a new hi-tech library in Yorkshire to store its huge archive.” (via BBC News)

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British Library Says 6.5 Million Sounds Are in Jeopardy

“Last week, the British Library launched a £40m ($60m) crowdfunding initiative to preserve its archive of over six million sound recordings. The Save our Sounds project is concentrated on remediating decay and technological obsolescence, which could result in the loss of many of the recordings in less than two decades. Luke McKernan, lead curator of news and moving image, wrote in the January 12 announcement: “Archival consensus internationally is that we have approximately 15 years in which to save our sound collections by digitising them before they become unreadable and are effectively lost.” The recordings date back to the 1880s, including everything from the voices of Florence Nightingale, James Joyce, and World War I soldiers, to the cacophony of retrotech steam engines.” (via Hyperallergic)

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Public libraries work with local communities and artists to create a War Memorial for the digital age

“Original letters, photographs and newspapers from library collections inspire community groups and artists to create a unique response to the First World War that can be accessed online. The Digital War Memorial, created by public libraries working with their local communities and established artists, will be launched today at the British Library by Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture and Digital Economy and the Society of Chief Librarians.” (via British Library)

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