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Posts Tagged ‘workshop’

Social media and networking – my friend or my foe?

Posted by gazjjohnson on 1 December, 2011

Yesterday, while some folks were otherwise engaged, I was teaching the first version of our new staff development course Social Media Friend or Foe?: Navigating the Legal Minefield Successfully.  As regular readers will remember I flagged up a few months back that myself and Tania Rowlett the Copyright Administrator had been asked by the Staff Development Office to run this course.  At first we thought this might be a simple amplification of some elements from our popular Copyright for Academic Modules session, but it rapidly became clear that this wasn’t going to work.

It does rather seem that over the past three weeks I’ve done little else other than eat, sleep and breathe Web 2.0 copyright (although strangely my diary seems to indicate I’ve done a heck of lot of other things as well).  My especial thanks to Tania who has had to put up with me constantly appearing at her desk to help me clarify a point and provide a lot of guidance into the structure and content of the course.  I can say that it has been a challenging but deeply interesting exercise, trying to distill down the wisdom of others into a bite sized course.  I did slightly jokingly suggest to Tania that each of our slides could last an hour if we really got into the details – but as our intention was to really flag up the various risks, and ways around them that wasn’t likely to be a working format.

In the end the session and the slightly-longer-than-I-intended-booklet did come together well enough for a furst run through.  I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to offer this session again in the new year with a few more delegates, as from the feedback those in attendance found it well worth their while.  I can exclusively reveal that I’ve already sketched out a number of revisions to the 2.0 version of the session, more interaction, more case study elements and hopefully even more quality content.  Although that’s going to push the session length up to a good 3hrs (the v1.0 was 2hrs and felt a bit rushed at times as a result).

As normal we’ve made the materials for the session available on the Copyright webpages for consultation, and continue to welcome feedback and comments from anyone working with or in the social media/networking field.

Posted in Copyright & Course Packs, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

DREaMing of a Library and Information Science research network

Posted by katiefraser on 1 November, 2011

Last week I attended the first workshop of the AHRC-funded DREaM project. DREaM stands for ‘Developing Research Excellence and Methods’ and the project aims to create a network of Library and Information Science researchers across the UK. As an academic librarian with a research background I’m very enthusiastic about the potential for research to improve our practice, and I was delighted to be given a new professional’s travel bursary by the DREaM project, and to have my attendance supported by the Library. In return for my support from Leicester, I’ve been asked to think about how the methods discussed in each workshop might contribute to better understanding the community our academic library serves, and improving our services.

The DREaM workshops are being very thoroughly documented by the team running them: both slides and videos of the presentations are available at the Workshop 1 webpage. I’ll link to, rather than replicate, that content, and focus on my personal thoughts about each method from my own practitioner-researcher perspective.

Introduction to ethnography – Dr Paul Lynch
Ethnography is an approach used to understand culture, usually through immersion within that culture. Better understanding the culture of academic library users, students and staff, is clearly key to improving our service. My MA Librarianship dissertation used ethnographic interviews to look at how students viewed and understood library space, and I think there’s a lot more to be done on understanding how students use and want to use libraries.

In the workshop, Paul Lynch discussed the dual role of the ethnographer – as insider (participant in a culture) and outsider (observer of a culture). I suspect my ability to produce an ethnography of library users is limited by my increased distance from both student and academic roles, so this method may be out for me.

Introduction to social network analysis – Dr Louise Cooke
Social network analysis looks at the networks which exist within groups, and patterns in links between individuals, by asking members of a group to report on their own relationships. During the workshop I could immediately see the relevance of this method to my own work: a major part of my role is acting as liaison between the Library and academic departments, and recording the existence and nature of links between librarians and academic staff would be absolutely fascinating.

I could never use this method with my own departmental contacts: asking individuals to report on their relationships with yourself would be ethically unsound (and probably produce inaccurate results!) However, there is clearly potential to apply this technique elsewhere within the university: perhaps looking at networks between librarians, other academic support staff, and lecturer / researchers within one of the Colleges I don’t directly support.

Introduction to discourse analysis – Professor Andy McKinlay
Discourse analysis is a technique for analysing gathered data, rather than a method for gathering data itself. It involves analysis of what people say (or write) through understanding of the context in which it is said: the social norms embedded in that context, and how language is used to construct a way of seeing the world.

There’s clearly expectations, norms and values implicit in how users talk about the Library. One of the most common comments at from students walking into the David Wilson for the first time is ‘Where are all the books?’ I think that one sentence (and all its implicit assumptions about libraries) could keep a discourse analyst going for days! I could see focus groups, or even analysis of how students describe the Library to each other, on- and off-line, as a really useful way to surface these concepts, and work with, or think about changing them.

