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Exploring the British Library’s Digital Collections and Data

City’s Centre for Information Science, based within the Department of Library and Information Science (#CityLis) will host an event on 27th April which will examine the role of the British Library in collecting and preserving digital content.
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

On 27th April, City’s Centre for Information Science, based within the Department for Library and Information Science (#CityLis), will host ‘#BL_Labs: Exploring the British Library's Digital Collections & Data #citylis’.

The free event, which takes place in Room AGO3 in the College Building, will feature talks by Mahendra Mahey and Bob Nicholson.

CityLisMahendra will talk about the British Library Labs project which is getting scholars to use the British Library's impressive digital collections for their research through various activities such as competitions, events and projects. He will highlight some of the work that they and others are doing around digital content in libraries and talk about ways they want to encourage researchers to engage with the Library. He will present information about the current Labs’ competition which closes on 30th April 2015, where Labs are inviting researchers to submit an idea of what they might want to do with the Library’s digital content and work with them in residence for five months and showcase the results of their work.

He will also describe the new British Library Awards, where those that have completed an existing project that already use the Library’s digital content can be considered for an award under one of three categories, ‘Artistic, Entrepreneurial and Research’ using British Library digital content (the deadline for submissions is 14th September 2015). Mahendra will also be providing access to terabytes of data, which delegates will be able to explore to get an idea of the kinds of digital content the Library has on offer and for them to begin to understand the challenges researchers face when using it for their work. Mahendra will give an update on the progress of the project.

Bob Nicholson, one of the winners of the 2014 British Library Labs competition, will give an account of his experiences of working with the British Library and its digital content and an overview of the Victorian Meme Machine (VMM) project he has worked on. The project focused on the question of ‘What would it take to make a Victorian joke funny again?’ While the great works of Victorian art and literature have been preserved and celebrated by successive generations, even the period’s most popular jokes have now been lost or forgotten. Fortunately, thousands of these endangered jests have been preserved within the British Library’s digital collections. Finally, he will give an overview of the ‘Mechanical Curator’ and other interesting experiments with the British Library’s digital content and data.

The VMM project was aimed to create a database of these jokes and bring them back to life by sharing them over social media. Read more about the project or view a brief explanatory YouTube video.Mahendra and Bob will be available for questions at the end. The hashtags for this event will be #BL_Labs and #citylis. Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptop; EduRoam and guest wi-fi access will be available.

To register for this free event, please visit this weblink at your earliest opportunity as seating is limited.

Definition
Library and information science

Library and information science (LIS) is a long-standing academic discipline, with its own set of theories and perspectives. It focuses on the study of the communication chain of recorded information and supports the practice of librarianship, information management, archiving and records management as well as other collection professions. Although it makes full use of technology, LIS is rooted in the humanities and social sciences. LIS is centred around an understanding of documents and the ways in which they are managed; particularly the new forms of digital and immersive documents now becoming available.

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