British Library Labs

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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About

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 data.bl.uk 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 Symposium 

Each year, the British Library Labs Awards Symposium recognises exceptional projects that have used the Library’s digital collections and data. In response to the Climate Emergency and issues raised by the COP26, the 9th British Library Labs Symposium is devoted to looking at computational research and climate change.  

The British Library Labs is the British Library programme dedicated to enabling people to experiment with our digital collections, including deploying computational research methods and using our collections as data. This inevitably means that we, and the communities we work with, are increasingly applying computational tools and methods that have environmental impact on our planet.

For this year’s BL Labs Symposium, we are bringing a group of speakers that will consider these issues from different angles - from large-scale digitisation, to digital humanities, climate and biodiversity research, as well as the impact of AI. We will look into how our digital strategies and projects can help us fight climate change and be more inclusive, but also how we can improve our sustainability and reduce our impact on the planet.

As well as the views from our panel, there will be an opportunity for an extended audience input, helping us to bring forward the views from the broader Labs community and learn together how our practice can be improved.

The 9th BL Labs Symposium takes place on Zoom on Tuesday 7th December from 16.30 until 18.00. Book your place now.

Events

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 Filipe 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 labs@bl.uk or follow us on twitter @BL_Labs





 

Subjects

Digital scholarship

Undertake innovative research with our digital collections and data