Tag Archives: digitisation

Great War Archive

Great War Archive

Launch of Great War Archive

Oxford University is marked the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day by launching two new, free to access websites, thanks to funding from the JISC digitisation programme. These resources will allow educators, scholars and the public to view previously unseen memorabilia and poetry from World War I.

The ‘Great War Archive’ and the ‘First World War Poetry Archive’ bring together 13,500 digital images of items mainly of rare primary source material.

Many items submitted to the ‘Great War Archive’ by members of the public are treasured family heirlooms which have never been on public display.

Items include:

  • A bullet-dented tea can which saved the life of an engineer who repaired a bombing post whilst under heavy fire in Bullecort in November 1917.
  • A souvenir matchbox made by a German POW for a British Lance Corporal after they had fought a fierce fire together, saving many lives.
  • Remarkable sketches of scenes and characters from military and civilian life by Private Percy Matthews, until now, an unknown artist.

The Great War Archive complements Oxford University’s First World War Poetry Digital Archive which will enable online users to view previously unseen materials such as poetry manuscripts and original diary entries from some of the conflict’s most important poets. It builds on Oxford University’s extensive Wilfred Owen Archive.

Oxford University’s Project Leader, Kate Lindsay, said: “The Great War is arguably the most resonant period in modern British history. The memorabilia and poetry archives will provide easy access to an unrivalled collection of material which will be of use to anyone interested in getting closer to this world-changing conflict.”

Author and academic Vivien Noakes, added: “Each of the items submitted to The Great War Archive tells a personal and, often very poignant, story. The archive provides a myriad of windows into the period – the Great War in microcosm. Access to this material can only enhance our understanding of what it was like actually to live through these momentous times.”

The website has been made possible through the JISC Digitisation Programme which will see a wide range of heritage and scholarly resources of national importance shared with new audiences.

Find out more.

Picture source.

Cost of heritage

An interesting article by Internet law professor Michael Geiston the BBC News website on how museums are embracing digitisation and the internet but at what cost.

As museums experiment with the internet – many are using online video, social networks, and interactive multimedia to create next-generation museums that pull content from diverse places to create “virtual museums” – the museum community has emerged as a leading voice for the development of legal frameworks that provide sufficient flexibility to facilitate digitisation and avoid restrictions that could hamper cultural innovation.

The more we can freely and easily use out of copyright digitised material for learning, the more enhanced and enriched learning can be.

Rather than rely on just the interpretation of a resource, we can use the resource as well.

For example when I was at school, we relied on text books to inform us about what happened in history. Today using a range of resources, alongside that book we can also read the newspapers of the day, the parliamentary papers and so much more. All from the comfort of our classroom, or from a learners’ perspective from the comfort of where they want to be, whether that be their home or in a coffee shop.

Cost of heritage

I am pleased to hear that museums are digitising their collections as it can only widen access to the general public including learners across the country.

Old Books Going Online

The British Library is taking over one hundred thousand books, digitising them and putting then online.

Old Book

The programme is focussed on the 19th century, alas if the author died after 1936 then it is unlikely that there books will be digitised, as their works are still in copyright.

The BBC has more on this exciting programme:

More than 100,000 old books previously unavailable to the public will go online thanks to a mass digitisation programme at the British Library.

The programme focuses on 19th Century books, many of which are unknown as few were reprinted after first editions.

Photo Source

Digitisation Podcast

The JISC have released a podcast on the large digitisation programme.

The £22m JISC digitisation programme is making available a wide range of vital scholarly resources to UK education and research. One of its programme managers is Alastair Dunning who, while talking to Philip Pothen for this podcast, discusses what the programme is delivering and why the international conference in Cardiff represented an important landmark both for the programme and for wider attempts to make available scholarly resources of national importance.

Find out more.

Scanning in slides and photographs

If you are scanning in slides or taking digital images of projected slides, ensure that your institution has the rights to the images on those slides. A lot of colleges in the long and distant past would have purchased slide collections and now want to digitise them, ensure that you have the rights
to do so.

Who does own the rights to the slide, they do belong to the original photographer, but if they were an employee of the college and they took the photographs for using within a course being taught in the college then the copyright belongs to the college, unless there was an agreement to the contrary.

When producing electronic resources I commit myself to only utilise images that I have the rights to use – and in most cases these rights would have been purchased or owned by me.

As a result I will often take photographs for learning resources.

However be aware that taking photographs of students (and staff) can breach both the data protection act and the human rights act and therefore if there are people in your pictures ensure that they have signed a model release form before using them in learning resources or publicity material.

The other thing to remember is that a lot of image collections you can buy are for personal use only and can not be used in an educational context without the written permission of the copyright holder.

My line is, if in doubt don’t use it.

One way to find images you can use is via Flickr and search for those images which have a creative commons licence.

The information being provided in this posting is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as constituting legal advice.

Archival Audio Recordings

A new source of music and audio recordings which can be used for educational purposes is the British Library Archival Sound Recordings.

The Archival Sound Recordings service is the result of a two-year development project to increase access to the Sound Archive’s extensive collections. When complete, it will make 3,900 hours of digitised audio freely available to the Higher and Further Education communities of the UK.

Part of the JISC Digitisation programme there is a lot of audio and music..

music

Note you need to be licensed to hear and download the clips, but it is free to FE colleges (and HE Institutions) to get licensed.

User Experience

I am attending a very interesting presentation on user experiences. Introduced by Brian Kelly he gave an overview about the tools users use and offered reasons why institutions should not try and replicate these services but integrate and use them instead.

Brian Kelly presenting at the JISC Digitisation Conference, July 2007.

The next two speakers spoke about how the British Library and Newsfilm Online are designing their sites with the end user as the focus.

There were some interesting video clips of how the (currently unavailable) Newsfilm Online website will develop.

Attending a digital images workshop

I am currently attending a workshop on digital images at the JISC Digitisation Conference.

It is a technical briefing on capture, conversion and workflow.

Nigel Goldsmith, the TASI Technical Research Officer is talking about images, RAW format, Adobe’s Digital Negative format and JPEG2000.

Outlining many of the problems with JPEG2000 and why it isn’t widely used or supported.

It’s quite interesting.

JISC Digitisation Conference Plenary Session Day One

elephantHaving attended a really interesting session on Shibboleth and Federated Access, I am currently listening to the plenary about the other parallel sessions.

It is proving to be a useful and interesting conference. What is nice is that the presentations and other reports will be available on the conference blog.

Though the content of the conference is on digitisation and e-content, it is interesting how the focus of much of the conference is on web 2.0 and (unsurprisingly) Google. I suspect that this is down to the focus on end users’ needs rather than coming from an institutional approach.

A lot of talk about elephants as well, of which I seemed to have missed somehow the connection.

The plenary has finished and we are now looking at tomorrow.