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The British Library The Knowledge Network: The British Library Annual Report and Accounts 2008/09

Explore our year


In preserving its collections for future generations, the British Library aims to take a holistic view of storage, security and preservation methods.

Additional Storage Building, Boston Spa


One of the landmarks of 2008/09 was the near completion of new storage facilities at Boston Spa. The Additional Storage Building will play a key role in enabling the Library to store and provide access to irreplaceable books and journals, which will be preserved in an appropriate low-oxygen environment. Containing 262 linear kilometres of high-density, fully automated storage, the new facilities will provide much needed extra capacity as existing buildings become full in the next few years.

Work went ahead on implementing the Newspaper Strategy, which will transform access to the British Library’s newspaper collection. Closure of the existing storage buildings at Colindale is necessary because of lack of space and inadequate environmental conditions to meet required preservation standards. The Legal Deposit building at 120 Colindale Avenue will close on 31 December 2010, when all newspaper processing will move to Boston Spa.

Progress was made in extending legal deposit for digital materials. Working through the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel and the Joint Committee on Legal Deposit, the British Library partnered with the five other legal deposit libraries in the British Isles and publisher representatives to determine the most appropriate arrangements for capturing and storing the nation’s digital publications for the benefit of current and future generations.

Work began on a major project to help preserve and organise personal digital archives, safeguarding precious material for the future. The British Library worked in partnership with University College London and the University of Bristol on the Digital Lives project, which explored everything from legal and ethical issues to appropriate technologies for use with digital archives.

The Library hosted thought-provoking conferences and events about the digital future. A conference marking the second phase of the LIFE project (Life Cycle Information for E-Literature) focused on understanding the costs of digital preservation, enabling organisations to plan for the future. The iPRES 2008 conference (International Conference on the Preservation of Digital Objects) attracted researchers and practitioners from around the world, to explore the latest developments in digital preservation.