Digital scholarship blog

3 posts from July 2023

14 July 2023

Share Family: British National Bibliography (Beta) service is live

Contents

Introduction

Share Family and National Bibliographies

       What is a National bibliography?

       BNB in the Share Family

Benefits

Future developments

Beta service

Further information

 

Introduction

The British National Bibliography (BNB), first published in January 1950, is a weekly listing of new books and journals published or distributed in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.  Over the last seventy-three years, the BNB has adapted to changing customer needs by embracing new technologies, from cards in the 1950s to mark-up languages for data exchange in the 1970s and CD-ROM in the 1980s. The BNB now provides online access to details of over 5 million publications and forthcoming titles, ranging in scope from computer science to history, from novels to textbooks.

 

Two examples of bibliographies including information like title, author, place of publication, year, description, prices etc.
1. Examples of British National Bibliography records, April 19th 2023. Please click the image to see it in full size & detail.

In 2011, the Library launched the Linked Open Data BNB.  At that time, linked data was an emerging technology using Web protocols to link data sets, as envisaged in Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s concept of a Semantic Web[1].  Our initial foray into linked data was successful from a technical perspective. We were able to convert BNB data held in Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC) format into linked data structures and make it available in a variety of schemas under an open licence.  Nevertheless, we lacked the capacity to re-model our data in order to realise the potential of linked data.  As the technology matured, we began to look around for partners with whom we could collaborate to take BNB forward.

As described in my September 2020 blogpost, British Library Joins Share-VDE Linked Data Community, the British Library joined the Share Community (now the Share Family) to develop our linked data service. The Share Linked Data Environment is “a global family built on collaboration that brings libraries, archives and museums together with a common goal and joins their knowledge in an ever-widening network of inter-connected bibliographic data.” (Share Family, 2022).

 

Share Family and National Bibliographies

“The Share Family is a suite of innovative tools and services, developed and driven by libraries, for libraries, in an international collaborative, consortial effort. Share-VDE enables the discovery of knowledge to increase user engagement with library and cultural heritage collections.”[2]

Screenshot: Share family components showing layers like Advanced API, Advanced Entity Model, Authority Service, Deliverables etc.
2. Share family components[3]. Please click the image to see it in full size & detail.

The Share Family has supported us through the transition from our traditional MARC data to linked open data.  We provided a full copy of the British National Bibliography to the Share team for identification and clustering of entities, e.g. works, publications, persons. Working with colleagues from other institutions on Share-VDE working groups we contribute to the development of the underlying data structures and the presentation of data.  This collaborative approach has enabled delivery of the British National Bibliography as the first institutional tenant of the Share Family National Bibliographies Portal

What is a National bibliography?

“National bibliographies are a permanent record of the cultural and intellectual output of a nation or country, which is witnessed by its publishing output. They gather the bibliographic information of current publications to preserve and provide ongoing access to this record.”

IFLA Bibliography Section

The IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) Register of national bibliographies contains 52 entries, ranging from Andorra to Vietnam.  National bibliographies vary in scope, but each provides insights into the intellectual and cultural history of society, literature and publishing.  The Share Family National Bibliographies Portal offers the potential for clustering and searching multiple national bibliographies on a single platform.

BNB in the Share Family

Screenshot of the BNB home screen stating 'Search for people, original works and publications
3. Screenshot BNB home screen. Please click the image to see it in full size & detail.

The British Library is proud that the British National Bibliography is the first tenant selected for the Share Family National Bibliographies Portal.

BNB is now available to explore in Beta: https://bl.natbib-lod.org. You can search for publications, original works and people, as illustrated by these examples:

You can use the national bibliography to search for a specific publication, such as a large print edition of the novel Small island by Andrea Levy.

Screenshot: Bibliographic description of large print edition of Small Island by Andrea Levy.
4. Screenshot: Bibliographic description of large print edition of Small Island by Andrea Levy. Please click the image to see it in full size & detail.

