669 Works

Oracle Bone, Or 7694/1988 Part 1

An inscribed oracle bone (jia gu 甲骨) from the Couling-Chalfant collection at the British Library. Oracle bones were animal bones, usually ox shoulder bones or the underside of turtle shells, used for divination rituals in ancient China. Dating to the Shang dynasty (c. 1600 – 1050 BC), they bear the earliest extant form of Chinese writing and are the oldest items held in the British Library. This model was created for a British Library project...

Menak, Add MS 12309

Menak, Javanese manuscript containing stories of Amir Hamza, uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, written in Javanese in Arabic script, written between 1792 and 1812. 1,450 folios of Javanese paper. http://searcharchives.bl.uk/primo_library/libweb/action/display.do?tabs=detailsTab&ct=display&fn=search&doc=IAMS040-002042067&indx=1&recIds=IAMS040-002042067&recIdxs=0&elementId=0&renderMode=poppedOut&displayMode=full&frbrVersion=&dscnt=0&frbg=&scp.scps=scope%3A%28BL%29&tab=local&dstmp=1526286592148&srt=rank&mode=Basic&&dum=true&vl(freeText0)=menak&vid=IAMS_VU2

UK Doctoral Thesis Metadata from EThOS

This dataset has been superseded by a more recent version: https://doi.org/10.23636/1188 If you require access to an earlier version, please email openaccess@bl.uk, including the dataset title, date, and DOI in your request. The data in this collection comprises the bibliographic metadata for all UK doctoral theses listed in EThOS, the UK's national thesis service. We estimate the data covers around 98% of all PhDs ever awarded by UK Higher Education institutions, dating back to 1787....

Books related to 19th Century British Colonies derived from the Digitised 19th Century books dataset

A dataset derived from the Digitised 19th Century Books dataset which contains books related to 19th Century British Colonies. The dataset of 1288 items was created using filtering by keywords of locations and then manually checked for accuracy. The data was augmented with additional columns including 'City', 'Colony Name' and 'Continent'. The exisiting metadta was also analysed to augment gaps within the existing data including 'Place of Publication'. This dataset was curated by students at...

Ground Truth transcriptions for training OCR of historical Bengali printed texts – Recognition of Early Indian Printed Documents competition - updated with improved XML coordinates

& Tom Derrick
This dataset comprises 81 digitised images (TIFF files) drawn from a selection of early printed Bengali books (1713-1914) digitised through the Two Centuries of Indian Print project (https://www.bl.uk/projects/two-centuries-of-indian-print). Also contained are ground truth transcriptions (XML) for each page that can be used for training optical character recognition software on historical Bengali printed text. The folder contains the images and ground truth used for the REID2019 competition (https://www.primaresearch.org/REID2019/), part of ICDAR 2019 (https://icdar2019.org/competitions-2/). The images are...

British Library open access policy for staff research outputs

The Living Knowledge vision of the British Library is to make our intellectual heritage accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment. An important element of this heritage is the research output of staff of the British Library. Therefore, the aim of this policy is to ensure the wider dissemination and long-term preservation of research outputs produced by British Library staff. This will improve discoverability and in turn raise the research profile of the British...

The Liverpool Standard etc

The Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser (1832-1856, with two changes of title) was a Conservative newspaper established by local politicians to counter the rise of Radicalism and promote “Church and State” ideology.

Text extracted from digitised maps of eastern Africa circa 1880-1940

Nick Dykes
This dataset comprises an Excel spreadsheet of text extracted from almost 2,000 digital images of maps and documents held in the War Office Archive, covering a large part of eastern Africa between c.1880 and 1940. The items were catalogued and digitised with generous funding from Indigo Trust. The harvested text includes names of historical settlements and ethnic regions in eastern Africa, descriptions of historical land use, topography and vegetation, and notes of ethnographic, military or...

The British Library's Shared Research Repository

Jenny Basford, Mark Glancy & Sara Gould
Creative and cultural organisations require repositories that look good, are attractive to users and support a wide range of non-text research outputs. Join us to learn more about our shared repository for UK cultural heritage organisations.

Russian language books in the Digitised 19th century books dataset

A dataset which is a subset of the Digitised 19th Century books dataset comprising Russian Language books. The spreadsheet contains metadata of 585 books in Russian. This dataset was compiled by Nadya Miryanova a student at Lady Eleanor Holles who completed work experience at British Library Labs in 2017.

EThOS metadata files augmented with identifiers

A selection of files of the EThOS metadata augmented by the organisational identifiers listed below. These files were created to inform a deliverable which is part of the FREYA project which aims to gather enhanced provenance information in the EThOS metadata. The ReadMe file contains full details of the files,their creation and potential uses for them. These files are best used in conjunction with the 'UK Doctoral Thesis Metadata from EThOS' dataset, which is regularly...

Living with Machines - British Newspaper Titles vs Newspaper Press Directory titles

Ruth Ahnert, David Beavan, Kaspar Beelen, Mariona Coll Ardanuy, Emma Griffin, James Hetherington, Kasra Hosseini, Jon Lawrence, Katherine McDonough, Barbara McGillivray, Andre Piza, Mia Ridge, Yann Ryan, Giorgia Tolfo, Olivia Vane, Daniel Van Strien & Daniel Wilson

Text and Data Mining in EThOS

Kiera McNeice
EThOS (https://ethos.bl.uk) is the UK's national thesis service listing over 500,000 doctoral theses and providing immediate access to over 300,000 digital theses. In 2014 a new copyright exception for non-commercial text and data mining (TDM) came into force permitting certain acts of copying that would otherwise constitute copyright infringement, in particular the copying of an entire work and not just for fair dealing with the work. This report explores the opportunities, challenges, risks and workflows...

