To address the growing shortage of storage space in UK research libraries, the Library and representatives of higher education libraries formed a task force to explore the feasibility of a UK storage solution – the UK Research Reserve (UKRR). A successful bid was made to the Higher Education Funding Council to support this approach which was taken forward by six early-adopting universities. After the first pilot phase was completed on schedule, the second phase got underway with an award of £9.84 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The award recognises the British Library's key role in supporting university libraries to meet the changing needs of researchers, and safeguarding research material for future access.
As one of the world's leading research libraries the British Library undertakes a wide range of international activity.
The Library is a partner in the World Collections Programme (WCP), a three-year, £3 million initiative funded by the DCMS which aims to develop links with institutions in Asia and Africa. To enable the Library to undertake international activity, it secured additional funding of £227,775 from the World Collections Programme (WCP), the British Council, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and Friends of the British Library.
Through WCP a Library team visited India to renew existing and establish new relationships with government, national cultural institutions and higher education sectors for future collaboration. Researchers from the Institute of Ethiopian Studies visited the Library and a research programme is being developed to explore the Library's Islamic collections relating to East Afica.
The award-winning International Dunhuang Project which was set up to analyse and virtually reunify the ancient Buddhist material discovered by Sir Aurel Stein, was established in the British Library in 1994 and now has centres in London, Beijing, Dunhuang, St Petersburg, Berlin and Kyoto. With funding from WCP two interns from Dunhuang are developing their specialist digital skills at the Library.
The British Library administers the £10 million Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) sponsored by Arcadia which awards grants to preserve endangered records and relocate them to institutional archives in their local region. A digital copy is also deposited with the British Library which is made available to scholars around the world. Ninety one grants were awarded.