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KCL London Panoramic

BL Labs Roadshow

King's Digital Laboratory

Monday, 14 March 2016 from 10:00 to 16:30 (GMT)

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General Admission 10 Tickets Ended Free  

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Event Details

King’s Digital Laboratory (KDL) is excited to announce we will be hosting a British Library Labs (BL Labs) roadshow event at King’s College London on 14 March, 2016. The roadshow is an opportunity for King’s staff and students to gain an overview of the British Library’s digital resources from the BL Labs team, and brainstorm ideas for research outputs and digital products.

The workshop will showcase 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 the KDL and research in Digital Humanities. 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!

No technical ability is required and staff and students from all disciplines are warmly encouraged to attend. Guest speakers and both KDL and BL Labs staff will be present to help you explore your ideas, and develop them into project ideas and funding proposals. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the British Library’s extensive digital collections, and develop exciting new projects with KDL staff.

Please note that places are limited, so please reserve your place as soon as possible!


Please note this schedule is provisional and will be regularly updated. Morning/afternoon tea and lunch will be provided.

10:00 Registration and Coffee

10:30 Introduction and Overview of King's Digital Lab
Dr. James Smithies, Director, King’s Digital Lab

This presentation will provide a background to the King’s Digital Lab, describing who we are, what we do, and how we can help King’s Faculty and external partners design, build, and maintain digital projects.

11:00 Getting Medieval, Getting Palaeography: Using DigiPal to Study Medieval Script and Image
Dr. Stewart Brookes, Research Associate, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London

The large number of initiatives to digitise medieval manuscripts, and the unprecedented access this has allowed, could be compared to the early years of the printing press. The challenge is what to do with this wealth of online material beyond the "turning the pages" model. In this paper, Stewart will demonstrate the facilities offered by the DigiPal framework, which include annotating images, the curation and visualisation of manuscript evidence and data, image-processing, a new text editor, and some work-in-progress options to link text and image.
WARNING: this paper may contain scenes of uncensored palaeography.

11:30 Digital Research and Digitisation at the British Library
Rossitza Atanassova, Digital Curator at the British Library

The Digital Research Team is a cross-disciplinary mix of curators, researchers, librarians and programmers supporting the creation and innovative use of British Library's digital collections. In this talk Rossitza will highlight how we work with those operating at the intersection of academic research, cultural heritage and technology to support new ways of digitising, exploring and accessing our collections through; getting content in digital form and online; collaborative projects; offering digital research support and guidance.

12:00 British Library Labs
Mahendra Mahey, Project Manager of British Library Labs.

Mahendra will give an overview of the the British Library Labs project which supports and inspires scholars to use the British Library’s digital collections in innovative ways for their research through an annual Competition (closes 11 April 2016) , Awards (closes 5 September) and other projects. The annual Competition is looking for transformative project ideas which use the British Library’s digital collections in new and exciting ways. The annual Awards, recognises outstanding and innovative work that has been carried out using the British Library’s data in four key areas: Research, Artistic, Commercial and Teaching / Learning.

12:20 Overview projects that have used British Library’s Digital Content and data
Ben O'Steen, Technical Lead of British Library Labs.

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.

13:00 Lunch

14:00 News data at the British Library
Luke McKernan, Lead Curator News & Moving Image Collections, British Library

The British Library news collections comprise some 60 million newspaper issues (from the early 17th century to the present day), 52,000 television news programmes, 15,000 radio news broadcasts, and 1,800 news websites archived on a frequent basis since 2013. Luke will introduce the British Library’s news collections, demonstrating the great potential that their data offers for research, and setting them in the context of the Library’s News Content Strategy.

14:30 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. They will also give a brief outline of the various ideas and projects which explore working with the British Library’s digital content and data.

14:45 Ideas Lab (Coffee available from 1500)
King's Digital Laboratory and Labs teams

Delegates have the opportunity to work in small groups and come up with their own ideas with the BL Labs team and King's Digital Laboratory staff on hand to help and advise.

16:00 Pitching ideas to the panel
King's Digital Laboratory and Labs Team

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

16:30 Finish


Technical Requirements

We recommend that you bring a laptop to the event if you would like to access the Labs digital data (see: If you bring a mobile device such as an IPad, Galaxy Tab and Mobile Phone, you will need to install a File Explorer application in order to browse the digital content!


