SCA Wales Forum: follow it live on the blog

Leighton Andrews, AMDelegates are starting to gather here in the Park Plaza Hotel in Cardiff for the SCA Wales Forum. The event will be opened by Leighton Andrews AM, Deputy Minister for Regeneration at the Welsh Assembly Government (pictured, right) and then the programme will cover:

  • New Opportunities for Copyright Reform and the Changing Legal Landscape: Professor Charles Oppenheim
  • NHS and HE partnership in Wales and what this could mean for other cross sector collaboration: Janet Peters, University of Cardiff
  • Case Study (JISC Collections) The e-Books Observatory Project, CIBER and new technologies: Caren Milloy, JISC Collections
  • Hosted Digital Repositories – implications for Wales and the other home nations: Neil Jacobs, JISC
  • BBC UK CenturyShare – Cross Sector Collaboration in Action and Welsh Involvement: Simon Delafond, BBC
  • Business Models and Sustainability, SCA Business Models and Sustainability: Nancy Moran (by phone), Ithaka
  • Closing remarks and Future Plans in developing the UK Content Framework

Follow events as they unfold here on the blog.


Very pleased to be here as four years ago when I was a backbencher in the Assembly I took part in a short debate on digital content and my concern is that we need some kind of digital content strategy for Wales:

  • to help drive the take up of broadband
  • to ensure that Wales and Welsh culture are available in the digital age to as many people as possible
  • to build a base for Welsh digital businesses.

We had a lot of activity going on around Wales in terms of digitisation of public sector information and the movement of analogue products into digital, but, to my mind, it was happening quite slowly. I think it has moved faster since then but I suspect we have a long way to go and I suspect that the work of the SCA is helping that process.

I want everyone in Wales to have access to the best of Welsh digital content in whatever way that they want. We have some tremendous archives and resources which are not yet fully digitised – although we are making progress. Just looking at the broadcasters, many thousands of items in the archives are not digitised. At an individual and community level this is of real importance to people. I’ve been involved in a project in my own constituency to bring together BBC Wales and the National Library with a local charity to use archive footage to tell stories about their own community. It has brought a huge amount of engagement at a local level. There is a thirst out there for people to use this material and what we need to be doing is try to enable people to have access to that.

The Assembly has a ministerial advisory group and it has identified ICT as a strategic sector for us, not just as creator of jobs but as an enabler in the rest of the economy. We need to be equipped so that the technology supports us but it is also about the access to the content as often it is the desire to access the content that drives people to learn to use the technology.

We have been investing in a scheme – Communities at One – to get people to engage with new technology in ways that suits them. Example: pigeon fanciers in Gwent – created an online forum for races. Brought some more people into new technology. Other examples are people taking digital materials about their community eg recording the landscape now or using old photos to tell stories about their community. We find more and more family history groups getting engaged with this. Example of digitising the South Wales Gazette and making the archive searchable so people can enter their family names etc. Now a valuable resource. The demand is there in the community and we have to try to support that demand.

We also have to ensure that people have better access to public services through digitisation. There are good examples of organisations making artefacts available online such as National Library digitisation of newspapers.

There is a significant coincidence of interest between what the Welsh Assembly is promoting and between your own mission to reduce fragmentation in the digital world and create a UK that is genuinely converged. We are still fairly fragmented in Wales and there are complex issues on the IPR and connectivity side that have not been addressed by the public sector in Wales but it’s a huge challenge and a huge prize to be won. So I’m delighted that you are here in Wales.

New Opportunities for Copyright Reform and the Changing Legal Landscape: Professor Charles Oppenheim

Charles introduced the SCA IPR consultancy – its aims, objective and methodology (scope, synthesise, evaluate, develop tools, disseminate). He explained that the consultancy is led by Naomi Korn and he is her “lovely assistant”.

He outlined the opportunities and challenges in public sector organisations including the vast range of organisations, different governance and funding structures, different business models, varying approaches to access, range of staff and non-staff.

e-Content is divided up into a number of different categories such as sound recordings, music, films, text-based works, artistic works etc and the IPR rules for these differ. But, then there are materials which combine these things such as multimedia. A piece of music found on iTunes will involve music but also maybe some kind of textual material plus the sound recording.

