ArticleAbstract: The British Library’s collection of Hebrew manuscripts is one of the most significant in the world. Funded by The Polonsky Foundation, the Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project has been digitising 1,250 manuscripts since 2013, in line with the Library’s commitment to digitisation and opening up access to its collections. The main aim of this paper is to describe the project’s digitisation experiences and challenges. By building digital scholarship and engagement directly into the workflow of this project it has been possible to create new interactions and opportunities to this unique and significant collection.
Keinan-Schoonbaert, Adi; Lewis, Miriam
ReportAbstract: This report is a deliverable of the Advancing Hyku: Open Source Institutional Repository Platform Development” project, funded by Arcadia—a charitable fund of philanthropists Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. The purpose of this document is to review the architecture and design of the Hyku implementation of British library, with reference to the capabilities of the platform and requirements of the Library. The current implementation of Hyku for the British Library’s (BL) shared research repository project would form the baseline for the Samvera Hyku application towards the target state architecture for the Advancing Hyku project. The strategic goals to be achieved by this project are structural improvements for the Hyku framework and new features for the repository application. This document also outlines the scope of the requirements and the main principles and guidelines that drive the Advancing Hyku architecture and design. The main aspects considered for review of the product are the following: • Merging – features from Hyku community into current BL’s version and vice versa. • Multi-Tenancy – provider-consumer model. • Interoperability – with other systems e.g. DataCite, Crossref, OAI-PMH API communication. • Portability – components should be deployed for Cloud as well as on-premise infrastructure • Stability – High availability • Scalability – performance should not degrade with increasing volume of data • Security – Open access for users of data and role-based secure model for tenant admins
WorkAbstract: The British Library service known as EThOS is effectively a shop window on the amazing doctoral research undertaken in UK universities. With half a million thesis titles listed, you can uncover unique research on every topic imaginable and often download the full thesis file to use immediately for your own research. This webinar will offer a guided walk through the features and content of EThOS, and the research potential for making use of EThOS as a dataset. There was a brief sound issue during the demonstration of EThOS in this webinar, you can find more information about how to search EThOS at: https://ethos.bl.uk/Help.do
WorkAbstract: Creative and cultural organisations require repositories that look good, are attractive to users and support a wide range of non-text research outputs. Join us to learn more about our shared repository for UK cultural heritage organisations.
Basford, Jenny; Glancy, Mark; Gould, Sara
ArticleAbstract: One of the British Library Digital Scholarship team’s core purposes is to deliver training to Library staff. Running since 2012, the main aim of the Digital Scholarship Training Program (DSTP) is to create opportunities for staff to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to support emerging areas of scholarship. Recently, the Library has been experimenting with a new format to deliver its training that would allow flexibility and adaptability through modularity: a “season”. The Digital Scholarship team organized a series of training events billed as a “Season of Place”, which aimed to expose Library staff to the latest digital mapping concepts, methods and technologies, and provide them with the skills to apply cutting-edge research to their collection areas. The authors designed, coordinated and delivered this training season to fulfill broader Library objectives, choosing to mix and match the types of events and methods of delivery to fit the broad range of technologies that constitute digital mapping today. The paper also discusses the impact that these choices of methods and content has had on digital literacy and the uptake of digital mapping by presenting results of an initial evaluation obtained through observation and evaluation surveys.
Keinan-Schoonbaert, Adi; Rees, Gethin
Time Based MediaAbstract: Karl Marx not only used the Reading Room of the British Museum for his research on Capital, but also donated copies of his work to the Museum’s collection, now owned by the British Library. Dr Diana Siclovan (British Library), Izzy Gibbin (UCL) and Dr Pepijn Brandon (International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam) discuss what these unique editions can reveal about Marx’s life and work.
Siclovan, Diana; Gibbin, Izzy; Brandon, Pepijn
ArticleAbstract: This article introduces the British Library’s Flashback project, which is exploring the practical challenges of preserving digital content currently stored on physical media (magnetic and optical disks). It reports on a Flashback proof of concept that conducted experiments on a sample of content from hybrid collection items dating from between 1980 and 2000. It describes some of the activities undertaken by the proof-of-concept stage of the project from July 2015 to February 2016, including the initial collection profiling and sampling of content, the extraction of content from the disks, and the project team’s experiments with identifying and applying preservation approaches to the content, which included both emulation and migration. It concludes with some general observations on the approaches taken by the proof of concept and shares some recent findings from the second phase of the project, which is concerned with the practical challenges of developing an implementation strategy for the Library’s capture and preservation of digital content currently stored on physical media.
Day, Michael; Pennock, Maureen; May, Peter; Davies, Kevin; Whibley, Simon; Kimura, Akiko; Halvarsson, Edith
Conference ItemAbstract: File format assessments have been the subject of much debate in and outside of the preservation community in the past decade. Recognizing the unique structural, operational, and collecting context of the British Library, the Library’s digital preservation team recently initiated new format assessment work to deliver recommendations on which file formats will best enable the preservation of integral, authentic representations of British Library collection content over the long term. This paper describes the work carried out to review previous assessments, identify appropriate sustainability categories and newly assess formats accordingly. We posit that the relatively ‘fuzzy’ nature of a file format requires a relatively open-ended assessment framework and a nuanced understanding of preservation risk that does not solely lie with ‘all-or-nothing’ format obsolescence. We review other work in this area and suggest that whilst previous format assessment work has addressed a range of subtly different aims, experience has since indicated that some of the criteria used - such as considering number of pages in a format specification as a measure of complexity - may be invalid. British Library assessments are made on documented points of principle, for example, an emphasis on evidence-based preservation risks and the avoidance of numerical scores leading to comparisons between formats, and these have formed the base upon which sustainability categories are defined. We present these categories, which help to identify preservation risks or other challenges in the management of digital collections, and provide an overview of initial assessments of three formats: TIFF, JP2, and PDF. We acknowledge however, that implementation of preservation requirements, e.g., the use of particular preservation-justified file formats, must be balanced against other business requirements, such as storage costs and access needs, and argue that transparency of this format assessment process is fundamental if the resulting recommendations are to be fully understood in the future.
Pennock, Maureen; Wheatley, Paul; May, Peter
Book ContributionAbstract: There are copious resources for the study of African history on the internet. They include manuscripts and documentary archives, maps, museum collections, newspapers, printed books, picture collections, and sound and moving images. The websites of European institutions provide a good proportion of this content, reflecting the long, entangled, and troubled histories that connect Europe and Africa, as well as new partnerships with African institutions. This plethora of digital resources enables both specialized researchers and the public to access information about Africa more quickly and easily, and on a larger scale than ever before. Digitization comes with a strong democratic impulse, and the new technology has been instrumental in making libraries, archives, museums, and art galleries much more open. But all is not smooth sailing, and there are two particular aspects of which researchers should be aware. The first is that there are still huge collections, or parts of collections, that have not been digitized, and that resources have been—on the whole—most focused on items with visual appeal. The twin brakes of cost and copyright restrain the process, and researchers need to understand how what they can get online relates to what still exists only in hard copy. The second consideration is that digitized resources can be difficult to find. Information about the riches of the web in this area is very fragmented, and exclusive use of one search engine, however dominant, is clearly not enough. As a counter to this fragmentation, a listing of the major websites for African history in Europe is given in a handy guide for researchers, which covers these resources by format and by region of Africa. The listing also provides websites in two particular areas of interest to historians and to the public: the transatlantic slave trade, and the liberation struggles in southern Africa.
museums, digitisation, digital libraries, digital photographs, British Library, Gallica, digitised archives, libraries, Europeana, African history, Endangered Archives Programme, catalogues, and archives