Unconference and ethics discussion
The workshop also included bonus research-related sections. In the middle of the day, an unconference session encouraged us to discuss what we wished: I outed myself as a methodological pluralist (i.e. one who believes there is no one best method for studying the world, and has dabbled in several!) and learned about the research interests and priorities of others in our emerging network. At the end of the day, Professor Charles Oppenheim led a section in which we debated ethics in a number of research-related scenarios.

Both these additional sessions really got me thinking about my role as a practitioner-researcher. There are a limited number of participants with dual roles in the DREaM network, but plenty of participants who have been on both sides of the divide at different times in their careers. I think there are lots of interesting discussions to be had about how practitioners use and carry out research, and I look forward to these workshops starting a few. Perhaps we can even kick off here: I’d be pleased to get feedback on some of my suggestions so far…

Posted in Projects, Wider profession | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Open Access: the impact for libraries and librarians (RSP Event)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 13 December, 2010

As a special Monday treat – here’s the third guest post from my team, this time from Valérie Spezi.
______________________________________________________________________________

I went to a very interesting conference last Friday on Open Access and its impact on libraries and librarians, organised by the Repository Support Project (RSP). As usual with RSP events the conference was very well organised, including venue and catering, and the selection of speakers was of great quality.

The conference was well-attended, mostly by librarians from all over the UK and across sectors, which wasn’t really surprising given the title of the conference. Librarians from the Higher Education sector formed the bulk of the audience; but it was nice to see that there were also a few publisher and funding agency representatives, as well as information and library consultants.

The conference objective was to provide librarians with greater knowledge of Open Access, what it is and what it isn’t, how it is currently developing and shaping scholarly communication systems and what impact it’s having on libraries. Far from preaching Open Access at any costs, the selection of speakers offered a balanced view of what is achievable within Open Access and what isn’t.

Bill Hubbard started off the conference day with a presentation setting out the background to Open Access (OA), i.e. what OA is and what it isn’t, and what the rationale supporting OA and the drivers are. Open Access for most of us simply means ‘open to read’ (including cache, save and print), and most materials available today on Open Access are open in this way. But it was interesting to learn that the original idea in the Budapest vision started out with a more unifying view of an open world where material would be open to read and re-use. However the reality proved to be much more complex and made it difficult to achieve this ideal of a total open information world. Then, Bill presented the usual drivers for OA (serial crisis, moral case, financial rationale and academic need to have speedy access to scholarship). More importantly, Bill added an additional driver: ‘because we can!’, meaning that we are witnessing major changes in the information environment, and Open Access is one of these major changes taking place and it can’t be ignored as we have the technology and all the good reasons to do it. Finally, Bill went through the usual misconceptions about OA (subversion of peer review, replacement for publication, invitation to plagiarism and an attack on copyright) and explained why these arguments against OA were erroneous or even sometimes illogical. In conclusion, it was suggested that what is needed to build OA are systems and workflows to support researchers, institutions and funders, who all seem to be favour of Open Access but are facing great challenges individually.

The second speaker was Alma Swan, from Key Perspectives Ltd, who has done a great deal of work on scholarly communication and Open Access (it is only fair to note that she and her business partner pioneered key research studies on researchers’ attitudes towards Open Access in 2004/05). Alma’s talk was about the economics of OA. The aim of her talk was to present the costs and savings at system levels (Houghton et al. report [2009]) and at university level (Swan [2010]). She presented first, in great details, the results of the Houghton et al. report, which looks at costs and savings in three different OA scenarios (self-archiving or green access; repository archiving with overlay services; open access journal or gold OA). She then moved on to her own work which builds upon the Houghton report as she used the Houghton methodology to build a limited number of case studies looking at costs and savings at institutional level.

In conclusion, the main idea from Alma’s talk was that universities differ greatly and therefore results differ greatly from one institution to another: whereas the Houghton report indicated that the UK scholarly communication system as a whole could enjoy substantial savings across the sector, Alma’s work indicate that research-intensive institutions may end up yielding negative savings (i.e. paying a cost) in the move towards Open Access, and therefore the national OA savings case needs to be managed so that some universities are not individually disadvantaged.

Following on was the interesting talk from Wim van der Stelt, Executive Vice President Corporate Strategy at Springer, one of the biggest STM publishing houses. Beside the presentation of the various open access options offered by Springer, Wim made a few interesting points:

  • Firstly, Springer has adopted the strong Open Access position, meaning that all their open access content is open to read and to re-use as in the Budapest initiative, save for commercial purposes. The main reason for this was according to Wim the fact that it seems that end-users generally don’t care about copyright and hence Springer’s decision to go strong OA in order to simplify copyright policies. Wim emphasised the fact that Springer leaves the copyright to authors and is generally happy with just a licence to publish.
  • Secondly, Wim bluntly took on the role of publishers in today’s scholarly communication system. If publishers’ role in distributing or disseminating scholarship was acknowledged as a thing of the past, it was however said that publishers create value-added services to their authors – though what exactly those value-added services consisted of was not really debated.  In short, Wim reminded the audience that publishers are in the scholarly communication market to make money first and foremost, thus the legitimacy of open access embargoes enabling publishers to ‘rightly’ monetise on content. So, yes to Open Access as long as there is a business model, and BMC, recently acquired by Springer, has certainly proved that Open Access can be extremely lucrative. But Wim also insisted on the fact that publishers are equally eager to please their customers, i.e. the research community, and thus Springer wouldn’t go down the open access route if it was felt that there was no demand for this from the research community they serve.
  • Thirdly, Wim talked about the difficulty to introduce new OA journals as they often bear huge fees whereas they still have not yet yield any impact factors.

