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British Library
Country: United Kingdom
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99 Projects, page 1 of 20
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/W00755X/1
    Funder Contribution: 93,497 GBP
    Partners: BL

    The Arts and Humanities Research Council continues to invest in new and existing data infrastructure for research. From specialist resources such as the Archaeology Data Service and Oxford Text Archive, to more general resources such as the British Library's shared research repository, these investments continue to grow and support the UKs arts and humanities scholars. Our project, 'CONNECTED: Connecting trusted Arts and Humanities data repositories', will begin work to provide 'the glue' to bring together a distributed repository landscape. A distributed set of repositories provides benefits in terms of allowing specialist and expert management of a wider range of research and highly variable research outputs. But such an environment faces challenges and inefficiencies that reduce its impact. These include difficulties in discovery and access, but also questions around the relationships between specialised vs general services. As more repositories evolve to suit more digital approaches to research, so increases the potential for duplication of effort from a (re)searcher/author/depositor perspective. CONNECTED will explore how to build greater coherence and interoperability that will increase the impact of AHRC investment and provide benefits for users. We will seek to understand how to build and resource a unified framework that actively enables efficient management and discovery of content. This will bring a plan to link different trusted repositories as a distributed service that can grow over time as new individual services are added. Over the 5-month period of the project we will: Use a series of semi-structured interviews with a variety of stakeholders including researchers, librarians, curators and information technologists to understand their needs, gaps in provision, and approaches that allow for the widest set of content and use cases to be addressed. This will include an exploration of how to connect current and planned investments across AHRC infrastructure, where appropriate. These insights will be fed into strategic and service models for delivering the connecting components of a national-scale data service, that can be fully scoped and costed. Finally, the project will explore the feasibility of a national scale switchboard service for routing data and outputs to the most appropriate repository. An approach will be developed that will then be explored with a community workshop to understand the appetite for a deposit-routing service.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/T01119X/1
    Funder Contribution: 209,418 GBP
    Partners: BL

    This project will help cultural heritage organisations to use geospatial data - references and representations of location, such as where objects were made and used or the places they depict and describe - to connect diverse collections and engage research and public audiences in new ways. Through scoping, workshops and audience research the project will establish best practice and provide technical recommendations for the development of a national discovery system whereby objects about a topic of interest can be readily discovered from a variety of sources, represented in the context of their historic environment, and referenced in time and landscape. At present, discovering collections across multiple institutions and collections can be problematic in terms of user experience, requiring complex text-box searches or commercial search engines. However, in the field of Classics, The Pelagios Network of researchers, scientists and curators has developed a methodology that uses gazetteer referencing to link research data across diverse collections with considerable success, building a community of partners and stimulating new research perspectives. Similarly, the Collections Trust's prototype aggregator demonstrates that searching across cultural heritage collections using geographic location is feasible. This project builds on these methods, scoping improvements to the aggregator's results and exploring ways to present location in an accessible and meaningful form for public consumption. A key question is how the place-based Pelagios methodology can best be integrated with space-based cultural heritage data resources brought together by the Collections Trust aggregator. To test and scope this ambition, participating organisations will work on a set of thematic and technological case studies that will test the technical feasibility and appeal of the approach to potential users, ultimately developing an understanding of scalability. The project aims to understand the requirements of stakeholders, institutional, academic and public, in order to inform content selection, technical decisions and maximise impact. It will investigate how we can use location to build a common infrastructure that links collections and render this content accessible and meaningful to different audiences. The objective is to understand the technical components required, the current and potential options available and to make recommendations for potential solutions, all of which will be described in the project report. The report will constitute a strategy, offering pathways for progress and outlining potential barriers to inform developments in the next phase of Towards a National Collection and across the cultural heritage sector more broadly. It will encourage cultural heritage organisations to take up a common geospatial approach and will provide a roadmap to enable diverse organisations to enrich their metadata and expose this in a consistent and joined-up way. Pelagios has had success with a decentralised, 'opt-in' model of partner engagement. Our project will explore whether distributed or centralised models of integration and cooperation are relevant to the integration of cultural heritage organisations. It will develop understanding within the cultural heritage sector of how location-based interfaces can be used to make collections meaningful, spear-heading a movement beyond text-based searches in the discovery of content. Location offers an exemplar, offering a common thread from which we can learn about wider opportunities in connecting collections using other commonalities such as person, time or subject.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/V012428/1
    Funder Contribution: 52,705 GBP
    Partners: BL

