The European Union’s Comite’ des Sages recently published The New Renaissance, a proud call-to-arms for the digitisation of Europe’s cultural heritage.
There are plenty of questions it raises and some of the recommendations will be very difficult to put into practice. But as a lofty statement of intent it’s a powerful document and very welcome, focussing hearts and minds on the task of digitisation. Some of its broad aims overlap with the recent Inspiring Research, Inspiring Scholarship document published by JISC.
At the heart of the recommendations is the desire for far greater commitment to digitisation from the member states of the EU. It urges the individual governments to fund the digitisation of out of copyright works. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the UK.
Other interesting parts of the document include
- Creation of European legal instruments to ease the orphan works problem
- Securing Europeana’s position as the central point for European digitised culture
- Private-sector digitisation should be encouraged but not result in paywalls for end users. Out of copyright content should be freely available
- Europeana should evolve as a service for depositing and preserving digitised content. It should be funded by the EU.
- Metadata should always be freely available for re-use
There are plenty of issues which touch on JISC’s attitudes and plans for digitisation. I shall try and blog on them over the next few weeks.
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This one-day conference focuses on some of the key strategic issues faced by content creators and publishers today and which were addressed by the JISC eContent programme 2009-2011, in particular:
- the need for institutions to develop the necessary skills and strategies to embed digitisation within institutional strategies and practices as well as devise effective business models for the long term sustainability of digitised content
- the need to break down silos of content by clustering existing and complementary digitised resources and enhancing their offerings, thus making them more relevant and usable for target users
The day will bring together a mixture of national and international speakers and representatives of the projects funded under the JISC eContent programme to discuss current challenges and opportunities.
If you would like to give a brief presentation, 3-5 mins, of work you have done within your own institution relating to the topics above, please indicate it in the registration form – see link below – and we will be in touch with you.
The conference will be of relevance to decision makers involved in the provision and delivery of digital content to the education sector, including:
- Senior Librarians in higher and further education
- The librarians of the future – the next generation of librarians
- Managers of electronic resources and digital content provision
- Policy makers in charge of digital content strategies
- Teachers, lecturers and researchers with an interest in digital content
The conference will be held at Goodenough College, 21-25 Mecklenburgh Square, London WC1N 2AD, starting with registration at 10.00am and closing at 3.45pm.
There is no charge to attend the conference and lunch and refreshments are all included.
Please register by filling in the form at https://www.eventsforce.net/jisc/86/home
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A recent workshop held on the 9th September 2009 at the Open University discussed the issues that surround mathematical content in digital form.
Bringing together leading mathematicians and practitioners involved in the digitisation of mathematical content, the workshop addressed areas such as: collaboration, standards, improving practice, and reuse of software, in relation to mathematic content in electronic form.
The workshop had three aims:
- Content related technical problems in supporting eLearning in mathematics
- Standards related to digitisation of mathematics research literature, and:
- Formulas and equationsin otherwise non-mathematical content
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JISC has recently funded a number of workshops to investigate and explore the challenges and achievements in digitisation and e-content.
The workshops will be looking at a broad range of areas associated with Digitisation, including: Optical Character recognition (OCR), Collaboartive editing, Large scale digitisation, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Digitising and Mathematics.
A list of workshops and titles (where available) are below:
- UKOLN, University of Bath – Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for the mass digitisation of textual materials:IMProving ACcess to Text
- University for the creative Arts - Digital Imagery: creation and importance in the visual arts
- Queen Mary, University of London - Digitising Correspondence (Digitising Early Modern Letters)
- JISC Digital Media - Digitising Performance
- Met Office Hadley Centre – Climate Data Digitisation and Visualisation
- University of Birmingham – Collaborative Scholarly Editing over the Web
- University of York – Geographical Information Systems in History and Heritage
- University of East London – High Resolution Digitisation of Large Artworks
- The Open Univesity - Mathematical Content – tools and standards, practice and strategy
- JISC Digital Media - Successfully building and managing a digital media collection and The digital media collection +100 years
- University of Kent – Building Usage of Cartoon Archives
- Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University – Digital History Workshop: Connecting researchers to digital collections
- Birmingham City University – High Volume Digitisation: Issues, Trends & Innovative Robot Tech
These workshops are expected to be taking place throughout September, 2009.