Wim concluded his speech by saying that it was believed that OA would stay as a complementary business model; a conclusion I understood was also shared by some of the speakers present at the conference. As Bill repeated several times, Open Access is not THE solution to today’s scholarly communication failures; it’s only one of the components of the changes scholarly communication is going through.

Susan Ashworth, Assistant director for Research and Learning Support services, presented the development of Enlighten, the University of Glasgow’s research repository holding just over 35,000 records (but only 3,600 full-text items). Susan talked about the organisational/staff structure of Enlighten, and it was interesting to see that the University of Glasgow went for a manager-less unit but with a very strong support team consisting of cataloguers, a service development manager and an advocacy manager. From the many common drivers listed by Susan, one specific driver stood out: the imperative need for research management the RAE brought about in Higher Education and Enlighten seems to fulfil this role just fine. Other interesting aspects of Susan’s talk were the excellent work the Library has done on author disambiguation using Glasgow Unique identifier (GUID), the delivery of subject feeds from Twitter, and the hot-linking to publications of all that valuable information when it comes to research management that are grant funding and funder names.

Dave Carr, the Open Access Adviser from the Wellcome Trust (WT), was the next speaker. The OA policy was introduced in 2005 and made mandatory in 2006, requiring WT-funded researchers to make their publications available within 6 months of publication. Dave estimated the compliance rate to the policy to be close to 50%. But the WT is aiming high, and raising the compliance rate is one of the top priorities of the trust. Therefore Dave’s talk was all about how the WT can persuade researchers of the benefits of Open Access and how the WT can help their researchers to make their publications available on OA. Dave’s talk was focused on the need to establish communication with researchers. Too many researchers are still unaware of OA funds or self-archiving practice, this is why the WT is working hard in getting the message across to researchers. In conclusion, it was felt that sanctioning non-compliant researchers was not the way to go for now, and the WT would strive to persuade researchers rather than adopting a punitive approach.

Chris Middleton, from the University of Nottingham, presented a case study on institutional funding for OA publishing. The main driver for setting up the OA fund was the looming REF. Some figures were provided: 353 OA fund requests were made over 4 years, whereof 140 were made in 2009/10, representing circa £171,179. The average cost per article at the University of Nottingham, was estimated at £1,317, but the payments were wide-spread, ranging from £277 to £2,990. The message Chris tried to pass across to the audience was the paramount importance of budgeting those OA costs (where is the break-even point?), but also that this is a very difficult task a University/library sets for itself. Chris used a slightly modified version of Alma Swan’s economic model to base her calculations on OA costs and savings.

Jackie Wickham, the RSP Open Access Adviser, reported on a survey of repository staff she conducted over the summer 2010. The survey was distributed via the UKCoRR list. Beside some useful data on repository staffing, such as 76.2% work part-time, 73.8% work as part of a team or that repository staff tend to be highly educated, Jackie also offered a summary of the skills repository staff (managers and administrators) thought were important, and this included communication (getting the message across), interpersonal skills, project management, determination, perseverance and patience .

Finally, the conference day came to an end with Paul Ayris, Director of Library Services at UCL and President of LIBER, who presented a selection of Open Access projects he’s involved in such as:

  • DART-Europe, the principal gateway for discovery and retrieval of OA European theses, and how the EThOS project fits into this.
  • Europeana libraries, some sort of Google-equivalent (which in itself is an already ambitious endeavour…) for European quality-assured research content.
  • LERU (League of European Research Universities) – a consortium of 22 research-intensive universities in Europe lobbying at the European level for the promotion of research.

In conclusion, this RSP Open Access conference was very informative and enlightening and helped to understand the debate, the drivers but also the challenges of Open Access. And, in the words of Bill, the conclusion would be that OA enables publishers and librarians to channel the huge changes currently taking place and ensure quality control of the research made freely available to anyone. Far from delivering anarchy in scholarly communication, OA helps stakeholders to organise and channel the mass of open research content.

Posted in Open Access, Staff training | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Professional Development of Library Assistants workshop

Posted by gazjjohnson on 10 December, 2010

A guest post from a member of my team (Izzy Hoskins) on a workshop she and another of my team went on this week.
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On 7th December I attended the Professional Development of Library Assistants workshop at the University of Leicester organised by Andrew Dunn. This course was aimed at Library assistants looking to develop their careers.

