Digital scholarship blog

03 December 2020

New PhD Placements Opportunities: Born-digital Legal Deposit and the New Media Writing Prize Collection

Applications for the British Library 2021/22 PhD Placements are now open, with 16 different placement projects happening across the Library. Contemporary British Collections have advertised two placements for opportunities to work with born digital collections: “The “Long Tail” of Born-Digital Publications in the UK: What can we learn from Legal Deposit Data?” and “Interactive Digital Media and Web Archiving: Helping Develop the New Media Writing Prize Online Collection”.

The first placement will investigate the use of the ‘Publisher Submission Portal’, which provides a simple method for small publishers to deposit digital-only works with the Library under Legal Deposit Regulations. Legal Deposit provides the regulation for our collecting of contemporary UK publications, and this lies at the heart of many British Library’s collections. The placement student will analyse the data relating to deposit to help us understand the digital activity of small publishers and support the Library engagement with publishers and creators, especially ones that might be less well represented within our legal deposit collections.

The second placement will focus on the forthcoming New Media Writing Prize collection in the UK Web Archive. The New Media Writing Prize is awarded annually to interactive works that use technology in innovative and often quite experimental and exciting ways. The collection includes highly-interactive digital publications that cross genres, languages and formats, sometimes blurring the line between video games and literature. They were collected using different web archiving tools: the process itself is quite experimental, and will take several attempts to generate a good quality copy (instance) in our Web Archive. The placement student will help us identify the best instance for each publication, and have the chance to create a creative response to the collection.

The New Media Writing Prize logo: showing NMWP with a games controller, microphone, headphones and pens
The New Media Writing Prize logo

These placements offer an opportunity to learn more about contemporary collecting and curating at a cultural heritage institution, in the context of Legal Deposit and Emerging Formats. Both placements are expected to start after May 2021 and to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, both can be undertaken remotely, as well as part-time.

Applications for all 2021/22 PhD Placements close on Friday 18 December 2020, 5pm. Further information on eligibility, conditions and how to apply is available on the British Library website:

This post is by Giulia Carla Rossi, Curator of Digital Publications on twitter as @giugimonogatari.