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Enable access to everyone who wants to do research

Our vision for 2020

At the heart of our vision is a passionate belief that everyone who wants to do research should have access to the rich resource of content held by the British Library.

Our ambition is for users to be able to download, share and re-use public domain digital content for the benefit of the economy and society.

The key role we can play in liberating access to public-domain content is through digitisation.

We will focus on digitisation of out-of-copyright material; we will also establish strong partnerships with rights holders and commercial providers to facilitate digital access to in-copyright content (for which we do not own or control the rights).

We recognise that much of our content will not be digitised by 2020 and our support to researchers will inevitably be provided through a blend of on-site and online services.

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In this video: Kate Summerscale, author of the prize-winning The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

To deliver our vision we will:
  • Digitise a significant proportion of our out-of-copyright content, in partnership, focusing on content which is rare, unique and important to our heritage
  • Make out-of-copyright digitised content widely accessible independent of location, in ways and on devices that our users choose
  • Encourage others to integrate our out-of-copyright digitised content into their services, enabling users to create new insights and innovations from our content
  • through re-use, and creating economic benefits for the UK
  • Establish partnership models for licensing of digital content outside the Reading Rooms, respecting the rights of creators, supporting the commercial interests of publishers and achieving multimedia access for users
  • Provide an advanced search and discovery experience for users, developed in partnership with commercial providers and other key players.

Next theme: Support research communities in key areas for social and economic benefit

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