British Library

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British Library
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{{Use dmy dates|date=September 2019}}{{short description|National library of the United Kingdom}}{{coord|51|31|46|N|0|07|37|W|region:GB_type:landmark|display=title}}{{Use British English|date=April 2014}}{{good article}}

HTTPS://ASSETS.PUBLISHING.SERVICE.GOV.UK/GOVERNMENT/UPLOADS/SYSTEM/UPLOADS/ATTACHMENT_DATA/FILE/816517/BRITISH_LIBRARY_ANNUAL_REPORT_AND_ACCOUNTS_201819.PDFWEBSITE=BL.UK WEBSITE=BL.UKWEBSITE=BL.UK, 11 June 2018, items13,950,000 booksBOOK, British Library thirty-seventh annual report and accounts 2009/10, 26 July 2010, 978-0-10-296664-0, 824,101 serial titles351,116 manuscripts (single and volumes)8,266,276 philatelic items4,347,505 cartographic items1,607,885 music scores6,000,000 sound recordings| legal_deposit = Yes, provided in law by:
  • Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 (United Kingdom)
  • Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 (Republic of Ireland)| req_to_access = Open to anyone with a need to use the collections and services| budget = £142 million| director = Roly Keating (chief executive, since 12 September 2012)| website =
}}(File:British Library Highlights.webm|thumb|British Library highlights film, 2014.)The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom"Using the British Library". British Library. Retrieved on 17 April 2014. and the largest national library in the world by number of items catalogued. It is estimated to contain 170–200 million+WEB,weblink Facts and figures, Wight, Colin,, 3 September 2017, WEB,weblink BL Accounts 2019,, 22 July 2019, WEB,weblink BL Exhibition Notes,, 11 June 2018, WEB,weblink How Big is the UK Web Archive?,, 11 June 2018, items from many countries. As a legal deposit library, the British Library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK. The Library is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.The British Library is a major research library, with items in many languagesWEB,weblink Using the British Library, British Library, 11 September 2014, and in many formats, both print and digital: books, manuscripts, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, videos, play-scripts, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings. The Library's collections include around 14 million books,WEB,weblink The British Library; Explore the world's knowledge, British Library, 12 April 2010, along with substantial holdings of manuscripts and historical items dating back as far as 2000 BC. In addition to receiving a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland (approximately 8,000 per day), the Library has a programme for content acquisitions. The Library adds some three million items every year occupying {{convert|9.6|km|mi}} of new shelf space.The British Library Annual Report and Accounts 2010/11, p.31 There is space in the library for over 1,200 readers.WEB,weblink Facts and figures, Wight, Colin,, en, 2018-04-01, Prior to 1973, the Library was part of the British Museum. The British Library Act 1972 detached the library department from the museum, but it continued to host the now separated British Library in the same Reading Room and building as the museum until 1997. The Library is now located in a purpose-built building on the north side of Euston Road in St Pancras, London (between Euston railway station and St Pancras railway station), and has a document storage centre and reading room near Boston Spa, near Wetherby in West Yorkshire. The St Pancras building was officially opened by the Queen of England on 25 June 1998, and is classified as a Grade I listed building "of exceptional interest" for its architecture and history.

