British Library plans for a digital future

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British Library plans for a digital future

Kathleen Hall

The British Library has laid out plans to keep pace with rapid changes in technology over the next decade by concentrating on digital media, in its newly announced 2020 Vision strategy.

Dame Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library, said the organisation aims to significantly increase its digitisation activity and web visibility through a range of partnerships with private and public providers.

"If we in the UK are going to safeguard our intellectual heritage and ensure it can be used by future generations of researchers, it is essential that we make a step-change in the amount of digital content that we collect, store and make accessible for the long term," she said.

By the year 2020, 25% of all titles worldwide will be published in print form alone, added Brindley. "Our research suggests that as use of mobile devices become ubiquitous, users will expect seamless access to information and services, and will assume that everything is available on the web," she said.

Earlier this year The British Library completed a two-year trial of web archiving technology that will see it preserve terabytes of information for future generations.

British Library predictions for 2020

Technology will be in a constant state of "beta" - rapidly changing and, by 2020, resulting in a very different environment from today.

The new generation of 'digital natives' will enjoy wider access than ever to a huge range of online content in all formats; they will assume that everything is available on the web - an incorrect assumption, as even by 2020 a huge amount of legacy content will remain undigitised

The online landscape will increasingly resemble the semantic web - in which computers become capable of extracting, classifying and analysing data to create context from content

The business models underpinning scholarly publishing will change dramatically - more teaching, learning and research will take place virtually and multi- and inter-disciplinary research will continue to grow in importance

Knowledge institutions will need to reposition themselves, demonstrating the distinct value they add to the knowledge economy

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