Digital scholarship blog

Enabling innovative research with British Library digital collections

28 March 2023

BL Labs Symposium 30 March 2023: AI and GLAM data

A small bird flying with a trail of dashes behind it showing their flight pattern

Don’t forget to register for the 2023 BL Labs Symposium (

Following the latest advancements in AI is almost a job in itself. The constant excitement sometimes feels almost bewildering, and it leaves us a little room to really get stuck into peculiarities and joys of data and AI methods and tools emerging in Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM). For the second part of the BL Labs Symposium this year, we will be looking to spend some time with the examples of real data, tools and methods emerging in the GLAM AI world.

We will start our Data and AI session with an exciting presentation by Yannis Assael from Deep Mind. Yannis will show us Ithaca, the first Deep Neural Network interactive interface built to restore and attribute ancient Greek inscriptions. We expect this to be a real game changer for the use of AI for the collections that include complex and incomplete fragments of text.

The words Living With Machines in front of circles and cog shapes

We will also explore some British Library examples of AI and machine learning, mainly using the examples of data derived from our newspaper and map collections. Kalle Westerling will reflect on the latest from the Living with Machines project, this is a ground-breaking research collaboration between The Alan Turing Institute, the British Library, and the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, Exeter, and London (QMUL, King’s College). Gethin Rees will tell us about his work that is engaging public with geospatial data and in the process improving our capabilities to locate national collections.

BL Labs are dedicated to opening up the British Library’s data, especially for all researchers who want to use it for different types of computational research. This remains a daunting task. But we have been working on it! Silvija Aurylaite, BL Labs Manager, will share the BL Labs direction of travel, including sharing our new BL Labs website in Beta. The site will be live for the first time, with the Symposium audience kicking off our testing and engagement phase.

We hope that this session will give us some time to share and reflect on the ongoing AI work in GLAM with all its excitement, challenges and opportunities. All going well, there may be even a chance to get your hands on some new datasets.

We hope you can join us at the BL Labs Symposium on Thursday 30 March 2023. For the full programme, and further information on all our speakers, please read our earlier blog post. We are also delighted to be going ahead with an informal drinks and networking drop in session at the Library between 6.30pm and 7.30pm and you are all most welcome to join us. Register for this and / or the Symposium here