“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)
“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)
“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)
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)
“The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Library are launching a two-year research project which will explore the future of the academic books in the context of open access publishing and continuing digital change. Dr Samantha Rayner, Director of the Centre for Publishing at the University College London (UCL) will lead the project ‘Communities of Practice: The Academic Book of the Future’. Alongside colleagues Simon Tanner and Professor Marilyn Deegan from King’s College London and Nick Canty from UCL this multi-disciplinary team will engage with the publishing and academic community to better understand the current landscape of academic publishing. A combination of large scale scoping work and more focussed mini-projects will ensure that opinions, approaches and ideas are included from the UK and beyond.” (British Library – Press and Policy Centre)
“A historic atlas of Great Britain has today been published online for the first time, offering a unique view of England, Scotland and Wales over the last 500 years. Digitised by Ancestry.co.uk, the Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers, contains 57 separate county maps, which show how Britain’s ancient parish and county boundaries have changed shape over the centuries. Navigable online, the Atlas lets users scroll over whole counties and zoom in and out to identify local parish towns and churches.” (via Ancestry.com)
“The British Library is putting hundreds of its most valuable literary resources online, from the Bronte sisters’ childhood writings to William Blake’s notebook.
The new website features digital versions of 1,200 handwritten manuscripts, diaries and letters from Romantic and Victorian writers including Charles Dickens, William Wordsworth and Jane Austen.” (via The Associated Press)
As the British Library posts its greatest literary treasures online, new research reveals that young people could be struggling to engage with the classics
“Generations of readers first discovered their appetite for the classics of English literature when studying them at school. As the British Library posts some of its greatest literary treasures online, new research reveals that 82% of English teachers believe that today’s secondary school students ‘find it hard to identify’ with classic authors.” (via British Library)
“Dismissed by some as tomorrow’s chip paper but indispensable to others as a first draft of history, nearly 400 years of newspapers will be available for perusal on Monday in the British Library’s new £33m reading room. The Newsroom, offering more than 750m pages of newspapers and magazines and 4.8m archived websites, will be officially opened by the culture secretary, Sajid Javid. A hi-tech reading room, the first at the British Library in St Pancras for more than 10 years, offers researchers free access to microfilm and digital newspaper collections dating back to the English civil war. Together with a purpose-built robotic storage facility in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, it replaces the Colindale newspaper library in north London, which closed last November.” (via The Guardian)
“250 years ago, on 23 April 1764, the eight-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart arrived in London with his father Leopold, mother Anna Maria, and sister Maria Anna (Nannerl). The visit formed part of an ambitious European tour, in which the Mozart children were presented as musical prodigies in public concerts and to private patrons. Their visit to London, which would last for 15 months, has special significance for the British Library, since Mozart may be counted as the first in an illustrious line of composers to have presented manuscripts to the Library. This event took place during the course of the family’s visit to the British Museum, in July 1765. On that occasion, Mozart deposited a copy of his first sacred composition (and only setting of an English text), God is our Refuge, written with the assistance of his father Leopold, together with copies of two sets of keyboard sonatas published the previous year in Paris. (via British Library)