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Strategic priorities: action plan for 2007/08

  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

  1. Seek funding for the Library's agreed plan for the long term preservation and storage of the Newspaper Collection and improved state of the art access at our St Pancras site.
  2. Continue to generate awareness and increased usage of the Library's Business & IP Centre which opened in 2006.
  3. Hold two major exhibitions at St Pancras. The first, 'Sacred', will feature the Library's world-class collection of sacred texts and will explore the Judaic, Christian and Islamic traditions. The second, 'Breaking the Rules: the European Avant-Garde 1900 - 1937', will celebrate the creative revolution that shook Europe during the early decades of the 20th century.

2: Build the digital research environment

  1. Continue to develop the digital library system to provide storage, preservation and long-term access to the digital output of the nation. Develop further the ingest component for electronic journals and install this at the National Library of Wales.
  2. Continue to lead development of the European Commission funded PLANETS project in which national libraries and other bodies are developing a framework to enable long-term preservation of digital text, images, audio and datasets. Publish the preservation methodology and develop a test bed.
  3. Complete extended UK Web Archiving Consortium pilot project. Continue to press for a regulation for web archiving under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 and through the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel. Develop new tools for access and smart crawling and define requirements for migration to a new and sustainable infrastructure to support web archiving.
  4. Make significant progress towards the digitisation of content from out of copyright printed books in the Library's collection as part of a strategic partnership with Microsoft. Promote ready access to these items.
  5. Make 2 million pages of 19th century British newspapers accessible on the web. Implement the second phase with the aim of delivering a further 1.1 million pages by the end of 2008/09. These digitisation projects are funded by JISC - the Joint Information Systems Committee.
  6. Add a further 4,200 hours of audio content to the existing 3,900 hours of recordings already available to the UK learning, teaching and research communities. The JISC-funded Archival Sound Recordings project is available at

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3: Transform search and navigation

  1. Implement the first phase of the Library's Resource Discovery strategy to deliver world-class search and navigation services for researchers by creating access from the Library's catalogue to 10,000 full text digital books and journals. Initiate the procurement of the next generation of search and navigation technology, including improved web 2.0 functionality.
  2. Contribute to the delivery of the European Commission's vision for a European Digital Library.
  3. Develop further the English Short Title Catalogue (the international database of pre-1801 books which was made freely available to researchers on the British Library website in October 06) as a tool for our co-operation with other libraries nationally and internationally and as an international research resource.

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4: Grow and manage the national collection

  1. Complete the superstructure of the new storage building at Boston Spa. Start the installation and testing of the automated storage and retrieval system. The new building will store c.260km of materials in controlled environmental conditions and will rationalise the location of high- and low-use materials. It will also allow the Library to relinquish leasehold storage buildings.
  2. Open the Library's Centre for Conservation at St Pancras. This will be a centre of excellence bringing together all aspects of book and sound conservation in a state-of-the-art building. Public access and training are key components; a public exhibition will open in May and tours of the building will start in the autumn.
  3. Make available a revised set of content strategies across all fields of research in Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences, following on from the public consultation undertaken last year. Moderate content shifts will be made in acquisitions expenditure. There will be a transition from collecting print only or print and electronic formats in parallel, to collecting only digital copies of certain categories of material.
  4. Following the content strategy development in the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences, develop and consult on our strategy for Science, Technology and Medicine.
  5. Deliver the first phase of the collaborative storage project, funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils. This will address the growing shortage of storage space in UK research libraries. The prototype service will focus on low-use journals held at the British Library and will integrate with our Document Supply service.
  6. In partnership with the US National Library of Medicine, the University of Manchester and the European Bioinformatics Institute, encourage use and support of UK PubMed Central in the biomedical research community. Produce reports for the UK PubMed Central funders to link research grants with outputs.
  7. Contribute to the foreign cultural diplomacy agenda led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. We will extend our programmes with overseas libraries and archives, including the national libraries of South Africa, China and Iraq.

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5: Develop our people

  1. Continue to develop an integrated Talent Development and Succession Planning strategy to enable the Library to address potential skills gaps, build career development and attract and retain talent.
  2. Use the results of the 2006 Colleague Opinion Survey to enhance and promote a proactive employee engagement culture.
  3. In line with the Government's Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy, design and implement a framework which develops the Library's ongoing commitment to ethical behaviour, improves quality of life of the workforce and impacts positively on the community, wider society and the environment.
  4. Through the Library's Disability, Gender and Race Equality Schemes, continue to develop and implement the Library's Diversity Strategy to build a diverse workforce and increase engagement with wider communities.

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6: Guarantee financial sustainability

  1. In the face of increasing financial constraints, focus the Library's influencing programme for its Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 bid on the Library's critical priorities. Develop financial planning scenarios to address how the Library will best deliver its priority programmes within a balanced budget in the coming years. In light of the funding settlement, commence the development of a new strategic plan.
  2. Implement a sustainable business model for the Library's Document Supply service that is consistent with the Library's overall business and financial plans.

The full 20-page text of our strategy is on

If you would like a printed copy please email or call +44 (0) 1937 546207

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