Feb 262015

Today I am at the College Development Network’s Getting Best Value from College Licences event, taking place at CDN’s offices in Stirling. I will be presenting on Jisc MediaHub (which I am, as of the beginning of this month, the service manager for – blog post on that to follow!) later this afternoon, along with my colleague Anne Robertson of the new Digimap for Colleges service, as part of the Jisc session. In the meantime I’ll be blogging the other talks as they take place. 

As always this is a LiveBlog so please do be forgiving of spelling/typos or other errors – comments and corrections welcome!

Coming up later on…

Welcome and Introductions – Jennifer Louden, Chair Librarians’ Development Network and Alan Rae, CS and CDN Copyright Adviser

Alan Rae is opening up the day by discussing the ongoing pressure on colleges to reduce costs, and asking those here if they feel they are getting value for money from CLA. And are we making best use of the materials out there, and I’m delighted we have representatives from Jisc here today, talking about Jisc MediaHub. Are we paying for things more than once? And are the creators of resources being appropriately reimbursed for what they do? And are the licences transparent enough? That’s what I do but even I find a few of them impenetrable.

Are you aware of the new exceptions? I’m not sure that all were aware of the previous exceptions, but the new exceptions seem to give us significantly more leeway than we had before… And if we don’t use them, we’ll lose them…

And with that I turn to our first speakers.

Creating Inclusive Experiences for Students Accessing Library Services – Margaret McKay, Subject Matter Expert – Inclusion, Jisc Scotland; Andy McMahon, Alternatives Formats Manager/IT Disability Support Specialist, University of Dundee

Margaret: I think that talking about how we can be inclusive, and accessible formats in digital media. I am from Jisc Scotland and there have been a lot of changes in Jisc recently. We now have account managers, some of whom are here today, as well as specialists – I’m the specialist in inclusion. But what do we mean by inclusion? Well it’s about ensuring that the systems we use are accessible, that the resources we produce, the formats we use and the activities we undertake is accessible. That is also about us as organisations being accessible and inclusive.

So, what else can we do? What are the quick things to do… Thinking about how we create headings and structures in documents, help texts etc. makes resources inherantly more accessible… And we have to be aware of the Equalities act, being sensitive to our practice and avoiding unreasonable practice. We have to think about images too – ensuring we use Alt text for images, a small thing that makes a really huge difference.

Within Microsoft Office there are automatic accessibility checks that can be used, these are worthwhile making use of. And you can also make use of “MS Office Speak” – which allows anyone reading a document to listen to what that document says… That’s great if you use it with the Scottish Voices – those are free voices from Coll Scotland, that can be used with this and other softwares.

All the main browsers have accessibility plugins – Safari Reader, Chrome Readability, Firefox Reader – these are great for struggling readers, there are text to speech tools we can use with learners too. And you can still access the enabling technology Jisc Tech Dis toolbox.

You might also want to provide information in Alternative Formats. Tools like Read and Write Gold, a software that assists dyslexic learners. There are free options too, like Balabolka. These allow you to turn text into MP3, to present that text differently. That’s software you can run from a memory stick. Libraries are also creating audio guides with tools like Audacity. And you can use tools like Xerte, which we’ll come back to. And if you do use multiformat learning materials you also need to think about, say, subtitles to help ensure that content is accessibility. You can also explicitly ask the learner if they need to access something in an alternative format – by adding a mechanism for them to request that alternative format.

One of the things aout the Equalities Act 2010 is that it is about making reasonable adjustments. Technologies are helpful. Students are aware that they have the right to use other formats etc. In England and Wales students there are changes to the disabled students allowance that helps them choose the tools to learn, and more of a focus on making the institution as a whole more accesisble.

Tech Dis also created some accessibility tools, including the “How accessible is your library?” Xerte tool. It enables you to go through, to answer questions that help you access the accessibility of your lirary… And within Adobe Reader you can do lots of things, fantastic accessibility features, that lets you work with Xerte, focus on particular content etc… There is also “The e-book platform checklist” available to help you assess e-books, including a check list for vendors during procurement – about colour changes, formatting, navigation, etc. – really useful questions for suppliers during the procurement process.

