January 20, 2022

National Libraries: British Library Enlists Robots for New Low Oxygen Newspaper Archive

From Wired UK:

To keep the news rags of a bygone era in circulation, the library has built a storage facility in Yorkshire with a microclimate specially created for ageing newspapers: low oxygen to prevent fires, low humidity to prevent rot. 

But low oxygen also means no people. Once the collection moves in 2014, humans will be locked out and requested papers will be delivered by a robotic shelving system

More Direct From the BL (December 2012):

The Newspaper Storage Building’s design is based on that of the Additional Storage Building, which opened at Boston Spa in 2009. Its size and characteristics make it one of the most remarkable library buildings in the world:

  • The main storage void measures 24 metres high by 24 metres wide by 64 metres high;
  • When complete, the facility will store 33 linear kilometres of newspapers;
  • The move from Colindale will involve 290,000 bound volumes of newspaper travelling to Boston Spa over seven months, at a rate of three articulated lorries per day;
  • Temperature in the void will be a constant 14 degrees C, and 55% humidity to lengthen the life of fragile newspaper;
  • Oxygen levels in the void will be reduced to 14.6% to eliminate the risk of fire.
By stabilising the condition of the collection, the Library will be able to digitise many millions more pages and make them available online.

Read the Complete BL Post/View Images

See Also: Additional Details via BL Web Page “British Library Newspaper Moves”

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.