The British Library protects its collection with Canon

The British Library protects its collection with Canon
The British Library, the national library of the UK and the second largest library in the world, holds extremely valuable collections including manuscripts, sound recording, drawings and around 14 million books. The previous security system had been in place for 20 years and was struggling to keep up with the rapid evolution of technology, as well as the changing needs of the institution.
The library’s grand architecture and high ceilings present a challenging environment. Cameras cannot be attached to walls and from this ceiling height, the legacy analogue cameras were unable to zoom in on an image without losing image quality.
The library had to use two cameras to effectively monitor the same area under different lighting conditions – day and night. This had to be replaced by a single camera, performing a day/night operation.
There are strict guidelines for the public to follow in the British Library when handling valuable books – many of which date back to pre-1851 – including prohibiting food, drink and the use of pens. Still, there have been incidents causing damage to these books. To prevent this, the library needed a camera that was capable of covering areas both above and below the reading desks from a distance.
Finally, the British Library’s tender outlined a need for the cameras to provide high quality analytics to help protect the institution from acts of terrorism and vandalism and cut the cost of unnecessary storage.
Faced with a system where 80% of the cameras were analogue, Bhanu Goud, Security Systems Manager at the British Library, was looking to completely overhaul the library’s existing camera surveillance system. The library required network cameras that could easily integrate with the existing video recording system and enable high quality live imagery to be monitored and recorded from the library’s control room.
Following a competitive tender process, Canon was quick to support the British Library with its digital imaging challenges. Canon cameras’ advanced analytic functions activate recording once
they have identified a predefined level of threat, such as movement in restricted areas and missing objects. To accommodate this type of detection, Canon worked with Digital Video Recorder supplier Tecton to integrate these analytic functions into their recording solution.
The British Library now has a far wider coverage area than was possible with the analogue cameras previously installed. With fewer cameras covering a larger space, the library saved approximately £250,000 in camera costs and associated installation charges. The Canon network cameras deliver high image quality at all times of day and night, even in low light conditions, providing an effective monitoring system for the library’s security team. The camera’s H.264 encoder and multiple streaming capabilities deliver Full HD imagery in a highly compressed form to significantly reduce storage requirements. The use of intelligent analytics to trigger the recording of only predefined events helps to further reduce the storage requirement.
The British Library has already introduced 110 new Canon devices in a little over a year to help better protect its extremely valuable collections. The library aims to have a wider range of high quality network cameras covering 95% of the building over the course of three years.

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