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The British Library Bringing knowledge to life: The British Library Annual Report and Accounts 2007/08

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We help authors, entrepreneurs, scientists and historians make discoveries in every field of research imaginable – generating new knowledge and inspiring outputs from doctoral theses to best-selling novels.

Pinter archive acquired

In December we acquired the archive of Harold Pinter for £1.1 million, ensuring that this invaluable resource remains available to scholars and researchers in the UK. The Pinter archive is one of the British Library’s most important postwar literary collections. Highlights include handwritten playscripts, correspondence with Samuel Beckett, Philip Larkin, Arthur Miller and David Mamet, and a draft of Pinter’s unpublished memoir of his youth, The Queen of All the Fairies.

We exhibited a selection of star items in a temporary display, His Own Domain: Harold Pinter, A Life in Theatre, which also included specially commissioned oral history interviews with Pinter’s collaborators in the theatre. Cataloguing of the archive will be complete by the end of 2008.

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Pinter as a young actor

Expanding resource discovery

For many years the Union Catalogue of Books (UCB) was the largest of the Library’s card catalogues to remain outside the Integrated Catalogue, comprising 1.4 million cards holding details of Boston Spa’s pre-1980 collections. Information held in UCB finally became fully accessible on the online Integrated Catalogue in November 2007, following two years of meticulous conversion work.

Completion of the project enabled the conversion of a number of other card catalogues including the Union Catalogue of Music, British Reports and Theses, and Official Publications.

Another major addition to the Integrated Catalogue was a range of enriched bibliographic data such as book jackets, summaries and tables of contents, offering users much more detailed and sophisticated information on the items they are searching.

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Digital items in the Reading Rooms

We now offer our Readers access to a range of digital items received through voluntary schemes. Many are held in the secure digital store that we are developing in anticipation of more extensive legal deposit for electronic publications.

Following negotiations on behalf of legal deposit libraries, Ordnance Survey’s OS MasterMap became available in our Maps Reading Room in July 2007.

OS MasterMap exemplifies a new generation of large-scale digital maps. Its ‘Topography Layer’ of seamless digital mapping identifies and datestamps each feature on the landscape, from railways and utilities to terrain and height – to a degree of detail and richness not possible in printed maps.

Back to main story | More services for Readers

OS Map

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