The British Museum's financial problems could prove a bonus for the online community. The museum may have to introduce a #5 entrance fee to cover a reduction in its funding.
But by way of compensation it is applying for #22 million of lottery money to put more of its exhibits online. Real-world visitors are in any case forced to "browse" the exhibits as there are far to many to be taken in at a single visit.
Many of the museums's exhibits are already on the Web at www.bl.uk with multimedia special effects. Visitors to the sites will be able to access a range of material from all over the world, ranging from the literature of the Baltic states to ancient Far Eastern texts. In addition, the museum will begin to prototype public access points in its famous 120-year-old reading room, the heart of the old British Library.
One reason for the museum's cash crisis is the trouble which is currently plaguing the library's new building next to St Pancras Station.
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