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Growing Knowledge The Evolution Of Research

British Library encourages researchers to join the debate on the future of research technologies, spaces and content, that will change the way we do research in the 21st century

Growing Knowledge – the Evolution of Research (12 October 2010 – 16 July 2011), will today be formally opened by Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, exhibition Researcher in Residence Dr Aleks Krotoski and British Library Chief Executive, Dame Lynne Brindley. Showcasing some never-seen-before research tools, thought-provoking content and futuristic design in a fully interactive research environment, the exhibition aims to challenge our audiences on how research is changing and ask what they want to experience from the library of the future. www.bl.uk/growingknowledge

Aleks Krotoski, said: “Growing Knowledge will bring to life technologies that will pose many interesting questions. Will it make us more confused, bombard us with too much information, or will it speed things up, help us to collaborate, make things easier and enable better and more robust research?”

Over the next nine months, visitors to Growing Knowledge will experience an exhibition not seen before in the British Library. Created to encourage engagement and debate, researchers will be able to physically interact with tools such as Sony’s 360-degree Autostereoscopic Display, a Microsoft Surface Table and HP/Haworth interactive research pods as well as view all the content and tools online.

Animated signage will greet all visitors as they enter the Front Hall of the British Library creating a sense of anticipation and intrigue. Inside the exhibition, visitors will be able to follow their own user-journey by selecting one or more tools to try out, watch video and twitter displays or go back to the exhibition online from another location.

Andrew Miller MP (Chair of the Science and Technology Committee) said: “In an age where information flows across continents and into our hands seamlessly, Growing Knowledge is a glimpse of what the future may hold for the researcher of today and tomorrow. A true ‘Tomorrow’s World’, this exhibition will open our eyes to the power, value and benefit of collaborative and interactive research and the tools and techniques that we will all have at our disposal in the future. I am therefore delighted to open Growing Knowledge and hope that as many people as possible enjoy the experience.”

Through the Library’s partnership with Sony Corporation, visitors will see for the first time in the UK, a prototype of the RayModeler: 360-degree Autostereoscopic Display. Using gesture control, viewers will be able to view static and moving 3D images and video, offering a glimpse of future collaborative working.

Users will also experience an immersive digital environment in specially-designed multimedia research workstations through our partnerships with HP and Haworth.  Using large touch-screens, each pod will offer access to interactive demonstrations, enabling researchers to experience digital research tools of the future.  From these pods users will be able to explore tools such as: digital maps (New York Public Library’s Map Rectifier Tool), live crowd-sourcing (BBC and Galaxy Zoo), digital assets across multiple media (British Library Crimean War Project), search audio and video footage (BL/Microsoft Audio Search) and visualise how the web can provide access, data collection, search, visualization and analysis to support science (Allen Brain Atlas, Allen Institute for Brain Science).

Researchers interested in collaborative work spaces can experience a Microsoft Surface Table containing a digital version of the world’s longest painting, the 19th century Garibaldi Panorama, developed by Brown University with support from Microsoft Research. 4½ feet (1.4 metres) high, painted on both sides and 273 feet (83 metres) long, this treasure poses huge challenges for viewing in physical form. Using the virtual version, researchers will be able to gather around the Surface table, scroll the entire panorama and expand, extract and zoom in on detail.

As well as guided journeys through the exhibition, visitors will view an animated video wall featuring interviews with leading experts in the field of digital research. These will include personalities such as Cameron Neylon (Senior Scientist, Science and Technology Facilities Council); Chris Lintott (Galazy Zoo); Nigel Shadbolt (Professor of Artificial Intelligence, University of Southampton) and Researcher in Residence Dr Aleks Krotoski who will discuss issues such as: What is digital research? What makes good research and how and will research change?

To ensure broad access to the exhibition, Growing Knowledge will be available online at www.bl.uk/growingknowledge. Visitors who register when they visit the exhibition will be able to continue their interaction with the content online and contribute to the evaluation from home, café or external work space.

A major component of the Growing Knowledge exhibition will be evaluating the tools and services that will be showcased with our research audiences. Working with JISC and the Ciber Research Group, part of UCL, Library users and exhibition visitors will be invited to leave their feedback either at the exhibition or online to voice their views and indicate their interest in future discussions. The Library will be holding discussion groups for postgraduate students to explore some of the issues in more depth, for example: How do physical spaces support digital research? How do physical spaces enhance working with digital technology? Do any of the tools the Library is showcasing help with some of the research problems they encounter?

This information will be fed into the overall evaluation of the ‘Growing Knowledge’ project, for which a final evaluation report will be delivered in July 2011, as well as two interim reports to be delivered in December 2010 and March 2011.

Richard Boulderstone, the British Library’s Director of e-Strategy and Information Systems, said: “Over the last year we have been speaking to teams of researchers across the UK and around the world, getting a taste of how research is changing. We’ve met with researchers from archaeologists and performance historians to bioinformaticists, who are using the power of technology and the web to generate more collaborative and intuitive research models. Growing Knowledge will explore some of these disciplines as well as others, allowing visitors to interrogate, both physically and online these areas and listen to explanatory videos from experts, who will also reflect on how research is changing, and how it may in the future.

