British Library Labs Awards 2016

British Library Labs Awards 2016

The annual Awards, introduced in 2015, formally recognises outstanding and innovative work that has been carried out using the British Library’s digital collections and data. This year, they will be commending work in four key areas:
  • Research - A project or activity which shows the development of new knowledge, research methods, or tools.
  • Commercial - An activity that delivers or develops commercial value in the context of new products, tools, or services that build on, incorporate, or enhance the Library's digital content.
  • Artistic - An artistic or creative endeavour which inspires, stimulates, amazes and provokes.
  • Teaching / Learning - Quality learning experiences created for learners of any age and ability that use the Library's digital content.

A prize of £500 will be awarded to the winner and £100 for the runner up for each category at the Labs Symposium on 7th November 2016 at the British Library in London, courtesy of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The deadline for entering is midnight BST on 5th September 2016.

The Awards winners and runners up for 2015 produced a remarkable and varied collection of innovative projects in Research, Entrepreneurship, Creative/Artistic categories and a special Jury's prize:


  • Winner - “Representation of disease in 19th century newspapers” by the Spatial Humanities research group at Lancaster University analysed the British Library's digitised London based newspaper, The Era through innovative and varied selections of qualitative and quantitative methods in order to determine how, when and where the Victorian era discussed disease.
  • Runner up - The Palimpsest project based at the University of Edinburgh, produced a tool which was able to discover and make available a broad spectrum of books (including a collection of digitised 19th century books from the British Library) and forgotten gems about Edinburgh through various interfaces including a map.


  • Winner - “Redesigning Alice” by Dina Malkova produced a range of bow ties and other gift products inspired by the incredible illustrations from a digitised British Library original manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground by Lewis Carroll and sold them through the Etsy platform and in the Alice Pop up shop at the British Library in London.
  • Runner up - British Library “Library Wall”by Sara Wingate-Gray and Kate Lomax (Artefacto) created an installation/poster resembling a bookcase, which has a curated collection of texts from the British Library's 19th century books collection which can be accessed through pointing “smart” mobile devices at the 'Wall'.

Creative / Artistic

Jury's Special Mention

  • Winner - Indexing the BL 1 million and Mapping the Maps by volunteer James Heald describes both work he has led and his collaboration with others to produce an index of 1 million 'Mechanical Curator collection' images on Wikimedia Commons from the British Library Flickr Commons images. This gave rise to finding 50,000 maps within the collection partially through a map-tag-a-thon which are now being geo-referenced.

A further range of inspiring work has been carried out with the British Library's digital content and collections.

Criteria for entry:

  1. You must be aged 18 or over to enter the Awards.
  2. Your work must include at least one item of British Library digital content or data.
  3. The deadline for submission is midnight BST on 5th September 2016.
  4. You must agree to the terms and conditions before entering.

Things to consider doing before you apply:

  1. We strongly recommend you look at some of the previous entries, examples of the British Library's digital collections and data, judging process, resources and our FAQs page.
  2. Contact Labs if you have any questions.
  3. Attending one of our events.
  4. Use @BL_Labs and #bldigital hash tag if you want to discuss your entry openly.

What happens to your entries?

The descriptions of selected entries will be made available on our other uses of digital content page.

Intellectual property

Participants must ensure that a project does not in any way infringe copyright or other intellectual property rights of any third party.

Submitting your entry

You need to submit your entry by using the form and agree to the terms and conditions before you submit.