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Sustainability at JISC for digital projects

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A description of the sustainability processes put in place by UK funding body when supporting digitisation projects in universities and cultural heritage bodies in the UK

A description of the sustainability processes put in place by UK funding body when supporting digitisation projects in universities and cultural heritage bodies in the UK


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  • 1. Sustainability at JISC
    • Funders’ Forum, Wellcome Trust
    • 7th May 2010
    • Alastair Dunning, JISC Digitisation Programme Manager
    • [email_address] , http://www.jisc.ac.uk/digitisation
  • 2. Focus on Digitised Content
    • JISC funding delivers numerous outputs - digitised content, open educational resources, software, textbooks, tools and middleware
    • Different approaches for sustaining each type
    • Focus here on outputs from JISC Digitisation Programme
      • And in particular Phase 2 from 2006 to 2009
    • Some convergence between types but more to be done
  • 3. Call for applications
    • Call for applications will involve various strict stipulations and also helpful pointers
    • Some stipulations directly related to sustainibility
      • Re-use: Content must be freely available to FE and HE for 5 years after launch (i.e not Open Access)
    • Other stipulations will indirectly help
      • Standards: Preference for open standards where feasible
      • Licence: Based on a JISC model for educational usage
  • 4. Call for applications
    • Call for applications also encouraged a culture of sustainability
    • Invited new business models, international partnerships, private / public collaboration
    • Other related innovations encouraged - sustained user engagement, development of critical mass, value for learning and teaching, open metadata, contextualised for teaching and research.
    • Followed by peer review process, combining subject and technical expertise with knowledge of sustainability
  • 5. Programme Management
    • JISC provide project management templates to help projects
    • JISC staff play an active role in projects to ensure delivery - this includes sustainability
    • Initial project plan includes section on exit and sustainability plans
  • 6. Examples - Nineteenth-century Pamphlets
    • c.26,000 pamphlets from UK library collections, e.g. Bristol, Liverpool, London School of Economics
    • Digitised by University of Southampton on behalf of Research Libraries UK (RLUK)
    • Hosted by JSTOR; free to UK HE and FE; subscription charges for other
    • http://www.jstor.org/page/info/participate/other/britishPamphlets.jsp
    • http://www.britishpamphlets.org.uk/
  • 7. Examples - British Library Historic Newspapers
    • c.3m pages from BL’s newspaper collection
    • Digitisation out-sourced to commercial company
    • Hosted by Gale Cengage; free to UK HE and FE; subscription charges for other institutions; pay-per-view for general public
    • http://newspapers.bl.uk (public site - HE and FE access via institutional gateway)
  • 8. Examples - First World War Poetry Archive
    • Manuscripts from First World War poets
    • Subsidiary project collected digitised memorabilia from general public
      • Letters, diaries, objects, documents
    • Hosted by University of Oxford; free access; extra material hosted on Flickr
    • http://oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit
    • http://www.flickr.com/groups/greatwararchive/
  • 9. Examples - Vision of Britain
    • Social, political and historic data about British places linked to historic maps
    • Hosted by University of Portsmouth; free access (but not open access)
    • Google Ads; Link to Cassini Maps; also commercial real estate interest in historic
    • http://visionofbritain.org/
  • 10. How well does it work?
    • Projects given carrots and sticks to consider sustainability
    • Greater openness about the issue
    • Contractual agreement between organisation and JISC
    • All sites still running (although only a year since programme completion)
    • Full impact yet to be determined
  • 11. How could it work better?
    • Greater transparency about costs, both in terms of data creation, and ongoing curation
    • Models that allow for technical *and* editorial sustainability
    • Construction of more thorough business case at outset
    • Encouraging centres of innovation in business modelling
    • Understanding of larger eco-system of digital content
    • Better strategic alignment within organisation
  • 12. How is it weak?
    • Institutions see five year access conditions as maximum rather than minimum
    • Not open access
    • Difficult to monitor in long term
    • Earlier comment about costs and lack of business and licencing skills within institutions
    • Engaging with community engagement
    • Questions?
  • 13. Notes
    • This presentation is largely based on the sustainability issues of the JISC Digitisation Programme, Phase 2 from 2007 to 2009
    • The call for proposals is avilable at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/funding/2006/05/digitisation_rfp_april_2006_final.pdf
    • Over 50 applications were received. The list of projects funded under this call is available at URL
    • A list of the larger public-sector digitisation projects in the UK is available at URL