Digital scholarship blog

2 posts from May 2016

10 May 2016

BL Labs Awards (2016): looking for entries now!

The BL Labs Awards formally recognises outstanding and innovative work that has been created using the British Library’s digital collections and data.

We are currently looking for entries – so please help us spread the word by tweeting, re-blogging and telling anyone who might be interested about the Awards.

The BL Labs Awards is commending work in four key areas:

  • Research - A project or activity which shows the development of new knowledge, research methods, or tools.
  • Commercial - An activity that delivers or develops commercial value in the context of new products, tools, or services that build on, incorporate, or enhance the Library's digital content.
  • Artistic - An artistic or creative endeavour which inspires, stimulates, amazes and provokes.
  • Teaching / Learning - Quality learning experiences created for learners of any age and ability that use the Library's digital content.

The deadline for entering the Labs Awards (2016) is midnight BST on 5th September 2016. Shortlisted entrants will be notified via email by midnight BST on Wednesday 21st September 2016. A prize of £500 will be awarded to the winner and £100 to the runner up of each Awards category at the Labs Symposium on 7th November 2016 at the British Library, St Pancras, courtesy of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The talent of the BL Labs Awards winners and runners of 2015 has led to the production a remarkable and varied collection of innovative projects. Last year, the Awards commended work in three main categories – Research, Creative/Artistic and Entrepreneurship:


(Top-left) Spatial Humanities research group at the University Lancaster plotting mentions of disease in newspapers on a map in Victorian times;
(Top-right) A computer generated work of art, part of 'The Order of Things' by Mario Klingemann;
(Bottom-left) A bow tie made by Dina Malkova inspired by a digitised original manuscript of Alice in Wonderland;
(Bottom-right) Work on Geo-referencing maps discovered from a collection of digitised books at the British Library that James Heald is still involved in.

 For any further information about BL Labs or our Awards, please contact us at

06 May 2016

Success story: the @BL_Labs Roadshow (2016)

The BL Labs Roadshow has been successfully completed for another year. Labs and members of the Digital Scholarship team visited 18 host institutions in the UK and Gothenburg, Sweden from February–April 2016, presenting to and collaborating with over 730 people in the process.

Map: Roadshow (2016) visited locations in the UK

Image1Through the Roadshows, we imparted knowledge and facilitated access to the British Library’s digital world, providing a platform of support and inspiration for the use of the British Library’s digital collections and data in exciting and original ways.

We also promoted our annual BL Labs Competition and Awards, which encourage and recognise the outstanding and innovative use of the Library’s digital content. The Competition closed for entries on 11th April and we received 22 entries, many of them of a very high standard. There is an equal number of Digital Humanities and Arts based entries as well as several Computer Science projects and a few community based and entrepreneurial proposals. The two Competition finalists will be decided on 25th May. The Awards remain open for entries until midnight BST on 5th September 2016

The feedback we have received about the Roadshow events shows that over 92% of respondents rated their overall enjoyment of the events as 4.5 out of 5.

The Roadshow provided us with fantastic opportunities to meet and connect with a great many people with a variety of research backgrounds and an interest in the potential of digital collections to develop their work. Such research interests range from mapping, linguistics, history, education and publishing to health, commerce, law, videogames, data visualisation and digital archiving – and everything in between!

Overall, we received more than 250 expressions of interest about our digital collections at the Roadshows. These interactions have shown us that there is a great and varied appetite for the use, access and knowledge of the British Library’s digital content in the public and academic arenas, as well as beyond. BL Labs looks forward to building upon the success of the Roadshows and our other projects throughout the year – watch this space!