Boulderstone continued: “We hope Growing Knowledge will inspire and intrigue in equal measure. For the British Library, it gives us an opportunity to define the role we will play in this brave new world. Growing Knowledge is also an exciting collaboration with a range of our partners. The Library works closely with many partners to help fill gaps in our knowledge and this exhibition provides an opportunity to work together to understand how researchers will use these tools in the future.”

Aleks Krotoski, Growing Knowledge’s Researcher in Residence commented: “Digital research tools are changing the possibilities of research: students and researchers can synthesise, expose and repurpose information in dynamic new ways; mass digitisation and text encoding is making historic material more accessible and online databases are extending the boundaries of research.

Krotoski continued: “But there are significant challenges. How will increasing and complex amounts of data be managed and visualised in the future? What does this mean for libraries, archivists and librarians – formerly the ‘gatekeepers’ of research information? Critically, are researchers taking full advantage of the technologies now available for research purposes? These are just some of the issues Growing Knowledge will be exploring over the coming months.”

Nick Wilson, VP and Managing Director, HP UK and Ireland said: “Physical libraries that have been built over the last 100 years won’t be able to manage the quantity of information humankind will create over the next century. This project is a great way that we can bring our deep IT and engineering knowledge and expertise to help a world-leading research body showcase digital research tools and explore new ways technology can help us make sense of this information explosion.”

Tony Hey, Vice President, Microsoft External Research, a division of Microsoft Research said: “Microsoft Research is excited to be part of the British Library’s Growing Knowledge exhibition. Microsoft Research is committed to collaborating with technologists and researchers worldwide to accelerate research and help solve important societal challenges. Partnering with the British Library on this project has been both exciting and insightful, and we are using this as a tremendous opportunity to advance our thinking as we work to develop tools for the next-generation researcher.”

Sarah Porter, Head of Innovation at JISC, said: “Part of JISC’s approach to technology for education is to consult with researchers and other library users so that we can channel our energy and investments into areas that are really going to make a difference. When we help with the evaluation of this exhibition we will be looking to understand further the place of digital tools in libraries for the benefit of teachers, students and researchers. It’s an opportunity to explore how innovative technologies can support people finding resources in virtual spaces as well as the physical library.”

Francois Brounais, Regional Managing Director, Haworth said: “Research in the digital world is challenging the way space supports data management and visualisation. We are pleased to be taking part and supporting this exciting project, presenting our products alongside innovative digital research, services and tools. We await the results of this exhibition with interest.”

In partnership with BBC, one part of the Growing Knowledge exhibition will explore whether social media tools and online networking support researchers in their work. Are other people's blogs a help or a hindrance to your research? Is time spent engaged in social media online more beneficial than time spent at a conference? Please contribute to the debate and help us gather some advanced data to be presented within Growing Knowledge, by responding to a few short questions in this survey http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/growingknowledge/

Growing Knowledge runs from 12 October 2010 to 16 July 2011.


For more information, please contact:

Miki Lentin - British Library
T - 020 7412 7112
E - miki.lentin@bl.uk
M - 07976 793 666

Jacob Lant – British Library
T - 020 7412 7150
E - jacob.lant@bl.uk
M - 07972 148 245

Notes to Editors:

1. Exhibition website - www.bl.uk/growingknowledge / www.bl.uk/innovation

2. Twitter hash-tag - #blgk

3. Exhibition QR Code (http://blogit.realwire.com/media/QRcode.JPG)

4. Exhibition events –

Is the ‘physical’ library a redundant resource for 21st century academics?
A Times Higher Education Debate
Tuesday 26 October 18.30 - 19.30 / £6 / £4 Concessions / Conference Centre

As more and more academic resources are available online at the click of a button, what purpose does the university library or research library hold today? Is it a critical point of assistance and expertise, or is it merely a wasted building on campus better passed over to teaching and study space? How can the library remain a relevant institution for tomorrow's researchers?

Ann Mroz, editor of Times Higher Education chairs a discussion with Tara Brabazon, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Brighton, Clive Bloom, Emeritus Professor of English at Middlesex University, Sarah Porter, Head of Innovation at JISC and Martin Lewis, Director of Library Services at the University of Sheffield.

