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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

British Standards Online

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[Editor’s note: Guest post written by BSI’s Deborah Brown (Head of Subscription Sales) with added content from Andrew Scrogham, Newcastle library]

British Standards Online (BSI), the UK’s National Standards Body, is supporting local libraries with a new onsite subscription package providing access to thousands of British Standards Online.

BSOL (Standards Online) is BSIs flagship platform that gives users access to over 97,000 internationally recognised standards. Maintained and updated daily, BSOL keeps users up to date on the latest best practice and compliance guidelines across a range of industry classifications and themes.

Recognising the budgetary pressures library services are under, I’ve been working with various library and BSI stakeholders to explore how we can reduce the costs of our BSOL product so library services can continue to offer access to their local SME, student and general public users. As a result, BSI has launched a new BSOL subscription package, sensitively priced, to help UK libraries fulfil the needs of their local visitors. The onsite only access model will encourage users to visit their local library, to gain access to the entire database of standards that range from construction to nanotechnology, from energy management to health and safety, from cricket balls to smart cars.

Screenshot of the BSOL homepage
Screenshot of the BSOL homepage

Visitors to the library might be interested in standards that encompass many diverse areas: a construction standard to help build a house, a food safety standard to help prevent food from being contaminated, a quality management standard to help them work more efficiently and reduce product failures, an environmental management standard to help reduce environmental impacts, a health and safety standard to help reduce accidents in the workplace, an IT security standard to help keep sensitive information secure, or an accessibility standard to help make buildings accessible to disabled users.

Experience from Newcastle

Andrew Scrogham at Newcastle Library talks about British Standards Online (BSOL) at their Business & IP Centre:

“Newcastle Libraries have been a subscriber of BSI, and latterly BSOL, for many years. Over that time, we’ve had thousands of enquiries and many, many standards consulted. Here in Newcastle, we are often viewed as a regional centre and are currently the only library service in the region to provide access to BSOL so our users come from all over the North East to view standards online in our libraries. It’s really important that we can provide this key service to the businesses of the area – indeed not just established businesses but start-ups, pre start-ups and those researching for other reasons – we have a huge student population in the City who regularly access our services too.

BSOL is great because it’s pretty straightforward to use and provides such value to our users – it’s key information, free at the point of access that simply isn’t available anywhere else.

Since 2011, we have hosted the Business & Intellectual Property Centre Newcastle in our City Library. We’re a small team but are proud to be part of a growing national network of centres led by the British Library in London, offering free intellectual property and business information, one-to-one advice, workshop, events and networking. BSOL is an integral part of our offer to the entrepreneurs, innovators, business owners and researchers who use the centre, and staff are on hand to help people get to grips with the site and find the standards they require.

Photo of 2 women sitting at a coffee table looking at leaflets. Behind them is a man sitting at a help desk.
Visitors in the BIPC, Newcastle library. Photo credit: Newcastle library

In addition, having BSOL can often attract people into the library who may not ordinarily choose to do so and, once here, it’s our job to show them all the other great things we offer so they’ll keep coming back!"

Find out more

For more information about the value of standards for your library, and details on pricing, have a look at BSI's page on libraries.

Please note, this is a guest blog. Views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of DCMS or the Libraries Taskforce

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