Set up in 2010 the team was formed as a way of dedicating focus on the changing research landscape in the digital realm. Now embedded in collection areas, and as you’ll see later, joining the library explicitly as part of major digitisation projects.
Getting content in digital form and online Collaborations, Competitions & Awards Digital research support and guidance
The Library digitised 68,000 predominantly 19th century books from our collections a few years ago (around 2.7 % of the physical total in that period). You can view them from our catalogue or read them on your <click>IPad via the Historical Books app developed by BiblioLabs. There are 22 million individual page images, along with full text scans of these images, all of which contain untold quantity of useful data such as names of people, places, historical events, dates. with no restrictions on use by Microsoft
So the question became then, what next? What can 68,000 books tell us?
As the books were scanned for text, this had a fortunate ‘side effect’ the software not only tries to detect the text on the page but also where the images might be. There had already been some interest in the images from the community of researchers. It seemed easy to extract them.
s part of the Labs competition, Matt Prior attended one of our hack events and when examining our book data and was very interested in the images from the books. Meanwhile the algorithm that Ben had written to snip the images from the OCR scans was still churning away, how many were there going to be? The Mechanical Curator could publish them every hour, but was there somewhere we could put them all for people to browse when they wanted. Importantly if we did put them somewhere, could we get people to help us add descriptions to the individual images making them infinitely more discoverable.]
With an algorithm by Ben O’Steen we snipped out images from digitised books and put them on to Flickr on December 13 2013, there were over a million, but the problem we had was that we knew which books they came from (author/dates), but we didn’t’ have any information about the images. By releasing them onto flickr, we have got people to start tagging them and using them in very creative ways.
Hosting them internally was not an option and there was not sufficient metadata to put them on Wikipedia. Flickr seemed the obvious option as it is a platform that can support high usage, did not require metadata, allowed tagging and it is free for public domain images.
Aims developed quickly at project start Refined over project, flexible mindset Last point: to achieve this chose (needed) to use DIY app platform…
Talk for RIVAL (Research Impact Value and LIS) event by Stella Wisdom
Playing and Making
RIVAL (Research Impact Value and LIS)
11th July 2018
Stella Wisdom, Digital Curator
Founded in 2010, the Digital
Scholarship Department at British
Library supports researchers and
staff to make innovative use of our
digital collections and data.
We are a group of cross disciplinary
experts in the areas of digitisation,
librarianship, digital history &
humanities, computer and data
science, looking at how technology is
transforming research, and in turn,
Meet the Digital Scholarship Team
• Staff training
• Promoting Digital Scholarship
• Curating digital research data
• Project management
• Engagement with users
• Creating and sharing online
content with other libraries and
• Communication: events, blogging,
• Off the Map Competition
• Playing Beowulf
• Ambient Literature
• Poetic Places
• Rob Sherman’s transmedia residency
• Interactive Fiction Summer School
• Gothic Novel Jam 2018
• International Games Week
• Games & GLAMs
What I’ll talk about today:
The Off the Map Competition
• A new type of collaboration
• Explores how British Library digital collections
can be used in creative ways
• Engagement with new audiences
• Opportunity for students in the UK to
showcase their talents to industry
John Leake, An exact surveigh of the streets lanes and churches contained within the
ruines of the City of London, 1667. Maps Crace port 2.58
2013 winning team:
Pudding Lane Productions from De Montfort University, Leicester
Created an interpretation of 17th Century London
http://youtu.be/SPY-hr-8-M0 (Flythrough starts at 0:50)
2014 winning team: Gothulus Rift, University of South Wales
Created a Fonthill Abbey inspired game called Nix using Oculus Rift
YouTube flythrough: http://youtu.be/8ESieZO4VHw
Project with University College London Institute of Education, funded by the Arts
and Humanities Research Council in the UK. Developed a game-authoring tool
based on the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, for use by schools, universities,
curators and library visitors.
Litcraft uses the Minecraft platform to
explore and better understand literary
landscapes; e.g. Treasure Island
Each map is recreated from the maps
published with each text, hand-crafted
and scaled to provide a fun world, that
permits both exploration and building
“Here’s an admission at the start of a research programme:
We don’t know what Ambient Literature is.
We’ve started to map the territory, to define by identifying borders
and by testing the edges. It’s important to note though, that we
don’t want to reduce the idea to something tight and defined,
rather our intention is to open it up, so show by doing, making and
We do know that Ambient Literature asks for writing to be specific,
to be for this form. That there are rules, grammars of making and
thinking about readers and texts in new ways.”
Tom Abba, Ambient Literature project launch
It Must Have Been Dark by Then
by Duncan Speakman
The Cartographer’s Confession
by James Attlee
by Kate Pullinger
Next few projects I’m about to discuss use Public Domain
images from the Microsoft Partnership Digitisation Project
• 68,000 volumes (47,000+ titles) published in the 19th
century mostly in English
• Excluded authors active 1850-1901 and who died after
• Output: 25 million pages
The illustrations were extracted algorithmically from the
Image snipped out
From ALTO XML
Image taken from page 207 of 'London and its Environs. A
picturesque survey of the metropolis and the suburbs ...
Translated by Henry Frith. With ... illustrations'
The illustrations were uploaded to Flickr and albums were
created through crowd-sourced tagging
Sarah Cole, Poetic Places
What is Poetic Places?
• A free, native app for Android and iOS devices.
• Bring poetic depictions of places into the physical world,
helping people to encounter literature and heritage in
relevant locations, accompanied by materials drawn from
cultural heritage collections.
• Brings literature and heritage into everyday life in
unexpected moments. Serendipitous discovery; not tours.
• Browse the poems and places without being in situ.
Interactive Fiction Summer School
23 – 27 July 2018
200th anniversary of the
publication of Frankenstein. A
perfect opportunity to run a gothic
novel themed challenge.
Sub-theme is: The monster within
Gothic Novel Jam with Read Watch
Play; participants to make
something creative inspired by the
gothic novel genre. By the 31st July
upload or share it on the itch.io
Gothic Novel Jam site.
Entries can include stories, poetry,
art, games, music, films, pictures,
soundscapes, or any other type of
digital media response.
We want participants to use
images from the British Library
Flickr account as inspiration
4-10 November 2018
For 2018 International Games Week the British Library is hosting
The Narrative Games Convention: AdventureX
10-11 November 2018
A forum for those who are interested in games, cultural heritage
and GLAMs (galleries, libraries, archives, museums)