British Library Labs Symposium (2015)

British Library Labs Monday, 2 November 2015 from 09:30 to 17:00 (GMT) London, United Kingdom

British Library Labs Symposium (2015)

The Symposium showcases innovative projects which use the British Library’s digital content, and provides a platform for development, networking and debate in the Digital Scholarship field.

Dr Adam Farquhar will launch the third annual British Library Labs Symposium, followed by a keynote from Professor David De Roure, Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre. Chief Librarian, Caroline Brazier, will present awards to the Competition (2015) winners, who will follow with presentations on their winning projects. After lunch, this year’s Alice’s Adventures Off the Map winners will be announced, followed by presentations from the winners of the BL Labs Awards, which recognises projects that have actively used the British Library’s digital content in Research, Creative/Artistic and Entrepreneurial ways. The afternoon will end with a thought provoking panel session discussing the ‘Ups and Downs’ of Open, chaired by George Oates, Director of Good, Form & Spectacle. The Symposium will conclude with a networking reception.

Date and Time
Monday 2nd of November, 2015, 09:30 – 16:45*
*Registration is at 09:30, the event starts at 10:00 prompt. The closing reception will begin at 16:30.


The British Library, Conference Centre, Auditorium, London, NW1 2DB, United Kingdom.
(Please collect your badge and head upstairs to the first floor and follow the signs to the auditorium)

Please refer to the following map detailing how to get to the event.

The delegate list for this event is available here.

The biographies of the speakers and organisers are available here.

09:30 – 10:00
Registration and Coffee – Foyer, Conference Centre
Feel free to take the opportunity to have a try of the LibCrowds: Convert-a-Card project, play with the Mechanical Curator Arcade Machine, use the Library Wall or browse some of our Digital Content in the foyer.
The event will start at 1000 sharp in the main auditorium.

10:00 – 10:05
Welcome and introduction
Adam Farquhar, Head of Digital Scholarship, British Library

10:05 – 11:00
Keynote: Intersection, Scale, and Social Machines: the Humanities in the digital world
David De Roure. Professor of e-Research at University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre.

Today we are witnessing several shifts in scholarly practice, in and across multiple disciplines, as researchers embrace digital techniques to tackle established questions in new ways and new questions afforded by digital and digitized collections, approaches, and technologies. This lecture addresses current activity in digital scholarship, framing it in its multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary settings.

David De Roure is director of Oxford e-Research Centre. He has strategic responsibility for Digital Humanities at Oxford and directed the national Digital Social Research programme for ESRC, for whom he is now a strategic adviser. His personal research is in Computational Musicology, Web Science, and Internet of Things. He is a frequent speaker and writer on digital scholarship and the future of scholarly communications.

11:00 – 11:15
Presentation to the 2015 British Library Labs Competition winners
Caroline Brazier, Chief Librarian of the British Library
Caroline will present awards to the winners of the 2015 British Library Labs competition.

11:15 – 11:45
Crowdsourcing Objects: repurposing the 1980s arcade console for scholarly image classification – winner of the British Library Labs 2015 competition
Dr Adam Crymble, Lecturer of Digital History, University of Hertfordshire
This project experiments with ‘crowdsourcing objects’, to replace the ubiquity of the crowdsourcing website with the scarcity of a physical machine. Inspired by the maker community and physical computing, this project takes the crowdsourcing experience off the web and puts it into a 1980s-style arcade game, replete with joysticks and plastic shiny buttons. This old interface put to new uses acknowledges that people increasingly associate their computers with work, and by providing a digital experience that doesn’t feel like a computer, we can tap into energy currently reserved for play.

Read more about the project here.

11:45 – 12:15
Political Meetings Mapper: bringing the British Library maps to life with the history of popular protest – winner of the British Library Labs 2015 competition
Dr Katrina Navickas, Lecturer of Digital History, University of Hertfordshire
The Political Meetings Mapper project developed a tool to extract notices of meetings from historical newspapers and plot them on layers of historical maps in the British Library’s collections. It visualised the locations of political events in the crucial era of the 1830s and 1840s, when Chartism, the first and largest movement for democracy in Britain, held thousands of meetings and demonstrations to campaign for the vote. By plotting the meetings listed in the Chartist newspaper, The Northern Star, from 1838 to 1844, it discovered new spatial patterns in where popular politics happened, and in so doing, helped answer the questions of how and why it happened.

Read more about the project here and see a video summarising the project here.

12:15 – 13:15
Lunch – Foyer

13:15 – 13:30
Alice’s Adventures Off the Map 2015
Stella Wisdom, Digital Curator, British Library
Stella will talk about this year’s entries and announce the winners of the Off the Map competition which challenged budding designers to use digital collections from the British Library as inspiration to create exciting interactive digital media.

More information about this year’s winners are available here.

13:30 – 15:00

Presentations of BL Labs Awards: Research, Creative/Artistic and Entrepreneurial
British Library Labs has been working with researchers, artists and entrepreneurs around the world over many years to enable them to make use of the British Library’s digital content/ data. This session celebrates projects that entered the BL Labs Awards (2015). This will be followed by special presentations from the winners of each category.

Research Awards
Presented by Aquiles Alencar-Brayner, Digital Curator, British Library
Overview of entries for Research use, a presentation of the prize to the winner and a talk from them about their work.

Presented by Nora McGregor, Digital Curator, British Library
Overview of entries for Creative/Artistic use, a presentation of the prize to the winner and a talk from them about their work.

Presented by Rossitza Atanassova, Digital Curator, British Library 
Overview of entries for Entrepreneurial use, a presentation of the prize to the winner and a talk from them about their work.

Jury’s Special Mention Prize
Presented by Mia Ridge, Digital Curator, British Library
Mia will present a special prize to an entrant of the BL Labs Awards whom the judging panel felt deserved a special award for outstanding work.

A flyer for Labs winners for 2015 is available here.

15:00 – 15:30

Coffee Break – Foyer
Please note that the next session will start at 15:30 prompt.

15:30 – 16:15
The Ups and Downs of Open
George Oates, Director of Good, Form & Spectacle Ltd
George will chair a panel session about the issues, challenges and value of memory organisations opening up their digital content for use by others. Panel members will include:

  • Mia Ridge, Digital Curator, British Library
  • Jenn Phillips-Bacher, Web Manager, Wellcome
  • Paul Downey, Technical Architect, Government Digital Service

16:15 – 16:45

Final reception (Chaucer and Foyer area)
Please join us for a drink, mingle and network with the delegates, Library staff and speak to the Labs team.