The changes in the Copyright law have big impact for learners with additional needs and disabilities, allowing resources to be adapted, changed, amended to make them accessible.

Load2Learn is a great resource, used mainly by schools but increasingly by Colleges and Universities and they are up for that… This repository allows the crowd to submit accessible versions of e-books, with Dyslexia and RNIB the organisations heavily involved in this resource.

Andy: I am talking about accessible books. The costs associated with making formats accessible can be high, it is hard to have like for like access to reading list materials. Until recently we received about £20k/year per student for making materials accessible. So what we do has to be very cost effective. For our students we have found that it is more important to have a wide variety of texts, so 95% of text is accessible rather than a small range of materials being more accurately converted/adapted.

So, if the source is a UoD owned ebook with a high level of accessible platform, it’s free to make accessible. Commercial ebooks like Kindle, iBooks, DRM free PDF it’s a same day service of £10-£50 per book. For an e-copy from the publisher to be readable it can take anywhere from 1 day to 3 months. The good ones can be fast and reasonable (e.g. Sage) but some are terrible. And the cost is around £50 per book. If we have a physical copy we can duplex automated copy (so you remove the spin and it is duplexed) – the cost is around £70/book but of course images are not described/made more accessible. If we had to do individual page by page scan to be readable it’s £300 per book. Individual page by page scan to be accessible it’s £800. If you outsource page by page scan to be accessible it’s more like £8000. Now we have 12 students we are supporting, and we deliver our whole service for £45k but that’s still a lot…

So, making the right decisions over procurement is crucial… You need to compare the market. I am not aware of libraries suing a publisher for their works not being accessible. Even our licence agreements from 8 years ago stated ebooks would be compliant with screenreader software JAWS. But they are not always. So we are strongly pushing our academics to switch providers towards the accessible providers. For us, in obtaining our materials, we look to an accessible library e-book platform, we look at Load2Learn which is a good site, we look then towards measures like scanning.

We have a webpage specifically to help in the procurement of e-books. We have providers with high levels of accessibility for disabled readers (Palgrave, Springer, Safari, Sage, Science-Direct, Pro-Quest – Literature online), some have some barriers (MyiLibrary, Wiley), some have significant barriers (EBL, NetLibrary, DawsonEra). Scottish HE Basically anything with downloadable PDFs tend to be more accessible, those where you have to use their own package/software to read tends to be less accessible.

So, we have iPad minis that are loaned to students from the service. They are pre configured for book and learning accss only. Books are availabe on our VLE (restricted access enabled). And using the iPads have broader use, it feels inclusive, the students don’t feel different from their peers.

We recommend with suppliers that tou don’t trust the supplier but actually go and check some sample texts… So you want to check reading flow, you want to try changing the background colour in adobe reader; try PDF reading on screen; And if you do use Read&Write Gold TextHelp there is a tool called “ScreenShot” (there is a good tour of this on YouTube) which lets you read anything on screen if it is clear, bypass all known protection technology, and enables students to copy and paste text into word as needed – for dyslexic students that copy typing is really tricky and not what they need to learn.

So, I just wanted to give you some practical help in procurement. One thing: We had a publisher who did not have a digital copy, but there was a perfectly formatted version on a Russian site online… It could cost us £10k to digitise a complex mathematical text… legally… Well legally we have a duty to provide access to equal information. We pay £60-£100 for a site licence for the book… The cost to make it accessible is many thousands… Well we can switch supplier for a better accessible copy for maybe £40 more than our original licence but there is also good potential in the new Copyright exemptions – if we make an alternative copy of a text we can now (explictly) share this with other institutions. And we can now subtitle someone’s video from YouTube without their permission. But we still have to notify publishers that we have made our alternative format copy. But to date we have had very little sharing of accessible copies.

Margaret: We do need to do more of this. My colleague used to work with publisher resources on accessibility, which will now move to Load2Learn. Structured PDF wasn’t seen as alternative enough by some publishers… Structured Word docs was seen as alternative enough.

Andy: I always say that PDFs are not one thing, many many different formats. I try to describe this to our medics as PDFs being like Cancer – one term but many many different things. So whenever you get a PDF you need to actually look into how accessible that is, it can mean so much.

