British Library


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British Library,

national library of Great Britain, located in London; one of the world's great libraries. Long a part of the British MuseumBritish Museum,
the national repository in London for treasures in science and art. Located in the Bloomsbury section of the city, it has departments of antiquities, prints and drawings, coins and medals, and ethnography.
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, the library collection originated in 1753 when the government purchased the Harleian LibraryHarleian Library
, manuscript collection of more than 7,000 volumes and more than 14,000 original legal documents, formed by Robert Harley, 1st earl of Oxford, and his son Edward, 2d earl of Oxford.
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, which belonged to Sir Robert Bruce CottonCotton, Sir Robert Bruce,
1571–1631, English antiquarian. The Cottonian collection of books, manuscripts, coins, and antiquities became a part of the British Museum when it was founded in 1753.
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, and groups of manuscripts. The collection grew four years later when George II donated his royal library, and was considerably enlarged with the addition of George III's library in 1823. It flourished in the 19th cent. under the leadership of Sir Anthony PanizziPanizzi, Sir Anthony
, 1797–1879, British librarian, b. Italy. A political exile, Panizzi settled in England in 1823 and was naturalized in 1832. He was associated with the British Museum library as assistant librarian (1831–37), keeper of printed books
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. The library remained a part of the museum until 1973 when it was made a separate entity by act of Parliament. The museum complex was famous for its large, copper-domed Round Reading Room, for 140 years (1857–1997) the haunt of an array of scholars, authors, and other luminaries. In 1997 the library was moved to vast new quarters at London's King's Cross. Designed by British architect Colin St. John Wilson, the new library is spacious and multileveled, with four large reading rooms and several exhibition areas. Traditionally a nonlending reference library with manuscript and printed books divisions, the British Library now has large lending and bibliographic departments and is the copyright depository library for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. By the beginning of the 21st cent. it housed some 150 million items, including books, magazines, newspapers, manuscripts, maps, prints, drawings, musical scores, patents, various kinds of sound recordings, and stamps. The library also maintains an online catalog. Outstanding works in its collection include a unique papyrus of Aristotle, four original Magna Cartas, Beowulf, the 4th-century Greek Codex Sinaiticus Bible, a Gutenberg Bible, Froissart's Chronicles, the Lindisfarne Gospels, Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks, and the Diamond Sutra (868), probably the oldest surviving printed book.

Bibliography

See N. Barker, Treasures of the British Library (1988); A. E. Day, The British Library (1988) and Inside the British Library (1998).

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References in periodicals archive ?
According to the British Library, the magazine archive is a key source for understanding every aspect of late twentieth-century writing and publishing, including practical financial and administrative decisions; relationships between literary agents, publishers, and authors; and issues of gender, race, and foreign-language representation in British publishing.
Richard Davies, Head of the British Library - Qatar Foundation Partnership at the British Library, said: "The next phase of the partnership will bring to life a significant and previously unseen amount of archival material from the British Library, which will have a tangible impact on how research is done on the Gulf region."
The Taiwanese delegation were a given tour of the British Library's Business and IP Centre, provided frameworks for and recent examples of collaboration between the British Library and third parties, and were introduced to the mechanism through which collaboration occurs.
The displays have been developed by the British Library in collaboration with public libraries through the Living Knowledge Network, a partnership between the British Library, 22 major public libraries across the UK, the National Library of Scotland and the National Library of Wales.
This does not only affect the British Library's collections--there are sound archives across the nation which risk being lost forever if they are not preserved.
Guests were treated to canapes and drinks, while actor Rochi Rampal performed a Shakesperean recital and speeches were delivered by David Potts, head of services at LoB; Roly Keating, chief executive at The British Library, and Coun Penny Holbrook, the council's Cabinet Member for Skills Learning and Culture.
The British Library says this deal will be a pilot for links with other major libraries throughout the country.
Following a requirements gathering and analysis exercise the British Library concluded that the 'Wellcome Player' (developed by Digirati on behalf of the Wellcome Library) was the viewer most likely to meet their requirements for their diverse audiences.
The British Library said that the fault lied with newly installed wi-fi service from a third-party provider.
The manuscripts and documents - some of them unseen in public - were given to the British Library by the Fab Four's biographer Hunter Davies who wanted to ensure his collection was kept intact.
QThe relocation of the massive British Library at the British Museum to its newly constructed building stirred widespread comment.
Writing North East: Coalfields and Quaysides is a local follow-up to the popular British Library exhibition, Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands.

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