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Caroline Kimbell

Associate Director, Senate House Library, University of London أقرأ باللغة العربية

Caroline is responsible for the digitisation and licensing of collections from Senate House and federated libraries across the University of London, where rare book, special and archival collections cover a wide range of subjects from early maths textbooks to art, fashion, music, psychology and radical politics. Before joining the University, she headed the Licensing team at The National Archives of England and Wales for 9 years, working primarily with genealogy and academic publishers, and began her career as an academic publisher. Caroline lectures on heritage publishing and business development for memory institutions at City University in London and Toronto University, and has been involved in Middle Eastern studies for many years, working on the publication of primary sources on the region, content selection for regional archives, and speaking at conferences in Jordan, Qatar and Dubai.

Keynote Speech:

Where are all the readers? Building usage, discoverability and trust of library e-resources


In the world of Wiki and Google, how can libraries attract and retain end-users for their trusted, authentic digital resources? This question was elemental in the re-design of websites and brand building at both the UK’s National Archives (“TNA”), and at Senate House Library, the University of London’s central research library for the humanities and social sciences.

User-centred design is at the heart of turning readers into champions and promoters of a library, and careful monitoring of usage statistics in turn allows libraries to focus resource on areas of highest demand or where there are barriers to discovery. Programmes of public events, exhibitions, sponsorship, smart social media activity and good relationships with publishers and print and broadcast media also play their part in building the public recognition that leads to increased usage of both physical and online resources. In turn, usage data provides the evidence which all institutions need to demonstrate their value to their funders.

In an age where search engines and free online information providers have large advertising budgets and worldwide brand recognition, yet offer unfiltered, un-mediated content, this paper will explore how libraries can build their own “brands” around trust and authenticity. Libraries need to address the “disruptive technology” of informal, open-source publishing, which threatens to make libraries and commercial digital publishers alike as dispensable to information-seekers as travel agents have become in the world of online booking. To attract and retain users in competition with the technology giants, libraries need not just clear, intuitive websites, but to work strategically with commercial publishers. Licence agreements with commercial online publishers therefore need careful negotiation to ensure that both parties benefit from increased usage of library content without the library’s identity being subsumed. Drawing on experience of licensing British Government records on a variety of foreign policy areas to publishers such as Gale, a part of Cengage Learning and Adam Matthew, Caroline will explain how to use heritage content publishing to broaden and deepen international cultural understanding.

This Keynote Speech is sponsored by Gale Cengage:

Partners & Sponsors 2016