Historical background

The British Library was created on 1 July 1973 as a result of the British Library Act 1972.WEB,weblink History of the British Library, British Library, 7 February 2010,weblink 7 February 2010, dead, dmy, Prior to this, the national library was part of the British Museum, which provided the bulk of the holdings of the new library, alongside smaller organisations which were folded in (such as the National Central Library,The National Central Library, a tutorial system and a scholarly library for working people who were not connected to an academic institution, had been founded by Albert Mansbridge. "Mansbridge, Albert." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. the National Lending Library for Science and Technology and the British National Bibliography). In 1974 functions previously exercised by the Office for Scientific and Technical Information were taken over; in 1982 the India Office Library and Records and the HMSO Binderies became British Library responsibilities.Whitaker's Almanack; 1988, p. 409 In 1983, the Library absorbed the National Sound Archive, which holds many sound and video recordings, with over a million discs and thousands of tapes.WEB,weblink 7 February 2010,weblink About the British Library Sound Archive, British Library, 7 February 2010, dead, dmy, The core of the Library's historical collections is based on a series of donations and acquisitions from the 18th century, known as the "foundation collections".BOOK, Wedgeworth, Robert, 1993, World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services, 3, ALA Editions, 978-0-8389-0609-5, 149,weblink These include the books and manuscripts of Sir Robert Cotton, Sir Hans Sloane, Robert Harley and the King's Library of King George III,WEB,weblink Similar Projects – The British Library, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, 7 February 2010,weblink 7 February 2010, dead, dmy, as well as the Old Royal Library donated by King George II.File:British Library.jpg|thumb|left|The British Library at Boston Spa (on Thorp Arch Trading Estate), West YorkshireWest YorkshireFor many years its collections were dispersed in various buildings around central London, in places such as Bloomsbury (within the British Museum), Chancery Lane, Bayswater, and Holborn, with an interlibrary lending centre at Boston Spa, {{convert|2.5|mi}} east of Wetherby in West Yorkshire (situated on Thorp Arch Trading Estate), and the newspaper library at Colindale, north-west London.Initial plans for the British Library required demolition of an integral part of Bloomsbury – a seven-acre swathe of streets immediately in front of the Museum, so that the Library could be situated directly opposite. After a long and hard-fought campaign led by Dr George Wagner, this decision was overturned and the library was instead constructed by John Laing plcRitchie, p. 188 on a site at Euston Road next to St Pancras railway station.WEB,weblink What and Where is Bloomsbury Village?, Bloomsbury Association, 28 February 2015, Following the closure of the Round Reading Room on 25 October 1997 the library stock began to be moved into the St Pancras building. Before the end of that year the first of eleven new reading rooms had opened and the moving of stock was continuing.Ovenden, Richard (1997) "The big move", in: Rare Books Newsletter; 57: winter 1997, pp. 49-53 From 1997 to 2009 the main collection was housed in this single new building and the collection of British and overseas newspapers was housed at Colindale. In July 2008 the Library announced that it would be moving low-use items to a new storage facility in Boston Spa in Yorkshire and that it planned to close the newspaper library at Colindale, ahead of a later move to a similar facility on the same site.WEB, British Library Announces Collection Moves Strategy,weblink British Library, 16 July 2013, From January 2009 to April 2012 over 200 km of material was moved to the Additional Storage Building and is now delivered to British Library Reading Rooms in London on request by a daily shuttle service.WEB, 200km of books successfully moved to high-tech home,weblink British Library, 16 July 2013, Construction work on the Newspaper Storage Building was completed in 2013 and the newspaper library at Colindale closed on 8 November 2013. The collection has now been split between the St Pancras and Boston Spa sites.WEB, Newspaper Moves,weblink British Library, 16 July 2013, The British Library Document Supply Service (BLDSS) and the Library's Document Supply Collection is based on the same site in Boston Spa. Collections housed in Yorkshire, comprising low-use material and the newspaper and Document Supply collections, make up around 70% of the total material the library holds.NEWS, British Library builds fire-proof home for 750m newspapers,weblink BBC, 16 July 2013, 13 December 2012, The Library previously had a book storage depot in Woolwich, south-east London, which is no longer in use.The new library was designed specially for the purpose by the architect Colin St John Wilson in collaboration with his wife MJ Long, who came up with the plan that was subsequently developed and built.NEWS, MJ Long obituary, Peter Carolin,weblink Guardian, 16 October 2018, 18 September 2018, Facing Euston Road is a large piazza that includes pieces of public art, such as large sculptures by Eduardo Paolozzi (a bronze statue based on William Blake's study of Isaac Newton) and Antony Gormley. It is the largest public building constructed in the United Kingdom in the 20th century.WEB,weblink British Library – About Us, British Library, 7 February 2010,weblink 7 February 2010, dead, dmy, BOOK, Walkowitz, Daniel J., 2009, Contested Histories in Public Space: Memory, Race, and Nation, Knauer, Lisa Maya, Duke University Press, 978-0-8223-4236-6, 103, File:British Library + St Pancras 7527-31hug.jpg|thumb|The British Library with St Pancras railway stationSt Pancras railway stationIn the middle of the building is a six-storey glass tower inspired by a similar structure in the Beinecke Library, containing the King's Library with 65,000 printed volumes along with other pamphlets, manuscripts and maps collected by King George III between 1763 and 1820.JOURNAL, Nichols, Thomas, 1870, A handy-book of the British Museum: for every-day readers, Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, 396,weblink In December 2009 a new storage building at Boston Spa was opened by Rosie Winterton. The new facility, costing £26 million, has a capacity for seven million items, stored in more than 140,000 bar-coded containers and which are retrieved by robotsNEWS,weblink Robots used at £26m British Library store, 3 December 2009, BBC, 7 February 2010,weblink 7 February 2010, dead, dmy, from the 162.7 miles of temperature and humidity-controlled storage space.WEB,weblink Minister opens British Library's new £26 million storage facility in Yorkshire – the most advanced in the world., 3 December 2009, British Library, 7 February 2010, 7 February 2010,weblink dead, dmy, On Friday, 5 April 2013, the Library announced that it would begin saving all sites with the suffix .uk (every British website, e-book, online newsletter, and blog) in a bid to preserve the nation's "digital memory" (which as of then amounted to about 4.8 million sites containing 1 billion web pages). The Library would make all the material publicly available to users by the end of 2013, and would ensure that, through technological advancements, all the material is preserved for future generations, despite the fluidity of the Internet.WEB,weblink British Library to preserve nation's entire Internet history,, 4 September 2013, The building was Grade I listed on 1 August 2015.