Alan: I’m really pleased to hear that you raised the issue of exceptions there, some of those are really important for accessibility. And those slides will be circulated, also on the CDN website.

ERA and ERA Licences – Kathleen Roberts, Field Liaison Officer, ERA

I am the liaison officer for the whole of the UK for ERA, I am involved in outreach so going out and speaking to people in schools, universities and colleges.

A few years back we used to have something called the ERA service for off-air recording – what happened was that a sample of educational establishments was identified by the National Foundation for Educational Research – schools, colleges, language centres etc. They told us what they recorded from TV and Radio. We asked schools to report monthly. With colleges and Universities we asked the once per term. I would visit 80-100 educational establishments per year on using the licence, and what they were recording. But it fast became clear that our data was totally inaccurate!

The crunch came when a school of journalism told us that they were recording nothing. Our contact there was in the library. I just wasn’t sure I believed them so I contacted the School of Journalism directly… I started with staff in broadcast journalism – they recorded all news, Today programme, NewsNight, all of that stuff! So, I went back to the contact, showed her the material… she said “why aren’t they telling me about that”. And that once a term sheet was too much work to complete, so the staff weren’t bothering.

So, the system wasn’t working. We switched to a snapshot survey… In theory that should have been easier, but it was the same issue. So we have abandoned that too… We now rely on data from BOB, ClickView, custom schools services etc. From the electronic data we can see an enormous amount of usage going on, it’s very well utilised. People may pay a lot for this resource, but it is incredibly well used. A few years back I was at a large university and staff there complained, but before I could respond the people from the commercial IT and training section said they would give their right arm for the ERA licence – commercial licencing for a fraction of that material would have been much higher. I don’t make the policy but the service is high quality… where you can make the resources you need, that’s great. But where you want a professional, well produced repository of content ERA gives you access to that.

So, we now have a strategy of adding value to the basic ERA licence. We are trynig to give people extra. We have a strategy to do this… And I’m hoping some people here have seen the website, blog and case studies… I would like to get into some dialogue now or later on, or after the session, to get involved with ERA; to help us support licence users better… One of the sad things about losing the survey was that it did give us a chance to go out and talk to people. So, starting from September we want to meet with a small group of people to find out what you do, what you need. Individual visits are something we are happy to do. Let us know how we can improve the offer, how we can improve the support, we welcome that opportunity.

On our website we now have a series of resources to support ERA. We have a blog with some resources… Been doing this for about five months. We try to anticipate useful programmes that may be coming up, we’ve tried to put them in context in terms of the curriculum… So if there is a topic of curriculum level… if we spot something coming up as a broadcast we’ve tried to highlight it. We are just dipping our toe in the water… It may be that we aren’t doing it very well – but we’d love feedback either way… Could we do it better? How could we do it better? We wanted to use a blog to encourage people to subscribe… I wasn’t sure about that. We discussed putting in on the front page of the website… But in any case we wanted to add something beyond legalese on the website, to enrich the content. To provide material of use in teaching and learning…

As well as the blog we have some case studies, you will see that in the newsletters I’ve brought along today. We’ve tried to collect a series of these, and we’ve tagged them by level… I want some feedback on this. We have a massive problem curating our content… You are experts in content management, in curating material. We are trying to add more value, but we are very aware that the more we put on, the more difficult it is to access…

We also now have a Twitter feed. It’s not exactly riveting but it does let us tell you when we are, say, at BETT. But this should help to raise awareness of what is there. When I did my teacher training course it was hard to know about all of the resources that may be available. And it is also important to understand the role of licencing, and that there are appropriate ways to use licenced resources. We are not the copyright police, but we are here to enable appropriate use of licenced materials, to help organisations use material legally.

We want more people to know about the ERA licence. And we want to know more about what broadcast materials you want, and how we can help too. We are happy to write articles if that is helpful. And how do we reach out – are there networking meetings we should be attending? Is there material we should be producing to curate materials? We aren’t currently organising materials in terms of curriculum areas… All of the blog posts and case studies.. would they be better organised by subject areas? What works best? Perhaps we need a Pinterest board to organise them?

