Collections

We work together to preserve, expand and make available our world-class collections. With our copyright Library status, we receive a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland. And we're adding new items all the time.

We're also world-renowned for our visionary services and expertise. For example, our globally important Centre for Conservation is recognised for its pioneering use of state of the art preservation techniques. In fact, interns from museums and libraries around the world come here to learn techniques in everything from digital sound archiving to book conservation using sturgeon glue.

Of course, we're committed to making our valuable artefacts available to as many people as possible. As well as curating major exhibitions such asMughal India: Art, Culture and Empire in 2012 and Propaganda: Power and Persuasion in 2013, we also aim to put as many of our collections online. Having purchased the Harold Pinter archive in December 2007, we spent a year cataloguing the 150 boxes of manuscripts, letters, emails, photos, programmes and scrapbooks. The catalogue went online in February 2009.

As the Library's collections continue to grow at over three million items a year, there are plenty of exciting new projects in the pipeline. These include developing ways of capturing and storing digital publications such as websites and e-zines. We also have a number of on-going longer-term projects such as the transfer of our newspaper and legal deposit collections to Boston Spa.

With the increasing challenges of providing information in the digital era, we welcome strategic thinkers and innovators.

What kind of roles are in Collections?

Lead Content Expert: Sociolinguistics and Education

Role: Lead Content Expert: Sociolinguistics and Education

Team: Social Sciences

The British Library Sound Archive has the most comprehensive dialect archives in the UK and this role offers the chance to contribute to research in accents, dialects and sociolinguistics. The Lead Content Expert focuses on managing, exploiting and promoting the collections, increasing access and developing partnerships with Higher Education institutions.

This may involve developing online access to the sound archive, or working with organisations such as the BBC, schools and academic research bodies. It can also mean doing media interviews to promote our projects, as well as fielding enquiries from users.

Preservation Surrogacy Manager

Role: Preservation Surrogacy Manager

Team: Preservation

In order to preserve the data stored on vulnerable media like acetate microfilm, we often save it in "surrogate" formats and this role involves managing our preservation surrogacy programmes. It's a highly responsible and varied role that involves managing a £1 million budget, meeting user and department needs, and ensuring the new formats are relevant and offer value for money.

Projects might include transferring vulnerable acetate microfilm onto stable polyester, establishing cold storage for master films and assessing collections to decide what levels of preservation are needed. The role can also cover writing and delivering presentations, giving visitor tours and helping to design web pages and information packs.

Curator e-Manuscripts

Role: Curator e-Manuscripts

Team: History and Classical Srudies

So much modern information is stored in digital formats. This vital role focuses on capturing this information, stored on contemporary or obsolete computer media, and developing and implementing techniques for making it easy to access. The Library has a large number of on-going digital projects, and this role could be involved in any one of them, from digitising the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, to the Theatre Archives Project and the mathematical notebooks of Fox Talbot.

It's a varied role that can involve leafing through an original Leonardo da Vinci notebook, going through hundreds of boxes of newly arrived archival material, or talking to a recently bereaved family about a potential donation.

People and projects

People and projects

Our amazing projects and the people who made them happen.

Interactive fact-finder

Interactive fact-finder

What have trains, podcasts and thrash metal got to do with the British Library?