JISC08 is dead, long live JISC09

OK so the JISC Conference 2008 was on Tuesday and its taken a day or 2 for me to recover – though mainly due to celebratory activities post-conference (though I am not alone as one or 2 members of the JISC Comms team and at least one member of First Great Western staff will testify to!).

The JISC Conference is a massive undertaking and I’m not sure people realise just how much work goes into such a short event.  Planning for JISC09 starts on Monday!  This will continue for the entire year with a number of really hectic period long before the conference.  The 3Gs of Greg, Grace and Georgia will have the conference in the back of their minds pretty much permanently – and as someone who had a few years of that I both don’t envy them but have every confidence they’ll do another amazing job.

This year, with the help of MultiMediaMan (aka Hector), I had the pleasure of leading JISCs experiments in adding various web based channels to the event to allow those not attending to follow the event but also to support people there in person.

Generally I was happy with the way this went – it wasn’t without its mistakes and we tried to evolve what we were offering over the course of the day based on real time feedback but still theres plenty of room for improvement.  Then again I wouldn’t expect anything less – it was always supposed to be very much in the ‘beta’ mode and the comments and feedback we recieved from people during and after were all extremely useful and constructive.  I have no doubt we’ll continue to make use of some or all of these tools at events in the future and will look to have them far more finely tuned by next years conference in Edinburgh.

For a flavour of what was happening at the conference take a look at http://www.onetag.org/ot/display/lister1/jisc08.asp (courtesy of Mike Ellis whose help was invaluable in pulling all this together)

I’m always happy to hear from anyone who has comments about the conference or just general ideas of how to improve things in the future – I have a whole load of crazy a$$ ideas that I’m going to spring on people on Monday at the first planning meeting so am always happy to hear other peoples as well!

BCE session at JISC 08

[notes by Louisa Dale]

Simon Whittemore opened a session addressing the barriers to Business and Community Engagement: defined as ‘the strategic management of interactions, partnerships and transactions external to the institution.

Perhaps interesting that the public sector currently remains the most significant proportion of an (education) institution’s external engagement.

Business and community engagement professionals need solutions to broker knowledge transfer / exchange and professionals.

JISC’s innovation programme aims to enhance institutions’ efficiency, effectiveness and opportunities and help institutions overcome the barries to access to institutional knowledge assests for business and community organisations.

With significant political drivers, not least supported by the creation of DIUS, there are challenges for institutions. Cultural change,  new skills and support services (contact and information management) are required to support employer engagement and to encourage the exploitation of research innovation.

Jason Campbell spoke on behalf of JISC Legal, which supports the higher education sector in understanding the legal issues related to the use of technology. JISC comissioned a study (now available) into the legal barriers (or better still opportunities being missed) to exploit institutional assets for the purposes of business and community engagement.

HEFCE recently funded a study (now available) to investigate and produce guidelines for the use of Publicly- funded Infrastructure, Services and Intellectual Property.

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: http://sca.jisc.involve.org/

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: http://sca.jisc.involve.org/)