May 19, 2022

UK: “The British Library is Part of a New £19 Million National Programme – Towards a National Collection”

From The British Library:

The British Library is part of a new £19 million national programme [$23.3 Million/USD] – Towards a National Collection – that will take the first steps towards creating a unified virtual ‘national collection’. Funded by UK Research and Innovation and led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) this five-year research programme aims to transform the way that cultural treasures and unique collections located in the UK can be discovered, accessed, researched and enjoyed by audiences across the globe.

A consortium of world-renowned museums, galleries, libraries and heritage organisations recognised by UKRI as Independent Research Organisations (IROs) will work together with other cultural organisations and universities across the UK to use digital technologies to create new opportunities for research, enable new stories to be told, and make new connections between disparate areas of the past and the present. The programme will extend collaborations between universities, regional partners and IROs to share knowledge, skills and capacity across the UK, preparing the ground for further research collaborations at both a national and international scale.


The AHRC has appointed Rebecca Bailey, Head of Exhibitions and Outreach for Historic Environment Scotland, as the Programme Director, and have formally announced the eight foundation projects that will be technology pathfinders for the first phase of the programme. The British Library is directly involved in three of these projects, working closely with other UK national heritage organisations and universities:

Persistent Identifiers as IRO Infrastructure – led by Rachael Kotarski (the British Library’s Head of Research Infrastructure Services) will explore the benefits of using globally unique identifiers across collections, and how to implement them to support persistence, improve discovery, and enable tracking and citation of heritage collections.

Locating a National Collection – led by Gethin Rees (the Library’s Lead Curator Digital Map Collections) will investigate how combining geo-spatial metadata across collections can open up new forms of research, engagement and interaction for different audiences.

Practical Applications of IIIF as a Building Block Towards a Digital National Collection – led by the National Gallery with Torsten Reimer, the Library’s Head of Research Services, will examine use of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) as a pathway to creating high quality, interactive image resources and tools across digital collections.

The themes for the eight foundation projects reflect the aspirations and challenges we have in the evolution of the digital heritage collections of the British Library and other organisations in this space.

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.