Digital scholarship blog

265 posts categorized "Collaborations"

28 February 2024

Safeguarding Tomorrow: The Impact of AI on Media and Information Industries

The British Library has joined forces with the Guardian to hold a summit on the complex policy impacts of AI on media and information industries. The summit, chaired by broadcaster and author Timandra Harkness, brings together politicians, policy makers, industry leaders, artists and academics to shed light on key issues facing the media, newspapers, broadcasting, library and publishing industries in the age of AI. The summit is on Monday 11 March 2024 14:00 - 17:20; networking reception 17:30 - 19:00 GMT; the ticket link is below.

Lucy Crompton-Reid, Chief Executive of Wikimedia UK; Sara Lloyd, Group Communications Director & Global AI Lead at Pan Macmillan and Matt Rogerson from the Guardian will tackle the issue of copyright in the age of algorithms.

Novelist Tahmima Anam; Greg Clark MP, Chair Science & Technology Committee; Chris Moran from the Guardian and Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library will discuss the issue of AI generated misinformation and bias.

 

A conference panel on stage with an audience in raked seating
Data Debate event at the British Library chaired by Timandra Harkness

AI is rapidly changing the world as we know it, and the media and information industries are no exception. AI-powered technologies are already being used to automate tasks, create personalised content, and deliver targeted advertising. In the process AI is quickly becoming both a friend and a foe. People can use AI to flood the online environment with misinformation, creating significant worries, for example, around how deep fakes, and AI personalised and targeted content could influence democratic processes. At the same time, AI could become a key tool to combat misinformation by identifying fake news articles and social media posts.

Many creators of content - from the organisations creating and publishing content, to individual authors, artists and actors - are worried that their copyright has been infringed by AI and we have already seen a flurry of legal action, mostly in the United States. At the same time, many artists are embracing AI as a part of their creative process. The recent British Library exhibition on Digital Storytelling explored the ways technology provides new opportunities to transform and enhance the way writers write and readers engage, including interactive works that invite and respond to user input, and reading experiences influenced by data feeds.

And it is not only in the world of news that there is a danger of AI misinformation. In science, where AI is revolutionising many areas of research from helping us discover new drugs to aiding research on complexities of climate change, we are, at the same time, encountering the issue of fake, AI generated scientific articles. For libraries, AI holds the future promise of improving discovery and access to information, which would help library users to find relevant information quickly. Yet, AI is also introducing significant new challenges when it comes to understanding the provenance of information sources, especially in making the public aware if the information has been created or selected by algorithms rather than human beings.

How will we know - and will we care - if our future newspapers, television programmes and library enquiries are mediated and delivered by AI? Or if the content we are consuming is a machine rather than a human creation? We are used to making judgements about people and organisations that we trust on the basis of how we perceive their professional integrity, political leanings, their stance on the issues that we care about, or just likability and charisma of the individual in front of us. How will we make similar judgments about an algorithm and its inherent bias? And how will we govern and manage this new AI-powered environment?

Governmental regulation of AI is under development in the UK, the US, the EU and elsewhere. At the beginning of February 2024 the UK government released its response to the UK AI Regulation White Paper, signaling the continuation of ‘agile’ AI regulation in the UK, which attempts to balance innovation and economic benefits of AI while also giving greater responsibility related to AI to existing regulators. The government’s response also reserves an option for more binding regulation in the future. For some, such as tech companies investing in AI products, this creates uncertainty for their future business models. For others, especially many in the creative industries and artists affected by AI, there is a disappointment due to the absence of regulations in relation to AI being trained by using content under copyright.

Inevitably, as AI further develops and becomes more prevalent, the issues of its regulation and adoption in the society will continue to evolve. AI will continue to challenge the ways in which we understand creators’ rights, individual and corporate governance and management of information, and the ways in which we acquire knowledge, trust different information sources, and form our opinions on what to buy to who to vote for.

Join us to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead. You can book your place on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/safeguarding-tomorrow-the-impact-of-ai-in-media-information-industries-tickets-814482728767?aff=oddtdtcreator.

