1. Events
  2. 2020
  3. October
  4. Use British Library Digital Collections and Data for your next Data Science / AI project!




Use British Library Digital Collections and Data for your next Data Science / AI project!



Students, Academics

This event will be held online. Links to join are available on Moodle.

Speaker: Mahendra Mahey, British Library Labs, BL Labs Manager

Series: Data Bites

Mahendra Mahey manages BL Labs which over the last seven years has been encouraging researchers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs and the general public to experiment and work on projects using the British Library's digital collections and data.

The British Library is one of the largest national libraries in the world and is creating and storing millions of digital items every year such as digitised books, newspapers, maps, sheet music, manuscripts, audio / TV recordings as well as born digital archived websites, personal digital archives, electronic books, radio, performances, and artworks. This incredible range of digital material is having a profound effect on the way our libraries are supporting those who want to use digital content and methods in their work. What new facts will scholars discover when they analyse thousands of digitised books computationally using data-mining techniques? What are the challenges and solutions for libraries to build systems and services that provide seamless access to its digital material from a radio recording to newspaper story? What are the practical experiences of working on digital crowdsourcing projects, and how is machine learning really helping libraries to unlock new information hidden in its digital archives? Can we use digital technologies to visualise and shine light on a library’s holdings, and unearth unusual and surprising findings artistically?

Mahendra will give a brief overview of digital collections and data being made available through British Library Labs (BL Labs) and examine how some of them have been re-used by digital researchers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators, curators and librarians around the world through a range of innovative projects, research questions and engagement activities. He will highlight some of the challenges faced when working with cultural heritage data and will reflect on lessons he has learned over many years.

To conclude, Mahendra will invite you to explore the British Library's digital collections and data and perhaps work on a project that could benefit the Library and its users.

Mahendra Mahey is the manager of British Library Labs (BL Labs), which was an Andrew W. Mellon foundation and now solely British Library funded initiative supporting and inspiring the use of the its data in innovative ways. BL Labs encourages and helps scholars, artists, entrepreneurs, educators and innovators to work with the BL’s digital collections through competitions, awards and other engagement activities. Mahendra works with colleagues on developing an international support network with colleagues to bring Galleries, Libraries (national, state, university and public) Archives, Museum (GLAM) digital Labs together that either had, are planning and already have digital experimental ‘Labs’ to share expertise, knowledge and experience in order to build better ‘GLAM Labs’ for their organisations and users. He worked with colleagues to write a handbook to help GLAMs ensure that digital innovation Labs thrive in their organisations.

Mahendra tweets at @BL_Labs and @mahendra_mahey

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When and where

6.00pmThursday 22nd October 2020