There are also complexities in the flow of content. The content flowing towards the end user might have a third party intermediary. But other issues – enablers – include licencing, relevant legislation, multiple platforms of delivery, policies of open access. There might also be disablers – such as need for tools for licence management, lack of appropriate IPR policy, risk aversion, differing use requirements, requirements of funding bodies and so on.

All SCA stakeholders share particular issues: the wish to create some kind of balanced framework so that rights-holders are protected but users can make sensible use of the materials. However, there are very few permissions for users and it ignores the issue of orphan works (in copyright but cannot identify the rights-holder).

Charles tells the story of the British Library and Oscar Wilde. The British Library shop has cups and mugs and bowls with extracts from manuscripts from notable works such as Jane Austen. One thing it had was an extract from the manuscript of The Importance of Being Ernest. The British Library received a letter from the grandson of Oscar Wilde saying that they were in breach of copyright and demanding compensation, as unpublished manuscripts are still in copyright. They invited him to lunch along with the head of legal operations and the British Library’s world expert on Oscar Wilde. Over lunch the expert and the grandson exchange many convivial stories about Oscar. At the end of the lunch, the lawyer brings up the issue of copyright. The grandson declares that he has had such as lovely time that he was no longer bothered about the copyright and they could continue as they were. So the moral of the story is to find the grandson and take him out to lunch!

Moving on, whats on the horizon?

Gowers review of IP. Stressed importance of legislative framework, balanced, flexible and fit for the digital age. Made a large number of media-specific and user-specific recommendations. SCA responded to the Gowers review with a shared declaration and said that it did not go far enough. Second consultation expected in late autumn.

Sound recordings and performers rights: extension of term. EU proposes an extension to 95 years (currently 50 years). Gowers research showed that such an extension was neither necessary not helpful. EU is responding to lobbying by major music companies. If passed (and by no means certain) would have serious consequences for SCA stakeholders such as repositories collecting sound recordings, digitisation etc. SCA has responded and points out that more orphan works would be created.

Green Paper on Copyright. At the moment only a discussion document. No clear what changes to the law might result or when.

All this means that the current law is up for grabs. There is an opportunity for discussions about need for a balanced, harmonised approach across Europe that is fit for the digital age.

Next steps for IPR work:

Case studies
Use cases
Launch of IPR toolkit
Workshop on 3 November
Lobbying and advocacy
Further responses and dissemination

Question from Janet Peters: trying to get a change to regulations to allow theses to be stored electronically but what about third party copyright?

Charles: get students to sign that they have not used any third party work. I would tend to approach it on a risk management basis. There are certain subject areas where rights owners are notoriously litigious such as literature (eg James Joyce estate) and geographical stuff (Ordnance Survey). Divide up the subject areas of the theses into high risk and low risk. For the low risk can probably just get student to sign. You will also need a take down policy so that it is clearly stated that if there is a problem you will take it down. With the high risk stuff my instinct is to not put it up but others have different risk strategies.

Case Study: NHS and HE partnership in Wales and what this could mean for other cross sector collaboration – Janet Peters, University of Cardiff

Download Janet’s slides as a pdf:
Janet Peter: NHS and HE partnership in Wales and what this could mean for other cross sector collaboration

Janet PetersAs university librarian in Wales I also have responsibility for some NHS hospital libraries. They are dotted around Wales and access depends on who you are – a clinician in the NHS, or one with a teaching responsibility, junior doctors, undergrads on placement, nurses and nurse trainees. All affects their entitlement to electronic resources eg NHS clinicians can only access NHS e-resources. Clinicians who teach can have access to NHS resources but also Cardiff/Swansea university resources. It is complex and users do not understand why they are being asked all these questions about what they do.

We need to make it simpler. We also need to simplify the licencing arrangements and iron out some of the funding anomalies (differences between north and south Wales).

The vision: we want to provide simple access to the best possible range of health information in Wales.

