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Friday, 16th January 2015

Living Knowledge: The British Library 2015-2023

Source: British Library

From The Changing Context:

2020 Vision painted a vivid picture of what the external environment might look like at the end of the current decade. Four big themes emerged: of constant and rapid change in technology; of increasing expectations from information users and more diverse sources of provision; of a more collaborative, less linear approach to learning and scholarly communications; and of a world in which knowledge institutions will need to reinvent and reposition themselves to create efficiency and demonstrate their value.

Five years on, all these trends continue: the pace of technology change has not let up; the expectations of digital service quality among researchers and information users have continued to grow; collaborative research models are becoming increasingly common.  But the landscape is complex: our observation of the sectors we work in – research, higher education, culture, information services – has identified a number of other trends that have matured since 2020 Vision and Growing Knowledge were published, and which in different ways will influence our priorities for the future:

First, it is now clear that we are living through a revolution in the creation, analysis and exploitation of data in all its forms, from the vast scientific and social datasets typically badged as ‘big data’ to the innovations already being derived from analysing digitised cultural content in the humanities. We are only just beginning to appreciate the distinctive and dynamic roles that libraries have to play in this revolution: as curators of vast and rapidly growing collections of digitised historic items and born-digital content; as creators and analysers of new datasets; as experts in setting standards, improving data and enabling links in a complex digital landscape; and as centres for cross-disciplinary working and business innovation....

At the same time, the idea of openness, in multiple ways, is having a profound effect on the landscape of information services and cultural provision. The Open Data movement has been influential in the unlocking of publicly-held information for analysis and re-use by researchers, businesses and the public.

+ Direct link to Report (PDF; 2.4 MB)



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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