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JDCC09: Sarah Porter: Fostering knowledge

This session saw Sarah Porter put JISC’s work in context (encompassing everything from bourbon biscuits to global infrastructure). Quoting Nick Poole, she told us it was “time to stop thinking and get on and do”.

Sarah focused on JISC’s contribution to the UK e-infrastructure and work in progress, making the point that JISC’s work needs to be seen in a global context. Global issues are now affecting the way people learn/teach/run their lives. We’re in a world of content, not just a UK – content comes from everywhere (whether digitised, commercial or user-generated) and everything is distributed (and also people can search from everywhere). Business models are being turned upside down.

So what is JISC trying to do? The enabling bit:

  • infrastructure (eg JANET, middleware)
  • policy and strategy – helps to make the decisions (eg Open Access)
  • practice (what should be driving infrastructure decisions) eg understanding learning and teaching through tehcnology, digital content in an educational context, new models for sharing scholarly knowledge

Sarah said that JISC was in the process of producing a new strategy, but the challenges included:

  • the open agenda (eg Open Access, Open Source)
  • sustainability (business models and environmental sustainability)
  • efficiency (through shared services)
  • innovation to support user needs (we don’t provide the perfect solution)

She then went on to outline the vision (which had to be done in partnership):

  • crowd-sourced, user-selected content
  • accessible, engaging
  • more value from the wonderful resources that we have in the UK – we don’t make enough of them because of fragmentation

However, we can only achieve all this through active, focused collaboration.

Finally, Sarah rounded off her whistle-stop tour by quoting Nick Poole: “time to stop thinking and get on and do”.

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