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Learning the Lessons of working with the British Library’s Digital Content...

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University of Birmingham

Digital Humanities Hub

Ground Floor, ERI Building G3, Pritchatts Road

Edgbaston, Birmingham

B15 2TT

United Kingdom

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Event description

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A workshop organised by British Library Labs and the College of Arts and Law at the University of Birmingham, as part of the British Library Labs Roadshow (2017).

A series of presentations exploring the British Library's digital collections, how they have been used and the lessons learned by working with researchers who want to use them. This will be followed by discussions and feedback around potential ideas of working with the Library's data.

The Roadshow will showcase examples 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, educators and entrepreneurs have been developed via the annual British Library Labs Competition and Awards. This year we intend to focus on some of the lessons we have learned over the last four years of working with the Labs, promote our awards and get attendees thinking of what they might do with the British Library's collections. The team will also talk about future plans at the Library to support Digital Scholarship. The day will include presentations from researchers who are working on interesting Digital Humanities projects within the College of Arts and Law at the University of Birmingham.

Date and Time:
Wednesday 10th May 2017, 1230 - 1600

Cost:
Free, includes lunch.

Location:
Digital Humanities Hub, Ground Floor, ERI Building G3, Pritchatts Road, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston B15 2TT.

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

BL Labs Roadshow (2017)

The British Library Labs project has been running since 2013 and the Labs team visited the University of Birmingham last year. Labs will reflect on the lessons they have learned over the last four years and focus on some of the typical questions researchers first ask and the common misconceptions they have of working with the the British Library's digital collections and data. They will also provide examples of what researchers were able to actually achieve and the challenges they faced.

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 British Library 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 the University of Birmingham to work with us and share their research questions and innovative ideas around this.

Programme:

1230 Lunch

1300 Introduction
Dr Erin Sullivan, Senior Lecturer at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham

1305 What is British Library Labs and what have we learnt in the last four years?
Mahendra Mahey, Manager, British Library Labs

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.

Labs will 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 four key areas: Research, Artistic, Commercial and Teaching / Learning.

There will be an examination and reflection on the lessons the Labs team have learned by working with those who have wanted to use the over the last four years.

1400 BL Labs Researcher

1420 Digital Research at the British Library and 2 Centuries of Indian Print
Nora McGregor, Digital Curator, Digital Research Team, British Library

Nora will talk about her work as a Digital Curator at the British Library working within the Digital Research Team and give an overview of the 2 Centuries of Indian Print collection.

1420 Title: TBC
Matt Hayler, Head of Digital Cultures, University of Birmingham

1440 Integration of spatial data with Digital Humanities Research
Jeremy Kidwell, Lecturer, Theology, Univeristy of Birmingham

1500 Break

1530 British Library data and collections and discussions and feedback on ideas, challenges and issues.

Labs will give an overview of some of the Library's digital collections and lead on a discussion on how they can be used. The team will also give feedback on ideas delegates might have on using the collections.

1600 Finish

Feedback Form
Please complete the following feedback form for the event

Speaker Biographies:

Mahendra Mahey, Manager of British Library Labs.
Mahendra came to the British Library 4 years ago to manage the Andrew W. Mellon funded British Library Labs (@BL_Labs) project. Together with Ben O’Steen (Technical Lead) and colleagues in Digital Scholarship, they have been working pragmatically to open up the wealth of the British Library's digital collections and data for those that want to use it in transformative and innovative ways. Importantly, they are learning what researchers, educators, artists and entrepreneurs want to do with the Library’s data and in turn helping them together with others in the Library to try and achieve this. As a result, Mahendra and the team are also discovering where the gaps are and what tools, services and processes the Library will have to modify or develop to support the ever increasing demand to use the Library’s digital collections. Currently, he is working on a possible new project to build on the work of Labs to design, create and implement a business model to support scalable sustainable services for scholars to use the British Library’s digital collections in their research.

He has a long background of working with digital technology as a manager, educator and adviser in Further and Higher Education for researchers, educators, librarians and businesses both in the UK and internationally. He spent 4 years working on a unique project which built a network of nearly 2000 software developers working in UK universities and colleges, the Jisc funded Developer Community Supporting Innovation (DevCSI) initiative. He organised several very well received ‘Developer Happiness’ conferences (Dev8D) and carried out research to understand and articulate the value and impact software developers bring to UK academia as well as exploring existing and new career pathways for them.

Before that, he worked on several projects. One which focussed on how UK and European academic institutions could manage their research information and processes more efficiently using a common standard.(CERIF). Another which carried out research and supported several other projects which focussed on several aspects of open access digital repositories (e.g. technical, legal, strategic, metadata etc.) for scholarly outputs such as peer-reviewed articles, research data and grey-literature.

For five years, he was an adviser and trainer encouraging scholars, educators and librarians to access, re-use and re-purpose digital resources in their work and at the same time showing them how this can be augmented through the effective and best-practice use of digital technologies, techniques and methods.

Finally, he has worked as a manager and educator in Further and Higher education in the public and private sector for over 10 years in Social Sciences, Computing, Multimedia and English for Speakers of Other Languages both in the UK and internationally in Poland.

Nora McGregor, Digital Curator at the British Library
Nora is a qualified Librarian with a particular interest in how digital technologies are transforming research processes and environments in the 21st century and how that, in turn shapes, future library service provision. Nora has explored this topic through two exhibitions which she has co-curated at British Library: Growing Knowledge: the evolution of research (Oct 2010 – July 2011) and, more recently, Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight (Feb 2014-May 2014). Nora’s current work centres around the design, development and delivery of a major Digital Scholarship Training Programme for staff across the Library.

Dr Erin Sullivan, Senior Lecturer at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham

Matt Hayler, Head of Digital Cultures, University of Birmingham

Jeremy Kidwell, Lecturer, Theology, Univeristy of Birmingham

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Date and Time

Location

University of Birmingham

Digital Humanities Hub

Ground Floor, ERI Building G3, Pritchatts Road

Edgbaston, Birmingham

B15 2TT

United Kingdom

View Map

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