Legal deposit

(File:BritishLibraryInterior02.jpg|thumb|right|Interior of the British Library, with the smoked glass wall of the King's Library in the background.)In England, legal deposit can be traced back to at least 1610.Robert C. Barrington Partridge "The history of the legal deposit of books throughout the British Empire", London: Library Association, 1938 The Copyright Act 1911 established the principle of the legal deposit, ensuring that the British Library and five other libraries in Great Britain and Ireland are entitled to receive a free copy of every item published or distributed in Britain. The other five libraries are: the Bodleian Library at Oxford; the University Library at Cambridge; the Trinity College Library at Dublin; and the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales. The British Library is the only one that must automatically receive a copy of every item published in Britain; the others are entitled to these items, but must specifically request them from the publisher after learning that they have been or are about to be published, a task done centrally by the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries.Further, under the terms of Irish copyright law (most recently the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000), the British Library is entitled to automatically receive a free copy of every book published in Ireland, alongside the National Library of Ireland, the Trinity College Library at Dublin, the library of the University of Limerick, the library of Dublin City University and the libraries of the four constituent universities of the National University of Ireland. The Bodleian Library, Cambridge University Library, and the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales are also entitled to copies of material published in Ireland, but again must formally make requests.In 2003 the Ipswich MP Chris Mole introduced a Private Member's Bill which became the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003. The Act extends United Kingdom legal deposit requirements to electronic documents, such as CD-ROMs and selected websites.WEB,weblink Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003, Office of Public Sector Information, 7 February 2010, 7 February 2010,weblink dead, dmy, The Library also holds the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections (APAC) which include the India Office Records and materials in the languages of Asia and of north and north-east Africa.WEB,weblink Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections, British Library, 8 February 2010,