So the process to make this happen involved: identify key partners; organise stakeholder meetings; brainstorm solutions; establish project framework; implement. Simple!

The reality: took a while to identify partners but they include Value Wales; Informing Healthcare; university librarians, trust librarians, suppliers. Two stakeholder meetings were held in 2007/8.

Initial findings included evidence of huge duplication across the sectors of NHS and HE, especially with databases. Different procurement methods between NHS and universities. Different selection methods (NHS e-Library selected title by title, universities often purchase bundles). Different contractual periods. Different preferred platforms for same resources. But! Some help could be provided by agents willing to work across sectors eg JISC Collections. Have been a great source of support.

SWOT analysis (see attached slides).

Initial ground rules: aim to to reduce expenditure but to get better value and to reduce administration. Initial progress has been very slow. Funding for NHS e-library was cut at the beginning of October although reinstated on Monday. Made us worried about the viability of it all if main funder bails out. Cannot ask HE to fund NHS. Identified databases as the place to begin as seemed like a quick win.

Current situation: current hiccup might work in our favour as we did have a campaign for the e-library of health for Wales and now we have evidence of demand for the service it might help persuade the government that it needs to be run as a service with an ongoing ringfenced budget not a capital budget and we will be meeting to discuss that.

Learning points: multi-partner work is time-consuming, demanding and slow; trust between partners is essential; shared vision maintains momentum; watch this space but don’t hold your breath!

Case Study (JISC Collections) The e-Books Observatory Project, CIBER and new technologies, Caren Milloy, JISC Collections

Going to focus on some of the synergies with the SCA and the e-books project and how we’re trying to push forward best practice and undertaking research on how users use e-books and how libraries provide them.

Barriers to e-books come from a lack of knowledge about what is available as there is no central catalogue; lack of interoperability; difficult to take chunks of text and put it into the e-learning environment; consistency in creation of reading lists; lack of adoption by teaching staff; publishers don’t really know or understand what libraries want or need; libraries may not understand about the publishing industry; appropriate business, pricing and licencing models.

Held 12 workshops with 250 librarians from 131 institutions. Asked them to identify future utopia for delivery of e-books in the library. What drivers are there for reaching that utopia? They include interoperability and better technology, student expectations, (huge driver – students now paying fees and buying fewer books) publisher buy-in, updated teaching styles (felt that a big driver would be new wave of teachers coming through who were already used to using new types of resources), standards policy and adoption (such as isbns for e-books, required metadata etc), author buy-in (royalties, open access e-books etc), budgets (library may have a more central role than currently recognised), space (libraries becoming learning spaces rather than just a place to get books), new business models, open access.

What is DLA? Deep Log Analysis Study. Run by Ciber for the e-books project. When you take the raw data from the server logs and you use that data to look at how the users have moved from the data by using their log urls – where did they come from, how long did they spend there, what were the referral urls?

Results published in spring 2009. Looks not just at raw log data but also qualitative research: benchmarking survey (user and institutional survey – how do students use e-books and what are the institutional holdings); 8 case studies including focus groups with academics, students, librarians (WHY did they behave in this way); analysis of raw server log data; analysis of impact on traditional print sales; analysis of promotional methods, business and licensing methods; benchmarking exit survey; final report and recommendations. Intensive but necessary study.

User survey – 22,000 responses – biggest user survey in the world. Massive. Highlights show dissatisfaction with provision of current library provision of print textbooks. Very high in media studies especially (65.5%). Emphasised more in free text field that students want more text books.

High levels of interest in e-books – over 60% of the academic population already using them and more popular with men and postgrads than women and undergrads.

Purchasing intentions seem to be low – students use library copies and share texts – only around 6% said were going to buy the print version. 62.6% read the contents of the e-book from the screen and only 6.4% said that they print it out. Will verify this in the case studies. Read a chunk or a chapter but not the whole book.

Discovering e-book content – catalogue records really important but also a role for finding it from their tutor and so on.