Sloane's Portuguese Books

Júlio Costa
This article aims to systematize and briefly analyse the collection of books printed at Portuguese presses which once belonged to Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753). Portuguese books (or Portuguese printing) are here defined as early books and other materials printed in Portugal (including overseas territories during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) regardless of whether the authors are Portuguese or foreign and whether the works are written in Portuguese or another language (Latin, Spanish and Italian)....

Near Vermilion Sands: The Context and Date of Composition of an Abandoned Literary Draft by J. G. Ballard

Chris Beckett
The literary archive of J. G. Ballard at the British Library includes an unpublished story set in the environs of Vermilion Sands, a fictional desert resort that is the exotic location of nine stories Ballard wrote between 1956 and 1966. The stories were subsequently collected and published as 'Vermilion Sands' (1971 and 1973). The unpublished story in the archive – which has no title, is not dated, and was eventually abandoned as a composition –...

Forewarned and Forearmed: Contents of BL, Cotton MS. Titus A. XXV, ff. 94-105

M R Geldof
Cotton MS. Titus A. XXV is a composite codex of several unrelated booklets, one of which has gone largely unnoticed and unexplored. The single gathering of ff. 94-105, preserves a fifteenth-century copy of political prophecy, five short pieces of prophetic and devotional material, and one of the three surviving examples of English instruction in the use of personal arms. This is a curious collection of thematically related material and suggests a reader who was interested...

The Charles G. Leland Collection of Romani Books and Manuscripts

Adrian S. Edwards
The American writer Charles G. Leland (1824-1903) is primarily known for his comic verses. He was, however, also a pioneering linguist who published widely on the languages of the Roma (Gypsy) people of Britain, Ireland and continental Europe. Archival collections in the American north-east hold a range of Leland's literary materials, but his Romani books and autograph manuscripts at the British Library have largely gone unnoticed by researchers. This article examines over fifty volumes of...

Some Italian Eighteenth-Century Books Acquired by British Travellers in Italy

Dennis E. Rhodes
This article studies three Italian eighteenth-century books acquired in Italy by three British travellers: Sir Charles Frederick (1709-1785), Joseph Trapp (c. 1716-1769) and I. Teckel.

The Opening of the Impeachment of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, June to September 1715: The 'Memorandum' of William Wake, Bishop of Lincoln

Clyve Jones
July 2015 is the tercentenary of the opening of the impeachment of Robert Harley, earl of Oxford, for high treason and criminal misdemeanours together with three other leading figures of Harley's ministry of 1710-14: Bolingbroke, Ormond and Strafford. William Wake, bishop of Lincoln since 1705, and soon to be promoted to be archbishop of Canterbury in 1716, witnessed most of the opening weeks of the impeachments and wrote a 'memorandum' dealing in some detail with...

From West Country Farmers to W. H. Ireland, the Shakespeare Forger: The Previous Owners of Thomas Tusser's Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie (1599), BL, C.122.bb.40

Maddy Smith
This article examines the provenance of a rare sixteenth-century copy of Thomas Tusser’s Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie (Edinburgh, 1599), an agricultural manual that, unlike previous guides, was aimed at tenant farmers at the lower end of the social order. These rural farmers had relatively modest levels of literacy and have understandably left few records of their encounters with Tusser’s manual. Yet this copy contains rare material evidence of use by a family of...

J. G. Ballard’s ‘Crash! A Science Theatre Presentation for the ICA’: The context of a lost document recovered

Chris Beckett
In the spring of 1968, J. G. Ballard drafted an eight-page outline for a multi-media 'science theatre presentation' called 'Crash!' It was to be performed at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Although the event was teasingly promoted in a full-page feature in the Sunday Mirror newspaper ('A Star Role for the Beloved Monster that Lives on Sex and Sacrifice'), the performance did not take place. The narrator was to have been Ballard's close friend,...

Sir Hans Sloane's Catalogues of his Library and Manuscripts

The files in this dataset are derived from microfilm copies of the original library catalogue of Sir Hans Sloane, now presented across 9 volumes, Sloane MS 3972 C 1-8, and the name index to the Sloane library catalogue, Sloane MS 3972 D. The catalogues are crucial for understanding the development of Sloane's collections, the present-day collections of the British Library, British Museum and Natural History Museum, and to identifying collection items which are now dispersed...

Libraries within the Library: The Origins of the British Library’s Printed Collections

Giles Mandelbrote & Barry Taylor
Dispersed along the shelves of the British Library today are many volumes that once stood side by side in private libraries. These essays explore some of the most important printed collections which were brought together to form the British Museum Library and cast new light on the individuals whose personal interests and taste they reflect.

Sir Robert Knolles and the Patronage of the Carmelite Missal (Add. MSS.29704-5, 44892): Assessing the Visual Evidence

Alexander Collins
This article reviews the question of who patronized the London 'reconstructed' Carmelite Missal (Add. MSS. 29704-5, 44892). This has been raised before, and Sir Robert Knolles (d. 1407), a major patron of London Whitefriars, suggested. However, his connection to the Missal has not been examined in any detail. Through consideration of the iconography of the Missal's patron images, as well as the wider scheme of the Missal, relationships are identified between the Missal and architectural...

Parody Playbills: The Politics of the Playbill in Britain in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

James Gregory
Recent scholarship on the British culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has explored the theatricality of politics and the politics of theatre. This essay examines the parody, mock or spoof theatre playbill – an ephemeral text often used for political purposes – during general elections, in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, locating it in a wider print culture representing politicians as theatre performers, in visual satire and in newspapers, periodicals and parliamentary...

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