09 October 2023

Strike a Pose Steampunk style! For our Late event with Clockwork Watch on Friday 13th October

This Friday (13th October) the British Library invites you to join the world of Clockwork Watch by Yomi Ayeni, a participatory storytelling project, set in a fantastical retro-futurist vision of Victorian England, with floating cities and sky pirates, which is one of the showcased narratives in our Digital Storytelling exhibition.

Flyer with text saying Late at the Library, Digital Steampunk at the British Library, London. Friday 13 October, 19:30 – 22:30

We are delighted that Dark Box Images will be bringing their portable darkroom to the Late at the Library: Digital Steampunk event and taking portrait photographs. If this appeals to you, then please arrive early to have your picture taken. Photographer Gregg McNeill is an expert in the wet plate collodion process invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851. Gregg’s skill in using an authentic Victorian camera creates genuinely remarkable results that appear right in front of your eyes.

Black and white photograph of a woman wearing an elaborate outfit and a mask with her arms outstretched wide with fabric like wings
Wet plate collodion photograph of Jennifer Garside of Wyte Phantom corsetry, taken by Gregg McNeill of Dark Box Images

If you want to pose for the camera at our steampunk Late, or have a portrait drawn by artist Doctor Geof, please don’t be shy, this is an event where guests are encouraged to dress to impress! The aesthetic of steampunk fashion is inspired by Victoriana and 19th Century literature, including Jules Verne’s novels and the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Steampunk looks can include hats and googles, tweed tailoring, waistcoats, corsets, fob watches and fans. Whatever your personal style, we encourage you to unleash your creativity when putting together an outfit for this event.

Furthermore, whether you are seeking a new look or some finishing touches, there will be an opportunity to browse a Night Market at this Late event, where you can purchase and admire a range of exquisite hand crafted items created by:

  • Jema Hewitt, a professional costumer and academic, will be bringing some of her unique, handmade jewellery and accessories to the Library Late event. She was one of the originators of the early artistic steampunk scene in the UK, subsequently exhibiting her costume work internationally, and having three how-to-make books published as her alter ego “Emilly Ladybird”. Jema currently specialises as a pattern cutter for film, theatre and TV, as well as lecturing and teaching workshops.
Photograph of jewellery, hats and clothing
Jewellery, hats and clothing created by Jema Hewitt/Emilly Ladybird
  • Doctor Geof, an artist, scientist, comics creator and maker of whimsical objects. His work is often satirical, usually with an historical twist, and features tea, goblins, krakens, steampunk, smut, nuns, bees, cats and more tea. Since 2004 you may have encountered him selling his comics, prints, cards, mugs, pins, and for some reason a lot of embroidered badges (including an Evil Librarian patch!) at various events. As one of the foremost Steampunk artists in the UK, Doctor Geof has worked with and exhibited at the Cutty Sark, Royal Museums Greenwich, and Discovery Museum Newcastle. He is a talented portrait artist, so please seek him out if you would like him to capture your likeness in ink and watercolour.
A round embroidered patch with a cartoon figure wearing goggles and carrying books. Text says "Evil Librarian"
Evil Librarian embroidered patch by Dr Geof

  • Jennifer Garside, a seamstress specialising in modern corsetry, which takes inspiration from historical styles. Her business, Wyte Phantom, opened in 2010, and she has made costumes for opera singers, performers and artists across the world.

  • Tracy Wells, a couture milliner based in the Lake District. She creates all kinds of hats and headpieces, often collaborating with other artists to explore new styles, concepts and genres.
Photograph of a woman wearing a steampunk hat with feathers
Millinery by Tracy Wells
  • Herr Döktor, a renowned inventor, gadgeteer, and contraptionist, who has been working in his Laboratory in the Surrey Hills for the last two decades, building a better future via the prism of history. He will be bringing a small selection of his inventions and scale models of his larger ideas. (His alter ego, Ian Crichton, is a professional model maker with thirty years experience as a toy prototype maker, museum and exhibition designer, and, most recently, building props and models for the film industry, he also lives in the Surrey Hills). 
Photograph of a man wearing a top hat and carrying a model submarine
Herr Döktor, inventor, gadgeteer, and contraptionist. Photograph by Adam Stait
  • Linette Withers established Anachronalia in 2012 to be a full-time bookbinder, producing historically-inspired books, miniature books, and quirky stationery. Her work has been shortlisted for display at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford as part of their ‘Redesigning the Medieval Book’ competition and exhibition in 2018 and one of her books is held in the permanent collection of The Lit & Phil in Newcastle after being part of an exhibition of bookbinding in 2021. She also teaches bookbinding in her studio in Leeds.