The day began with an interesting talk by Emma Donaldson who had completed the ACLIP accreditation, something that I had not heard of previously. Although I was unsure how far this particular course could take someone professionally it certainly seems a cheaper and more accessible option than others in its field. The portfolio that had to be completed in order to achieve this award was passed around and seemed to demonstrate a very hands on and active approach to learning – something that certainly appeals to me and that I am likely to pursue. I would however have liked to hear more about this qualification and where it leads.

Secondly Abigail Howe presented a talk about her personal path which seemed the most focused of the day. Her background as a library assistant alongside her MSc Library and Information Studies (Distinction) at City University has led her to become the Learning Resource Centre Manager at Huntingdonshire Regional College. Her achievements are down to an active pursuance of a professional career and she gave good examples and suggestions to the audience. Advice given included:

  • Creating experience – in a previous role she herself had drafted in sixth form students to work for free during her lunch hour so that she could experience managing a team.
  • Networking through conferences
  • Involvement with UC&R alongside CILIP
  • Creating contacts using Twitter
  • Listening to others in the field by joining committees
  • Taking time to do some professional reading
  • Dressing, speaking and acting professionally, effectively behaving as if you are already in a professionally qualified role

Although her personal development path seems a little intimidating her general message certainly rings true and I am sure her C.V. will continue to become very impressive.

Chris Brown of Aston University gave the last presentation of the day by library staff. Having worked in various positions she was eventually led to complete the masters course at Loughborough. Interestingly she noted that she was advised not to take library assistant roles after graduating and instead hold out for an opportunity to arise. Although I could appreciate this sentiment I wasn’t sure how achievable this would be in the current jobs market.

Staff development took the second half of the day giving advice about creating C.V’s and performing at interviews. A large part of their discussion was spent on identifying the skills and pressures for staff within your target market although this only seemed to centre on higher education institutions. They focused on marketing yourself, finding your unique selling point (USP!) and quite importantly moulding your application to the market as opposed to trying to fit the jobs market to yourself. A lot of their advice was useful but I did feel that at times it took a while to get to a single point and that this time could have been used in a better way. For example I would have liked the chance to develop my own C.V. or to hear more about the variety of career opportunities within the library profession.

Although the day was very general I thought it was both insightful and useful. The follow up by Andrew Dunn to the feedback given has been excellent and is very much appreciated.

Posted in Staff training, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

All about OTTERS – a day on open educational resources

Posted by gazjjohnson on 3 September, 2010

Today I went down to the BDRA to attend a day on the OTTER project and OERs (open educational resources/repositories).  Educational object repositories are a little to the left of my working experience, so this was a great opportunity to find out a little more.  The aim of the day was to give an overview of OTTER and OERs in a broader sense.

We began by seeking to define what an OER was – something that could be reused, re-purposed, freely available, and discrete (not embedded within an environment).  The primary concerns over using them are currency, sustainability and quality control.  IPR/licensing to use/reuse is also an issue – especially third party rights of contents embedded within items.  Interestingly there is a lot of use of these objects by Leicester students for their revision, not simply those produced at Leicester.  Noted that MIT with their Open Courseware have been leading in this field for at least 12 years.

(Incidentally my favourite learning object is on  Kongregate – a game that teaches cellular physiology.)

OTTER is mounted on PLONE, and of course JORUM Open is more well known – as this links to OERs in all kinds of teaching environments. OTTER over-delivered on their target credits material – almost 500 credits worth of material.  Also the CORRE framework for creating and evaluating OERs.

CORRE

We started looking at Content gathering, and IPR/ownership questions were noted – the Uni generally owns copyright in OERs created here, but it was noted there are some cases where this might actually not be as cut and dried.  So OTTER worked with people where this wasn’t going to be a problem.  Even after the gathering there were questions over IPR and that some depts seemed to misunderstand what had been agreed to be supplied.  To get around this the BDRA devised a memorandum of understanding that was an agreement as to what partner depts would supply.  Noted that knowledge of copyright, let alone creative commons was poorly understood by the academic community and that education in this respect is needed.

Next is the Content screening – need to do some assessment of the content before you can decide that it is suitable for conversion into a OER.  OTTER used indicative questions to perform this analysis.  Interesting points about transnational issues over language and spelling were raised.  The amount of local references within OERs was an issue too – OTTER thought it was better to remove them and make them more generic, although other institutions didn’t always agree with this viewpoint – saying users could see past the local references to the reusable model underneath.

Then there is Openness – and the difference between creative commons and copyright.  In South America for example if it’s on the Web the normal assumption, even in the academic sphere, is that it is public domain and rights free.  The question of significant change to create a new object (and how much work is needed to demonstrate this) was raised.  Noted, like the LRA, that OTTER was very rigorous with copyright unlike some of the other projects – and had a series of indicative questions to be asked before an object could be progressed (developed with the consultation of Tania, our Copyright Administrator)

Next transformation – which is about enhancing the existing teaching materials as it becomes a OER, effectively making it an object independent of other resources that can be used on its own.  It may require restructuring – en.g. a lecture may be designed to work in a certain context, but as an OER its structure will need to be re-examined.

