Like a dream

Fat book cropped tinted retouched
The fattest book ever

As the summer research season starts up, a thrilling new experience awaits those who have not yet been to the British Library since its policy change earlier this year. BL users are now permitted to photograph most archival documents, as users of the National Archives at Kew have been for years. I spent a few days at the BL in March, and it was like a dream.Over the past decade, I have spent thousands of dollars (often beyond my research funds) paying BL Imaging Services to scan archival materials that we weren’t allowed to photograph or copy. This change in policy will save me huge sums in the future.

For those of us coming from overseas, it also allows us to get through a lot more material in a shorter time. Making imaging arrangements or even making copies yourself (when permitted) takes more time than taking photos on your iphone (I use the JotNot scanner app). And it eliminates the time we used to have to wait to have scans done.

On behalf of South Asianist legal historians, I say thank you to the BL for this enlightened policy U-turn! I can only wonder what behind-the-scenes lobbying must have looked like…