  • Heather Hayden of Diamante Queen Designs creates handmade vintage inspired, kitsch, macabre, noir accessories for everybody to wear and enjoy. Heather studied fashion and surface pattern design in the 80's near Leeds during the emergence of Gothic culture and has remained interested in the darker side of life ever since. She became fascinated with Steampunk after seeing Datamancer's Steampunk computer, loving the juxtaposition of new and old technology. This inspired her to make steampunk clothing and accessories using old and found items and upcycling as much as possible.
Photograph of a mannequin head wearing a headpiece with tassels, feathers, flowers and beads
Headpiece by Diamante Queen Designs
  • Matthew Chapman of Raphael's Workshop specialises in creating strange and sublime chainmail items, bringing ideas to life in metal that few would ever consider. From collars to corsets, serpents to squids, arms to armour and medals to masterpieces, you should visit his stall and see what creations spark the imagination.
Photograph of a table displaying a range of wearable items of chainmail jewellery and accessories
Chainmail jewellery and accessories created by Raphael's Workshop

We hope that this post has whetted your appetite for the delights available at the Late at the Library: Digital Steampunk event on Friday 13th October at the British Library. Tickets can be booked here.

02 October 2023

Last chance to see the Digital Storytelling exhibition

All good things must come to an end, no I’m not talking about the collapse of a favourite high street chain store beginning with W, but the final few weeks of our Digital Storytelling exhibition, which closes on the 15th October 2023. If you haven’t seen it yet, then this is your last chance to book!

Digital Storytelling showcases eleven different born digital works, including interactive narratives that respond to user input, reading experiences personalised by data feeds, and immersive multimedia story worlds developed through audience participation. From thought provoking autobiographical hypertexts to data journalism, uncanny ghost stories to weather poetry, steampunk literary adaptation to quirky Elizabethan medical comedy. 

Digital Storytelling exhibition image with art from Astrologaster, Seed, 80 Days, and Zombies, Run!

If you want to hear more about this exhibition, Digital Curator Stella Wisdom will be giving two talks later this week. The first of these will be in-person on Thursday evening, 5th October, in Richmond Lending Library for the Richmond Reads season of events, celebrating the joys and benefits of reading. The second will be held online on Friday morning, 6th October, for the DARIAH-EU autumn 2023 Friday Frontiers series.

We are also delighted to share that there is a chapter about interactive digital books written by Giulia Carla Rossi, Curator for Digital Publications, in The Book by Design, which was recently launched by our colleagues in British Library Publishing. Giulia’s chapter discusses innovative Editions at Play publications, including Seed by Joanna Walsh and Breathe by Kate Pullinger, which are both currently displayed in Digital Storytelling.

Before the Digital Storytelling exhibition closes, we'd love you to join us for a party on the evening of Friday 13th October. For one night only, transmedia storyteller Yomi Ayeni will transform the British Library into the Clockwork Watch story world for an immersive steampunk late event.

Genre-bending DJ Sacha Dieu will be spinning the best in Balkan Gypsy, Electro Swing, and Global Beats. Professor Elemental will perform live for us, and we really hope he’ll sing I Love Libraries! You'll also be able to view the Digital Storytelling exhibition, and there will be quieter areas to explore 19th Century London in Minecraft, play board games including Great Scott! The Game of Mad Invention with games librarian Marion Tessier, and to discover poetry with the Itinerant Poetry Librarian.

If you plan to party with us, book your ticket here.

27 September 2023

Late at the Library: Digital Steampunk

Summer may be over, but there is much to look forward to this autumn, including our Late at the Library: Digital Steampunk event on Friday 13th October 2023, where we invite you to immerse yourself in the Clockwork Watch story world, party with chap hop maestro Professor Elemental and explore 19th-century London in Minecraft. If these kind of shenanigans sound right up your street, then book tickets here and join us!

