A ‘Digital Magical Mystery Tour’ of British Library collections & projects

Delve into the magical world of the British Library’s digital collections and hear about how they are used for research and creativity.

The History Trust of South Australia in partnership with the North Terrace Cultural Precinct Innovation Lab is pleased to host British Library Labs for a public talk on digital cultural heritage and the scale, complexity and diversity of digital materials collected and preserved by the British Library, the UK’s national legal deposit library.

At the British Library, millions of digital items and objects are being created and collected for the world to use, such as digitised manuscripts, sheet music, newspapers, books, maps, archived websites, radio programmes, performances, TV news broadcasts, and artworks. British Library Labs Manager Mahendra Mahey will take you on a journey through some extraordinary examples of how these digital collections are being used for research, creativity, innovation, education, inspiration and enjoyment all around the world.

There will be a special emphasis on the innovative work of British Library Labs, sometimes known as ‘BL Labs’. You will learn about the global efforts of BL Labs in leading and building an international collaborative network of digital cultural heritage innovation Labs (or GLAM Labs); sharing practice, knowledge, tools and experience across borders to ensure institutions and the digital cultural heritage they hold are increasingly open and accessible for the whole world to enjoy.

The presentation will conclude with a Q&A session followed by light refreshments where you will have a chance to ask further questions of Mahendra and the British Library.

Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment! Click here to book.


Speaker Biography

Mahendra Mahey has been leading and managing British Library Labs (‘BL Labs’), from its inception in 2013. Based in the Digital Scholarship department at the British Library, it was previously an Andrew W. Mellon foundation funded activity. BL Labs is now transitioning into a British Library supported sustainable service to provide access to and expertise on inspiring the use of and experimentation with its vast and unique digital collections and data in new, exciting and innovative ways.

‘BL Labs’ helps researchers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators and innovators to work on, experiment, incubate and develop their ideas of working with the BL’s digital content through competitions, awardsprojectsexhibitions and other engagement activities. It does this by providing services and infrastructure to enable, facilitate and give access to its data openly and onsite for research, inspiration and enjoyment for everyone in the world. BL Labs provides a platform to promote and celebrate success in projects and communicate how lessons are learned from how challenges are addressed and overcome.

Mahendra has been sharing his knowledge and experiences through an international community with his colleagues who are helping to build it with cultural heritage organisations such as Galleries, Libraries, Museums and Archives (GLAMs) that either had, are planning or already have digital experimental ‘Labs’. By generously sharing and ‘paying forward’ their expertise, knowledge and experiences the group hope to ensure that organisations don’t have to ‘re-invent the wheel’, they can learn from each other and enable collaboration across borders through their digital collections, data, services, infrastructure and practice. This group aims that this work will result in building better digital ‘Labs’ for their organisations and their users and help to further open up their data and services for everyone, from any background in the world to use on projects. It is hoped that this will create a self-sustaining continuous and virtuous cycle of examples to constantly inspire others to use and reuse digital collections, providing a return on the considerable investment organisations have made in preserving and providing access to their digitised and born digital content.

For the last 20 years, Mahendra has built a strong reputation of working with digital technology and data as a manager, educator, adviser and community builder in Further and Higher Education, cultural heritage, businesses and other sectors for researchers, artists, educators, curators, entrepreneurs, software developers, librarians and other professionals both in the UK and internationally.

He tweets at @BL_Labs and @mahendra_mahey