Using the library's reading rooms

(File:Mechanical book handling system, British Library.jpg|thumb|The mechanical book handling system (MBHSWEB,weblink Glossary of Map terms, British Library, 30 November 2003, 28 January 2011, ) used to deliver requested books from stores to reading rooms.)File:Sitting on History (1995) by Bill Woodrow, British Library, London, UK - 20061031.jpg|thumb|Bronze sculpture. Bill Woodrow's 'Sitting on History' was purchased for the British Library by Carl Djerassi and Diane Middlebrook in 1997.Sitting on History, with its ball and chain, refers to the book as the captor of information which we cannot escapeThe bust visible top left is Colin St. John WilsonColin St. John WilsonThe Library is open to everyone who has a genuine need to use its collections. Anyone with a permanent address who wishes to carry out research can apply for a Reader Pass; they are required to provide proof of signature and address.WEB,weblink How to register for a Reader Pass, British Library, 8 February 2010, Historically, only those wishing to use specialised material unavailable in other public or academic libraries would be given a Reader Pass. The Library has been criticised for admitting numbers of undergraduate students, who have access to their own university libraries, to the reading rooms. The Library replied that it has always admitted undergraduates as long as they have a legitimate personal, work-related or academic research purpose.WEB,weblink British Library like a branch of Starbooks say the literati, Brierley, Danny, 21 April 2008, Evening Standard, 8 February 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 5 June 2011, The majority of catalogue entries can be found on Explore the British Library, the Library's main catalogue, which is based on Primo.JOURNAL,weblink 8 December 2011, Exlibris Group, Primo, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 June 2015, dmy-all, Other collections have their own catalogues, such as western manuscripts. The large reading rooms offer hundreds of seats which are often filled with researchers, especially during the Easter and summer holidays.British Library Reader Pass holders are also able to view the Document Supply Collection in the Reading Room at the Library's site in Boston Spa in Yorkshire as well as the hard copy newspaper collection from 29 September 2014. Now that access is available to legal deposit collection material, it is necessary for visitors to register as a Reader to use the Boston Spa Reading Room.WEB,weblink Major changes for Readers using the Boston Spa Reading Room, 25 September 2014,

Online, electronic and digital resources

Material available online

The British Library makes a number of images of items within its collections available online. Its Online Gallery gives access to 30,000 images from various medieval books, together with a handful of exhibition-style items in a proprietary format, such as the Lindisfarne Gospels. This includes the facility to "turn the virtual pages" of a few documents, such as Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks.WEB,weblink Explore the British Library, British Library, 25 February 2010, Catalogue entries for many of the illuminated manuscript collections are available online, with selected images of pages or miniatures from a growing number of them,WEB,weblink Catalogue of Illuminated manuscripts,, 27 February 2013, and there is a database of significant bookbindings.WEB,weblink Database of bookbindings,, 27 February 2013, British Library Sounds provides free online access to over 60,000 sound recordings.The British Library's commercial secure electronic delivery service was started in 2003 at a cost of £6 million. This offers more than 100 million items (including 280,000 journal titles, 50 million patents, 5 million reports, 476,000 US dissertations and 433,000 conference proceedings) for researchers and library patrons worldwide which were previously unavailable outside the Library because of copyright restrictions. In line with a government directive that the British Library must cover a percentage of its operating costs, a fee is charged to the user. However, this service is no longer profitable and has led to a series of restructures to try to prevent further losses.NEWS,weblinkdate=31 January 2007, Socialist Worker, 12 April 2010, When Google Books started, the British Library signed an agreement with Microsoft to digitise a number of books from the British Library for its Live Search Books project.NEWS,weblink Microsoft teams up with British Library to digitise books, The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 April 2010, 4 November 2005, Tran, Mark, London, This material was only available to readers in the US, and closed in May 2008.NEWS, Miguel, Helft, Microsoft Will Shut Down Book Search Program,weblink New York Times, 24 May 2008, 26 February 2010, The scanned books are currently available via the British Library catalogue or Amazon.NEWS,weblink Amazon seals British Library deal for free Kindle classics, In October 2010 the British Library launched its Management and business studies portal. This website is designed to allow digital access to management research reports, consulting reports, working papers and articles.WEB,weblink Management and business studies portal: About this site, British Library, 3 March 2011, In November 2011, four million newspaper pages from the 18th and 19th centuries were made available online. The project will scan up to 40 million pages over the next 10 years. The archive is free to search, but there is a charge for accessing the pages themselves.NEWS,weblink British Library scans 18th and 19th-Century newspapers, 29 November 2011, BBC News,