Clockwork Watch by Yomi Ayeni is currently showcased in the British Library’s Digital Storytelling exhibition, which is open until 15 October 2023. Set in a retro-futurist steampunk Victorian England, Clockwork Watch is a participatory story that includes multiple voices and perspectives on themes relating to empire, colonialism, exploitation and resistance, which is told across a range of formats, including a series of graphic novels (there is an overview of these titles here), immersive theatre, role play, and an online newspaper the London Gazette.

Drawing of a a range of people in steampunk clothing,in front of a London skyline
Steampunk Illustration by Brett Walsh

For the evening of Friday 13th October, the British Library will transform into the story world of the next part of the Clockwork Watch narrative. Featuring an auction of the last few remaining properties on Peak B, and the opening of bids for Peak C, new housing developments situated on floating islands hovering over the British Channel. Leggett and Scarper, the estate agents managing these properties, will also be inviting inventors or anyone with a solution to problems plaguing these floating islands, to submit their plans for a chance to win a Golden Ticket to one of the new homes on Peak C.

Illustration of Peak B property development on a floating island
© Clockwork Watch / Graham Leggett 2023

Attendees will be able to explore the streets of Sherlock Holmes’ London in Minecraft created by Blockworks and Lancaster University, visit the Night Market, have a photograph taken with authentic Victorian Dark Box photography, or a portrait drawn by artist Dr Geof, and that’s before the auction begins. But be warned, buying your way into this real estate dreamworld is not straightforward – this night is a golden opportunity for the Clockwork Watch underbelly of pickpockets, rogues and vagabonds.

Dressing up and joining in is heartily encouraged. To prepare for this event, we suggest reading the Clockwork Watch graphic novels, you can order these online, or purchase the first two ominbus editions from the British Library’s onsite shop. Also check out the London Gazette website and this special British Library edition of the newspaper. We hope to see you there!

Cover page of the London Gazette British Library edition
© Clockwork Watch

26 September 2023

Let’s learn together - Join us in the Cultural Heritage Open Scholarship Network

Are you working in Galleries-Libraries-Archives-Museums (GLAM) and cultural heritage organisations as research support and research-active staff? Are you interested in developing knowledge and skills in open scholarship? Would you like to establish good practices, share your experience with others and collaborate? If your answer is yes to one or more of these questions, we invite you to join the Cultural Heritage Open Scholarship Network (CHOSN).

Initiated by the British Library’s Research Infrastructure Services built on the experience of and positive responses received from the open scholarship training programme, which was run earlier this year. CHOSN is a community of practice for research support and research-active staff who work in GLAMs, organisations interested in developing and sharing open scholarship knowledge and skills, organising events, and supporting each other in this area. 

GLAMs demonstrate a significant amount of research showcases, but we may find ourselves with inadequate resources to make that research openly available, gain relevant open scholarship skills to make it happen, or even identify what forms research in these environments. CHOSN aims to provide a platform to create synergy for those aiming for good practice in open scholarship.

CHOSN flyer image, text says: Cultural Heritage Open Scholarship Network (CHOSN). Are you working in Galleries-Libraries-Archives-Museums (GLAMs)? Join Us! To develop knowledge and skills in open scholarship, organise activities to learn and grow, and create a community of practise to collaborate and support each other.

This network can be of interest to anyone who is facilitating, enabling, supporting research activities in GLAM organisations. They include but are not limited to research support staff, research-active staff, librarians, curatorial teams, IT specialists, copyright officers and so on. Anyone interested in the areas of open scholarship and works in cultural heritage organisations are welcome.

Join us in the Cultural Heritage Open Scholarship Network (CHOSN) to;

  • explore research activities, roles in GLAMs and make them visible,
  • develop knowledge and skills in open scholarship,
  • carry out capacity development activities to learn and grow, and
  • create a community of practice to collaborate and support each other.

We have set up a JISC mailing list to start communication with the network, you can join by signing up here. We will shortly organise an online meeting to kick off the network plans, explore how to move forward and to collectively discuss what we would like to do next. This will all be communicated via the CHOSN mailing list.

If you have any questions about CHOSN, we are happy to hear from you at [email protected].

