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Review | Chairman | Chief Executive | Strategic priorities | Performance | Governance | Grants | Accounts
  1. Enrich the user's experience
  2. Build the digital research environment
  3. Transform search and navigation
  4. Grow and manage the national collection
  5. Develop our people
  6. Guarantee financial sustainability

1: Enrich the user's experience

Generate awareness and usage of the Business & IP Centre

Since the launch in March 2006, we have exceeded all Funding Agreement targets. By the year end, we had delivered over 3,000 1 to 1 advice sessions, 165% above the full year's target. Of these, 37% were with people from ethnic minorities, against a target of 29%; 55% were to women, target 15%; 4% were to disabled people, target 3%.

Create a new Reader Registration office, supported by an integrated Welcome Team of specialist customer service staff

We opened the new office at St Pancras in May 2006 and launched a new online Reader Registration system in October 2006. We completed a programme of improved communications, featuring new icon signage to help familiarise new Readers with Reading Room practices. We improved building signage, leaflets, information screens and the Reader Bulletin and also created a new e-Bulletin. A programme of training and development for staff was completed in March 2007.

Hold major temporary exhibitions

The Front Page, featuring 100 years of historic headlines, was opened by HM the Queen in May 2006. The show attracted a younger visitor demographic, with 19% of visitors aged between 16 and 24. Our second major exhibition, London: A Life in Maps ran from November 2006 to March 2007 and topped all previous records for exhibition numbers with over 131,000 visitors attending. These two exhibitions, together with many sell-out public events, enabled us to exceed the year's public visitor figure target by 16% to 510,000.

Conduct feasibility study on the option of transferring researchers' access to newspapers from Colindale to St Pancras

The study confirmed the viability of transferring access and the Board confirmed the approach as a key element of our treatment of newspapers in the long term. A new migration plan was developed for implementation of the newspaper strategy. This widens the focus beyond access, to look at all aspects of the Library's newspaper collection. Work has started on achieving outline and full Treasury standard business cases for the implementation.

Offer support to public libraries

In partnership with Libraries and Information East Midlands and CILIP East Midlands, we have developed a pilot regional bursary scheme to enable librarians from the region to undertake research at the Library into topics of regional relevance. One award has been made to date, a second has been approved. A similar scheme has also been launched in partnership with the London Libraries Development Agency. We are also running a series of champions' events at St Pancras, in which colleagues from UK public libraries are given a tour of the building and a briefing about British Library services available to their users. In turn, they are able to share their experiences with us so that we can tailor services appropriately. Four successful events were held in 2006/07

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2: Build the digital research environment

Develop enhanced functionality of the digital library

Tessella Support Services was awarded a contract for the ejournal ingest and metadata management modules of the Library's Digital Object Management system. Tessella subsequently developed a functional specification for these modules and delivered Releases 1 and 2 on time.

Complete the archival sound and newspaper digitisation projects

The public launch of the Archival Sound Recordings website took place in September 2006. Funded by JISC, it provides access to 3,900 hours of digitised recordings for the benefit of the higher education community. Workshops are running to explore how the service is being used and how materials can be embedded in teaching, learning and research. However, there have been delays to the newspaper project as a result of poor performance by the digitisation company, which affected several of their major customers. Production of the digitised images was finally completed by the year end. Launch of the full service has been put back to 2007/8.

Implement web archiving initiatives

A national strategy for web archiving is under development with the UK Web Archiving Consortium. By the end of March 2007, 1,613 instances of websites had been archived, 61% ahead of target. The Web Curator Tool, which the Library has been working on with the International Internet Preservation Consortium, has been launched and tested. This will provide a new infrastructure for more substantial web archiving in the future. We are developing an automated smart crawler in partnership with the Internet Archive, the Library of Congress and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and have signed up to the Automated Content Access Protocol publisher project, which will enable automated targeting and capture of eligible sites as part of the crawling process.

Lead development of the EC funded PLANETS project (Preservation Planning and Networked Services)

The programme will ensure long-term access to Europe's digital intellectual heritage. It addresses the challenges of digital preservation and will develop a sustainable framework to enable long-term preservation of digital text and images, digital audio and dynamic data sets. All staff and technical resource for the project are in place and the inaugural meeting involving the 70-strong project team has been held. Development work on the first iteration of software components is under way.

