Roly Keating: His Journey to the British Library

By Ojala, Marydee | Information Today, December 2012 | Go to article overview

Roly Keating: His Journey to the British Library


Ojala, Marydee, Information Today


Listening to Roly Keating explain the digitization and preservation efforts of The British Library (BL), it's hard to believe he had only been on the job as the new chief executive of the institution for less than 2 months. His grasp of the library's recent projects was particularly impressive since he gave the last portion of his talk without slides or notes due to a technical glitch.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Keating delivered the keynote address on Day 2 of the Internet Librarian International conference in late October at London's Olympia Conference Centre and delved into the journey to digital at the BL. Although new to the BL, he is far from new at understanding the power of digitized materials to reach an expanded audience.

Before becoming CEO at the library, Keating held various positions at the BBC. He joined the BBC in 1983, after graduating from Balliol College, Oxford, with a first class degree in Classics. His career at the BBC encompassed a number of roles, beginning as an intern. His succession of jobs included being a producer and director in music and arts, head of programming for UKTV, controller of digital channels, controller of arts commissioning, controller of BBC Four and BBC Two, and, before joining the BL, director of archive content since 2008. In that job, he was responsible for developing and implementing the BBC's strategy to increase digital access to its archives. This included developing partnerships with outside institutions, including the BL.

This explains why he's so comfortable talking about digitization projects at the library: It's not uncharted territory for him. The digitization initiatives, says Keating, "fit perfectly with the British Library's age-old mission of providing information for everyone who wants to do research, whether it's for academic, personal, or commercial purposes." This mission has not changed either.

He chuckled as he recalled the time the BL announced its BBC Pilot Service 2 weeks after he started as CEO. This multimedia service allows people in the BL's Reading Rooms to access 4.5 years of BBC television and radio programs recorded off-air (mid-2007-2011). It includes 2.2 million catalog records and 190,000 playable programs. The Pilot Service was one that he had initiated in his old job and had worked on from that end for 3 years.

Digitization Projects at the BL

The BL's collection is huge, consisting of more than 150 million physical holdings. Of those, only about 1% have been digitized. To completely digitize the entire collection would take "several lifetimes of work," says Keating. He credits Lynne Brindley, his predecessor at the BL, for her leadership and having the foresight to begin digitization projects, such as its Turning the Pages project (developed by Armadillo New Media Communications Ltd.) and others, well before the value of digitization was commonly accepted. More recently, the BL worked with brightsolid on a 10-year project to digitize about 40 million pages from its historical newspapers collection.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

He also feels strongly about collaborating with other organizations. The BBC and brightsolid are two examples. The BL is partnering with Google to digitize 250,000 out-of-copyright books, pamphlets, and periodicals. Does he have any qualms about collaborating with a public company such as Google? "The alignment between a profit-driven entity and the British Library needs to be managed carefully," he says. "We must protect the public interest and ensure that there is no misuse by Google of our content."

Maps, photographs, manuscripts, and letters, both in English and Arabic, about the British involvement in what we now call the Gulf Region is the focus of a cross-cultural collaboration with the Qatar Foundation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Roly Keating: His Journey to the British Library
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.