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Partnerships in Digitisation


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An exploration of the Wellcome Library's experiences of various types of partnerships in digitisation. Looks at the different types of partnerships, including, amongst others, those with publishers, contractors, sub-contractors, funders, internal partners, digitisation partners - commercial and non-profit, contributor libraries and outsourcing.
This presentation looks at the expected and unexpected benefits and challenges associated with these relationships.

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Partnerships in Digitisation

  1. 1. The ups and downs of partnerships in digitisation Toni Hardy and Damian Nicolaou Hand in Hand: 12/11/2015
  2. 2. Wellcome Trust • Global charitable foundation • Improving human and animal health • Supporting biomedical research and the medical humanities • Exploring medicine in historical and cultural contexts
  3. 3. Wellcome Collection • Explores connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future • Exhibitions and public events • Publications and book prize • International projects • Digital projects ...and a world class research library!
  4. 4. Wellcome Library • Free library with focus on history of medicine and health • One of the world's major resources for the study of medical history • Growing collection of material relating to contemporary medicine and biomedical science in society
  5. 5. Our Holdings • 700 incunabula • 8,000 journal titles • 6,300 recordings • 9,000 Western manuscripts • 16,000 Asian Manuscripts • 150,000 rare books; 800,000 modern books • 100,000 paintings, prints and photographs • 700 archives, containing 1.5m items
  6. 6. Transformation Strategy • To provide global access to, and expert interpretation of, a world class collection that explores medicine in its cultural contexts: • Targeted collecting – putting challenges in context • Expert interpretation – engaging (new) audiences • Strategic digitisation – online access to our collections
  7. 7. Digitisation Programme • Target: 50m images. 20m images so far: • Archives 1,995,000 Rare books 4,100,000 • 19th century/UK-MHL/MHL 13,160,000 • MOH 470,000 Chemist & Druggist 535,000 • Arabic Mss 69,440 Western Mss 31,109 • 990 audio-visual titles (30,000,000 images!) • Paintings, prints & photos 3,000
  8. 8. How we do things • We have a very sophisticated and complex set of systems in place to ingest, store, manage and deliver our digital assets
  9. 9. Lots of partners
  10. 10. From lots of places
  11. 11. Chemist & Druggist • Over a year to sign contract with publisher once agreed due to takeover • Publisher donated their set to us for destructive scanning • Internet Archive have rigid workflow • Needed to gap fill with scans from NLW • IA content discoverable on Google • Can make freely available
  12. 12. London’s Pulse (Medical Officer of Health reports) • Partial JISC funding equals hoop jumping • Shipped to and digitised in Holland • LMA volumes digitised at Wellcome Library • Work to enhance text and tables in India • Packing and shipping resource intensive • Issues with quality and accuracy of digitisation • Zooniverse collaboration
  13. 13. Ancestry • Significant amount of time and effort went into set up of project which is very small in scale for both WL and Ancestry • Dealing with project managers in UK and USA • Images available via Ancestry and Wellcome Library with conditions • Contract detailed but still had unforeseen issues • Timescales
  14. 14. Early European Books • ProQuest sub contracted digitisation out to Numen • Communication difficult as ProQuest, not Wellcome were Numen’s customer • Staff changes at ProQuest caused work to slow then rapidly accelerate • Difficulty getting images back from ProQuest • Restriction on availability of images for 15 years
  15. 15. UK MHL • Digitised by Internet Archive using workflow established during C&D project • Jointly funded by JISC (62%) and Wellcome (38%) • Partner libraries – 6 HE and 4 non HE libraries • If partner libraries fail to/under deliver we have to pick up slack or pay difference • Strict end date
  16. 16. External archives digitisation • 9 archive partners • Set specific requirements for metadata, images and sensitivity • Imported their metadata into our systems • Importance of communication • Collaborative effort for publicising collections • No exclusivity
  17. 17. Common Themes • Priorities – higher priority for one partner over the other. Do they want what you want? • Who do they work for? • Communication and managing relationships and expectations is key to success • Consider use cases present and future • Broader reach. Content hosted in UK, Europe and USA • Standards and responsibilities
  18. 18. Things to consider • Things change over time! People, goals, priorities • Agree everything in writing – even then interpretation may be different • Don’t neglect internal partners • Can you live with conditions imposed by funders or commercial partners in the long term? • Are you prepared to do things their way? • Could you do it on your own? • Even ‘free’ things have costs
  19. 19. Final thoughts • Partnerships can have long lasting impact • Allow us to reach goals more quickly and leverages our own available funding • Partners may have different priorities but they still want the project to succeed • Open access on multiple platforms for multiple audiences equals more opportunities for engagement and data reuse