What's the Point Of Digitisation: Measuring Use and Impact

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A presentation on a toolkit for measuring the impact of digitised resources

A presentation on a toolkit for measuring the impact of digitised resources

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  • Dr Amy Irwin from the  MRC Institute of Hearing Research . She set out to assess the impact on the human brain of sounds perceived as either pleasant or unpleasant. Hunting for sounds of the urban environment, Dr Irwin found a range of recordings from  Soundscapes  and  wildlife recordings  on Archival Sound Recordings. "The website is very user friendly, and being able to download the clips directly was a great time saver." says Irwin. "The variety of sounds available was also useful. Combined with the soundscapes I found from other private sources Archival Sound Recordings provided for all of my needs.“ Participants were asked to rate 150 recordings for 'pleasantness', whilst undergoing an functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan. Results showed that ideas of pleasantness varied on an individual level: some sounds such as vomiting were universally rated as unpleasant, while others, like  urban fox calls , varied depending on the individual.
  • We’re only beginning to get a sense of how digitisation is being used Universal access , democratisation , learning at home assumed users would automatically come to use digital content Digitisation community still sees the point of digitisation – but senior management still requires convincing?
  • Therefore need better examples of use, and better methodologies of use to develop better evidence for use of digitisation  JISC commissioned Oxford Internet Institute to create Toolkit for the Measurement of Scholarly Resources http://microsites.oii.ox.ac.uk/tidsr/
  • Looked at five UK Digitisation projects with a higher education focus Not only judged their impact Developed and critiqued methodology for using impact


  • 1. What’s the Point of Digitisation? Alastair Dunning, JISC a.dunning @@ jisc.ac.uk EBLIDA - LIBER Digitisation Conference Den Haag, 20 th October, 2009
  • 2. This website is a strange resource. How do people make use of the hugely different types of audio made available - environemental soundscapes, classical music, oral histories? http://sounds.bl.uk/ Some recordings open access, others restricted to universities in UK
  • 3. Audio available from https:// sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item =021M-C0466X0012XX-0200V0.xml (UK Higher and Further Education only) One of the recordings from the British Library’s sound resource is an interview with the English sculptor, Elizabath Frink. In this clip she answers questions about about her bird sculptures.
  • 4. But do people really use such resources? Here Goldsmiths’ College lecturer Rose Sinclair explains why she uses the Elisabeth Frink interviews in the her university seminars Video available from https:// sounds.bl.uk/CaseStudies.aspx?video = Rose_Sinclair (Accessible to all users)
  • 5. https://sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item=022M-W1CDR0001560-0100V0.xml (Accessible to all users) Okay, we can understand how artist interviews might be used? But how about wildlife recordings? Psychologists used the sounds to assess the imapct on the human brain of sounds perceived used as either pleasant or unpleasant. The participants then underwent scans to show how the brain reacted to the different noises
  • 6. We’re only just beginning to get an understanding of how digitised resources are being used. Previously big concepts like universal access and democratisation were used but such concepts too not reflect practice. We need to be able to have a much better understanding of digitisation use to convince the unconverted that it is a good thing.
  • 7. JISC therefore commissioned this report to get a better idea of use and the methdologies for measuring the success of digitisation http://microsites.oii.ox.ac.uk/tidsr/
  • 8. The toolkit used quantitative and qualitative methods to study five digitisation projects funded by JISC
  • 9. The Online Historical Population Reports (OHPR) collection provides online access to the complete British population reports for Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1937. http://histpop.org/ (Open Access) Findings: Essential resource for small group of historians. Very useful for teaching - allowed lecturers to set different tasks, and avoid plagarism.
  • 10. The Eighteenth-Century Parliamentary Papers provides access to a large range of documents on UK parliamentary history http://parlipapers.chadwyck.co.uk/ (Free to UK universities) Findings: Embedded in research, time savings (travel and access etc) invaluable. Cross seaching with later periods useful
  • 11. Archival Sound Recordings – serendepioius uses, but resource needed to be pushed, wide range of uses cases in general. http:// sounds.bl.uk (mixed access)
  • 12. The British Library’s Nineteenth-Century Newspapers provides access to 2m pages (and growing) historic newspapers http:// newspapers.bl.uk / (Free to UK universities via institutional URL) Findings: Wealth of new evidence with power to transform research (and teaching) but are scholars methodologies delaing with the material in the right way?
  • 13. Medical Jounrals Backfiles digitisation added another 2m pages of text to PubMed Central (open access) Findings: suspected greater use amongst doctors rather than researchers. Useful to a key community internationally
  • 14. Quantitatve methods included webometrics, web analytics, log files, bibliometrics, content analysis Useful but ... lack of context, difficulty of identifying indiviudal resources amongst the noise of web, uneven data collection for web stats
  • 15.
    • Qualitative uncluded stakeholder interviews, referrer surveys, user feedback, focus groups and questionnaires
    • Provides richer issues with samples for surveys etc. information but … needs time to fully judge impact, general
  • 16. We need to do more of this
    • Different methodologies for different end users
    • Build measurement into delivery of projects
    • Use information to make more coherent arguments for digitising cultural heritage
    • Alter expectations of what digital resources do
  • 17. If you are involved in digitisation, you need to spend time preaching to the uncoverted (especially in senior management!) rather than agreeing with the converted
  • 18. Credits
    • Bird, Tate , Elisabeth Frink, http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=4561&searchid=28313&tabview=work
    • Outdoor Pulpit: St Luke's Church, Plymouth, 1951, http://www.flickr.com/photos/gora_gray/277156891/
    • Toolkit, http://www.flickr.com/photos/hoosadork/516975012/
    • Used books, http://www.flickr.com/photos/donshall/3922960654/
    • Used cars, http://www.flickr.com/photos/hessiebell/100323033/
    • Spiekermann House Numbers, http://www.flickr.com/photos/stewf/2026818238/
    • People, http://www.flickr.com/photos/antikris/478871667/