Electronic collections

Explore the British Library is the latest{{when|date=November 2017}} iteration of the online catalogue. It contains nearly 57 million records and may be used to search, view and order items from the collections or search the contents of the Library's website. The Library's electronic collections include over 40,000 ejournals, 800 databases and other electronic resources.WEB,weblink Electronic collections, British Library, 25 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-01,, 30 November 2003, 27 February 2013, A number of these are available for remote access to registered St Pancras Reader Pass holders.PhD theses are available via the E-Theses Online Service (EThOS).WEB,weblink, EThOS: E-theses Online Service,

Digital Library System

In 2012, the UK legal deposit libraries signed a memorandum of understanding to create a shared technical infrastructure implementing the Digital Library System developed by the British Library.WEB,weblink Undertaking to the joint Committee on Legal Deposit, on the security of non-print publications, The British Library Board, 21 June 2013, 1 May 2016, The DLS was in anticipation of the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013, an extension of the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 to include non-print electronic publications from 6 April 2013.WEB,weblink Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013, Crown, 2013, 1 May 2016, Four storage nodes, located in London, Boston Spa, Aberystwyth, and Edinburgh, linked via a secure network in constant communication automatically replicate, self-check, and repair data.WEB,weblink Security for electronic publications, The British Library Board, 2013, 1 May 2016, A complete crawl of every .uk domain (and other TLDs with UK based server GeoIP) has been added annually to the DLS since 2013, which also contains all of the Internet Archive's 1996-2013 .uk collection. The policy and system is based on that of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, which has crawled (via IA until 2010) the .fr domain annually (62 TBs in 2015) since 2006.


File:Newton by Eduardo Paolozzi 2003-03-10.jpg|thumb|left|Bronze sculpture. Inscription reads: 'NEWTON' after William Blake by Eduardo Paolozzi 1995. Grant aided by The Foundation for Sport & the Arts. Funded by subscriptions from the football pools, Vernons, Littlewoods, ZettersZettersA number of books and manuscripts are on display to the public in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery which is open seven days a week at no charge. Some manuscripts in the exhibition include Beowulf, the Lindisfarne Gospels and St Cuthbert Gospel, a Gutenberg Bible, Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur (King Arthur), Captain Cook's journal, Jane Austen's History of England, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures Under Ground, Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, Charles Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby, Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway and a room devoted solely to Magna Carta, as well as several Qur'ans and Asian items.WEB,weblink Sir John Ritblat Gallery: Treasures of the British Library, British Library, 8 February 2010, In addition to the permanent exhibition, there are frequent thematic exhibitions which have covered maps,Magnificent Maps on British Library website sacred texts,Sacred on British Library website history of the English language,WEB,weblink Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices, British Library, 6 February 2011, and law, including a celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.WEB,weblink Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, The British Library,