Digitise content from 100,000 books in the Library's collection through Microsoft funded project

We're planning to digitise 25 million pages of out-of-copyright books, and have completed a trial programme. As a result, we've contracted a new scanning partner for a further pilot, and if this is successful, full production is expected to start in June/July 2007. Microsoft has released a beta version of c.140 books digitised as part of the trial.

Develop the Digital Object Management (DOM) system to manage the legal deposit libraries receipt of e-journals

The Library has signed an agreement with the National Library of Wales (NLW) on the use of the DOM framework for the distribution of, and access to, e-journal items received through legal deposit. The university libraries of Oxford and Cambridge will share the Library's infrastructure and the National Library of Scotland will develop its own independent infrastructure. Tessella Support Services are working with NLW to define the specific requirements for ingest and metadata management.

Engage with the Office of Science and Innovation (OSI) to explore a national e-infrastructure for information to support UK research

The OSI work was broken down into six strands and the Library participated in four: digital preservation, search and navigation, virtual research communities and data creation. OSI compiled a final report to which the Library has drafted a supportive response urging action. We will send our response to the DCMS, the Interdepartmental Panel, OSI and the research councils.

Participate in reviews of Intellectual Property (IP) and copyright

The British Library IP manifesto was launched at the autumn Party Conferences where we hosted events with industry and political audiences. The media response to the manifesto was very positive in the mainstream and specialist media and we gained particular recognition for our analysis of issues around length of copyright term for sound. The Library welcomed the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property. In particular we are pleased that the argument around preservation exceptions and orphan works has been accepted although we would like further clarification of fair dealing exceptions in a digital world. The IP Board are now planning how best to ensure we are active players in the next stage of policy-making.

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3: Transform search and navigation

Make the Library's archives and manuscripts catalogues available via the Integrated Catalogue

The pilot project on archives and manuscripts records was completed on schedule but has indicated that integration of these records into the Integrated Catalogue is not practical. Alternative solutions are being assessed to provide improved access to the Library's archives and manuscripts records.

Transfer the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) from the USA to the Library

We successfully transferred half a million records, covering almost every book printed in English prior to 1800. The catalogue represents the extensive British Library holdings and those of over 2,000 libraries around the world. ESTC has been freely available on the Library's website since October 2006.

Work with a range of external product vendors and suppliers to explore new methods of performing resource discovery

The Library's Single Entry Point went live at www.bl.uk early in 2007. This searches the Library's website, catalogues and services in a single sweep, and displays the different types of results in a clear and manageable way. A pilot to test the addition of non-traditional data to the online catalogue (e.g. book jacket images and reviews) was successfully completed. As promising solutions emerge across the market, we are reviewing the full range of opportunities on offer.

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4: Grow and manage the national collection

Begin construction of the Additional Storage Programme at Boston Spa

The construction contract was awarded to Allenbuild North East and the contract for construction and installation of the automated storage and retrieval system to FKI Logistex. Allenbuild have completed bulk excavation, ground preparation, main repository steelwork and external vertical cladding on schedule. FKI are progressing container, racking, loadhandler and Warehouse Management Control System (WMCS) design and prototyping. Collection preparation continues on schedule.

Complete construction of the Centre for Conservation

Construction and occupation were completed on time and to budget. Staff and services moved from Bloomsbury, Micawber Street and within St Pancras, and the Conservation and Sound Archive studios began work on schedule. The bindery at the British Museum was finally vacated and returned to the BM by the lease expiry date. The Conservation Foundation Degree has been validated by the University of the Arts and we are assisting with the promotion of the course. The main opening event took place in May 2007.

Launch public consultation on the Library's content strategy

Between April and July 2006, the Library sought the views of stakeholders in research, higher education and the library world in order to refine our content strategy for the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences. We received strong endorsement for the strategy through the 140 responses received and we made our summary report of responses available online. We have committed to taking the strategy forward in 2007/08.

Manage the Endangered Archives Programme

This programme involves surveying, preserving, copying and sharing archival material recorded before modernisation and industrialisation in developing communities. Since the start of the programme in 2005/06 45 awards have been made. The second round of awards was made in April 2006 and a third round has generated substantial interest and 53 applicants have been invited to prepare detailed submissions.

