British Library offers 65,000 19th Century classics in IC tomorrow Digital Innovation Contest

British Library offers 65,000 19th Century classics in IC tomorrow Digital Innovation Contest

08 Mar 2011

Classics Lorna Doone, East Lynne and Aurora Floyd among titles offered to UK digital entrepreneurs in Technology Strategy Board programme

7th March, 2011:   The British Library has today made 65,000 largely out-of-print 19th Century titles available to entrepreneurs building applications within the IC tomorrow Digital Innovation Contest.

Originally digitised in partnership with Microsoft Livesearch, countless forgotten literary gems covering philosophy, history, poetry and literature – over 25 million pages of content, will be made accessible to the £200,000 contest participants, aimed at helping entrepreneurs bring innovative UK digital applications to market.

The Digital Innovation Contest is investing in up to 20 consumer trials across creative market sectors including Music, TV/Film, and Publishing. Panels of leading digital content industry figures will help decide which applicants to support.  Each successful entrant will receive up to £10,000 to help work towards a six month consumer trial on the IC tomorrow digital test bed programme. 

IC tomorrow’s digital test bed, a Technology Strategy Board programme, enables content owners and application developers – for example, businesses with a new service, new business model or new way of deploying hardware or software technology – to trial their ideas with UK consumers.

Estimates suggest that roughly 35% to 40% of the British Library's 19th century British printed collections are either unique, or at least inaccessible through other major libraries in the UK and abroad. Covering the likes of Dickens, Austen, and Conan Doyle, the 65,000 titles also include classics such as, Lorna Doone by Richard Doddridge Blackmore, a historical romance set in north-east Exmoor at the time of the Monmouth rebellion in the late 17th Century, and East Lynne by Ellen Wood, a melodrama tackling the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857.

Richard Boulderstone, British Library director of e-strategy and information systems, commented: “The British Library's partnership with IC tomorrow is unlocking hidden gems of literature and allowing entrepreneurs in the UK to create innovative ways for new generations of consumers to experience these great historic works.”

Other digital content providers participating in the contest include Beggars Group, Crytek UK, EMI Music, Endemol, Faber & Faber, FremantleMedia, Getty Images, Haymarket Media Group, Lionsgate, PRS For Music, Sony Music, The Orchard, Universal Music and Warner Music.

Dr Nick Appleyard, head of digital at the Technology Strategy Board, added: “By offering digitised content into the IC tomorrow programme, The British Library is extending its ability to connect with new audiences and supporting UK entrepreneurs to develop innovative ways to commercialise creative content.”

The application deadline for the submission of a video and simple business case will close on the 11th March 2011. Approximately 40 applications will be chosen to go through to the final face to face panel session phase at the end of March.

To register interest & sign up to the contest, applicants should visit the IC tomorrow site at or

For full press release including notes to editors please follow this link

Companies and other organisations seeking further information about IC tomorrow should visit the, email, or phone on 0300 321 4358.


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Last updated on Tuesday 08 March 2011 at 15:48

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