Speaker Biographies

James Smithies, Director of King’s Digital Lab
James is Director of King's Digital Laboratory (KDL) at King’s College London. He was previously Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities and Associate Director of the UC CEISMIC Digital Archive at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and has worked in the government and commercial IT sectors as a technical writer and editor, business analyst, and project manager. He is currently working on a monograph for Palgrave Macmillan titled The Digital Modern: Humanities and New Media.

Stewart Brookes, Research Associate, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
Stewart Brookes is Research Associate on the AHRC-funded "Models of Authority" project at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. His publications include a co-edited volume of essays on digital palaeography (Ashgate, 2016) and an edition of Ælfric’s adaptations of the Biblical Books of Esther and Kings (Boydell and Brewer, 2017).
When not turning over the folios of medieval manuscripts in the Manuscripts Reading Room at the British Library, Stewart may be found turning over the digitised folios of British Library manuscripts in the Boris Karloff Building on Drury Lane.

Dr Rossitza Atanassova, Digital Curator at the British Library
Rossitza is interested in the creation and exploitation of digitised content and the application of new research methods to digital collections. In her current role at the British Library, Rossitza is responsible for the governance of digitisation projects and she has contributed to two European Commission funded projects, SUCCEED (2013–2014) and Europeana Newspapers (2012–2015). Rossitza holds a DPhil in Classics, and she has tutored courses for the Open University and worked in electronic publishing for ProQuest.

Mahendra Mahey, Project Manager of British Library Labs.
Before Labs he was at UKOLN (University of Bath) working for 4 years on the Jisc funded the UK Developer Community Supporting Innovation (DevCSI) initiative (organising several Developer Happiness” conferences ( and 5 years together on a project focussing on how academic institutions could manage their research information using a common metadata standard and one supporting research in digital repositories of scholarly outputs. He was an adviser for the Jisc Regional Support Centres encouraging academics / librarians to use electronic learning resources and make effective use of e-learning technologies and techniques in their practice. He also worked as a lecturer for over 10 years in Social Sciences, Computing, Multimedia and English for Speakers of Other Languages in Further and Higher Education internationally.

Ben O'Steen, Technical Lead of British Library Labs.
Previous to working for Labs he was a freelance developer in the academic sector. While his expertise lies in solving interesting problems using computers, his formal training is in chemistry: He has authored a Physics GCSE training course, created electronics for art installations, co-founded the “Developer Happiness” conference (, and he was the lead developer in the Bodleian Library’s Research and Development department building their Resource Description Framework (RDF) - powered repository and digital asset management systems. In recent years, he has worked on Jisc funded projects (OpenBibliography, OpenCitation), wrote reports for funders on topics such as text-mining and sat on technical advisory boards for the Web-service Offering Repository Deposit (SWORD) protocol , ORCID and other groups.

Luke McKernan, Lead Curator News & Moving Image Collections, British Library
Luke is a media historian with a particular interest in the late 19th and early 20th century. Interests include: early film history, newsreels, World War One propaganda and audience studies. Most of all, he is interested in how the different media come together, historically and today, and what this means for research and archives.

Do you have questions about BL Labs Roadshow? Contact King's Digital Laboratory

When & Where

River Room
King's College London, Strand Campus, Strand
WC2R 2LS London
United Kingdom

Monday, 14 March 2016 from 10:00 to 16:30 (GMT)

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King's Digital Laboratory

The King’s Digital Laboratory (KDL) has been created to undertake a range of innovative digital collaborations with academic staff across the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and the College, as well as with external partners in London, Europe, and the wider world. The Lab will be part digital project space, part research lab, part hacker zone.

KDL will build on decades of experience in digital humanities at King’s, partnering with all disciplines to develop world-leading approaches to arts and humanities scholarship. Our special relationship with the Department of Digital Humanities (DDH) will foster a culture of innovation and research excellence, and facilitate contributions to the local and global digital humanities communities.

The Lab is open for business now. Contact us if you have ideas for grant proposals, projects, events, infrastructure and tool development, student internships, or would just like to chat.

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