Undertake international programmes of professional support and cooperation

Our Funding Agreement focuses on three of the areas of the world in which we undertake programmes of cooperation. China: the collaboration agreement with the National Library of China over the International Dunhuang Project (IDP) was renewed in April 2006. Plans are well advanced for a high level visit from a delegation led by the Deputy Director of the National Library of China, in July. South Africa: there are plans for the Chief Executive to give staff talks at the National Library of South Africa to coincide with the IFLA meeting in August 2007. Initial discussions are taking place around the National Library's African Literature project. Iraq: the diary of Saad Eskander, Director of the Iraq National Library and Archive, is posted on our website. His diary describes the difficult and tragic conditions under which the National Library operates, and it generates a high level of press interest and public support. It has also provided the platform for mounting a successful appeal among UK HE libraries for social science books which will be despatched to Baghdad.

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5: Develop our people

Develop and implement the Library's Diversity Strategy

We have developed a corporate action plan which looks at diversity in respect of: the Library's collection/content, access to services, corporate training schemes that promote diversity awareness, workforce development, and communication to reach new and more diverse audiences. Progress is regularly reported to the Board. We designed and delivered a Disability Equality Scheme, with input from disabled people and those who provide support services for them. We began consultation on the Gender Equality Scheme which is due to be published early in 2007/08. We highlighted awareness of the new Age Discrimination in Employment Legislation and made sure the Library met all the requirements.

Develop an integrated talent development and succession planning framework

The Library has held seven development centres for members of the Senior Leadership Team and a small number of other staff. Individual Executive Team development centres were concluded and an ET development day took place in January. The outcome of these initiatives will inform the identification of talent and succession planning within the Library.

Continue to drive a modernised Pay and Reward Strategy

The 2006/07 pay award, the second year of a two-year pay deal, was agreed and, for the first time in the Library's history, incorporated into salaries at the due date. Written grading guidance for posts has been tested and endorsed by management and the unions.

Implement a further Library wide Colleague Opinion Survey to measure the Library's core values and culture

Staff were invited to contribute to a Colleague Opinion Survey in November 2006, which built on a similar exercise in 2004. The survey was again conducted by the Work Foundation, and 64% of staff responded, compared with 53% two years ago. Results were communicated across the Library and most indicators showed a strong improvement compared with 2004, reflecting the large amount of work that had taken place in the intervening time.

6: Guarantee financial sustainability

Strengthen the Library's financial and business planning mechanisms and maintain ongoing fund-raising activity

Revised quarterly budget reporting arrangements were put in place in 2006/07/. These focus on exceptions/variations from budget and projection of estimates for the end of year results. They provide the basis for timely decision-making on actions to be taken to keep our spending against budget on track. This report also clearly distinguishes between ongoing revenue budgets, programme/one-off budgets and capital. Stronger linkages have been built into the financial and business planning processes, incorporating a clearer forward look at the financial position three years on. Fundraising for the purchase of important literary archives and the digitisation of key newspapers fell short of target, achieving £3 million, against a requirement of £5m. We are pursuing alternative sources of funding.

Develop the Library's Comprehensive Spending Review (SR) bid 2007 for funding for 2008/11

The Library's bid documents were submitted to DCMS and received much praise. Influencing documents were produced and distributed to key stakeholders. We received widespread and positive media coverage of our SR messages in February 2007, which resulted in the foundation of a Supporters' Forum on the website. The Forum features over 600 messages of support.

Develop a sustainable business model for the Library's document supply service

The Document Supply Futures Programme reported on schedule. The Report contained the outcome of the detailed modelling work undertaken on the existing operation, the key planning assumptions and potential opportunities. These were brought together into a single business model, the key risks of which were separately and explicitly analysed. Talks to staff and trade unions were well received, and the individual components of the proposed business model are each being actively progressed.

Identify options for optimising storage and access in UK research libraries

Following an investigation in 2005 into the growing shortage of storage space in UK research libraries, the Library and representatives of higher education libraries formed a task force to explore the feasibility of taking forward the creation of a UK storage solution. The work of the task force resulted in a successful bid to the Higher Education Funding Councils to support this approach. Phase One implementation began in January 2007 and involves the Library working with six universities.

Generate efficiencies to comply with Gershon and fund developments

The Library's Funding Agreement target for efficiency savings in 2006/07 was £13.2m. Total efficiencies achieved were £15.9m, an over-achievement of 20%. The areas that contributed most to this over-achievement were headcount reductions across the Library and greater visitor numbers than expected in Reading Rooms and exhibitions, with no corresponding increase in the cost of provision. This represents a continuation of the considerable achievement already made; indeed, the Library was acknowledged by DCMS as being 'one of the best performers in the efficiency project' in 2005/06.

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