Ethics Workshop with Web Science Trust, University of Southampton
Foyle Centre, British Library, 2 December

See www.bl.uk/whatson for more up to date information on events

5. Partners - The exhibition includes involvement from the following partners:

OrganisationRole in exhibitionSummary of contribution
Microsoft ResearchMajor partnerSoftware; exhibits; sponsorship
HPMajor partnerServices & infrastructure
JISCMajor partnerEvaluation
Haworth Major partnerFurniture
Times Higher EducationMedia partnerIn-kind media support & coverage
Sony CorporationContent partnerMajor exhibit
Brown University Content partnerMajor exhibit
BBCContent partnerMajor exhibit
IBM UK LimitedContent partnerSignificant exhibit item
NYPLContent partnerSignificant exhibit item
UCLContent partnerSignificant exhibit item
London Lives/ Connected HistoriesContent providerExhibition content
Timescapes project, University of LeedsContent providerExhibition content
Allen Institute of Brain ScienceContent providerExhibition content
Galaxy ZooContent providerExhibition content
TNAContent providerDigitised research content
ITVContent providerDigitised research content
Wellcome Museum Content providerDigitised research content
Florence Nightingale Museum Content providerDigitised research content
Winchester College Content providerDigitised research content

6. List of Exhibition Items

ToolWhat it doesResearch ProcessInstitution
Map RectificationReshaping old mapsVisualisation and analysisNew York Public Library
BL Video ServerAccess archived television Search, store, archive and preserveThe British Library
London LivesAccess to 3.35 million names from the eighteenth centurySearch; data collections; store, archive and preserveUniversity of Hertfordshire
AlzSwanTesting hypothesis semanticallyVisualisation and analysis; collaboration and discussionHarvard University
UK Web ArchiveA record of culturally significant websitesSearch; data collection, visualisation and analysis; store, archive and preserve The British Library & UKWAC
Crimean WarA multimedia research environmentSearch; data collection; collaboration and authorshipThe British Library
Codex SinaiticusA digital Biblical reunificationSearch; visualisation and analysis; store, archive and preserveThe British Library and partners
Audio SearchSearch hundreds of hours of audio and videoSearchMicrosoft & the British Library
Data Mining with Criminal IntentText mining historical sourcesVisualisation and analysisUniversity of Hertfordshire
RICA scientific virtual research environmentSearch; visualisation and analysis; store, archive and preserveMicrosoft & the British Library
Data.gov.ukConnecting and making official date available to allSearch; visualisation and analysisUniversity of Southampton
PrimoDevelopments in library cataloguesSearch; collaborationThe British Library
International Dunhuang ProjectManuscripts and artefacts from the Eastern Silk RoadSearch; visualisation and analysis; store, archive and preserveThe British Library and partners
Polynomial Texture MappingNew methods in imaging help to reveal objects or texts in a new light, often literally.Visualisation and analysis; store, archive and preserveHP – technology / Media labs.com
eDance ToolkitAccess grid technologies and collective memory on the documentation of practice-led research in dance.Visualisation and analysisUniversity of Leeds
Journal of Visualised ExperimentsA video journal for biological research.Search of visualised biological information JOVE
Nature NetworkSocial web for scientistsDissemination and discussionNature.com
Galaxy ZooCitizen scientists classify galaxiesVisualisation and analysis, collaborationGalaxy Zoo
Allen Brain AtlasMapping genes at work throughout the brainData collection, search, visualization and analysisAllen Institute for Brain Science
EnsemblManaging data from the biosciencesSearch; data collections; store, archive, preserveEuropean Bioinformatics Institute
MendeleySimilar to iTunes for research papersSearch; collaborationMendeley
Timescapes ESRC Qualitative Longitudinal StudyArchiving the modern familyData collection; store, archive, preserveUniversity of Leeds
British Library Management and Business Studies (MBS) Portal Access hard-to-find management science materialsSearchThe British Library
Jane Austen Fiction ManuscriptsExpert digitisation and text encodingSearch; data collectionUniversity of Oxford & Kings College London
Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon EnglandWho's who in Anglo-Saxon EnglandSearch; data collectionPASE partners

Aleks Krotoski Biography

Dr Aleks Krotoski is a researcher and journalist who writes about and studies technology and interactivity. Her academic work focuses on the makeup of online relationships, the social implications of the Web, the influence of online interactions, and how information spreads around online and offline social networks. She writes for The Guardian and Observer newspapers, and hosts Tech Weekly, their technology podcast. Her writing also appears on BBC Technology, Nature, New Statesman, MIT Technology Review and The Telegraph. She recently completed the Emmy and Bafta-winning BBC 2 series Virtual Revolution about the economic, political, interpersonal and psychological implications of the Internet.

Relevant links:
Homepage: http://alekskrotoski.com
Blog: http://socialsim.wordpress.com
Guardian writing: http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/alekskrotoski
Twitter: http://twitter.com/aleksk

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation. It includes: books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Further information is available on the Library's website at www.bl.uk.

HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world’s largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve customer problems. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com.

JISC – JISC (www.jisc.ac.uk) inspires UK colleges and universities in the innovative use of digital technologies, helping to maintain the UK’s position as a global leader in education and research.

Haworth - Innovation and flexibility have been Haworth cornerstones since the company was founded in 1948. These principles remain our driving force today, as Chairman Dick Haworth and president and CEO Franco Bianchi lead a worldwide effort to create adaptable environments. Further information is available on the Haworth’s website at www.haworth-europe.com


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