Strategic Content Alliance session at JISC08

[notes from Louisa Dale]

Programme Director, Stuart Dempster introduces the partners and challenges of maximising the return on public investments in online content.

The current, inital focus for this JISC founded inititative is on developing ‘real world exemplars and case studies’ exploring some significant issues and sharing understanding; common licence platforms, common middleware, digital repositores, mass digitisation, devolved administration, service convergence, service convergence, policy reviews (Gowers on copyright)

The ‘F’ word is funding, recognising the global challenges of finance and managing public investments in online content.
For more information:

Naomi Korn, IPR consultant gave a(n impressive) whistlestop tour of the challenges in democratising intellectual property rights. In essence: copyright democratises intellectual property rights for all.

There is a heterogeneity of content (sound, music, broadcasts, films, photographs, other artistic works, text and typographic arrangements) which have a range of legislations governing such content. In the current era there are a number of new types of content and uses (including learning materials) which are likely to require layers of rights and access.

Unfortunately, the law currently retricts the flow of content; tying up access and the use of content.
As the laws are complex, institutions have unsuprisingly developed a number of policies, which aren’t always complimentary or indeed consistent.

But there are common solutions: from Open Access Initiatives, Science Commons to the European Digital Library initiative.

The Strategic Content Alliance  is working in partnership, sharing understanding, developing best practice and lobbying. Strategic Content Alliance is a just the start … but we know it’s a long road.

Simon Delafond, introduced BBC Timesharing (Memoryshare and Centuryshare), projects to demonstrate the principles and potential of the Strategic Content Alliance.

Bringing people with stories to tell and gaining an insight into experience. In essence, to aggregate content around dates.

It’s early stages for this project, which aims to analyse, aggregate, augment content: connecting online connections across a number of public institutions, sharing and creating public access to collections according to date … and augment the material, creating ‘journeys’ around content.
Watch this space for a prototype launch in March 2009.

Meredith Quinn, from Ithaka (a not-for profit foundation) who has recently explored sustainability of public funded content on behalf of the Strategic Content Alliance: how can digital scholarly projects develop (economic)sustainability plans that will allow them to thrive over time?

The research draws parallels between the news media industry and scholarly communications. Some inital highlights:

1. Importance of engaging in rapid cycles of innovation. The Guardian is an organisation which enthusiastically embraced innovation: ‘we’re going to kill some of these projects, we just don’t know which ones yet’. By adopting this approach, they encouraged rapid developments and sustained success.

2. Seek economies of scale. TimeInc. decided not to allow it’s portfolio of magazines seperate websites. They were encouraged to ‘share the real estate’, managing down infrastructure costs, whilst encouraging wider public awareness of TimeInc’s offering.

3. Understand your value to the user. Online academic users are rather specialised, not always easily accessible. The Economist researched their readers and discovered behaviours of ritual; reading the Economist is a ritual. As such they make more online content freely available (because the paper content is so valued). They understand where the value lies.

4. Implement layered revenue streams. In the commercial news sector, multiple revenue streams manages risk and encourages sophisticated understaning of value.

The paper is now available for peer review (do take a look, do comment: