Enduring War at the British Library

British_20Library_20LogoA new exhibition has just opened at the British Library as part of their contribution to the First World War Centenary. Enduring War examines how people coped with life during the war: from moments of patriotic fervour to periods of anxious inactivity, shock and despair. 

Through posters, poetry, books and pamphlets from the period, the exhibition considers attempts to boost morale at home and in the field, as well as presenting individual responses to the conflict, such as letters from Indian soldiers on the Western Front, schoolboys’ descriptions of Zeppelin raids over London and examples of the black humour expressed in trench journals.

The exhibition also showcases the Library’s work for Europeana 1914-1918, a major pan-European project to digitise more than 400,000 items from World War One through an audiovisual art installation, as well as a new World War One website, in which the user can explore over 500 newly-digitised historical sources from across Europe, with new insights by experts.

Enduring War is now open until October in the Library’s Folio Gallery and is free to visit. For further details visit the British Library website here.

Discovering Literature with the British Library

British_20Library_20LogoThe British Library has this week posted over 1000 of its greatest literary treasures online in a new website, Discovering Literature, including the manuscripts of Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Austen, Dickens and Wilde, and other unique artefacts which shed new light on the life and works of these and many other legendary authors.

Discovering Literature features over 8000 pages of collection items and explores more than 20 authors through 165 newly-commissioned articles, 25 short documentary films, and 30 lesson plans, including William Blake’s notebook, childhood writings of the Brontë sisters, the manuscript of the Preface to Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, and an early draft of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. More than 60 experts have contributed interpretation, enriching the website with contemporary research. Designed to enhance the study and enjoyment of English literature, it should prove both an invaluable resource to students and a treasure trove to those interested in this classic period of English literature.

These works from the Romantic and Victorian periods form the first phase of a wider project to digitise other literary eras, including the 20th century.

Researching Propaganda at the British Library

britlib_logoThe British Library will be hosting a free hour-long webinar in March that will explore the British Library’s collections related to propaganda.

In Summer 2013 the British Library hosted an exhibition, Propaganda: Power and Persuasion, examining the communication of power, and attempts to persuade, through the use of visually striking material and the objects of everyday life. Examples of these can be found across the British Library’s collections, and this webinar will describe the types of material that were researched, found and used for the exhibition. It will cover posters, leaflets and pamphlets, maps, philatelic materials and recorded sound.

This webinar will be of most use to people planning to use the British Library collections and Reading Rooms in their research, but will also be of interest to those more generally interested in political history, propaganda and ephemera, and will be hosted by Ian Cooke, the Social Science Curator at the British Library and the curator of the Propaganda: Power and Persuasion exhibition.

It’s being run on Wednesday 12th March from 3pm (GMT). Booking is essential to participate, and to do this, visit the following link:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8462839101017797634

Beautiful Science at the British Library

British_20Library_20LogoA new free exhibition begins at the British Library today on a scientific theme with an artistic twist.

Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight explores how our understanding of ourselves and our planet has evolved alongside our ability to represent, graph and map the mass data of the time.

From John Snow’s plotting of the 1854 London cholera infections on a map to colourful depictions of the tree of life, you can discover how picturing scientific data provides new insight into our lives.

The exhibition is running in the Folio Society Gallery until 26th May. For further details visit the British Library website here.

Europeana 1914-1918

untitledThe British Library have joined forces with the European Union’s largest historical database to help compile Europeana 1914-1918, the most important pan-European collection of original First World War source material.

Launched this week by Monika Grütters, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media in Germany, the database is the result of three years of work by 20 European countries and includes:

  • 400,000 rare documents digitised by 10 state libraries in Europe
  • 660 hours of unique film material digitised by audiovisual archives
  • The personal papers and memorabilia of some 8,000 people involved in the war, held by their families and digitised at special events in 12 countries.

The British Library is leading the UK’s contribution to the project, and has contributed 10,000 items from its own WW1 collections to the site, including trench journals from foreign troops, iconic war poetry, London schoolchildren’s accounts of Zeppelin raids and many more. The British Library has also produced a new website offering curated access to over 500 digitised historical sources from Europeana 1914-1918, including over 50 newly-commissioned articles written by leading historians.

This site can be visited via http://www.bl.uk/world-war-one. Europeana 1914-1918 can be found here: http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en

Doctoral Open Days at the British Library

blThe British Library is running Doctoral Open Days series for this academic year and booking is now open for events taking place in 2014. These events introduce new PhD students to the British Library’s unique research materials and provide orientation regarding broader information environment for their subject.

The British Library is a hub for research, with vast and varied collections, expert staff and a wide range of events. Students can learn about their collections, find out how to access them, and meet their expert staff along with other researchers in their field.

These events are aimed at PhD students who are new to the British Library. The following events are now open to book:

  • 13 January – Environmental Science
  • 17 January – Digital Research
  • 20 January – History 1
  • 31 January – History 2
  • 3 February – English 1
  • 14 February – English 2
  • 24 February – Media, Cultural Studies and Journalism

All events take place in the British Library Conference Centre, London and cost £5. Lunch and refreshments are provided. It is recommended that to make the most of the day attendees get a free Reader Pass before the event. A small number of £20 travel bursaries are available for each event to students coming from outside Greater London.

Further information and booking details are available at: http://bit.ly/1iZvmmg

British Library Newspaper Collection On the Move

Photo pf British Library gate by pshab

During 2013-14 the British Library is moving the national newspaper collection from its current home in Colindale, North London, to a purpose-built Newspaper Storage Building (NSB) in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire.

As such all Print newspapers and microfilm will be embargoed from Friday 8th November 2013, at which point the Reading Room at Colindale will close. Periodical titles remain under embargo, except for a small number of high-use titles which will remain available until the Reading Room at Colindale closes.

Future access to the collection will be via a dedicated newspaper Reading Room at the Library’s main site at St Pancras, where microfilm and digital copies will satisfy the majority of requests. Where no ‘surrogate’ copy exists, it will be possible to request the print originals from Boston Spa; if the required item is in good enough condition to travel, it will be delivered to St Pancras within 48 hours.

The moves are part of a wider programme that aims to safeguard the long-term future of the collection, which includes more than 750 million pages of local, regional and national newspapers, along with periodicals covering every aspect of life in the UK and beyond.

In the mean time, the British Library’s British Newspaper Archive website, which offers free-to-search access to up to 4 million fully searchable pages, featuring more than 200 newspaper titles from every part of the UK and Ireland, remains fully available, while our Library has access to a wealth of newspaper resources online, most notably Nexis UK, as well as the electronic archives of individual papers such as the Guardian & Observer, The Times & Sunday Times, and the Daily Mail Archive, all accessible through Library Catalogue Plus.

For further details and updates on the move, visit the British Library’s ‘Help for Researchers’ page here.

Picture This at the British Library

paddington by peggy fortnum scatterkeir

A new exhibition opened at the British Library this month exploring the history of the illustration of ten much-loved classics of British children’s literature.

Picture This: Children’s Illustrated Classics examines how classic children’s books are remembered not only through the printed text, but also through the artistic interpretation of the illustrator and their relationship with the story. Featuring at least four illustrated editions or pieces of artwork for each title, including rarely seen first editions, the exhibition focuses on 10 classics – Just So Stories, The Iron Man, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Wind in the Willows, Paddington Bear, Peter Pan and Wendy, The Hobbit, The Borrowers, The Secret Garden and The Railway Children.
 
The exhibition should prove of great appeal to artists and students of children’s literature alike. It’s free to visit and is being hosted in the British Library’s Folio Society Gallery, open daily until 26th January.
 
We have quite a range of classic & modern children’s literature downstairs among our literature collection on Level 2, including nearly all the stories listed above, particularly many works illustrated by artist Quentin Blake, whose work is highlighted in the exhibition, as well as a variety of books on the subject of illustration of children’s books. Why not have a browse?
 
Paddington Bear by Michael Bond, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum, image by Scatterkeir reproduced under CC License from Flickr.
 

Football Rules OK… at the British Library

footballs by beefy_n1

To mark the 150th anniversary of the Football Association the British Library have just put on display the very first FA football rule book in their Sir John Ritblat Gallery as part of their Treasures of the British Library display.

On 26 October 1863, at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London, a group of men came together to form The Football Association, with the objective of establishing a unified code of rules to regulate the sport. It took six meetings to agree on the original 13 laws of football, which were reproduced in the FA Minute Book, lovingly compiled and handwritten by Ebenezer Cobb Morley, and is today regarded as the most important book in the history of the world’s most popular sport.

The rule book will be on display in the gallery between 21st August – 17th December. It is the latest addition among a host of treasures from the British Library vaults, including a 13th century reissue of the Magna Carta, William Shakespeare’s first folio, some of the very earliest versions of some of the classic works of English literature, and a selection of original written lyrics by the Beatles.

For further details of the exhibition, visit the British Library website here:

http://www.bl.uk/whatson/permgall/treasures/index.html

Footballs image by beefy_n1, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Benjamin Britten at the British Library

Benjamin Britten in bronze by Michael AmbjornA unique range of exhibitions and events to mark the centenary of the birth of the celebrated English composer Benjamin Britten begins this month at the British Library.

Poetry in Sound: the Music of Benjamin Britten 1913-1976 explores the life and career of a composer whose work spanned practically every musical genre and who drew his inspiration from literature and poetry, including a collaboration with W.H. Auden.

Alongside the manuscripts of some of Britten’s most celebrated compositions, the exhibition will feature photographs, concert programmes, and hitherto unpublished recordings of his music. There will also be a series of talks, forums and musical events through the summer.

The British Library has also digitised all of its Britten manuscripts, which are now available online in a special arrangement with the rights-holders. 

The exhibition, which is part of Britten 100 festival celebrating the centenary of the composer, opens this month and runs through until September. For further details visit the British Library site here:

http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/britten/index.html

Bronze bust of Benjamin Britten by Georg Ehrlich, photographed by Michael Ambjorn, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.