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BL Labs Technical Lead

Vacancy Details

Salary: £39,000 per annum
Location: St Pancras
Job Type: Fixed Term Contract
Vacancy Group: Collections
Category: Information Technology and Development
Closing Date: 08/04/2019
Date Posted: 08/01/2019
Reference: 02797


Full Time, Fixed Term to 31 March 2021

The internationally recognised British Library Labs encourages researchers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators and other innovators to work with the British Library’s vast digital collections and data as well as other datasets around the world. Over the last six years, there have been notable successes such as the development of the Mechanical Curator, the upload of 1 Million public domain images from scanned books to Flickr Commons, using text and data mining to discover political meetings from 19th Century digitised newspapers, using convolutional neural networks and computer vision techniques to automatically identify illustrations. Since, 2013, Labs has supported and highlighted over 150 digital projects through competitions, awards and collaborations that have used our digital collections and data.


We are looking for a new Technical Lead who is interested, excite and motivated to take on this challenging but extremely rewarding and fascinating role. You will work with research questions from scholars who want to carry out innovative and often inspiring experiments with the Library’s digital collections and data.


Over previous years, the BL Labs Technical lead has supported projects that involved user experience, content management, uploading to open and free platforms such as, Flickr Commons, Tumblr, Wikimedia Commons. Labs has worked on visualisation, text and data mining, natural language processing, machine learning, using APIs for datasets and implementing Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The role will involve working closely with large and varied quantities of cultural heritage data, sometimes data cleansing, breaking it up into manageable chunks and creating samples to encourage use.


You will be leading as well as working in a multi-disciplinary team (e.g. managers, curators, historians, data scientists, computational linguists, other software engineers and IT staff) to help identify requirements and design and implement online solutions. You may also be integrating tools from other project outputs to support digital collections and data questions and methods.


We are looking for a creative, agile, technical and analytical problem solver. You will have a background in computer programming, who knows how to apply their technical expertise or is willing to learn from others to solve a range of sometimes complex computational problems. You will often be working with large collections of data at scale. The ideal candidate will have a range of technical skills that can be applied in a Digital Scholarship context. You will know how to deliver projects on time, have experience of being an excellent communicator to a range of audiences and be a generous team worker. The role will involve sharing your expertise through presentations and training events throughout the UK and internationally.


This is an excellent opportunity to be working for a world-leading organisation which is carrying out ground-breaking research in Digital Scholarship.


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.


 For further information and to apply, please visit quoting vacancy ref: 02730

Closing date: 4 August 2019


Interview date: 23 August 2019


Description: employer_small (3)

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
Email Address:

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