Then we looked at formatting and standardisation, making sure that final file formats are appropriate and openable by as wide a range of end users as possible.  It is also about making sure that metadata, and embedded metadata within the OER is  appropriate.  This was a manual process.  There was quite a discussion around the use of iTunesU and YouTube as alternative locations for mounting some OERs, the advantage being the discoverability would be enhanced by their search tools and greater visibility to a broader audience.  however, in contrast downloading of some objects can be restricted on these services, unlike from your own OER where you can control this more.

Now in Sahm’s words we move into a fashion parade – or Reuse and Repurpose – thinking about the end users and how they will be using it.  So these are questions to ask the various groups, although you can use your own in-house team to go through the tool kit questions.  Noted how they validated the materials by running it past real user groups e.g. EMALinc event with librarians.

Finally there is Evidence – this is about the impact and what is the value to teachers and learners around the wold, how do we measure it?  Senior management is more interested in evidence of impact, but as a teacher you will be more interested in the anecdotal evidence from learners on how these resources have helped in their learning experience.  like the LRA they use Google Analytics to track the quantitative data.  However, after all this effort and only 9 people use a resource the question of “worth” arises.  Hard to demonstrate what people get out of it – or what they would have not got, had the resource not existed.  Talked about MIT taking 10 years to demonstrate worth of their Open Courseware site. Akin to libraries making many materials available that few people use – but if they weren’t there, it would have diminished someone’s learning experience.

Applying CORRE

At this point we closed for lunch. After lunch we looked at some demos of objects in the Leicester OER, including a video with some upside down bits.  Following this we applied the CORRE framework to our own teaching examples – in my group’s case Marta from SDSS’ session on evaluating evidence.  We touched on the need to redesign teaching session objects from the ground up, if they were to fit through the CORRE framework – as they stand there is too little context to make them work alone, or too much referencing to other materials.

Finally the day reflected on how OERs and designing for openness has impacted on the work of the BDRA.  In particular thinking about stuff they are designing with this in mind from the start; alongside designing for the student.  They ask themselves “Can we make it open and can we enhance visibility for ourselves and our work through making it into an open resource?”

——–

Overall this was an enjoyable and engaging day, and the chance to think about CORRE I think could have filled an entire day if we’d worked through it methodically.  Even though I don’t do that much teaching these days I found plenty to think about, and look forward to future engagements with the BDRA.

Slides will be available on the OTTER sige, along with the podcast from the day (with the odd audible comment from me on it).

Posted in Open Access, Projects, Subject Support | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Advocacy – it ain’t what you say, it’s the way that you say it

Posted by gazjjohnson on 17 May, 2010

Kings Fund, LondonAnd with apologies for the terrible grammar in that title.  Friday I went for my second jaunt of the month down to London to attend their Communication Skills for Advocacy event. As someone who’s run a few events of this kind myself in a previous life I wasn’t originally planning to attend, until Dominic Tate of the RSP invited me along as a facilitator.  I’m glad he did as the day was actually incredibly useful, even to someone like myself who likes to think of himself as an old hand.

The event took place in the one of the rather wonderful conference suites at the Kings Fund, Cavendish Square.  Along with about 30 other repository managers and workers we were welcomed to the event by CRC’s Bill Hubbard.  The bulk of the day was facilitated by Deborah Dalley whom did an excellent job (although I’m not sure I was overly keen on the use of the phrase “Did that resonate with you?” – but that might have been a simple gut reaction). 

During the morning we looked initially at the four stages of effective influencing:

  • What do you want?
  • Who are you trying to influence?
  • What power do you have?
  • How to communicate the message

Following on from this we did an audit of our own sources of power, which helped us to understand where we were perhaps coming from ourselves.  I think I concluded that personally within my role I end up using Coercive, Expert, Reward, Personal, Information and Connection sources of power; but was weaker on position (aka authority) and Association Power.  We also took a look at the perception position that we adopt with respect to influencing, the importance of adopting the 2nd position (that of the other person) to truly understand where they are coming from and why they might not want to agree with us.   Before we moved into a coffee break we turned to examine channels of communication – which I was proud to say I managed to have a large number of.  Okay, so I’ve plenty of ways to communicate with people, I just need to work on my influencing skills somewhat was the message I emerged from the morning with.

After coffee we looked at putting influence into practice to develop a short pitch (2 minute) to an academic.  In the group I was in I can’t say that we developed a clear pitch, but we did have an excellent discussion about how we would make these kinds pitches in our own organisations.  We didn’t have to deliver our pitch, which was a shame as I think it might have helped the groups focus down to a practical output a little bit more.  Then before lunch we looked at the challenging realm of understanding and managing resistance; including how resistance manifests and the steps we can take to address and hopefully overcome it.  Quite a key point here was not emotionally engage but to view resistance as part of a broader context – 80% of our first thoughts on hearing an idea are negative, so this it is only natural for people to resist.

