Digital scholarship blog

Enabling innovative research with British Library digital collections

20 March 2013

BL Labs Launch Event

Picture of Mahendra Mahey manager of British Library Labs

I would like to introduce myself as the newest member of the British Library’s Digital Scholarship team. My name is Mahendra Mahey and I will be working as the project manager of British Library Labs, building on the work of Stella Wisdom and Nora McGregor who have been helping get things started.

Previously, I was at UKOLN at the University of Bath, where I worked on several projects. The most recent one being the Jisc funded Developer Community Supporting Innovation (DevCSI) initiative which worked with software developers and researchers in UK Further and Higher Education to help create a 'community' to facilitate the sharing of their experience, ideas and expertise in software development, through events such as Dev8D.  The project stimulated technical innovation in the sector by getting developers / researchers working with stakeholders such as librarians and academics to work on ideas, data and tools to develop prototypes, new tools and services through activities such as hack days, competitions and national / international developer challenges. Research was also carried into the value and impact that software development brings to UK Further and Higher Education. Previous projects I have worked on include; one which focussed on how UK academic institutions could manage their research information using a common European metadata standard and another supporting research in digital repositories of scholarly outputs.

Before working at the university, I was an adviser for the Jisc Regional Support Centres in the West Midlands and Scotland encouraging academics and librarians in Further and Higher education to use electronic learning resources and make effective use of e-learning technologies and techniques in their practice. For over 10 years, I worked as a lecturer of Social Sciences, Computing, Multimedia and English for Speakers of Other Languages in Further and Higher Education colleges in the UK and in Poland.

I am really excited to be involved in the British Library Labs project, which for me is about getting researchers to use their ideas, skills, experience and techniques to create new narratives from the British Library’s vast incredible digital collections from 19th Century books to archived websites and wildlife sounds to manuscripts to name but a few examples. This project will help the Library to understand the tools and services that researchers need to unlock these fascinating and diverse digital collections.

"Every book tells a story, but what can 68,000 books tell you?"

We are holding a launch event at the Library on Monday the 25th of March 2013, between 1045-1500 to promote the project. Invited speakers include:

If you are interested in coming (there are only a few places left), want to know more about the project, attend future events, have a fantastic idea, or just want to be involved, please email [email protected]. Also, please check out our new website, where we will be adding more information over the next few weeks. This will include details of our competitions, events and other activities where we will be encouraging you to submit ideas and to start a discussion on working in new and exciting ways to analyse and experiment with British Library collections (the website is wiki based).  Watch out for the first opportunity to participate, where you could win a £3,000 cash prize and a residency to develop your idea / research project further at the British Library in London and work with our world renowned experts.

Follow us at and this blog

twitter @BL_Labs (hash tag #BL_Labs)

or me on twitter @mahendra_mahey


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