British Library Digitisation Services

Exhibitor category: Collections



The British Library has been at the forefront of digitisation and digital preservation for over 20 years and, as guardians of the nation’s treasures, we are world-leading experts in handling rare, fragile material.


By digitising with us, heritage organisations around the world have access to our expert conservators, imaging specialists and high-spec studios in St Pancras, London and Boston Spa, Yorkshire.


This year, in addition to creating a virtual tour of our own Hebrew Manuscripts exhibition, we’ve been delighted to partner with a number of museums. Here’s just a handful of highlights from 2020.



Digitising Charles Dickens’ manuscripts


“The British Library’s Digitisation Services team were enormously helpful when we were shaping the grant application for this project. We were confident these items were in safe hands with a team that knew what we needed and were familiar with this type of material.” Louisa Price, Curator at the Charles Dickens Museum


We had the enormous privilege of digitising the original books that Dickens took on his reading tours, after the Charles Dickens Museum received a National Manuscripts Conservation Trust grant to conserve, rehouse and digitise a collection of manuscripts. The images have been converted into downloadable PDFs and added to the Museum’s Picture Library. Find out more.



Hatha Yoga manuscript digitised for British Museum exhibition


“It has been a pleasure to work with the British Library in facilitating the loan of two works, the Hatha yoga manuscript, and Political Trouble in India, 1917. The British Museum and British Library often lend to each other’s exhibitions and British Library staff often anticipate our needs in terms of display and digitisation of works.” Dr Imma Ramos, Curator of ‘Tantra: enlightenment to revolution’ at the British Museum


Earlier this year we loaned our 19th century manuscript on Hatha Yoga to the British Museum for their major exhibition Tantra: enlightenment to revolution. As part of the loan agreement, we provided a digitised copy for the Museum to produce a promotional film. Using infrared photography as part of the digitisation process, we spotted some interesting changes to the illustrations. Find out more.



19th century visitor book digitised for Wallace Collection anniversary


“It is intended that this work and our collaboration with the British Library will continue, so as to make an increasing part of our Library and Archive resources available to a much wider public.” Helen Jacobsen, Senior Curator, Wallace Collection


As 19th century art collectors, visitors to Sir Richard and Lady Wallace’s London townhouse included esteemed guests such as Rodin and Thomas Hardy. In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Sir Richard’s birth, the Wallace Collection partnered with us to have their 19th century visitor book digitised, allowing this unique record of social and biographical history to be made available online.  Find out more.


We love working with our peers across the museum and heritage sector. Either digitising our own collection items as part of loan agreements for exhibitions around the world or digitising collection items and archive materials from around the world.


Through digitisation not only can we help to preserve precious collection items for future generations to enjoy, but we can open up access. Creating digital heritage content opens a world of innovative engagement opportunities.


We look forward to seeing what new and exciting museum and heritage collaborations 2021 brings! Drop us a line at [email protected]

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