British Queen celebrates


The British Library is set to reintroduce its main catalogue online on Monday, marking a significant milestone in the recovery from last year's cyber attack. The catalogue, boasting over

36 million records, will be accessible in a "read-only" format, signaling the initial phase of restoring services for users of the UK's largest library. The cyber attack, attributed to the Rhysida ransomware group on October 31, led to the library's website being offline for nearly a month, with the group claiming responsibility. In November, the library confirmed the leakage of some employee data as a result of the attack.

Acknowledging the challenges faced by users since the hack, Chief Executive Sir Roly Keating emphasized that the full recovery of all services would be a gradual process. The main catalogue, a vital resource for researchers globally, includes details of printed and rare books, journals, maps, and music scores. Sir Roly apologized for the impact on users and highlighted that although users could search for items, checking availability and ordering for reading rooms would operate differently.

Starting this week, readers will gain access to the library's key special collections, such as archives and manuscripts, although they must physically visit to consult offline versions of specialist catalogues. Sir Roly noted that although processes might be slower and more manual, it restores a core element of the library's public service. Access to additional content at the library's Boston Spa site and parts of its digital collections will follow. While there have been speculations about recovery costs, estimated at £7 million, Sir Roly dismissed them as premature, emphasizing a focus on the gradual and complete restoration of services. Photo by The British Library by Roger Davies, Wikimedia commons.