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© Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Views of users: focus groups Richard Balkwill Hugh Look Rightscom Ltd
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Focus groups LEEDS University of Leeds Leeds Metropolitan Leeds Trinity & All Saints University of York York St John University College BRISTOL University of Bristol University of the West of England University of Gloucestershire University of Bath GLASGOW University of Glasgow University of Strathclyde Glasgow Metropolitan College Glasgow Caledonian University LONDON (WESTMINSTER) University College London Kings College, London University of Westminster University of Hertfordshire Loughborough University Imperial College London London College of Communication Kingston University
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Who came Assistant Librarian Deputy College Librarian and E-Teacher Fellow Deputy Head of Special Collections Lecturer in Dance Systems Team Leader (library) Research Assistant, School of Music Arts Faculty Team Leader Senior Assistant Registrar (CLA Licence) Head of E-Strategy, Digitisation Group Lecturer in English Language Senior Lecturer in Cinema Director of Learning and Teaching, Electronics Engineering Science Faculty Librarian Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian Faculty Librarian for Engineering Civil Engineering: PhD Research Computer Science: MSc Senior Law Librarian Senior Research Fellow, IT and Law Lecturer in Economic and Social History Subject Librarian for Politics and Economics Senior Lecturer in Information Systems Principal Lecturer, Economics and Business Head of Construction and Property Research Centre Lecturer, School of Architecture Senior Information Adviser (Archives) Head of Regional History Centre Senior Lecturer in History Head of Serials, Chair of Library Committee (AHRC) Lecturer in Humanities Computing Subject Librarian Research Assistant, Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech Lecturer, Department of English Literature Lecturer in Medieval History Law Librarian Senior Lecturer (Honorary Reader) History of Art E-Library Archivist Head of Reference and Information Division Head of Serials and Electronic Services Head of English Languages Professor of Digital Media Science team leader Research Assistant in Photographic Collections Lecturer in School of Library, Archive and Information Studies Senior Information Specialist Digital Resources Librarian Director of Library Services
© Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved What they said
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved The full potential of digitised collections must be planned from the outset Digital collections have often been too focused on single use identified by the subject discipline of the developer These missed opportunities led to the materials not being used at all, rather than only being used at a low level. In the future it will be essential to consider a range of users Lecturers and students need material for teaching and learning. Researchers needing to access the collections for very specific purposes. A full range of applications must be thought about and planned from the outset. Give thought to the medium in which existing collections are stored (e.g. film, or audio tape), and the way that images (still and moving), and sound (sound effects, music) should be digitised and stored in an accessible way Information should be aggregated in collections in a way that makes that material more usable. Many collections have a wealth of images and a vast choice of items, but little organisation or focus
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Usability is the absolutely key issue Usability means many things. The ability to network material among users and sites is of critical importance Ability to fashion material in a collection in a variety of ways that then allowed the user an infinite number of ways of using original material Discovery – the ability to know what is in a collection Links to other resources are also essential, as well as freedom for the user to make his or her own links to local or third-party resources. There are key issues of technical compatibility to be addressed A thorough overhaul of the copyright and licensing terms and conditions currently to be found on many collections that thwart full use and maximum benefit and value.
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Multiple points of entry People will come to all collections with a wide variety of skills and knowledge And a broad range of requirements. Different users will see different opportunities (whether for learning or research), and will benefit from these if they can start in a planned or unplanned way. A simple way of knowing the content and organisation of collections, and the specific statement of entry points fro different levels of user, would considerably enhance the value of future collections Complex services where the points of entry are confusing or unclear create too big an obstacle to users and librarians.
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Networkability is all Digitised collections will need to make much greater allowance for distance learners, part-time students, multiple sites, student residence PCs, and a whole host of customers in varying locations. Students and staff increasingly work seamlessly at home as well as on campus and need permanent access to identical resources.
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Technical decisions important in reducing access difficulties Collections were often technically obstructed or limited by the provider The resolution of scanned photographs was frequently too low for many applications. There were complaints about services that work only with proprietary software (e.g. MSIE) Unedited OCR-ASCII files were often not accurate enough, Properly edited ASCII text should also be provided. Must be able to download content to personal PCs and other devices, as well as use them on institutions own network
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Metadata must be improved Needs to take into account different types of user and application. New student on a first year course, the importance of material (prioritisation) key to collections being widely and productively used Researchers may need a wider view of the content of collections, but they are then likely to want to look at specific things in much greater detail Broad, then deep Someone using a collection for research purposes will want, at the outset, to have a wide/broad overview of what is contained in a collection But they will then require much more detailed focus. Identifiers have often been used inappropriately
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved More help in linking to other resources An important feature of collections in the future will be that they should cross-refer to other resources. In many cases these may be outside the UK
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Users must be able to create their own links To their own local resources. Lecturers and students are creating their own material for teaching and learning Has become a far greater proportion of materials, and users will want to be able to make links into these items Users may have invested substantially in existing third-party resources, and will not want to abandon these merely because fresh offerings have become available Blended resources - anything from the equivalent of digital course packs through to full-scale departmental VLEs and intranet sites Compatibility with these kinds of material is going to be a key feature of new digitised collections. Users will need to be able to re-use content of all kind in their own resources Some users will want to combine new collections or parts of them with local material – to enrich a learning system, for example.
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Content should be expanded – if relevant All groups expressed dissatisfaction with static content where they knew the opportunity to expand did exist. Planning for sustainability and wide scale use had not been incorporated into programmes at the planning stage - too one-dimensional Frustration about collections that were not being maintained and developed Invested heavily in a programme or collection, and then found that nothing was being done to keep it up-to-date, add new research findings, or generally keep the collection alive
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Copyright conditions too restrictive Current collections seem much too restrictive Licensing terms often read as if they were keen for users to keep off the grass, rather than benefit from a wide exploration of resources Time-consuming to read the small print (another discouragement to use) Created a poor sense of value and a resentment about the accessibility (or inaccessibility) of information that many felt should be much more publicly available Other problems caused included Inability to incorporate content into teaching resources, theses or essays Restrictions on network access Limited access or reductions in quality to impede unauthorised use.
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Payment One-off fees were preferred to subscriptions by all groups General opposition to the subscription licence model as being cumbersome and time-consuming to operate, Most participants accepted that in order to ensure materials could be used over a sustained period, they might have to accept increased levels of payment upfront > But this was seen as more valuable than having to pay repeat fees. Largely prepared to contemplate payment in return for sustainability. Price itself was not a headline issue, so long as the service is usable. It was accepted by three of the groups that a decline in spending on traditional resources to make way for digital resources was inevitable. However, advertising was almost universally unpopular, especially pop- ups. Strong alternative (but minority) view that students were not averse to advertising if it allowed them access to free resources. Doubts were expressed that editorial independence could be guaranteed if sponsorship was involved.
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Conservation and preservation are important Danger of things getting lost because they are not in appropriate media Especially those things preserved in the last 40-50 years in now obsolete media (film loops, reel-to-reel tapes) Important to digitise things that could not otherwise be looked or touched (fragile clothing, fading tapestries). Digitised resources also need to be migrated through technology changes, to ensure that material remains available in as flexible way as possible. Digital resources such as websites and email also need to be preserved and collected: they will be equally valuable in future
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Key questions to ask before development begins How would the potential of the material be realised across several disciplines and sectors? How could collections be accessed by users of widely differing experience and skill? Once discovered, how could users find their way round the collection and derive greatest benefit from its content? How could users find links and bridges to other material? What opportunities could there be to allow users to make use of separate parts of the collection, and embed them in their own created work, or in other materials? How could licensing and copyright terms be simplified and relaxed so that all users could interact with the material, and not just be limited to looking at it?
Digitisation focus groups © Rightscom 2006 – All rights reserved Thank you Richard Balkwill Hugh Look Rightscom Ltd www.rightscom.com
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