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British Library starts campaign to save recordings

The British Library is hoping to ensure rare recordings are preserved for future generations by digitising its entire sound archive of around 6.5 million recordings, at a cost of £40 million.

Its collection is spread over more than 40 formats, including wax cylinders and lacquer discs, and experts may have just 15 years to complete the task before many become unplayable.

The library has now launched a campaign, Living Knowledge, to raise funds to store the archive electronically.


A unique fly-through of life in 17th century London

A group of students has turned an old map from the British Library into a realistic 3D animation of 17th Century London.

The students, from De Montford University in Leicester, picked up first prize in the 'Off The Map' competition for their fly-through of London as it looked before the Great Fire of 1666.

The team impressed judges with attention to detail and tightly packed streets. Some of the buildings are hypothetical, but all streets are based on original maps around Pudding Lane. The main animation begins after 50 seconds.

You can visit the students' blog by clicking here

Football rulebook goes on display

A rule book credited with helping shape the national sport of football goes on display at the British Library today.

The 1863 FA Minute Book charts the regulations for "the beautiful game", including the size of the pitch, how the game should start, what happens when the ball goes out of play and the rules on handling the ball.

The 1863 FA Minute Book

Roy Hodgson, manager of the England men's side, will join Football Association chairman Greg Dyke to present the vintage exhibit to the British Library as part of the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations.

The exhibition runs from today until the 17 December.

Maintaining digital record 'priceless'

Legal deposit arrangements remain vitally important.

Preserving and maintaining a record of everything that has been published provides a priceless resource for the researchers of today and the future.

So it's right that these long-standing arrangements have now been brought up to date for the 21st century, covering the UK's digital publications for the first time.

– Ed Vaizey, Culture Minister


"There was a danger we'd lose our digital heritage"

Ten years ago, there was a very real danger of a black hole opening up and swallowing our digital heritage, with millions of web pages, e-publications and other non-print items falling through the cracks of a system that was devised primarily to capture ink and paper.

The regulations now coming into force make digital legal deposit a reality, and ensure that the Legal Deposit Libraries themselves are able to evolve - collecting, preserving and providing long-term access to the profusion of cultural and intellectual content appearing online or in other digital formats.

– Roly Keating, chief executive of the British Library

British Library to archive web

Regulations come into force at midnight tonight, which allow the British Library to begin archiving the entire UK web domain.

Billions of webpages, blogs and e-books will also be preserved in order to document the digital age.

The library could eventually collect copies of every public Tweet or Facebook page in the British web domain.

The British Library will soon be able to archive websites Credit: PA

British Library buys Europe's oldest surviving book

The gospel is on display in King's Cross. Credit: British Library.

Europe's oldest book - the St Cuthbert Gospel - has been saved for the nation, after the British Library raised £9m to buy it.

The gospel dates back to the seventh century and lay buried in a saint's coffin for hundreds of years.

It was produced in the north of England and buried alongside St Cuthbert, an early English Christian leader, on the island of Lindisfarne off the coast of Northumberland in around AD698.

The coffin was moved off the island to escape Viking raiders and the book was rediscovered when the coffin was reopened in Durham Cathedral in 1104.

The gospel, which is now on show at the library in King's Cross, is the earliest surviving intact book from the whole of Europe. Even its original red leather binding survives today.

The chief executive of the British Library, Dame Lynne Brindley, said: "This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure the Gospel for the nation and we were both grateful and touched that so many people felt moved to support our campaign."

The British Library raised £9m to purchase the book. Credit: British Library.