Raw server log analysis: sessions are about 19 minutes (self-reported 20 minutes). Found usage by day and hour (Thursday is study day – peak in usage) and peaks in line with the academic year. 70% went straight to the content rather than using any of the browsing, searching etc functionality. Referrers: library website (could be the catalogue), VLE (small), Metalib, and ‘other’. Trend is to spend the same amount of time looking at the cover of the book as they spend on each page. Top titles were business and management studies and media studies. Hardly any engineering.

Business model trials: study on the management and economic impact of e-textbook business models and publishers, e-book aggregators and HE institutions. Impoact on publisher print sales / revenue and library budgets. Level of administrative burden. Sustainability in terms of profitability and value for money. Will cover three terms so results approx April 2010. First trials April 2009.

The future of the e-book: focusing on some issues found in the user surveys. Is it time for a new format and structure for the e-book? Do they still need an index? How can they fit better into the user experience? What about interactivity? Rated low but is that because there isn’t much right now or because they just want to read the book? Should we even have e-books at all or just databases of content? Can segmentation help us to profile users?

All of this work we hope will help achieve a vision (see attached slide “what do we hope to achieve”)


Priscilla Dawson: what about the impact of e-books on other material that isn’t digital? Will students now be encouraged to just use one or two central references and the use of other resources will drop away? The whole notion of ‘reading around the subject’ may drop away and there’s a real danger there in the short term.

Caren: we discuss this a lot in JISC and it’s an interesting question and we can certainly put into the future of the e-book research. In another study I did I found that academics were encouraging students just to read the one thing so not sure if e-books are changing things or a general change of culture.

Question: e-books appeal to male geeks with a shot attention span! Is that not just pandering to a certain limited type of people?

Caren: the differences between male and female are statistically significant but not dramatic. We will look into it further but I think eventually we will all be using them and the interesting point will be the differences between the subject areas.

Charles: it occurs to me that a lot of this research is useful to the publishers – are they contributing to the cost?

Caren: the majority of the money comes from JISC and we are working closely with the publishers to get them on board eg with the business models trial. Publishers are watching this carefully but not putting in a lot of money themselves.

Hosted Digital Repositories – implications for Wales and the other home nations: Neil Jacobs, JISC

Download Neil’s slides as a pdf:
Neil Jacobs: Hosted Digital Repositories – implications for Wales and the other home nations

Neil JacobsA repository is a managed and sustainable way of putting stuff on the web.

We have a lot of institutional repositories and subject repositories – physics is the most successful (500,000th paper). JISC also funds the Depot and a number of other services. How do they all fit together?

No institutional repositories with mandates in Wales but the Welsh Repositories Network has been set up to fund institutional repositories in Wales.

Why is it a good idea? Increasing the return on investment of publicly funded research. UK government has promoted the open innovation model for universities. Also have projects which show that the benefits of open access in terms of return on investment are some 20 or 30 to one. It also enables new kinds of research – a Chinese researcher found new pathways for addiction by running search engines and text mining over the literature. NeuroCommons is building a web of knowledge to make inferences across different papers and research to build new knowledge and make new connections. Only really possible in an open access environment.

Why isn’t it happening faster? For a researcher the cost/benefit outcome is not positive enough yet. JISC is trying to reduce the cost for researchers by reducing the data entry time costs and reducing the legal worries (SherpaRoMEO API, Licence to Publish).

In terms of maximising the benefits, we need to make sure that research is managed in a strategic way and repositories can help with that. Building the web graph of research.

EthOS (launches 5 November) – aim is to offer a single point of access where researchers the world over can access ALL doctoral theses produced by UK higher education. To support HEIs through the move from print-based to e-based theses.

The EthOS offer to HE (see attached slide). We think it’s a good offer!

Slide explaining how EthOS works graphically.

Research data: variety of central archives eg CERN stores a lot of physics data and AHDS stores social science data. But classification of data helps us to think about the kind of data we really want to curate. There are reference collections, community collections and then there are research collections (out of specific projects). There is huge potential for institutions to come together to curate research data.

JISC funds the digital curation centre – a centre of expertise. Also funds ‘Keeping Research data Safe’ study and the ongoing UK Research Data Service feasibility study (reports Dec 09). Data Audit Framework (launched Sept 08), ShareGeo (pilot live for sharing geospatial data run by Edina behind Digimap log in).

