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Research Software Engineer

Vacancy Details

Salary: £32,000 per annum
Location: St Pancras
Job Type: Fixed Term Contract
Vacancy Group: Collections
Category: Information Technology and Development
Closing Date: 10/01/2018
Date Posted: 08/30/2018
Reference: 02297


Full Time, Fixed term to 31st March 2020 (with possible extension to 2025)


The British Library’s Digital Scholarship team’s mission is to enable the use of the Library’s digital collections for research, inspiration, and enjoyment. We do this by working collaboratively to connect people with digital collections, methods, and services. We engage closely with the digital research community and advocate for their needs while helping make more of the Library’s collection available – and findable – online. This is an exciting opportunity to help the Digital Scholarship team explore and apply established and emerging technologies to further these goals.

Recent activities in the Digital Scholarship department include the development of a crowdsourcing platform (, writing tutorials for applying Digital Humanities methods applied to Library datasets, and preparing and publishing research datasets on our open data portal ( We encourage the uptake of digital scholarship methods by hosting talks from visiting researchers who’ve used innovative methods on collections like the Library’s, organising the Library’s Digital Scholarship Training Programme and sharing our knowledge through blog posts, talks and published articles.

The role will closely support The Endangered Archives Programme ( funded by Arcadia. Its aim is to contribute to the preservation of archival material that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration worldwide. Now in its second decade, the programme has funded 350 projects in 90 countries. Its on-line digital collections include 7,000,000 images as well as thousands of audio recordings.


Plus, the Heritage Made Digital Portfolio, which aims to transform digital access to the Library's heritage collections by streamlining digital workflows, undertaking strategically led digitisation, and making existing digitised content available as openly as copyright and licensing agreements allow. The portfolio includes several large programmes and projects, including the Save our Sounds and Qatar Programmes, and the Google Books Project.

The job holder would work closely with collections, technology, and service delivery departments. They will provide technical expertise and advocacy for projects with digital collections. They will apply their experience with programming languages and frameworks like Python and Flask to build digital tools and workflows.

Working as part of a multi-disciplinary team you will develop, implement and integrate tools to support researchers working with large volumes of digital content, creating partnerships which can support the Library’s strategic objectives, and encourage, support and assist others to realise their vision for integrating digital content into a seamless research experience.

You will have a good understanding of digital scholarship, preferably gained from working in a research library, academic or other appropriate environment. You will have excellent information technology skills, including web-based skills and experience of the tools and technologies that support digital scholarship. Excellent oral and written communication skills are also essential for this post.

In return we offer a competitive salary and a number of excellent benefits.  Our pension scheme is one of the most valuable benefits we offer, as our staff can become members of the Alpha Pension Scheme where the Library contributes 20.9%. Another significant benefit the Library provides is the provision of a flexible working hours scheme which could allow you to work your hours flexibly over the week and to take up to 5 days flexi leave in a 3 month period. This is on top of 25 days holiday from entry and public and privilege holidays.


More about the British Library

As one of the world’s great libraries, our duty is to preserve the nation’s intellectual memory for the future. At the moment we have well over 150 million items, in most known languages, with three million new items added every year. We have manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, prints and drawings, music scores, and patents. We operate the world’s largest document delivery service providing millions of items a year to customers all over the world. What matters to us is that we preserve the national memory and enable knowledge to be created both now and in the future.



Closing date: 1 October 2018

Interview date: 9 October 2018

Disability Confident

We are a Disability Confident employer, and make a commitment to recruit and support disabled people. We guarantee an interview for disabled candidates who meet the minimum (essential) requirements for a vacancy.

In order to apply for this vacancy, you must be able to supply the required answers to the following questions:

  • Do you currently have the right to work in the United Kingdom
  • Are you currently a British Library employee or agency member of staff?


Contact 1
Contact Name: Employee Services
Telephone: 01937 882030
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