Making the Most of Metadata - British Library Labs Data Days

Wednesday, 12 February, 2014

Foyle Suite, Centre for Conservation, The British Library, St Pancras, London, NW1 2DB

This FREE event is the second of a series organised by Labs aimed at supporting our competition and showcasing what metadata is freely available for research and development and identifying issues around creating it.

Booking Form

Click here for a booking form for this FREE event*.
*Please note, we will be expecting you to bring your own laptops. We will provide free WIFI, food and refreshments.




Tea and Coffee

An overview of the event and a reminder of the details of the second Labs competition
Mahendra Mahey,
Project Manager British Library Labs

The British National Bibliography
An overview of the British National Bibliography (which has nearly 3 million records) and how it might be used for research
Neil Wilson,
Head of Metadata Services at the British Library

The Integrated Archives Manuscript Metadata
A sneak peak at the new RESTFul API being developed for the IAMS system
Davian Robinson,
Technical Project Leader, British Library

Sample Generator
How 1.8 million metadata records from the British Library Catalogue were used to create a working prototype
Pieter Francois,
Post Doctoral Research at the University of Oxford and British Library Labs first competition winner

Coffee Break

How the curatorial platform was created to re-use British Library metadata
Sara-Wingate-Gray and Kate Lomax
Artefacto, specially commended in the first British Library Labs first competition

Using Apache Pig for your research
Apache Pig is a platform for analysing large sets of structured and semi-structured data, especially designed to 'eat any data' and to be easy to use. It works well with tabular data, and can make linking, grouping, analysing and ordering millions of rows of information straightforward and with very few lines of direction.
Ben O’Steen, Technical Lead British Library Labs

Flickr Commons and 1 million images from the British Library
An update on metadata being added to the million images released on Flickr in mid December 2013, and interest in crowdsourcing
Ben O'Steen, Technical Lead British Library Labs

METADATA GAMES: Enhancing Metadata With the Power of Play (Via Skype)
Metadata Games is a free and open source suite of online browser and mobile games developed by the Tiltfactor game design and research laboratory at Dartmouth College. The project helps libraries, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions enhance their image, video, and audio media metadata. By harnessing the power of the public through compelling one and two player games, Metadata Games enables archivists and citizens to play, tag, and connect to institutions in novel and powerful ways.
Sukdith Punjasthitkul ('Sukie') and Geoff Kaufman, Metadata Games, Tiltfactor, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA

Early evening snacks and nibbles

Data / Hack workshop
A closer look at the data and working on your ideas

Summary, review / feedback of ideas, next steps


Background to the event

British Library Labs 2014 Competition

Would you like to win £3000 and a chance to work on your idea in ‘residence’ at the Library? The BL Labs Data Days events are designed to support our 2014 competition which has a deadline for entries as midnight Tuesday 22 April 2014. British Library Labs wants to hear about project ideas that need access to the digital collections held by the British Library. For this event, we are particularly interested in ideas around reusing or enhancing metadata. The winning entries will be picked by Friday 23rd May 2014 and they will then have the opportunity to work with Labs to make them a reality working between 26 May 2014 to 31 October 2014. Showcasing in November / December 2014.

The event

Metadata is "data about data" and can mean different things to different people. In a nutshell, it describes either:
  • Structural Metadata - "data about the containers of data" i.e.about the design and specification of data structures (like a "wrapper")
  • Descriptive Metadata - which describes individual instances of application data, the data content (the "item")

Metadata is not only crucial for discovering content but can reveal important patterns and new information about a collection. Typically it is found in library catalogues and it is sometimes referred to as bibliographic data and is often 'overlooked' as a rich source of data for research in its own right for scholars to interrogate, to identify patterns and make new discoveries.

This event has been organised to bring metadata to "life", to show how researchers are using metadata for their research, the lessons they have learned and what happens if there is very little metadata available and what could be done about it.

We will showcase many of the collections of metadata the British Library is making freely available for researchers to carry out their work. There will be an opportunity to discuss your research questions and ideas with various experts on what might be possible and there will be an examination of the tools that are available to enhance metadata when there is very little or none (e.g. through crowdsourcing etc). There will also be plenty of opportunities to 'experiment' with collections of metadata and tools available, especially around your ideas and burning questions you might have. We would of course be delighted if you could tell us about tools, techniques, experiences and lessons learned you have found invaluable.The event will end with a summary of the ideas, experiences and possible ways forward.

We want to talk to librarians, information science specialists, digital arts and humanities researchers, computer scientists, statisticians, hackers, and historians - and more importantly, we want them to talk to each other.

The following is a list of some of the metadata collections / tools that will be available for researchers and developers to work on their ideas and questions on the day:
  • British National Bibliography - millions of records from the British and Irish National Library catalogues
  • Samples from the Integrated Archives Manuscripts catalogue
  • Samples from the Sound and Moving Image catalogue
  • Various image collection metadata records
  • Tools available for crowdsourcing such as Metadata Games