 

You can also find original works inspired by earlier works:

Screenshot: Results set for publication of the work, Small island by Helen Edmundson
5. Screenshot: Results set for publication of the work, Small island by Helen Edmundso. Please click the image to see it in full size & detail.

 

Alternatively, you can search for works by a specific author… 

Screenshot showing original works by Douglas Adams
6. Screenshot: Original works by Douglas Adams. Please click the image to see it in full size & detail.

 

…or about a specific person

Screenshot showing original works about Douglas Adams
7. Screenshot: Original works about Douglas Adams. Please click the image to see it in full size & detail.

 

…or by organization

Screenshot showing results set for BBC
8. Screenshot: Results set for BBC. Please click the image to see it in full size & detail.

 

Benefits

What benefit do we expect to gain from this collaboration?

  • We profit from practical experience our collaborators have gained through other linked data initiatives
  • We gain access to a state of the art, extensible infrastructure designed for library data
  • We gain a new channel for dissemination of the BNB, in aggregation with other national bibliographies

We are able to re-tool our metadata for the 21st Century:

  • Our data will be remodelled and clustered making it more compatible with current data models, including the IFLA Library Reference Model, RDA: Resource Description and Access, and Bibframe
  • Our data will be enriched with URIs that will make it more effective in linked data environments
  • The entity-centred view of the British National Bibliography offers new perspectives for researchers

 

Future developments

Conversion of the BNB and publication in the National Bibliographies Portal is only the beginning. 

  • The BNB data from the Cluster Knowledge base will also be published in the triple store
  • Original records will be available to the British Library as Bibframe 2.0, for dissemination or reuse as linked data
  • Users will be provided with access to the data via data dumps and a SPARQL endpoint
  • Our MARC records will be enriched with original Share URIs and URIs from external sources
  • Other national bibliographies will join BNB in the national bibliographies portal

The British National Bibliography represents only a fraction of the Library’s data.   You can explore the British Library’s collection through our catalogue, which we plan to contribute to Share-VDE in future.

 

Beta service

The British National Bibliography in the Share Family is being made available in Beta. The service is still being tested. The interface and the functionality are subject to change and may not work for everyone.  You can tell us what you think about the service or report problems by contacting [email protected].

 

Further information:

British National Bibliography https://bnb.bl.uk  

Share VDE http://www.share-family.org/

Share Family wiki https://wiki.share-vde.org/wiki/Main_Page

Share VDE Virtual Discovery Environment in linked open data https://svde.org/

National Bibliographies in Linked Open Data https://natbib-lod.org

British National Bibliography Linked Open Data Portal https://bl.natbib-lod.org

 

Footnotes

[1]  Berners-Lee, Tim; James Hendler; Ora Lassila (May 17, 2001). "The Semantic Web". Appeared in: Scientific American. (284(5):34-43 (May 2001). 

[2] Share-VDE: supporting the creation, management and discovery of linked open data for libraries: executive summary. Share-VDE Executive Committee. December 7th, 2022. Share-VDE Website (viewed 19th June 2023)

[3] Share Family – Linked data ecosystem. How does it work?  http://www.share-family.org/  (viewed on 23rd June 2023)

06 July 2023

Our team at Digital Humanities 2023 Conference, 10-14 July

Three of us from the British Library Digital Research Team will be attending Digital Humanities 2023 in Graz, Austria next week. The last DH Conference we attended was in Utrecht in 2019 and we can’t wait to participate again in person this year. 

We are looking forward to meeting new and old DH-ers and to having exciting in-person conversations in between the conference sessions throughout the week. 

In particular we want to invite you to come and visit us during the conference poster session on Wednesday 12 July from 18:00. There will be drinks and nibbles on offer and ample time for discussions.