So research data is a mixed economy with a variety of models working simultaneously and the challenge is to ensure that the patchwork sufficiently covers the needs of the sector.

Sharing e-learning materials.

Barriers to sharing: cultural (attitudes, web 2.0), legal, organsational (incentives), technical (metadata, access management), pedagogic
Ongoing project to collate evidence for the business case

JISC’s role is to support: sharing expertise and experience


Caren: are you doing analysis of how they are being used?

Neil: repositories themselves are being used by repository managers. Users are using the content, not the repository and they are using that in the same way they usually use content.

Janet: Cardiff has just agreed to mandate repositories in our repository once we have agreed the principles.

Charles: so many of the barriers are to do with cultural issues rather than the technology and this needs to be explored. What is the incentive – an academic is required to upload stuff to publisher journals which takes a long time, but not yet mandated. And then there is the proprietorial attitude one feels as a teacher towards one’s own teaching materials. Nothing to do with copyright, it’s a purely personal thing. People have very personal views on what is the most appropriate teaching materials for them.

BBC UK CenturyShare – Cross Sector Collaboration in Action and Welsh Involvement: Simon Delafond, BBC

Download Simon’s slides as a pdf:
Simon Delafond: BBC UK CenturyShare – Cross Sector Collaboration in Action

Memoryshare – internal BBC project
CenturyShare – SCA-funded project

BBC Future Media and Technology is responsible for BBC’s digital presence (online, the red button, interactive TV) so it produces content as well as supporting other divisions. Responsible for iPlayer, Programmes, home page etc.

Find-Play-Share is one of FMT’s strategies – so can find content easily and then play the pages and then share them by sending as emails or bookmark them to allow other people to find, play and share. Internally, we work to take stuff from the past and transform and enable them.

Memoryshare is a user-generated content site which launched last summer and is live at It invites anyone to add their memories of anything at all to an interactive timeline. Memories are public so can view other’s memories, add comments, add context information. 1900-present day.

Aim of the service are to create a national living archive of memories and experiences and take them to programme-makers in the BBC so that they can use the ideas. Also to encourage the BBC to aggregate content around time. Memoryshare works as a web service. Exists on other BBC sites, designed to work underneath or through other sites. Range of clients such as BBC local sites, network radio stations.

Example of how it works – BBC Leeds-Bradford service had call-ins about Sooty and asked audience for their memories of Sooty and so a page was made for Sooty and the memories came thick and fast. We’re happy for any kind of memories. The toolbar features on relevant pages and highlights a few memories that have been picked out as relevant to the site.

To add a memory, users have to sign in so that they have agreed to the terms and conditions. We ask for a nickname as well as a user name so people can remain anonymous if they want to. At the sign-in stage also ask if they are happy to be contacted by BBC journalists if their memories are of interest. Default for that is opt-out.

Once you’re in, we ask for a title, a description of the memory and the date (specific, or date range, or approximate date). Early user testing showed that people found it hard to remember when a particular thing happened but could say for how long it happened and roughly when it happened. We ask for location and key words.

Timeline displays 15 memories at a time. Got about 1600 on the site at the moment. Make a distinction between BBC and public memories using colour (blue and green). Dots indicate particular dates. Lines are date ranges. When you rollover the memory you get a preview and can click on it read full thing. Can go to a decade view, year view, month view right down to day view. On the day view there is context information in a box which covers news events, TV schedules, UK prime minister, US president and monarch.

Memoryshare was tightly integrated into the BBC’s 1968 season. There was a May 1968 memory of an American woman who arrived in Paris just as the riots started. Programme-makers contacted her and asked her to go in and talk some more about it. She went through some old documents and came across some old letters she had written to her parents back in America and realised that what she’d written in the letters and her memory of it were quite different. Who knows where the truth is? Have to bear in mind that she was trying to reassure her parents… It’s all on the Radio 4 interview. She kept it all on Memoryshare then transcribed the letter and added it to Memoryshare and linked them back and also linked to the audio file. Go to May 11 1968 and it’s called Paris May 1968.

Have commissioned a prototype of a new version of the site which will link things together more effectively and will allow images and audio within the site.

CenturyShare is SCA-funded and is a project to promote interoperability between different cultural sectors. Instead of user-generated content it will use the assets of the partners of the SCA and gather them into one place to give people a way into the collections without going to the owners of them directly. It’s a prototype of a service at the moment and looking to analyse, aggregate and augment content. It will be displayed on a timeline so part of the activity will be taking the material and seeing if there is a date description and then adding one or asking for it to be added. Then augment it by adding more to the description or more keywords etc. We’re looking at what we can do to prove the idea. We have a consortium to build it and a technical project manager to oversee it. Going to focus on particular themes: UK Olympics; Elizabeth Garrett Anerson; photography; cost; Liverpool; 1960. Part of the project is to get material into the CenturyShare project so if you have any ideas about collections that might fit, get in touch with Phill Purdey.

Question: is the public contribution mediated or unmediated?

Simon: It’s not mediated but it is post-moderated. We never change the memory or add in anything. They are moderated by the site as a whole so you can complain.

Question: so are you transferring responsibility to the user?

Simon: yes we have rules that it cannot be libellous or offensive and if it is we will remove it.

Question: has the information gathered ever been challenged?

Simon: not by a member of the public. We were worried it would get abused but the only abuses have been the occasional made-up memory.

Question: does the use of colours to indicate trusted information?

Simon: we don’t make that explicit as sometimes we put memories up on behalf of someone if they do not have access to the site or if it’s written on paper. It may be under the BBC banner but we don’t make any special claims for it.

Business Models and Sustainability, SCA Business Models and Sustainability: Nancy Moran (by phone), Ithaka

Nancy Moran gave her presentation by telephone from the US.

Context: many scholarly, cultural and other digital projects keep returning to funding agencies for additional grants to support core operations. This limits the funds available to support new initiatives. So how can initiatives build new business models that allow them to thrive over time?

Project overview:

Wrote report on the challenges of sustainability, conducted targets investigation of news industry. Stage two was convened workshops in New York and London. Stage three is developing case studies in the UK (6), EU (2) and US (4-6) illustrating the range of issues facing the projects.

A slice of the findings from stage 1: some lessons from the newspaper industry. Gained insight into the mindset as well as the models. Understand your unique value to the user – the Economist stood out as one of very few publications that had chosen to stick with a subscription model. Have very strong understanding of their user base and how they like to have a ‘leanback’ experience with the Economist. So kept focus on the print edition and have to pay a fee to access material online.

At the Guardian, we spoke to people in the Professional group and they say they have done well because of rapid cycles of experimentation with new sites such as education and data. Tried different models in succession and tested and then abandoned them if they didn’t work. This mindset is extremely important in this area as no one right answer.

At Time Inc, issue was to seek economies of scale and isolate ‘destination sites’ where they aggregated content. Best brands such as Sports Illustrated might have own dedicated site but all others could exist on a common platform.

At the Guardian, they understood their users and realised that Guardian readers would like to date other Guardian readers. Soulmates attracts around 100,000 people who go on the site for free but they then have to pay more to see more information. People enter a great amount of data which then becomes demographic data which is useful to the Guardian for advertisers. This technique seems to be extremely effective. A non-profit example is the National Archives where money is also made twice.

Next steps: goal is to produce six UK case studies cutting across sectors; aim to cover a range of revenue models; will also examine governance and organisational models which are critical success factors. When project is done it will culminate in more workshops.

Stuart Dempster – wrap up

Next steps for the SCA: paper has gone to the board about next steps and content framework presentation layer due for rollout third week of April 2009 containing all the materials we have produced and aimed at specific audiences and scenario-based. Will also point to external resources as well – will be a web service rather than a website per se. Increase take-up with a dating site?!

We will carry on looking at business models, sustainability, IPR, audience analysis.

Would like feedback on the value of tihs type of event and where we might be missing a trick. Any hints or tips about how to get this message out then please let us know.

One thought on “SCA Wales Forum: follow it live on the blog

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