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British Library document supply history

A timeline summarising British Library document supply history

1961 – National Lending Library for Science and Technology (NLL) is established in Boston Spa and 600 tonnes of research materials are transported from London in 140 rail containers to form the basis of the collection.

1970 – 1 million articles are requested for the first time.

1973 – The British Library is established by an Act of Parliament and the NLL is merged with the National Central Library to become the British Library Lending Division (BLLD).

1980 – Demand reaches 3 million requests per year.

1985 – BLLD is renamed British Library Document Supply Centre to more accurately reflect our range of activities.

1997 – British Library Inside, our first subscription based database goes live. As well as giving access to 20,000 journals titles, users can also search over 100,000 conference proceedings for the first time.

1998 – Our new headquarters in St Pancras, London is opened by HRH the Queen.

2000 – Demand reaches 4 million a year.

2001 – 20,000 customers from the industrial, academic, government and public sectors now use our document supply services.

2001 – We supply our 100 millionth document.

2001 – British Library Public Catalogue goes live and provides simple, free access to over 10 million books, journals, reports, conferences and music scores.

2001 – A ground breaking agreement with MIMAS, culminates in the launch of the ZETOC database and makes bibliographic records for 20,000 of our most popular research journals available to UK Higher Education.

2003- High speed scanners replace photocopiers and Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) is launched. Our users can now receive electronic copies of documents from our collection in as little as 2 hours.

2005 – British Library Direct, our new interface that makes our ETOC database available to anyone with an Internet connection is launched. It is significant because, for the first time our documents supply customers can order documents in a fully automated way.

2007 – UK PubMed Central is launched, providing free access to a permanent online archive of peer-reviewed research papers in the medical and life sciences areas.

2007 - British Library Reprints service goes live, enabling customers to purchase multiple print and electronic copies of an article from our collection with full copyright compliance.

2007 - The British Library has launched a new service that offers a ‘one-stop-shop' for publishers who wish to digitise archival material from their journal collections. The Publisher Digitisation Service draws on the unrivalled breadth of the Library's collections as well as its expertise in converting large volumes of print material into digital format.

2007 – With the launch of Turning the Pages 2.0, our award winning page turning application, libraries around the world can now license the software to make their own significant printed materials accessible through the web.

2007 – From September 2007, holders of a CLA HE Photocopying and Trial Scanning Licence can order materials for coursepacks from the British Library with our new Higher Education Scanning Service (HESS).

2007 - British Library Direct Plus, Basic Version is launched. Our new discovery database provides access to article details from over 67,000 journals and over 400,000 conference proceedings in our collection, many of which are available to search electronically for the first time.