More stories about Transforming
We are transforming the way that we store and care for our unrivalled collections, using purpose-built, state of the art facilities to conserve them for generations to come.
Work to transform the storage conditions of millions of collection items made significant progress as the Additional Storage Project at Boston Spa passed a series of critical milestones. By November 2007, construction of the building was substantially complete and work began on the complex process of installing the innovative automated racking – equivalent to 262 linear kilometres of traditional shelving.
When finished the facility will house low-use material currently stored in a variety of offsite locations in London. For the first time this substantial part of the national collection will be kept in conditions that meet international preservation standards. Associated collection moves will commence later in 2008.
An increasing proportion of the publications we receive are in digital formats ranging from CD-Roms to e-journals. To guarantee long-term storage, preservation and access for such items, our Digital Library Programme is developing an infrastructure for electronic materials received through legal deposit and voluntary schemes.
A key element of this infrastructure went live in July 2007 as our technical team installed software at the National Library of Wales (NLW) that will enable them to store digital items that have been received either at St Pancras or at Boston Spa. Adding the NLW to the two existing sites increases the resilience of the system and will strengthen processes such as ‘authentication’, through which we ensure that digital items are not damaged or altered over time.
Conservation techniques ranging from manuscript repair using sturgeon glue to digital processing of archival sound recordings can now be seen first hand by the visiting public, thanks to a programme of behind-the-scenes tours of the British Library Centre for Conservation.
The tours enable visitors to appreciate fully the care and expertise that goes into conserving our priceless collections for future generations. They have proven immensely popular, with places booked far in advance ever since the Centre for Conservation was officially opened in October 2007 by HRH The Princess Royal.