British Library Courses

This post originally appeared on the Software Carpentry website.

I had a chance to catch up with James Baker at the British Library on Friday, and discovered that they're running an amazing series of short classes on digital skills for librarians. With his permission, I've posted their outline below, along with a few excerpts from their FAQ. Some of it is site-specific, but I think a lot would be relevant elsewhere. (Programming in Libraries was developed alongside writing these lessons for the Programming Historian and tweaked for the library audience; interested readers should also check out the practical elements of Managing Personal Digital Research Information work through this public wiki.) If you'd like more information, please mail

The Digital Scholarship Training Programme is a Digital Research team initiative to provide staff with the opportunity and space to delve into the key concepts, methods and tools that define today's digital scholarship practice.

Programming in Libraries
This course provides an introduction to querying, transforming and mining research data using the command line.
Digital Storytelling
This course explores ways in which a variety of digital technologies can be combined to tell stories about our collections that can uncover novel perspectives and engage new audiences.
This is Digital Scholarship
This course takes a thought-provoking look at how information technology has transformed research today, familiarizing you with the concepts, methods and tools that define digital scholarship.
Metadata for Electronic Resources
This course surveys current standards for describing and encoding digital artefacts. It covers digital formats for describing the contents and contexts of artefacts for use in libraries, archives, and online repositories including Dublin Core and OAI as well as their expression in different mark-up languages such as HTML, XML and RDF.
Managing Personal Digital Research Information
This course takes a look at that research management software and how it developed from supporting bibliographic uses to become repositories for research notes, digital objects, and collaborative projects that can be searched, tagged, interrogated, networked, and shared.
Communicating our Collections Online
This course explores opportunities for sharing our collection images online and on external platforms such as Europeana, Wikimedia Commons and Flickr in the context of the Library's Access and Reuse Policy.
Digitisation at the British Library
This course covers lifecycle digitisation project planning and the process for embarking on digitisation at the British Library including considerations of copyright, metadata, preservation and access issues.
Geo-referencing and Digital Mapping
Through guided tasks and short talks, this course explores how geo-referencing and geo-tagging can be used to display content in innovative, research orientated, and user-friendly ways. It shows how digital mapping techniques produce maps that can be queried, layered, and presented in novel and unexpected ways.
Information Integration: Mash-ups, API's and Linked Data
This course introduces the fundamentals of information integration and sharing from web mash-ups and API's to semantic web/linked open data technology and how these technologies are being used to communicate and connect collections online.
Cleaning up Data
This workshop aims to help you uncover hidden datasets and to gain the skills to clean and arrange those datasets in ways which makes them more accessible for further analysis. The day primarily consists of a hands-on guided introduction to getting started with OpenRefine.
Digital Collections at the British Library
This course provides an overview of the present and future landscape of our digitised collections with a focus on how they are acquired, ingested, preserved, and made available.
Crowdsourcing in Libraries, Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions
Libraries, archives and museums have a long history of participation and engagement with members of the public. This course provides an understanding of what crowdsourcing is and the different types of crowdsourcing activities that are used in a cultural heritage context.
Data Visualisation for Scholarly Analysis
This workshop provides an overview of a variety of techniques and tools available for data visualization and analysis across the humanities and sciences.


What is the Digital Scholarship Training Programme?
A programme, launched Autumn 2012, of one-day courses for staff across the Library to have the opportunity and space to delve into the key concepts, methods and tools that define today's digital scholarship practice. Based on consultation with internal stakeholders as well as those in the HE, Cultural Heritage and IT sectors, the Digital Research Team have designed this unique programme to address the training needs of staff at the British Library. A team of first-class instructors from institutions such as the Open University, University of Sheffield, City University London, and the British Library has been assembled to deliver this learning programme.
Who are the courses aimed for?
Courses are designed to be introductory and are aimed at 'Intelligent Novices', that is, colleagues who have heard about the concepts but haven't had the time, space or opportunity to really explore them in depth. It is very important to us that they be inclusive and accessible, challenging but not terrifying.
What will my day look like?
Most courses unless otherwise stated are designed to be a full-day experience and comprised of both a lecture and practical hands-on experience in order to provide staff with the best opportunity to fully engage with the topic. Colleagues will be provided with two short tea breaks and an hour break for lunch. Unfortunately catering cannot be provided.
Will there be tests?
No! But we do want to ensure that you get the most out of the day so there will typically be hands-on group activities that will give you the opportunity to apply your new knowledge. We will also ask for you to complete an anonymous self-assessment feedback form which will let us know how much you feel your knowledge of the topic has progressed from beginning to end of the course. This helps us to identify skills gaps that might need filling in the next semester's offering.

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