After a fabulous bento box lunch (kudos Dominic) we went back into group work to generate as many objection to repositories and open access as possible, from the academic’s perspective.  Or as I suspect ones that we ourselves have heard our academics talk about. 

This was followed by perhaps the most challenging part of the day when myself, Dominic and Bill moved to the front and essentially tried to offer our collective wisdom in how to overcome these objections.  Interesting our approaches were divergent at times, but generally just as valid.  Hopefully the rest of the room were able to take something away – although I’m aware we ran out of time to deal with all the objections on the day.

After another tea break we broke into threes to roleplay academics and repository managers (and observers) with specific problems and objections.  This was a chance for us to put all our learning into action, and naturally a chance for me to roll our my thespian skills once more.  I hope my group enjoyed my embodiment of an academic!  Finally we wrapped the day with feedback on this session and thoughts about the day.

This was a really excellent day, and I’ve come away with some ideas and plans that I’ll put into action the next time I’m speaking to a group of or individual academics.  It was interesting to note that a lot of the objections we face are very similar, which gives me hope that the routes to resolving them will become plainer overtime.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

JISC Legal Copyright Day March 31st 2010

Posted by gazjjohnson on 12 April, 2010

On the last day before Easter I escaped from the office to head to a rather chilly University of Sheffield to attend a JISCLegal Copyright event. As neither of my copyright officers were available to attend, hoped I’d glean some much needed insight into the latest developments in copyright legislation and practice. What follows are my notes from the event with a few comments where appropriate

Digital Images, John Hargreaves, JISC Digital Media
Formerly the organisation was known as TASI. It is based at the University of Bristol. John gave an overview of their role and services; highlighting their new two weekly online surgery which is open to all. Opened with a note on the relative impenetrability of copyright law (which in the light of the last session of day I can heartily concur with)– however, in this session he aimed to demystify aspects of image © law.

Despite what many people assume just because an image is on the internet doesn’t mean you can use it. Since all images are inherently copyrighted, normally to the creator, there is always a rights issue unless the creator/rights owner has clearly waived it – and indeed even then there might be some constraints.

He highlighted the vast growth in digital images, more user generated content, more sharing, ease of access and proliferation of web 2 services like Flickr and Google Images; services that allow dissemination. Traditional legislation is unclear in a digital context, and also laws are constantly changing and tightening. The suggestion today is that balance of rights lies with the rights holders not public access; something that seems to fly in the face of the open access agenda. Copyright in images will change on formats, something that isn’t born digital might have several different rights holders (original photographer, owner of a photo in a gallery, digitiser etc). The length of time that these rights remain as well for each format can differ.

While rights stay with the rights holder normally, if you create something while contracted to work for an organisation the user might not hold the rights. One line that I liked from John was that copyright exemptions aren’t rights to use, they are defences if you are challenged over your use.

So to avoid some of these problems then you should make use of trusted resources, such as JISC Image collections [LINK]. Commercial sites exist as well, although there might well be per-use or subscription fees to pay. Some sites deal with copyright exempt issues like stock.xchng for example. Also mentioned Flickr and advanced creative commons search for images for re-use. However, some people may well mount images in which they don’t own the copyright – assume the owner doesn’t understand copyright. Look through their images and see if the images in a users collections have the same look and feel, a good guide to seeing if they are the creator of them.

If you want to use images draw up your own license, or at least a clear description of how you would like it to work and the uses to which you will put the images. Even if you don’t directly use it with the rights holder it will help form part of your audit trail documentation, and will clarify discussions. You should consider the various possible rights within an image e.g. moral rights, data protection, expired rights due to age and clear statements of ownership. Joint ownership can be an issue where you need to clear the rights with more than one location. Web2rights.org.uk  has sample copyright permission letters that you can use.

Think for anything you or your users create to check that permissions to include images are covered. Consider how long a period of time permission is for (forever for a printed document, or a period of time for a web site for example). You also need to think of any related rights that might need to be cleared up at the same time. Is it appearing on the web and will you archive them or the document in some way. What do you expect the users of your object to be able to do with the images? Indeed if you have these issues clear in your head you are making it much easier for the rights holder to grant clear permissions. And all of this must be clearly documented – permissions, what you can/can’t do, who can use it, what can be done with it, what time limits that exist and the context of use of the object.

Creating image metadata to associate with the image and your use of it can be valuable. It allows you to attach the rights and permissions to the object so it can be passed to other people with these usage restrictions clearly accessible. Finally John talked about importance of asking for size/resolution of an image and how this will impact on where you can use it effectively. Print and screen have different requirements, and if you want high resolution images you are unlikely to find them on free sites – likelihood there will be fees to pay.

