Event Information:

  • Mon

    Experimenting with the British Library’s Digital Content and Data for your research

    13:00 - 17:00Green Lane Conference Centre, Lancaster House Hotel, Lancaster University

    A workshop organised by British Library Labs and the ERC funded, ‘Spatial Humanities: Texts, GIS & Places’ at Lancaster University, as part of the British Library Labs Roadshow (2016).

    The workshop will showcase some of the British Library’s digital content and data, addressing some of the challenges and issues of working with it and how interesting and exciting projects from researchers, artists, and entrepreneurs have been developed via the annual British Library Labs Competition and Awards. This will be followed by presentations about research at Lancaster University. Finally, the session will end with an ‘Ideas Lab’ encouraging participants to explore, experiment and think of ideas of what they might do with the British Library’s digital content and data. A panel will give feedback on the ideas and there will be a British Library goody bag for the best one!

    Date and Time:
    Monday 7th March 2016,1300-1700


    Green Lane Conference Centre, Lancaster House Hotel, Lancaster University

    Please refer to the following map detailing how to get to the event.

    BL Labs Roadshow (2016)

    Hundreds of thousands of digital items and objects are being created and collected for researchers to use such as digitised manuscripts, sheet music, newspapers, maps, archived websites, radio, performances, TV news broadcasts, and artworks, as well as the more expected items like scanned versions of books.

    This wonderful cacophony of content is having a significant effect on how institutions like the British Library support the research needs of their users. Will people discover new information when they are no longer restricted to viewing a single page from a single book at a time? How can the BL build systems that provide a coherent route across its content, regardless of whether it is a televised news report or a unique signature drawn in the margins of a map? How can we use crowd-sourced information, computer vision and machine-learning techniques to provide people with better tools to better judge and interpret the context of illustration or work? How can we exploit animations and interactive infographics to better convey the information found in our holdings?

    This is the research space that British Library Labs explores and we want to encourage researchers at Lancaster University to work with us and share their research questions and innovative ideas around this.


    1300  Introduction
    Professor Ian Gregory, Professor of Digital Humanities, Department of History, Lancaster University.

    1305  'Using corpus linguistics to investigate nineteenth-century newspapers: Ireland and the Irish’
    Professor Tony McEnery, Director of the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science, Lancaster University.

    1330  A demonstration of CQPweb and the British Library nineteenth-century newspaper collection.
    Dr Andrew Hardie, Reader in Linguistics, Lancaster University.

    1400  British Library Labs
    Mahendra Mahey, Manager of British Library Labs.
    Ben O'Steen, Technical Lead of British Library Labs.
    Hana Lewis, Project Officer of British Library Labs.
    Dr Bob Nicholson, Edge Hill University.

    The British Library Labs project supports and inspires scholars to use the British Library’s incredible digital collections in exciting and innovative ways for their research, through various activities such as competitions, awards, events and projects.

    Labs will highlight some of the work that they and others are doing around digital content in libraries and also talk about ways to encourage researchers to engage with the British Library. They will present information on the annual BL Labs Competition, which closes this year on 11th April 2016. Through the Competition, Labs encourages researchers to submit their important research question or creative idea which uses the British Library’s digital content and data. Two Competition winners then work in residence at the British Library for five months and then showcase the results of their work at the annual Labs Symposium in November 2016.

    Labs will also discuss the annual BL Labs Awards which recognises outstanding work already completed, that has used the British Library’s digital collections and data. This year, the Awards will commend work in at four key areas: Research, Artistic, Commercial and Teaching / Learning. The deadline for entering the BL Labs Awards this year is 5th September 2016.

    Labs will further present information on various projects such as the ‘Mechanical Curator’ and other interesting experiments using the British Library’s digital content and data.

    1500  Coffee break

    1515  Examination of British Library data and previous Labs ideas
    Labs Team

    Labs will be coming along with terabytes of the British Library’s digital data on the day which the team will give an overview of, highlighting some of the challenges faced when working with “messy” data.

    1530  Ideas Lab
    Labs Team

    Labs will present an outline of the various ideas and suggestions from other researchers that have been made which explore working with the British Library’s digital content and data. The delegates will then have the opportunity to work in small groups and come up with their own ideas. The team and Lancaster staff will be on hand to help and advise.

    1630  Pitching ideas to the panel
    Lancaster University and Labs Team

    Each group will pitch their ideas to the Labs and Lancaster University panel who will give feedback on how they might be implemented - and there’s even the chance to win a goody bag!

    1700  Finish


    Register here: