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

Explore our year


Many activities took place to promote sharing the expertise and resources of the Library and its partners.



The Library hosted a series of TalkScience events, providing opportunities for scientists and those who use scientific information to engage and debate topical issues. The Library is part of an international alliance providing access to worldwide scientific databases,

As part of the UK PubMed Central programme, the number of free, downloaded journal articles increased nine-fold over the year. The Library worked with its partners, Mimas (at the University of Manchester) and the European Bioinformatics Institute, and secured additional funding to further develop the service.

A major new three-year study was commissioned with the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) into the research behaviour of research students born between 1982 and 1994 – dubbed 'Generation Y'. The aim is to explore ways in which services might be remodelled for future generations.

A three-year research project on The Italian Academies 1530 – 1630: a themed collection database went ahead in collaboration with Royal Holloway, University of London, and supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. An online catalogue of books published by the academies will be created, to facilitate access for scholars.

The Library hosted the LIBER Library Collection Security Conference, a forum to share experience in managing risks, investigating incidents and preventing loss, sponsored by the Association of European Research Libraries.

Addressing the severe shortage of conservation training, the Library continued to offer internships in sound archiving and book conservation.

Welfare Reform on the Web, an abstracting service for social policy researchers and practitioners, celebrated ten years in production with a seminar on social citizenship, human rights and poverty. This was one of a number of events led by the Social Sciences team to engage with the social sciences research community. Events were also run in partnership with other organisations such as The National Archives and the Economic and Data Service (ESDS). Further support for the social sciences community was given by hosting PhD students on placements, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), through the Library's own National Training Postgraduate Training Days and through joint-leadership of two ESRC-funded seminar series on Corporate Social Responsibility and Multi-modality of PhD theses.

The annual Douglas W Bryant Lecture was given by the respected US political commentator Larry Sabbato, who looked back at the historic US election of 2008.

The Business & IP Centre worked with more than 150 organisations, to share a broad range of expertise with its 34,400 annual users. It responded to the economic recession by launching an outreach programme targeted at unemployed people and undergraduates, and developing a new series of workshops and events aimed at helping small businesses survive and thrive in the recession. In addition, it continued to develop its web-based services by launching a suite of e-learning courses which take users step by step through the protection, development and exploitation of their ideas, and producing live webcasts of its popular 'Inspiring Entrepreneurs' series.