Innovation with reducing budgets British Library


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SLIC IDF event 2 November 2011

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  • This is a Victorian Library in your pocket. All the material sits in the cloud. It is ‘in facsimile’ – that is it has the look and the feel of the real book. 250,000 downloads in the past months. On launch it was the no.1 book app both here and in the US for the first week. This is being accessed all over the world: 50% in the USA; 40% Europe. We are intrigued by the nine downloads in Malawi Will appear on other platforms from next year. This has been cost neutral to us – we have got third parties to work on this in exchange for a royalty share.
  • We’ve been involved in digitisation at the library for well over 10 years. Until 5-6 years ago it was in the main digitisation of individual or small numbers of items. Turning the Pages – anyone can go onto the BL website and see this.
  • e.g. Research council funding Another characteristic is that this is high spec – it is the book as ‘object’.
  • Things have now moved on – and while boutique digitisation is not dead, we are currently digitising for turning the pages a handful of treasures.
  • The British Library becomes not simply a big read building in the middle of London but a portal to a vase collection of riches that can be accessed on site and, ultimately anywhere . The big question and the one most pertinent to this presentation is how do we balance the imperative to provide access (through digitisation) on the one hand and the huge costs of the other. Digitisation costs vary according to the nature and the condition of the material, but to give you an example – we estimate that for us to digitise historic newspapers might cost up to £1 per page.
  • Microsoft was originally conceived I the context of MS’s ambitions to get into search way back when! It has since morphed into a wonderful opportunity for us to do all sorts of things. It’s a kind of gift from heaven category!
  • Talk about the larger newspaper programme here. The move from Colindale, the fact that material is falling apart, etc.
  • 250,000 titles to be digitised. The date range 1700-1970 – so all out of copyright We choose the material to be digitisted – only proviso on Google’s part is that this should be material that has not been digitsed before For the very first time we have agreed to mass digitisation off site – in a complex operation, all material will be put onto lorries and sent to Google’s digitisation centre in Europe All of the material will be free to view on Google books The BL will be free to take their copy of the content and re-version or curate this as the BL wishes: this is great for us and for our readers and addresses the call in the digital age to make material as free, open and shareable as possible In addition we are pretty much free to form other partnerships using the same digitised content: Europeana is mentioned specifically in the contract. The only proviso is that the material should be put to non-commercial use After 15 years the contract expires The digitisation of the material, transport to the centreis covered by Google: net benefit would be at least £10 million.
  • Innovation with reducing budgets British Library

    1. 1. SLIC Innovation & Development Day 2 nd November 2011 Managing Innovation with Reducing Budgets Steve Morris Director of Finance & Corporate Services The British Library
    2. 2. British Library Historical Collection iPad App.
    3. 3. A wealth of resources
    4. 4. British Library 2020 Vision <ul><li>Guarantee access for future generations </li></ul><ul><li>Enable access to everyone who wants to do research </li></ul><ul><li>Support research communities in key areas for social and economic benefit </li></ul><ul><li>Enrich the cultural life of the nation </li></ul><ul><li>Lead and collaborate in growing the world’s knowledge base </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    5. 5. All that….and make the cuts as well?! <ul><li>Never any Government funding for digitisation </li></ul><ul><li>2010 Comprehensive Spending review meant: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3% in year funding cut in 2010/11 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>15% reduction in operating grant </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>halving of our capital grant </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Represents lowest real terms funding level since BL created in 1972 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>staffing already reduced by over 200 in eighteen months </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>major reductions to acquisition budgets </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>many “discretionary” budgets halved </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional commercial income (Document Supply) in continuing decline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New delivery models the only way to square the circle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>illustrated by evolution of our approach to digitisation </li></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Boutique Digitisation
    7. 7. Characteristics of Boutique Digitisation <ul><li>Self-selecting i.e. obvious treasures </li></ul><ul><li>Drivers: cultural restitution, wider public access </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes private sponsorship, especially for iconic items </li></ul><ul><li>Subsume costs e.g. hosting </li></ul><ul><li>External Funding. e.g. Dept of Ed </li></ul>
    8. 8. Mass Digitisation
    9. 9. Why Get into Mass Digitisation? <ul><li>Digitisation of holdings </li></ul><ul><li>Improving access to holdings online – Public Value Remit </li></ul><ul><li>Access to new funding sources </li></ul><ul><li>Using skills / technologies not inherent in the Library </li></ul><ul><li>Revenue </li></ul><ul><li>Positive outcome: PR benefit. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Mass Library Digitisation Projects – Funding and Sustainability Models <ul><li>Public Sector / Lottery Funding – usually free, open to all, few, if any user restrictions.. </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional secondary publisher models. e.g. Gale, ProQuest, </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Model. e.g. Microsoft and Google </li></ul><ul><li>Hybrid Models – Public / Private Partnerships. </li></ul>
    11. 11. The digitisation of newspapers
    12. 13. Newspaper digitisation – British Library and bright solid partnership <ul><li>May 2010 – partnership to digitise 40 million pages from the national newspaper collection announced by the British Library and bright solid </li></ul><ul><li>10-year partnership to make millions of historic newspaper pages available online for the first time </li></ul><ul><li>First-hand reporting on great historical events (The Great Exhibition, Crimean War, sinking of The Titanic , etc) and a wealth of detail on every aspect of local and national life </li></ul><ul><li>A mix of out-of-copyright (pre-1900) and in-copyright material, subject to consent from relevant rightsholders </li></ul><ul><li>Digitised pages to be available paid-for via the web or free on-site at the British Library; a creative solution for Higher Education will be found </li></ul><ul><li>On expiry of the contract the material will likely be free to the nation </li></ul><ul><li>First tranche of material to become available online in 2011 </li></ul>
    13. 14. Microsoft – British Library 100,000 19 th Century Books
    14. 16. Key Features of the Google deal <ul><li>250,000 titles to be digitised </li></ul><ul><li>Date range 1700-1870 </li></ul><ul><li>BL chooses (as long as not duplicating) </li></ul><ul><li>Off site & overseas </li></ul><ul><li>Free to view on Google books </li></ul><ul><li>BL free to re-version & reuse as it wishes </li></ul><ul><li>- non-commercial use </li></ul><ul><li>-eg Europeana </li></ul>
    15. 17. Summary <ul><li>nothing unique about the BL I’m sure </li></ul><ul><li>innovative business models not the only way </li></ul><ul><li>traditional efficiency and continuous improvement a crucial under-pinning </li></ul><ul><li>but new approaches crucial to allow us to be credible in working towards our medium term vision and goals </li></ul><ul><li>several new partnerships under discussion </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>some (not all) will bear fruit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>only when you look back that you realise how far you’ve come! </li></ul></ul>