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The British Library Awarded the Innovation Award for Timelines: Sources from History by the 2010 Museums & Heritage Awards

Submitted by on May 13, 2010 – 4:12 pm

Announced last night (12 May) by broadcaster and journalist, Simon Calder, the 2010 Museums & Heritage Awards aim to recognise and celebrate achievements within the world of museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions.

The Innovation Award is for the most innovative use of technology within a museum, gallery or heritage attraction. This includes use of social media and the web as well as technologies such as a/v, multimedia, lighting and audio guides.

Timelines: Sources from History ( is a ground-breaking, rich-media interactive that allows users to explore British Library collection items chronologically for the first time. Bringing together material from the Library’s vast collections and using cutting-edge Flash technology, users are able discover historical connections in an exciting multimedia experience. The timeline allows students to get a sense both of change and continuity when studying historical events.

Roger Walshe, the British Library’s Head of Learning, said:

“The British Library’s virtual history timeline saw off some impressive competition from the National Gallery’s Love Art iPhone app and the Natural History Museum’s Attenborough Studio to win this award. Finding innovative ways of engaging with the past is increasingly crucial for students and teachers alike – this timeline demonstrates how we can mesh traditional historical sources with new technologies to support future teaching methods, allowing users to engagingly pursue their own research.”

Timelines: Sources from History ( was developed by the British Library’s Learning team with historians, curators and writers, the timeline includes some of the Library’s key collection items from medieval times to the present day. Through the use of innovative Papervision3D Flash programming, users can visually travel through time, finding sources, viewing transcripts, adding items to favourites, and switching timelines – all at the click of a button. Scanning through centuries of images, audio-visual and printed material, users can explore various themed timelines, such as ‘everyday life’, ‘music and literature’ and ‘politics, power and rebellion’.

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


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