Services and departments

Business and IP Centre

In May 2005, the British Library received a grant of £1 million from the London Development Agency to change two of its reading rooms into the Business & IP Centre. The Centre was opened in March 2006.NEWS, Chadwick, Gareth, The British Library: An excellent business support centre, 5 June 2007, The Independent,weblink The pilot was such a success that in May 2005 the London Development Agency, the Mayor of London's agency for business and jobs, announced a £1m funding package to turn the project into a permanent resource. The centre's facilities were enlarged and upgraded to include state-of-the-art meeting rooms, a networking area and wireless internet access. A team of information experts is on hand to help people find the information they need. The new centre re-launched in March 2006. In the 14 months since, it has welcomed more than 25,000 people through its doors., It holds arguably the most comprehensive collection of business and intellectual property (IP) material in the United Kingdom and is the official library of the UK Intellectual Property Office.The collection is divided up into four main information areas: market research, company information, trade directories, and journals. It is free of charge in hard copy and online via approximately 30 subscription databases. Registered readers can access the collection and the databases.WEB,weblink What's on offer at the British Library Business & IP Centre?, Startups, 28 January 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 September 2011, There are over 50 million patent specifications from 40 countries in a collection dating back to 1855. The collection also includes official gazettes on patents, trade marks and Registered Design; law reports and other material on litigation; and information on copyright. This is available in hard copy and via online databases.WEB,weblink British Library Business & IP Centre in London | Frequently asked questions, British Library, 30 November 2003, 28 January 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 February 2011, dmy-all, Staff are trained to guide small and medium enterprises (SME) and entrepreneurs to use the full range of resources.In 2018, a Human Lending Library service was established in the Business & IP Centre, allowing social entrepreneurs to receive an hour's mentoring from a high-profile business professional.WEB,weblink Human Lending Library Opens at the British Library / The Rooftop,weblink 18 September 2019, This service is run in partnership with Expert Impact.Stephen Fear was the British Library's Entrepreneur in Residence and Ambassador from 2012 to 2016.WEB,weblink Fear Group / About Stephen Fear,, 24 January 2017,

Document Supply Service

As part of its establishment in 1973, the British Library absorbed the National Lending Library for Science and Technology (NLL), based near Boston Spa in Yorkshire, which had been established in 1961. Before this, the site had housed a World War II Royal Ordnance Factory, ROF Thorp Arch, which closed in 1957. When the NLL became part of the British Library in 1973 it changed its name to the British Library Lending Division, in 1985 it was renamed as the British Library Document Supply Centre and is now known as the British Library Document Supply Service, often abbreviated as BLDSS.WEB,weblink British Library document supply history, British Library, 17 July 2013, BLDSS now holds 87.5 million items, including 296,000 international journal titles, 400,000 conference proceedings, 3 million monographs, 5 million official publications, and 500,000 UK and North American theses and dissertations. 12.5 million articles in the Document Supply Collection are held electronically and can be downloaded immediately.Richard Ebdon, 'The World's One-Stop-Shop for Information Needs', Pipeline: The Journal of the Pharmaceutical Information & Pharmocovigilance Association, 40 (March 2013), pp.12–13The collection supports research and development in UK, overseas and international industry, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. BLDSS also provides material to Higher Education institutions, students and staff and members of the public, who can order items through their Public Library or through the Library's BL Document Supply Service (BLDSS).WEB,weblink Document Supply Information for Publishers, British Library, 17 July 2013, The Document Supply Service also offers Find it For Me and Get it For Me services which assist researchers in accessing hard-to-find material.In April 2013, BLDSS launched its new online ordering and tracking system, which enables customers to search available items, view detailed availability, pricing and delivery time information, place and track orders, and manage account preferences online.WEB,weblink Document Supply News & Customer Updates, British Library, 17 July 2013,

Sound archive

(File:BL Sound Archive tapes-2.jpg|thumb|Tape players used in the British Library Sound Archives, 2009 photo)The British Library Sound Archive holds more than a million discs and 185,000 tapes.NEWS, UK music archive in decay warning, 25 September 2006, BBC News,weblink The collections come from all over the world and cover the entire range of recorded sound from music, drama and literature to oral history and wildlife sounds, stretching back over more than 100 years. The Sound Archive's online catalogue is updated daily.It is possible to listen to recordings from the collection in selected Reading Rooms in the Library through their SoundServerWEB,weblink British Library Sound Archive staff exchange program, National Film and Sound Archive, Australia, 30 July 2010, 28 January 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 7 March 2011, dmy-all, and Listening and Viewing Service, which is based in the Rare Books & Music Reading Room.WEB,weblink British Library Acquires Major Sound Collection of Welsh Dialects, Culture24, 22 July 2008, 28 January 2011, In 2006 the Library launched a new online resource British Library Sounds which makes 50,000 of the Sound Archive's recordings available online.WEB,weblink British Library archival sound recordings project, JISC, 27 July 2010, 28 January 2011, WEB, About British Library Sounds,weblink British Library, 12 April 2017,

