Posted by Matt Faber on Thursday 01 October 2015
Jisc recently undertook a study and review of digital library collections within HE institutions in response to a concern that digitised materials were not as visible or discoverable as they could be on the web. Jisc looked into user behaviours and an assessment of UK digitised collections on the web to highlight the themes and trends in discoverability and to report on the digital health of those assets. Based on the resulting survey, Jisc found that 40% of academics start with general search engines, though discovery points varied by discipline. 1/3rd would begin their research at a specific online resource. With disciplines such as medicine more likely to use targeted digital resources as their primary avenue for research. Only 2% reported actually visiting a bricks and mortar library to begin their research journey. If these figures are alluding to the recognition of the importance of google, Wikipedia and Flickr to resource discovery, how healthy are these assets for the web? And will they be robust enough to persist moving forwards.
The assessment looked at 217 collections that had been mainly funded by Jisc, AHRC the New Opportunities Fund. It was possible to write off early collections by saying asset preparation has become more sophisticated however, the top scoring collection started in 2007, while the bottom one started in 2008. The assessment was wide ranging from seeing if URL’s were well formed, use of title tags, sitemaps, clear terms of reuse, and so on:
- 40 collections couldn’t be found – representing a potential loss of over 2 million in public investment In 26 cases the site no longer exists
- 6 collections appeared unfinished and in a beta stage of development
- 8 collections had been incorporated into other collections or websites, such as VADS or a main university library website
The results from the survey suggested that certain skills needed to be supported. Some pointed to training modules already created by JDM such as the guide to creating community collections, working with Flickr or YouTube; others to outside resources such a googles search engine optimization guide.
And this is where training comes in. The first webinar is a 2 hour webinar addressing the context in which digital collections exist. It looks at how users discover digital collections and the items in the collections, and how organisational strategies relate to digital collections.
The first workshop focusses on the use of digital resources in learning and teaching, starting with a review of the way in which teachers and learners discover resources and the factors that affect the use of digital resources in teaching. It asks the participants to discuss the opportunities and barriers around use of their collections. A review is made of the use of popular websites such as Wikipedia, YouTube and Flickr – with a hands-on exercise on using Wikimedia Commons. The day finishes with a review of how you can track the usage of resources through various tools, and impact using the balanced value impact model
The second webinar focuses on social networks and social media; how to decide on the most appropriate media strategy for a collection. It presented two case studies: one on the use and impact of twitter and another on getting the most out of Facebook.
The second workshop focusses entirely on the use of Google. It looks at the basic principles of ‘search engine optimisation’ or SEO; that is ensuring your collections are indexed appropriately by Google and other search engines, and then the use of ‘microdata’ (structured metadata embedded in HTML pages) with a hands-on exercise on using schema.org. The second part of the day looks at Google Analytics with a hands-on exercise learning how to configure Google Analytics to measure how users navigate your collections.
The final webinar looks at how working with researchers can both offer value to researchers, and at the same time enhance the discoverability of collections. It looks at the discovery behaviours exhibited by researchers and asks the participants to consider the implications of those behaviours on their collections.
The training sessions are free and open to all FE and HE staff working within digital libraries, collections and archives.
Registration is now open so please sign up today
- 3 November - Webinar: Challenges and opportunities - 10:00-12:00, online
- 10 November - Workshop: Enabling use of digital resources in learning and teaching, 10:00 -16:00, Bristol
- 17 November- Webinar: The potential of social networks and social media, 10:00-12:00, online
- 24 November - Workshop: Making Google work for your digital collections, 10:00- 16:00, Bristol
- 1 December - Webinar: Working with researchers, 10:00-12:00, online
These sessions are supported by our online training guide “Make your digital resources easier to discover” (http://bit.ly/1Bq4NAA) and case studies (http://bit.ly/1OL8LrC) from universities and archives who have attended the pilot training sessions.
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