15 September 2023

London Fashion Week SS24: British Library x Ahluwalia

This year we will be continuing our collaboration with the British Fashion Council running our annual student research competition, which encourages fashion students to use the British Library collections in creating their fashion designs. Once again, we will start the collaboration with a fashion show produced by a leading designer. This year we are delighted to be working with Priya Ahluwalia. Earlier this year Priya worked with the Business and IP centre, contributing to the Inspiring Entrepreneurs’ International Women’s Day event, which discussed how we can best embrace and encourage diversity and inclusion in business.

On 15 September during London Fashion Week Priya will showcase her SS24 collection at the British Library. Following the show, Priya will lead this year’s student competition, focusing on the importance of research in design process. As a part of this competition students across the UK will create fashion portfolios inspired by the Library’s unique collections.

The previous collaborations with the British Fashion Council involved a range of exciting designers such as Nabil El Nayal, Phoebe English, Supriya Lele and Charles Jeffrey.

Photo of fashion event with Pheobe English (2021)
Phoebe English’s fashion installation at the British Library in 2021

 

The previous student work utilised the riches of the Library’s digital and physical collections, with the Flickr collection being especially popular with students. However, the inspiration came from many different directions - from art books, photographs and maps to the reading room bags.

This year’s student competition will be launched in October 2023.

Collage of different images of types of coats at the British Library including a man wearing a traditional Romanian winter coat, and a technical image detailing elements of a winter coat
From the winning portfolio of Mihai Popesku, Middlesex University student, who used the Library collections to research traditional Romanian dress

Update: there's been some great coverage in the fashion press (and social media), including this Vogue article that begins 'Priya Ahluwalia’s show purposefully took place at the British Library. More than just a venue, it tied into the theme of her work: bringing forgotten or untold stories about talented people to attention'.

14 September 2023

What's the future of crowdsourcing in cultural heritage?

The short version: crowdsourcing in cultural heritage is an exciting field, rich in opportunities for collaborative, interdisciplinary research and practice. It includes online volunteering, citizen science, citizen history, digital public participation, community co-production, and, increasingly, human computation and other systems that will change how participants relate to digital cultural heritage. New technologies like image labelling, text transcription and natural language processing, plus trends in organisations and societies at large mean constantly changing challenges (and potential). Our white paper is an attempt to make recommendations for funders, organisations and practitioners in the near and distant future. You can let us know what we got right, and what we could improve by commenting on Recommendations, Challenges and Opportunities for the Future of Crowdsourcing in Cultural Heritage: a White Paper.

The longer version: The Collective Wisdom project was funded by an AHRC networking grant to bring experts from the UK and the US together to document the state of the art in designing, managing and integrating crowdsourcing activities, and to look ahead to future challenges and unresolved issues that could be addressed by larger, longer-term collaboration on methods for digitally-enabled participation.

Our open access Collective Wisdom Handbook: perspectives on crowdsourcing in cultural heritage is the first outcome of the project, our expert workshops were a second.

Mia (me) and Sam Blickhan launched our White Paper for comment on pubpub at the Digital Humanities 2023 conference in Graz, Austria, in July this year, with Meghan Ferriter attending remotely. Our short paper abstract and DH2023 slides are online at Zenodo

So - what's the future of crowdsourcing in cultural heritage? Head on over to Recommendations, Challenges and Opportunities for the Future of Crowdsourcing in Cultural Heritage: a White Paper and let us know what you think! You've got until the end of September…

You can also read our earlier post on 'community review' for a sense of the feedback we're after - in short, what resonates, what needs tweaking, what examples could we include?

To whet your appetite, here's a preview of our five recommendations. (To find out why we make those recommendations, you'll have to read the White Paper):

  • Infrastructure: Platforms need sustainability. Funding should not always be tied to novelty, but should also support the maintenance, uptake and reuse of well-used tools.
  • Evidencing and Evaluation: Help create an evaluation toolkit for cultural heritage crowdsourcing projects; provide ‘recipes’ for measuring different kinds of success. Shift thinking about value from output/scale/product to include impact on participants' and community well-being.
  • Skills and Competencies: Help create a self-guided skills inventory assessment resource, tool, or worksheet to support skills assessment, and develop workshops to support their integrity and adoption.
  • Communities of Practice: Fund informal meetups, low-cost conferences, peer review panels, and other opportunities for creating and extending community. They should have an international reach, e.g. beyond the UK-US limitations of the initial Collective Wisdom project funding.
  • Incorporating Emergent Technologies and Methods: Fund educational resources and workshops to help the field understand opportunities, and anticipate the consequences of proposed technologies.