    The British Library holds in its custodianship a vast collection of manuscripts and printed books from China and Central Asia that was gathered by Sir Marc Aurel Stein and other explorers in the early 20th century. This outstanding collection contains over 45,000 items written on paper, wood and other materials in many languages spoken in China and Central Asia. Since 1994, the British Library has played a leading role in the development of the International Dunhuang Project (IDP), a large-scale international network connecting partner institutions in Europe, Asia and the US holding collections related to Dunhuang and other Silk Road sites. All partners share the vision of making the images and metadata related to the collections under their custodianship fully and freely available online. This is made possible through the IDP website, a digital platform which is powered by the IDP database, provided by 4D. The 4D database operates across seven synchronised servers that are located at the British Library and the National Library of China, the Dunhuang Academy, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in St Petersburg, Ryukoku University and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. This system relies on a sharing mechanism that allows access to images and data of the collections, whilst ensuring that each institution retains full ownership of their high resolution images. In turn, it enables a wide range of users of the IDP website to access and explore collections across the IDP network. This repository is an essential tool for researchers, professionals and students across the world working on Buddhist studies, Silk Road studies and Asian manuscripts. The Library has initiated the urgent upgrade of the IDP database across all the seven linked servers to ensure stabilisation and access by staff and external users for at least the coming 2-3 years, and full synchronisation of the system. The AHRC investment will provide the hardware upgrades necessary for this work, enabling the British Library to replace the existing IDP workstations with new machines, which will support the new IDP database in 2021, and the existing data storage units that have come to the end of their lifecycle with expanded and updated ones. This equipment is essential to British Library staff and research fellows working on the Stein and other collections uploaded in the IDP database. This work will ensure the sustainability of the IDP activities for the years ahead, the safe running of core operations, and access by staff and external users to the metadata and images held in separate institutions.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/G000808/1
    Funder Contribution: 265,006 GBP
    Partners: BL

    In 1757 King George II presented the approximately 1950 manuscripts of the royal library to the newly founded British Museum. Since that time, the manuscripts have remained together as a distinct collection: ROYAL. Royal preserves the medieval and Renaissance library of the kings and queens of England, and includes within the illuminated manuscripts most surviving medieval paintings owned by them. Hence its importance can hardly be overstated. \n\nYet remarkably, the Royal illuminated manuscripts have been little researched, and have never been presented to a scholarly or wider public as a group. The British Library, home of the Royal collection since its creation in 1973, plans to change this situation by working collaboratively with the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, to present in October 2011-March 2012 a major exhibition of illuminated Royal manuscripts at the British Library in London. To make this possible a research project on these manuscripts will be undertaken, responding to research questions at complementary levels. \n\nThe project team will be led by two internationally-recognised experts in illuminated manuscripts: Dr Scot McKendrick, Head of Western Manuscripts at the British Library, and Professor John Lowden of the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. They will be assisted by a postdoctoral scholar, providing opportunities for this scholar to develop her or his expertise and career, and to develop expertise in medieval and Renaissance art, history, and presenting manuscripts to a range of audiences. The scholarly research resulting from the experience and expertise of this team will allow the Royal manuscripts to be presented and contextualised in new and creative ways. \n\nTo build further collaborative relationships between the British Library and higher education experts and fellow curators within the United Kingdom and internationally, the project will be overseen by an international advisory board, and will include an international conference on the collection to be held at the end of the project.\n\nEach of the approximately 400 illuminated manuscripts in Royal with significant medieval or Renaissance decoration will be examined individually, to research its patronage, artist, scribe, models and function. The results of this analysis will allow thematic questions to be formulated and answered, and the approximately 150 exhibition manuscripts to be chosen. The exhibition will then be structured around these thematic questions. These themes are likely to include studies in the formation and development of the collection of illustrated manuscripts by English monarchs, the role of pictorial narrative in illuminated vernacular histories ordered by Edward IV, the change in function of monastic illuminated manuscripts after the dissolution of the monasteries, and the way in which illuminated manuscripts in the library were used and received by their owners. \n\nThe project will interpret and present medieval and Renaissance painting in Royal manuscripts in an innovative way in an exhibition in London, which will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated exhibition catalogue. The research will also be disseminated freely to an international audience through an online virtual exhibition and online introductory 'tours' for a general audience explaining aspects of the Royal collection of illuminated manuscripts. \n\nIn addition, in order to respond to the needs of the wider scholarly community and provide long-term research benefits, the information on all 400 manuscripts will be made available online as part of the BL's free, illustrated Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts (CIM). The research made available through the CIM and the other online resources will allow scholars and the general public to formulate their own further research questions, promoting active learning.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/W007207/1
    Funder Contribution: 183,352 GBP
    Partners: BL

    The British Library's Shared Research Repository service is currently in beta and has been fully sponsored by the British Library as a pilot project for two years. We are now ready to move into a full service, but have identified activities where additional support of AHRC will be key to the success of this transition. We have put these into three work packages ('WP1-3'). These are: WP1: Support for repository on-boarding. Many heritage organisations do not currently have the capacity to on-board their backlog of content to any repository. WP2: Research into a general use repository option. We need to better understand the scope of a wide-use repository offer that allows one-off outputs to be made available from any organisation in the sector. WP3: Development of platform improvements. Improving the design, customisation and metadata functionality of repository platform will increase the benefits to all users.