British Library Labs


British Library Labs is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project which 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.

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British Library Labs (BL Labs) promotes, inspires, and supports the use of the Library’s digital collections and data in exciting and innovative ways. Since its formation in 2013, we have been working on project ideas with academic researchers, developers, educators, entrepreneurs and artists from around the world (see our digital scholarship case studies).

The BL Labs project is helping to shape the provision of the Library’s digital services and tools, digital collections and data, ensuring that the Library’s wealth of intellectual digital heritage is accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment.

BL Labs organises events around the UK, including an annual symposium and a series of awards which recognise outstanding work using the Library’s digital content.

The project is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the British Library and you can learn more about our history and background here.

To contact us, please email us at or follow us on twitter @BL_Labs

Annual awards

The annual British Library Labs Awards recognise outstanding work by researchers, artists, entrepreneurs and educators who have used the Library’s digital collections and data in four categories: Research, Artistic, Commercial and Teaching/Learning. In each category, the winner is awarded £500 and the runner-up, £100.

If you think a project you have been working on might be eligible for an award, read more about our Awards and then submit your online application by the deadline of midnight BST on Thursday 11 October 2018.

The winners and runners-up (including those from our Staff Awards) will be announced and presented with their prizes at the sixth annual BL Labs symposium on Monday 12 November 2018.


To promote engagement with the Library’s digital collections and data, BL Labs hosts a series of events and workshops around the UK culminating in our annual international symposium which showcases exciting uses of our content from the year and where we announce our BL Labs Award winners and runners-up.

For more information about our current events, please refer to the list below:

Details of previous events are archived here, with a selection of slides available on SlideShare and videos on YouTube.

Digital Research Support

BL Labs has established a new digital research support service offering up to 5 days’ support for applicants wishing to develop a project idea using British Library digital collections and data. Labs will help you understand the relevant digital collection(s) and data sets, provide technical, curatorial and legal advice about your project, and help you with scope, costs, time-frames, risks and any other relevant issues.

Applications are reviewed at the beginning of each month.

Before submitting a proposal, please explore the digital collections and data you are interested in and contact us at for some initial guidance. For inspiration, you can also see previous project ideas, completed projects and code on GitHub.

Once you're ready to go, send in your application using this form.


Digital scholarship

Undertake innovative research with our digital collections and data