The British Library has shared a recording and transcript of the 2014 British Library Labs Symposium keynote by Tim Hitchcock (University of Sussex), “Big and Small Data in the Humanities.” Hitchcock opens his keynote with praise for the British Library Labs project:
There are any number of research council initiatives, European funding calls, and twitchy private sector start-ups out there, ragging at the edge of established practise. We are advised to seek ‘disruption’, and to pursue the shiny. But it is important to remember that the institutions we have inherited – libraries and museums in particular – were created in service of a deeper purpose. It is not simply that we value them because they are ancient and august. Instead, we value them as a means of preserving memory, and acknowledging worth. And as importantly, we value them as part of a complex ecology of knowledge discovery, dissemination, and reflexion. So while disruption and the shiny, are all good; it remains important that libraries, continue to serve the fundamental purposes for which they were created. And the Lab, seems to me to answer this need.