Moving image services

Launched in October 2012, the British Library's moving image services provide access to nearly a million sound and moving image items onsite, supported by data for over 20 million sound and moving image recordings.WEB,weblink New moving image service at the British Library, British Library, Moving Image Blog, 1 October 2012, 5 September 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 March 2013, dmy-all, The three services, which for copyright reasons can only be accessed from terminals within the Reading Rooms at St Pancras or Boston Spa, are:
  • BBC Pilot/Redux: A collaboration with BBC Research & Development to mirror its archive which has, since June 2007, been recording 24/7 of all of the BBC's national and some regional broadcast output. BBC Pilot includes 2.2 million catalogue records and 225,000 playable programmes, but unlike BBC Redux it does not include any broadcasts beyond 2011.
  • Broadcast News: Since May 2010, the British Library has been making off-air recordings of daily TV and radio news broadcasts from seventeen channels, including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky News, Al-Jazeera English, NHK World, CNN, France 24, Bloomberg, Russia Today and China's CCTV News. Many of the programs come with subtitles, which can be electronically searched, greatly enhancing the value of the collection as a research tool.
  • Television & Radio Index for Learning & Teaching (TRILT): Produced by the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC), TRILT is a database of all UK television and radio broadcasts since 2001 (and selectively back to 1995). Its 16 million records, growing by a million per year, cover every channel, broadcast and repeat.

Periodicals and philatelic collections


File:British Library Newspapers.JPG|thumb|Former British Library Newspapers building, ColindaleColindaleThe Library holds an almost complete collection of British and Irish newspapers since 1840. This is partly because of the legal deposit legislation of 1869, which required newspapers to supply a copy of each edition of a newspaper to the library. London editions of national daily and Sunday newspapers are complete back to 1801. In total, the collection consists of 660,000 bound volumes and 370,000 reels of microfilm containing tens of millions of newspapers with 52,000 titles on 45 km of shelves. From earlier dates, the collections include the Thomason Tracts, comprising 7,200 17th-century newspapers,NEWS,weblink Secret gold chest in treasure ship, Mail Online, 26 May 2007, 28 January 2011, London, and the Burney Collection, featuring nearly 1 million pages of newspapers from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.WEB,weblink The Burney Collection of 17th and 18th Century Newspapers,, 28 January 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 3 September 2010, dead, dmy-all, The section also holds extensive collections of non-British newspapers, in numerous languages.The Newspapers section was based in Colindale in North London until 2013, when the buildings, which were considered to provide inadequate storage conditions and to be beyond improvement, were closed and sold for redevelopment.NEWS,weblink Farewell to history?, Alan, Cleaver, Independent, 19 January 2011, 28 January 2011, London, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 25 January 2011, WEB, Newspaper Collection – Frequently Asked Questions for Readers, British Library,weblink 21 April 2014, The physical holdings are now divided between the sites at St Pancras (some high-use periodicals, and rare items such as the Thomason Tracts and Burney collections) and Boston Spa (the bulk of the collections, stored in a new purpose-built facility).A significant and growing proportion of the collection is now made available to readers as surrogate facsimiles, either on microfilm, or, more recently, in digitised form. In 2010 a ten-year programme of digitisation of the newspaper archives with commercial partner DC Thomson subsidiary Brightsolid began,WEB,weblink British Library digitises 40m newspaper pages to enable paid-for web access, Document Management News, 19 May 2010, 28 January 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 21 January 2012, WEB,weblink British Library and Brightsolid partnership to digitise up to 40 million pages of historic newspapers, Brightsolid, 28 January 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 January 2011, and the British Newspaper Archive was launched in November 2011.NEWS, British Newspaper Archive launched online, 29 November 2011,weblink 5 December 2011, BBC News, A dedicated newspaper reading room opened at St Pancras in April 2014, including facilities for consulting microfilmed and digital materials, and, where no surrogate exists, hard-copy material retrieved from Boston Spa.NEWS,weblink British Library's newspaper archive receives £33m makeover, York Press, 29 April 2014, 20 June 2014,

