BL gives free access to bibliographic record collections

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The British Library is making its collections of bibliographic records available for free to researchers and other libraries.

The UK national library has around 14 million catalogue records with a wealth of bibliographic data. The initiative should help expose this dataset to users worldwide, allowing researchers and other libraries to access and retrieve bibliographic records for publications dating back centuries and relating to every conceivable subject area.

The free service will operate in parallel to the British Library's priced bulk MARC data supply activity which is used extensively by large commercial customers.

'By making the British Library’s bibliographic data available in new ways for wider, non-commercial use we want to encourage users beyond the traditional library world to explore and use this important international resource,' said Neil Wilson, the British Library’s head of metadata services. 'For libraries, free access to these records will help reduce the effort involved in cataloguing their holdings. For the wider research community, they are a valuable source of data to help advance knowledge.'