Music Copyright, Beverley Dodd, Birmingham City University
Fundamentals of music 1) copyright© is traditional copyright for music, lyrics, artwork etc well established. 2) (p) and this applies to the sound recording itself – p = phonographic. Different copyright laws apply to music around the world. E.g. in the UK the life+70 year rule applies, but there are changes planned. The exemptions are very limited for music copyright. For examination purposes students can perform any music behind closed doors, but photocopying of music is not allowed. Noted that now music in shops has to have a license paid for it; so does that mean more musak?

The power shift in the digital age is towards to rights holder, the major corporations, extending (p) on sound recordings from 50 to 95 years; which is a pretty horrific approach. But this has come because the record companies own the recordings but not the original songs, which remain the ownership of the artist.

CLA licenses do not cover printed music, including the words. Some music cannot be purchased, it can only be hired from publishers. The PRS for Music (Performing Right Society) is the main collecting society in Britain – for live performed music must be declared to them and be licensed, even if given for free or charity. Even more true for music used to communicate to the public in the digital media. License charges vary depending on size and type of performance. Note in the US there are some exemptions for some public places e.g. Bars and Grills.

There was a suggestion of using the old postal method of protecting copyright, a sealed envelope with composition inside date stamped, for musicians to record their rights; which seemed horribly antiquated.

The PRS are very litigious and have even challenged people who work to music on their own, or in private or to horses. Note that YouTube and PRS had a spat in 2009 which saw all premium UK music videos dropped from the site for a period. Noted that some police constabulary (e.g. Wiltshire) refuse to pay the PRS fees and claim an exemption. Even a singing granny in Scotland was slapped with £1000 fee, although they backed down after a slew of negative publicity. The key here is they will pursue just about anyone they consider requires a license. There is a code of practice for University’s available from the PRS.

At BCU they have a conservatoire, and so music copyright and reuse rights are very important to them. Future music © trends as noted are tightening up and locking down. Noted wifi and the Digital Economies Bill means that universities will be required to police and cut access to any illegal use as defined by the UK’s restrictive copyright laws.

eTheses at the University of Sheffield: a case study, Clare Scott
Ethos kicked off by aiming to digitize 5000 high use theses across the country, with 500 supplied from Sheffield. Not all of these were digitized due to issues at the BL. EthOS soft launched 2008. At Sheffield works in a very similar manner to Leicester, including a period of embargo allowed for. Mandated deposit to all students registered from 2008. 3 faculties broadly in support, 2 have particular issues, and 1 is strongly opposed. Issues that have come up included:

  • Prior publication concerns
  • Book publication
  • 3rd party copyright and finding permissions
  • Plagiarism.

In practise hard copy submission will continue for 5 years (2013) and will be reviewed at that point. So far on a day to day basis it hasn’t been a massive change.

Benefits to students include readability and accessibility on a global scale. Hopefully this means their impact will be more immediate and that (eventually) download statistics will be visible. It also offers a taste of self-marketing and promotion for the student. Has helped students when they come to publish as they are seeking copyright permissions earlier that they would otherwise struggle to obtain. Embargo reasons are much the same as ours, including political sensitivity. All theses have to be uploaded, even those embargoed as they can go into the dark archive and not be made visible – but it does mean that an electronic version is available. Problems with commercial exploitation of material when a commercial company took every one of the medical depts, so need to make sure any license doesn’t allow for this to avoid conflicts with academic’s later work.

Sheffield are paying £8,000 a year towards the £40 per theses digitisation fee. Pay up front model is causing problems and concerns from students who expect university will pay. They don’t ask author permission, and in terms of older materials don’t worry about copyright and other issues – reliance on takedown policy. Librarians get asked to download and add to stock, but permission for this is not given. Result is a lot of questions remain, like changing to asking author permissions, or desire from alumni to see theses live. The problem of rising third party copyright questions will continue to rise, and if the training is sufficient to equip the students with the skills to deal with the issues.

Copyright & the cultural sector, Tim Padfield
Developments in copyright law – in policy terms copyright is most important IPO legislation, over patents which actually brings in more money. Libraries and archives are regarded as trusted intermediaries, between rights owners and users, which means it should make things easier for us to seek permissions. A contract can override copyright, and this can be a problem.

Digital Economy Bill Orphan works – Anyone can become an authorised body to license orphaned works, via application to secretary of state. However, every work must be investigated before it can become an orphaned work and so doesn’t really help facilitate mass digitisation.

Exemptions including reprographic copying to cover films and audio, to allow external access to VLEs. Exemptions don’t apply if there’s a licensing scheme in active. Notable that just because an organisation does education, does not mean it is classed as an educational establishment for the purposes of the exemption. Fair dealing is designed to expand to all forms of media beyond text; but only to work carried out by students or staff at a prescribed educational establishment (for private study or research).