Philatelic collections

(File:Philatelic collections 1110902 1110905.jpg|thumb|right|Philatelic collections)File:British Library Gate Shadow.jpg|thumb|The entrance gate and its shadow (designed by David KindersleyDavid KindersleyThe British Library Philatelic Collections are held at St Pancras. The collections were established in 1891 with the donation of the Tapling collection;WEB,weblink The Tapling Collection, British Library, 12 April 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 29 March 2010, dead, dmy-all, they steadily developed and now comprise over 25 major collections and a number of smaller ones, encompassing a wide range of disciplines. The collections include postage and revenue stamps, postal stationery, essays, proofs, covers and entries, "cinderella stamp" material, specimen issues, airmails, some postal history materials, official and private posts, etc., for almost all countries and periods.BOOK, David Beech, Paul Skinner, Bobby Birchall, Catherine Britton,weblink Treasures in Focus – Stamps, British Library, 16 January 2011, 978-0-7123-0953-0, An extensive display of material from the collections is on exhibit, which may be the best permanent display of diverse classic stamps and philatelic material in the world. Approximately 80,000 items on 6,000 sheets may be viewed in 1,000 display frames; 2,400 sheets are from the Tapling Collection. All other material, which covers the whole world, is available to students and researchers. As well as these collections, the library actively acquires literature on the subject. This makes the British Library one of the world's prime philatelic research centres. The Head Curator of the Philatelic Collections is Paul Skinner.

Other projects

The British Library sponsors or co-sponsors many projects of national and international significance. These include:

Highlights of the collections

Highlights, some of which were selected by the British Library, include:WEB,weblink Highlights tour, British Library, 30 November 2003, 6 February 2011,

Collections of manuscripts

Foundation collections

The three foundation collections are those which were brought together to form the initial manuscript holdings of the British Museum in 1753:BOOK, M.A.E., Nickson, The British Library: Guide to the catalogues and indexes of the Department of Manuscripts, 3rd, British Library, London, 1998, 0712306609, 4,

Other named collections

Other "named" collections of manuscripts include (but are not limited to) the following: Other collections, not necessarily manuscripts:

Additional manuscripts

The Additional Manuscripts series covers manuscripts that are not part of the named collections, and contains all other manuscripts donated, purchased or bequeathed to the Library since 1756. The numbering begins at 4101, as the series was initially regarded as a continuation of the collection of Sloane manuscripts, which are numbered 1 to 4100.WEB, Manuscripts: Ongoing collections,weblink British Library,

Chief Executives and other employees

{{see also|:Category:Employees of the British Library}}British library employees undertake a wide variety of roles including curatorial, business and technology. Curatorial roles include or have included librarians, curators, digital preservationists, archivists and keepers."Experts at the BL"Chief Executives Chief Librarians

See also



Further reading

  • Alan Day: Inside the British Library. Library Association, London 1998, {{ISBN|1-85604-280-4}}
  • Phil Harris: A History of the British Museum Library, 1753-1973, British Library, London, 1998, {{ISBN|0-71234-562-0}}.
  • Philip Howard: The British Library, a treasure of knowledge. Scala, London 2008, {{ISBN|978-1-85759-375-4}}
  • BOOK, Mandelbrote, Giles, 2009, Libraries Within the Library: The Origins of the British Library's Printed Collections, Taylor, Barry, British Library, 978-0-7123-5035-8,
  • Colin St John Wilson: The design and construction of the British Library. British Library, London 1998, {{ISBN|0-7123-0658-7}}
  • Robert Proctor A Critical Edition of the Private Diaries of Robert Proctor: the life of a librarian at the British Museum; edited by J. H. Bowman. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2010 {{ISBN|0-7734-3634-0}}
  • Michael Leapman: The Book of the British Library. The British Library, London 2012, {{ISBN|9780712358378}}
  • BOOK, Berry, Ritchie, The Good Builder: The John Laing Story, James & James, 1997,

External links

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