British Library Labs


British Library Labs supports and inspires the use of the British Library’s digital collections and data in exciting and innovative ways, through competitions, events and collaborative projects for its staff and the public.

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Formed in 2013, British Library Labs (BL Labs) promotes, inspires, and supports the use of the Library’s digital collections and data (available on our platform). The team works on projects with British Library staff, researchers, software developers, educators, entrepreneurs, community activists and artists from around the world. You can read more about some of these projects in our archive, Digital Scholarship case studies pages and blog.

BL Labs provides insights into the emerging practice of digital research and helps shape the provision of the Library’s digital services, tools, collections, and data. It ensures that the intellectual digital heritage we hold is accessible to everyone for research, inspiration and enjoyment.

Read more about the project’s history and background.

Annual awards

Each autumn, the British Library Labs Awards recognises exceptional projects that have used the Library’s digital collections and data. This year we have four awards categories: Research, Artistic, Community, and Teaching/Learning.

If you know of someone who has done outstanding work using British Library digital collections and data, please encourage them to keep an eye on this page for an announcement of our 2021 Awards. You can even nominate yourself! Read more about the British Library Labs Awards 2020 for information on our previous winners, and ideas about submissions.

In each category, the winner will be awarded £150 and the runner-up, £50 of online British Library shop tokens. The winners and runners-up (including those from our Staff Awards) will be announced and presented with their prizes at the 9th Annual British Library Labs Symposium, date to be announced. 


In addition to the annual BL Labs Symposium, the team promotes engagement with the Library’s digital collections and data through a series of events and workshops around the UK. You can browse our Events Archive, and see a selection of presentations on SlideShare and YouTube.

If you are interested in hosting an event at your University or Institution, please contact us!

Digital Research Support

BL Labs provides a digital research support service to help you understand and work with the relevant digital collections and data sets; provides technical, curatorial and legal advice about your project; and offers guidance about scope, costs, time-frames, risks, and other issues.

You may apply for up to 5 days’ support using this form. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

For inspiration, you can also see previous projects in our archive, and examples of source code on GitHub and examples of Jupyter Notebooks which are carrying out computational analysis of our data.

Sponsors and Key People

The BL Labs project was previously generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is now funded solely by the British Library.

Current team members are Mahendra MaheyFilipe Bento and Maja Maricevic.

External Advisory Board members for 2020 were Professor David De RoureProfessor Tim HitchcockGeorge OatesProfessor Andrew PrescottJosie FraserBill Thompson and Professor Melissa Terras.

Questions? Please email us at or follow us on twitter @BL_Labs



Digital scholarship

Undertake innovative research with our digital collections and data