Digital scholarship blog

Enabling innovative research with British Library digital collections

03 October 2018

The submission deadline for BL Labs Awards 2018 is next week!

The British Library has a vast, and continuously expanding, collection of material in digital form. You can dig into our datasets with text and data mining tools, conduct image analysis while listening to wildlife recordings, browse thousands of digitised manuscripts, and get lost in the million public domain images from BL publications available on Flickr.

To celebrate the variety of ways in which people have engaged with these amazing resources, the British Library Labs team run an Awards competition every autumn. Awards are given for completed projects in four categories:

  • 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 competition is open to applicants from anywhere in the world – providing they have based their work on the British Library’s data or digital collections. There is also a Staff Award for a project by a current member of staff (or a team) at the British Library. In each category, winners receive £500 and runners up, £100 – as well as fame, glory and prestige, of course, and will be presented with their awards at the annual BL Labs Symposium on Monday 12th November 2018.

The deadline for submitting your project for one of this year’s external awards is midnight (BST) on Thursday 11th October – just over a week from now! You can read the small print (Terms & Conditions etc) here, and submit your entry using this online form.

Lucky British Library staff get an extra 12 hours to submit a project for an award – deadline midday (BST) on Friday 12th October.

a montage of five images showing screenshots of the five BL Labs award winners

BL Labs Awards 2017 Winners. Top-Left, Research – A large-scale comparison of world music corpora with computational tools; Top-Right, Commercial – Movable Type: The Card Game; Bottom-Left, Artistic – Imaginary Cities; Bottom-Right, Teaching/Learning – Vittoria’s World of Stories.

We encourage applications from all fields: digital humanities researchers, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, game designers, writers, poets, statisticians, library scientists … the list really is endless and every year we are surprised and delighted by the new ways in which the digital collections have been used. If you would like to read about some of the previous projects, click on the links below which take you to blogs about last year’s star entrants. You can also browse previous submissions in any of the categories using this guide to the digital projects archive.

Read about some of the fantastic projects that won awards in 2017:

So hurry - get your applications in, and join the party on the 12th November!!

For any further information about BL Labs or our Awards, please contact us at [email protected].