Here is a list of our posters and we look forward to talking to you about our collaborations and projects:

Rossitza will present a poster about collaborations as part of her AHRC-RLUK Professional Practice Fellowship project Datafication and reuse of the descriptions of the incunabula collection at the British Library (pp.505-506)

As part of the Living with Machines project Mia contributed to the poster about Metadata Enrichment in the Living with Machines Project: User-focused Collaborative Database Development in a Digital Humanities Context (pp.553-555)

Stella will present the UK Digital Comics: Challenges and Opportunities of a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership. A Co-designed Comic Poster (pp.596-597)

We will also be at some of the pre-conference workshops on Tuesday. Rossitza will attend the all-day OCR4all - Open-Source OCR and HTR Across the Centuries, and Stella will participate in a couple of half-day workshops: the AudiAnnotate Workshop with Radio Venceremos, Rebel Radio Station and SpokenWeb: Using IIIF with AV to Build Editions and Exhibits and Creating, storing, and sharing your own web archives with open source Webrecorder tools

The pre-conference communications have been great and you can find out more about the conference programme in the impressive Digital Humanities 2023: Book of Abstracts | Zenodo We are thrilled to be joining this exciting event held in this stunning Austrian city.

Wir kommen, Graz. Bis bald!

04 July 2023

MIX 2023 Storytelling in Immersive Media

This Friday we are looking forward to hosting MIX 2023 at the Library. Presented in partnership with Bath Spa University’s Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries, The Writing Platform and MyWorld, this conference explores the intersection of writing and technology, creating an opportunity for scholars and practitioners to share and discuss research and practice in the rapidly evolving field of storytelling in immersive environments.

Text on image says "MIX 2023 Storytelling in Immersive Media, 7th July 2023" underneath are partner logos

Our opening keynote speaker is Adrian Hon, co-founder and CEO at Six to Start, creators of the world’s best selling smartphone fitness game, Zombies, Run!, which is currently showcased in the Library’s Digital Storytelling exhibition (2 June – 15 October 2023). Following Adrian’s talk is a jam packed programme of presentations and panel discussions examining where and how creative writing and emerging technologies meet. MIX 2023 sessions will cover a range of themes and topics including interactive and locative works, text in immersive media, digital and film poetry, narrative games, digital preservation, archiving and curation, and storytelling with AI. There will also be an area at this event for attendees to experience VR works of poetry and literature, including The Abandoned Library by Dreaming Methods, led by Andy Campbell and Judi Alston.

If this event sounds up your street, there is still time to book a place for MIX 2023 on Friday 7th July, 09:00 - 17:00. It will take place in person, in the Library’s Knowledge Centre and will not be live-streamed. The ticket price covers a sandwich lunch, refreshments during the day, and includes access to an evening performance of An Island of Sound by award winning poet J.R. Carpenter and audiovisual composer Jules Rawlinson. 

Artwork from 80 Days showing profile faces of characters Passepartout and Phileas Fogg

If you would like to develop your interactive writing skills, then you may also be interested in signing up for our Fiction as Dialogue Interactive Fiction Summer School, which will run from Monday 21st to Friday 25th August 2023. Led by Dr. Florencia Minuzzi, veteran games writer and narrative designer, this course will teach participants how to create interactive narratives using ink, a writer-friendly open-source scripting language that does not require programming knowledge.

This summer school will also feature expert guest speakers, including Corey Brotherson, the writer for in-development interactive narrative Windrush Tales, and the adapting writer/editor of Yomi Ayeni’s acclaimed steampunk transmedia series, Clockwork Watch. Meghna Jayanth, a video game writer and narrative designer, known for her writing on inkle's 80 Days, for which she won the UK Writers’ Guild Award for Best Writing in a Video Game. Dan Hett, a prolific digital artist and writer from Manchester, whose work c-ya-laterrrr won the 2020 New Media Writing Prize, and game designer Destina Connor, Co-director of Tea-Powered Games, an independent game company dedicated to telling interesting stories in innovative ways.

Text on image says "Everything Forever, 10 years of electronic legal deposit"

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the British Library and also 10 years since the introduction of non-print (electronic) legal deposit, providing a perfect moment to reflect on our achievements and also to look forwards to the future. Our Digital Storytelling exhibition events, including MIX 2023, create opportunities to celebrate pioneering and experimental writing, and also to consider what new forms of digital storytelling may arise in the coming years. We hope you can join us.