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Delivering our strategic priorities

Progress against 2009/10 commitments and report
on key funding projects

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External BL Copyright Clive Sherlock

Support UK research with innovative services and integrated processes

Work in partnership with the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Higher Education community led by Imperial College London to implement the UK Research Reserve which will secure long-term access to research journals

The UK Research Reserve (UKRR – is pleased to welcome 14 new Higher Education Institutions as members, taking its final membership to 29.

The UKRR offers a secure solution to storing and preserving low use print research journals whereby we house collection on behalf of the Higher Education sector and make the content accessible to researchers through our Document Supply service. The programme is made possible through funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Its key aims are to protect research information infrastructure and to release 100 kilometres of shelf space in Higher Education libraries allowing them to re-use the space in response to changing institutional priorities.

Modernise the search, ordering and delivery mechanism used for the Library’s remote document supply services to Higher Education

The Library has awarded a contract to Capgemini to work on the development of an Integrated Request Management & Delivery System (IRMDS) for its document supply service. IRMDS will allow us to modernise our core document supply services to UK Higher Education and also support new ways of working with UK Research Reserve customers.

We have delivered a detailed implementation plan for the main development phase, and the first stage of this plan has been completed on time, with the majority of the analysis and design due early in 2010/11.

Establish the potential for the development of the land to the north of the St Pancras site and continue to develop the case for the creation of a digital research centre (DRC)

Following a rigorous tender process, the British Library appointed Farrells as its architectural partner to work on the master planning of its nine acre site at St Pancras, London. Consultants submitted proposals to work on a master plan for the future development of the entire site to support the Library's future strategy and plans in a changing, and increasingly digital, world.

Significant work was done to reshape the Digital Research Centre programme, switching its focus away from a discrete ‘new build’ solution, to encompass future propositions that could be offered to researchers across all channels.

The Library is planning an exhibition in September 2010, Growing Knowledge: the Evolution of Research, to introduce and demonstrate a broad range of digital services and tools designed to enhance individual and collaborative research.

The exhibition will be highly interactive using feedback from exhibition visitors to inform and influence the development of future digital research services in the Library. The Library will be working closely with a number of partners on the exhibition including: Microsoft, HP, JISC, Haworth and a number of content and application partners including the BBC and the British Film Institute.

Continue to develop a Research Information Centre (RIC) in partnership with Microsoft. Launch a full beta service for biomedical researchers

The Library offered a working version of the beta service in March 2010, with additional functionality. The team is now in place and the technical development work has been outsourced to Idea Entity, enabling work to start on the development of the biomedical functionality in parallel with Microsoft's development of the framework. We continue to work with our partners, the National Institute for Health Research, Oxford University, Manchester University and Kings College London.

Implement the Library’s Science, Technology and Medicine strategy. Assess user needs and behaviours to develop new products and services exploiting STM material. Test the incorporation of datasets as a content type

The Content Strategy implementation has progressed, with a range of e-books and e-journals now available in the Reading Rooms. Specific user guides have been developed for two multi-disciplinary areas, whilst PhD focus group work and a joint study with the Research Information Network on life science researchers’ behaviour has fed into user needs.

Rapid changes in the digital landscape are allowing people to generate and share ever increasing volumes of data. This data forms the foundation for research and is critically important to researchers and policy makers across all disciplines. There is now a core dataset team who are working alongside dataset specialists in the STM and Social Science teams. Developments have been made in a number of areas and the team is working closely with Datacite, an international initiative, to create a co-ordinated approach for researchers to identify, cite, find, and use datasets.

Links to over 100 STM datasets are now available in PRIMO, with selection guidelines for datasets now developed.

Continue to engage with the World Collections Programme (WCP) which aims to share British cultural and curatorial expertise with institutions particularly in Africa and Asia

We have successfully completed the second year of the WCP, a three-year, £3 million initiative funded by the DCMS, involving six UK institutions, including the British Library, which aims to develop links with institutions in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  Some of our highlights have included a visit of researchers from the Institute of Ethiopian Studies and a very successful diplomatic induction event, with over 150 attendees from 88 missions.  The Library is currently working with colleagues at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Natural History Museum to digitise key correspondence, drawings and specimens and records relating to the 19th century botanist Nathaniel Wallich, the Superintendent of the Calcutta Botanic Gardens. We have also jointly supported, with the British Museum, interns from China working on the International Dunhuang Project.

A second tranche of funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been received for the digitisation of further records for the Iraq National Library and Archive.

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