British Library book shelves

Preserving The Knowledge of a Nation

The British Library forms the national library of the United Kingdom and provides unparalleled resource to the academic, business and scientific communities. Due to Legal Deposit, a law dating back since 1662, a copy of every publication in the UK must be provided to the British Library – this includes everything from books to maps, to digital publications such as video games and websites.

With preserving the knowledge of a nation on their shoulders, every day the Library must ingest a whole stack of media – from books, ebooks, audio, sound files, video and much more – ensuring the information is stored, not only in a way that can be easily obtained by researchers in the future, but also with the correct copywriting details attributed to it.

A Unique Problem To Solve

When The British Library initially came to NewRedo, they were facing two main challenges with their extensive database.

1. Access
It was vital that users of the library could easily discover and get access to their extensive database of media, however the existing process for doing so did not allow easy enquiry.

2.Efficiently Storing & Editing Data
With legislations and copyright restrictions changing regularly, the team at the British Library needed to be able to easily edit and update existing data. They also required the ability to easily catalogue the various digital rights available per publication. To explain the complexity of this, some publications for example, have one set of rights for the book itself and another for the images within them. Certain publications may also only be read in specific dedicated reading rooms (i.e due to their age or value).

Their existing system meant that storing and editing publication data was often a very time-consuming process, with items only available to be updated individually rather than in a more efficient bulk manner.

What NewRedo Delivered: A New Robust Solution

Following an in-depth discovery session with The British Library, we devised a specialist project team and formed a 6 week delivery plan which prioritised the most high-value functionality first, then drilled down into more detailed user cases to provide further efficiencies. Our solution required that any new functionality complied with the library’s complex XML metadata schema and integration with their existing, familiar technology was vital.

The result? By creating bespoke software, we delivered a web-based application that fit into their ingest pipeline and allowed staff distributed across the library’s two main sites easy editorial of all media. 

For every piece of media, a huge XML file existed with various formats and schemas, our new bespoke application ensured that this data could not only be edited easily but also still conformed to specific required schema, so that it could be read successfully by cataloguing tools.

The British Library team can now keep pace with all changes required whilst their users have a much more efficient and reliable process for accessing the information they need.

“Managing the rights for the British Library’s collection is fundamental to our operation, NewRedo delivered a Rights Editor solution within the timescales and budget that we needed”.

Kevan Wood, Head of Application Development

If you have a problem with your existing technology or need help with complex integrations then speak to our specialist software development team today.