Undefined terms and concepts, Tanya Alpin
The final session of the day was rather a disappointment, as it was delivered at an expert academic practitioner level and as such was all but incomprehensible to me.  While doubtless there were some in the room who could follow the legalese, considering the accessibility of the rest of the day’s sessions this was a shame. The one piece of advice I did manage to glean was on the role of originality – the less original a work is, the easier it is to reuse fairly.

Posted in Copyright & Course Packs, Staff training, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Understanding Open Access and Bibliometrics – RSO/Library event

Posted by gazjjohnson on 11 February, 2010

As I mentioned previously the Research Support Office and the Library are running an event for academics and postgraduates here at Leicester on these hot topics.  Here’s a more detailed run down of the event programme.

Thursday 25th February 2010 2.00p.m. to 4.00p.m.
Lecture Theatre A, Physics Building

Overview of OA and OA at Leicester: Gareth J Johnson, Library
This session examines current developments in scholarly publication and open access, focussing on its impact on the Leicester academic community.

Research Funders’ OA mandates: Juliet Bailey, RSO
This session examines the policies of the major research funders on open access and outlines the implications for all researchers.

Q&A Session

An Introduction to Bibliometrics: Nancy Bayers, Library
This session introduces the concept of bibliometrics and its applications in evaluating research and planning for the Research Excellence Framework.

Bibliometrics in the REF: Juliet Bailey, RSO
This session examines how HEFCE proposes to use bibliometrics in the Research Excellence Framework and the changes proposed to scoring of outputs.

Q&A Session & Discussion

All sessions are open to all staff and research students but they are particularly suitable for academic staff and researchers. No registration is required.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

In a Few Years Time: Digital Library Strategy – slides and mindmaps

Posted by gazjjohnson on 10 March, 2009

Some weeks ago a lot of us attended a Digital Library Strategy workshop here in the library, led by Ken Chad.  I’ve written about the day, but I’ve just been passed Ken’s slides and the mindmaps from the session.

The mindmap was generated by small groups talking about the challenges, opportunities and issues around each of the 4 areas of discussion. They reflected back on the presentations from Ken and Richard, but also on the experience and insight of the various group members taking part.  They’re in no way a comprehensive point of view, and as you can see no ranking order is applied to them.  Each one is a comment, idea or concept in its own right.

But these will help the Library in shaping its future Web 2 and digital strategy developments for the next 3 or so years.  More about that in the near future…

Posted in Digital Strategy & Website | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Digital Library Strategy workshop – a review

Posted by gazjjohnson on 30 January, 2009

Joanne asked if I’d author a few thoughts on this morning’s workshop so here are my reflections.  As I didn’t take many notes you’ll all forgive me if I miss any points out – or perhaps you might like to add them in the comments.

The session was led by Ken Chad whom kicked the session off with the wider context of emegring technological and social development within which we in education work.  Whilst I was familier with some of the aspects, quite a few were real eye openers and I came away from the session with a list of books to track down and read (I’m reading Clay Shirky on the train this week).  He also made me think about getting a FlipVideo camera – before I remembered I already owned a pretty swanky HDD camcorder.

Our very own Richard Mobbs followed up with another excellent talk covering the tech and systems from a more education centric point of view, and again richly illustrated and presented.  Aside from sitting there and thinking “But if we need to support users with these devices and resources we need to become proficient users and exploiters of the resources ourselves.” there’s not a lot a can add here, except to say the statement “Everything Changes” has never seemed so apposite.

The second half of the session was my favourite bit, but then I’ve run and participated in so many conferences and workshops over the years that I love getting my teeth into a challenge*.  I did enjoy working with Team Yellow, though my one regret was we didn’t get to change teams and interact with a wider range of people in the room.  That said the format of 4 areas of challenges and our responses worked very well.  For the record the areas we were considering were:

  1. Content/Collections
  2. Infrastructure/processes
  3. Learning environments
  4. The role of librarians and library services

Our group started the way it intended to go on – bringing chaos to order; but in a fractal rather than dysfunctional kind of way.  We certainly debated, discussed and exchanged ideas at a high volume and velocity.  My apologies to any in the other group who may have been expecting a more thoughtful approach from us; but as was obvious from the number of post-its that went up we all had a lot to contribute.

So what now?  Well now is the hard part and for once I’m glad it’s not me that’s got to get my teeth into synthesising a plan from these ideas; and evaolving this into a straetgy.  That is a lot that we could do, much that we should, and perhaps even more to which we could aspire.  But the question is – which are the best options for us? 

That only time, planning and the wealth of experience possessed by the library and university staff will tell.  We’ve a long road of discovery and innovation ahead of us, and it might be a bumpy ride along the way.  But to failing to travel it is not an option.

*As I’ve noted elsewhere I’ve an activist kinesthetic learning style, which probably explains these things.

Posted in Service Delivery, Staff training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »