...the story so far...

So here is where we are with the Wiki, and the reasons for creating it. I'm doing my dissertation at the moment, for my Library & Information Management MSc. The subject is the impact of the CLA's Scanning Licence on the academic library so I've been doing a lot of research in this area, including collaborating with Jane Secker of LSE and June Hedges on a huge survey of the digitisation practices of HEIs. What this research has led me to conclude is that there is no one source of information, guidance, or Best Practice, for digitisation under this licence in HE.

People can go to LIS-Copyseek for copyright advice, JISC Digital Media for training on the logistics of scanning, LIS-Hug for general discussion - but there's an obvious lack of a central resource. Not only that, but many HEIs would really benefit from such a resource; there is huge disparity in the practices and approaches all the different HEIs have, but we all share similar difficulties and issues. Particularly when your digitisation service or project is starting out, you can learn more from an hour's lunch at a conference just asking people from other institutions what they actually do than from a month sat alone at your desk trying to work things out by yourself...

The best medium to provide Best Practice info seems to be a Wiki. It's easily accessible, simple to use (if you pick the right software), allows contributions from all practitioners, and is updateable too. (Plenty of stuff in the archives of LIS-Copyseek may have been true when it was written, but may well now have been superseded by changes in the legislation. With a Wiki, the original poster can update what they have said to reflect the current state of affairs.)

I initially floated the idea at the Scanning Workshop and Discussion Meeting, hosted by Derby and Leeds MET in June this year (by Linda Swanson and Rachel Thornton specifically). It was the kind of event where people asked exactly the kind of nagging, niggling queries which the proposed Wiki could address. When I outlined the Wiki idea, the response was overwhelmingly positive – everyone present thought it would be a very useful resource (and around a quarter of them even volunteered to contribute to it!).

I said I’d look into it further, and raise it at the HERON User-Group meeting at the University of Westminster in July. This was a larger event, so if people were as enthusiastic there as they were in Leeds it would definitely be worth taking forward. At the end of a presentation with Jane about the collaborative survey, I proposed the Wiki – having explained it all, I asked for a show of hands as to who would find it a useful resource. As far as I could see, 48 of the 49 people present raised their hands (and that’s a conservative estimate…).

Clearly, the need is there and the digitisation community are keen on the idea of such a resource. From then on I’ve decided I will create the Wiki, and this blog is part of that process – I’ll be asking for feedback on certain ideas in the comments section, and this is a way of publicising the Wiki site when it eventually goes live (which will happen perhaps as early as August / September – famous last words!).

So that is the state of play for now – I’m currently investigating platforms and software, and I’ll report back on all that stuff soon.

- thewikiman