Further information about the workshops, including dates and times and agendas will be available shortly on this blog. More information can also be found on the Workshops Webpage.
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Europeana, the portal for the cultural collections of Europe, is now fully functioning and looking for feedback.
Tell us what you think and win the latest iPod Touch!
All Europeana’s features are fully functioning now and we would like to know what you think about the site. We’re currently running a survey in all 27 EU languages. Your feedback is important for the future development of Europeana, so let us know what you want.
The Europeana Team
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There’s an interesting and well-illustrated (in the print version at least) article on the variety and strength on special collections in UK universities in the 7 May version of the Times Higher.
However, in focussing on the special collections as single curios, the article rather downplays the Importance that such collections can have within education.
What is one person’s eccentric oddity may actually form the spine of somebody else’s research. Moreover, put different special collections together and you might get some very interesting relationships building up, and a critical mass of primary source material to inform innovative and engaging teaching and research.
The Discmap project, managed by the University of Strathclyde, is looking precisely at these issues, studying the special collections within the UK’s universities and then developing priorities for digitisation. Its final report is due for publication in early Summer 2009, and should provide interesting food for thought and how future digitisation within the UK is taken forward.
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Not much time is left to register for the Digital Lives Research Project conference on 9-11 February 2009 at the British Library in St Pancras, London. It is the first Digital Lives Research Conference on Personal Digital Archives in the 21st Century. The conference is free, although only a limited number of places are available for each day.
The aim is to explore a wide range of aspects of digital lives and the curation of personal digital archives.
Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, it is a participatory and collaborative conference bringing together researchers, professionals, creators and the digital public: a conference in the character of 2.0.
The Conference and Conference Series will be inaugurated by Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library.
An introduction to the project and the conference gives some background to the project and usefully outlines the themes of the conference. A full programme and list of speakers is also available, and it is well worth checking out the projects blog for some interesting posts and more conference information. Further information is available through:
Digital Lives Research Conference
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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In a previous post (What’s your priority for digitisation? ), we mentioned the JISC-funded DiSCmap project, Digitisation in special collections: mapping, assessment, prioritisation, which aims to produce, among other things, a “top priority” list of special collections held within the UK Higher Education sector (including libraries, archives, and museums) for potential future digitisation, based primarily on the needs of researchers and teachers.
DiSCmap invites responses to an online survey from Librarians, Archivists and Collection Managers within UK Higher Education institutions who will be able to nominate collections within their institution which are considered to be a priority for future digitisation.
The initial long list obtained from the responses to the survey will subsequently be refined through the feedback of users such as researchers and teachers. The second stage of the project will be to produce a “short-list” of priority collections held within UK HEIs for potential future digitisation.
The outcome of this project will provide useful evidence for users’ demand for digitised content, and inform JISC’s future digitisation strategy and activity.
If you haven’t completed the survey yet, please do so by mid-February, and make sure your institution contributes to mapping the digitisation needs for the UK Higher Education sector.
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A new online discussion forum has recently launched in order to gather people’s feedback on digitisation priorities for special collections.
Current debates raise issues such as what defines a special collection, how to determine digitisation priorities, user needs in research & teaching, and a provocative “Devil’s advocate” thread to provide a platform to air “contrary positions”.
Everybody can join the forum at http://forums.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/
This online forum is part of the DiSCMap project (Digitisation in Special Collections: mapping, assessment, prioritisation), funded by the JISC Digitisation Programme. DiSCMap seeks to produce a “top priority” list of special collections held within the UK Higher Education sector for potential future digitisation, based primarily on the needs of researchers and teachers.
Through the working of the forum, the DiSCMap project will also investigate the potential of online environments in assisting the delivery of research project outputs, and its usefulness for encouraging more and freer discussions at both national and international level.
DiSCMap is being carried out by the University of Strathclyde, Centre for Digital Library Research, in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, Centre for Research in Library and Information Management.