What have we missed? Which points do you want to boost? (For example, we discovered how many of our points apply to digital scholarship projects in general). You can '+1' on points that resonate with you, suggest changes to wording, ask questions, provide examples and references, or (constructively, please) challenge our arguments. Our funding only supported participants from the UK and US, so we're very keen to hear from folk from the rest of the world.

11 September 2023

Join the British Library's Universal Viewer Product Team

The British Library has been a leading contributor to IIIF, the International Image Interoperability Framework, and the Universal Viewer for many years. We're about to take the next step in this work - and you can join us! We are recruiting for a Product Owner, a Research Software Engineer and a Senior Test Engineer (deadline 03 January 2024). 

In this post, Dr Mia Ridge, product owner for the Universal Viewer (UV) 2015-18, and Dr Rossitza Atanassova, UV business owner 2019-2023, share some background information on how new posts advertised for a UV product team will help shape the future of the Viewer at the Library and contribute to international work on the UV, IIIF standards and activities.

A lavishly decorated page from a fourteenth century manusript 'The Sherborne Missal' showing an illuminated capital with the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus and surrounded by the three Kings.With other illuminations in the margins and the text.
Detail from Add MS 74236 'The Sherborne Missal' displayed in the Universal Viewer

 The creation of a Universal Viewer product team is part of wider infrastructure changes at the British Library, and marks a shift from contributing via specific UV development projects to thinking of the Viewer as a product. We'll continue to work with the Open Collective while focusing on Library-specific issues to support other activities across the organisation. 

Staff across the Library have contributed to the development of the Universal Viewer, including curators, digitisation teams and technology staff. Staff engage through bespoke training delivered by the IIIF Consortium, participation at IIIF workshops and conferences and experimentation with new tools, such as the digital storytelling tool Exhibit, to engage wide audiences. Other Library work with IIIF includes a collaboration with Zooniverse to enable items to be imported to Zooniverse via IIIF manifests, making crowdsourcing more accessible to organisations with IIIF items. Most recently with funding from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation we updated the UV to play audio from the British Library sound collections

Over half a million items from the British Library's collections are already available via the Universal Viewer, and that number grows all the time. Work on the UV has already let us retire around 35 other image viewers, a significant reduction in maintenance overheads and creating a more consistent experience for our readers.

However, there's a lot more to do! User expectations change as people use other document and media viewers, whether that's other IIIF tools like Mirador or the latest commercial streaming video platforms. We also need to work on some technical debt, ensure accessibility standards are met, improve infrastructure, and consolidate services for the benefits to users. Future challenges include enhancing UV capabilities to display annotations, formats such as newspapers, and complex objects such as 3D.

A view of the Library's image viewer, showing an early nineteenth century Javanese palm-leaf manuscript inside its decorated wooden covers. To the left of the image there is a list with the thumbnails of the manuscript leaves and to the right the panel displays bibliographic information about the item.
British Library Universal Viewer displaying Add MS 12278

 If you'd like to work in collaboration with an international open source community on a viewer that will reach millions of users around the world, one of these jobs may be for you!

Product Owner (job reference R00000196)

Ensure the strategic vision, development, and success of the project. Your primary goal will be to understand user needs, prioritise features and enhancements, and collaborate with the development team and community to deliver a high-quality open source product. 

Research Software Engineer (job reference R00000197)

Help identify requirements, and design and implement online interfaces to showcase our collections, help answer research questions, and support application of novel methods across team activities.

Senior Test Engineer (job reference R00000198)

Help devise requirements, develop high quality test cases, and support application of novel methods across team activities

To apply please visit the British Library recruitment siteApplications close on 3 January 2024. Interview dates are listed in the job ads.

Please ensure you answer all application questions (CVs cannot be submitted). At the BL we can only shortlist with information that applicants provide in response to questions on the application.  Any questions about the roles or the process? Drop us a line at [email protected].

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