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Working Internationally

The British Library is one of the world's leading research libraries and works in partnership with many international partners on a range of activities and projects to share the world's knowledge.

We have a long history of cultural exchange - from strategic working partnerships to the innovative use of digital technology to preserve and make collections accessible on a global scale.

Restoring and sustaining cultures

The British Library administers the £10 million Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) sponsored by Arcadia which enables institutions and researchers to apply for grants to help identify endangered records and relocate them to institutional archives in their local region. A digital copy is also deposited with the British Library and made available to scholars around the world.

Capacity building

Participants in our programme of international internships are able to take back to their countries a range of transferable skills - a conservator from the National Library of South Africa who participated in the Library programme was able to go on to advise colleagues in Mali.

We also supported the reconstruction of the Iraq National Library and Archives (INLA) and have provided digital copies of records, maps and other information to aid with the redevelopment of the INLA.

Virtual reunification of collections

The Codex Sinaiticus Project is an ambitious international project that makes the Codex Sinaiticus, one of the world’s oldest Bibles, available to scholars and the public through innovative digital and web-based technology. The project is based on a partnership between the institutions which hold parts of the Codex: St Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, the British Library, Leipzig University Library and the National Library of Russia in St Petersburg.

The award-winning International Dunhuang Project was established in 1994, at the British Library, to co-ordinate a collaboration to conserve, catalogue and digitise tens of thousands of manuscripts, paintings, textiles and other artefacts found at Dunhuang and archaeological sites along the ancient Silk Road in the early 20th century. IDP now has centres in London, Beijing, Dunhuang, St Petersburg, Berlin and Kyoto.

Strategic partnerships

We have struck Memoranda of Understanding with a number of national libraries, including China, India, Kenya, and Iran. These agreements allow us to work collaboratively with a number of cultural organisations on a range of projects and initiatives.

We were a partner in the World Collections Programme: a three-year, £3million initiative funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which develops links with institutions in Asia and Africa. The WCP partners were the British Museum, V&A, Natural History Museum, Tate and Kew. We have successfully bid for funding to undertake research to identify key partners and explore potential collaborative projects in India.

Professional leadership

Many of our curatorial staff are at the hub of a number of scholarly networks, and the Library plays key roles in international professional bodies such as The European Library Management Board CENL group for digital projects in European national libraries. It is the only European member of the Library of Congress Advisory Board for the National Digital Information Infrastructure & Preservation Programme (NDIIPP).

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