I am conscious that we need more examples of good practice. We’d really like good practice in using broadcast materials… People like trainee teachers would value a lot of guidance and support with using broadcast materials, also those in HE and FE. The use of less obvious materials or off the wall examples are particularly good. For instance the use of The Simpsons in teaching maths [see Simon Singh’s book on all the sneaky books on maths], and people have also used The Simpsons in business classes to talk about “pester power”. So, we want case studies, inventive and innovative uses… If you are doing interesting things, we’d love to hear about it. We don’t promise they will have a starring role, but we do want to give you credit for what’s being done well…

So, how many have had a look at the blog and case studies before today? It looks like mostly not but I’d love you to go away today, take a look, and do send some feedback… We are a small team and we’d like to work smarter – and that means your ideas, your input, your feedback would be so valued by us.

Comment: I’m one of the main recorders for ClickView in my college. ERA seems quite passive to me… I never thought to go to you for advice on what to record. The process is easy, but finding what is needed and talking to staff… That’s what’s time consuming. So the blog looks really good. I saw one of the posts featured Horrible Histories though, not really appropriate for FE… So something more suitable, or a calendar of what’s coming up…

KB: So if we made an FE blog that was separate would that be good? Or would subject areas be better?

Comment: I go back to the older licences… I’m looking at various services… We have multiple sites and staff in particular curriculum areas and that is what matters. Some people do this anyway, some subject experts are already great at tracking what is needed, but others do need those subject focuses for the people who we still need to engage… They want to know what’s there for business, for construction, etc… Stuff specific to their areas…

KB: We don’t want to replace ClickView of BOB, and their searchable databases, but we do want to support those who don’t use those services. One of big college consortiums in England have a huge shared database with learning resources and materials, but that’s their own in-house integrated system. So we are particularly keen to reach those without a system, those partially covered. And we’d love a case study for every curriculum area… But then there are levels within there… We are not doing too badly for the first 5 months.

Comment: Can I embed video clips in my VLE?

KB: All our case studies are text based so far…

Comment: But that’s a good point, and resources on getting videos into VLEs etc. that would be very useful…

KB: We don’t have video material yet… but we may…

Comment: Would those case studies/examples be Creative Commons licenced?

KB: Might not be an issue if we have the examples… those case studies are the results of 3 years on the ground, following up THES articles, blogs etc. It’s really hard to tap into how teachers use materials in their learning and teaching materials. They don’t always want to be the focus of attention. But we are trying to help them see themselves as role models or exemplars. But one of ours commented that they didn’t think they were doing anything different/special… But the feedback we’ve had on that particular person has been very complimentary.

One example we have, on schools and weather forecasts… the teacher created a whole project out of that, measuring wind and rain… talking about precipitation… And when they came to using a whiteboard, choosing a style based on broadcast versions… The interesting thing was that the real learning outcome for that teacher was the confidence and the communication in the students, something that added to the science learning.

If anybody would like to get more involved, to chat to  me in your institutions, please do email me and then maybe we can work together to create something useful to yourselves.

Alan: Kathleen is very enthusiastic about the amount of recordings. We don’t have surveys… The ERA licence is good but I get reports that few of us are using those recordings – just how much use are you making of ERA Licences? I know YouTube is the elephant in the room.

Comment: I still don’t know what others in my college do!

KB: We do know when people sign up to BOB or ClickView…

Alan: But how many here sign up to those systems? [few shown] Those systems do, though, record exactly what is used and how often… So can’t we just pay for those? And those systems have subscription costs in addition to ERA Licences. And we have YouTube, and we have Jisc MediaHub available too of course… It is a benign licence. It’s always been there, I used it massively in a previous role. I also used TRILT to help me plan what I would use – a BUFVC service there.

KB: Those using ClickView or BOB – are you using it?

Comment: Yes, and we use it a lot!

Alan: That’s fine… If we get £1 million in value, that’s fine… Lets talk about add ons, development… But anecdotally I’m not sure that colleges feel they are getting value for money.

Comment: For a lot of staff people think of ERA as restricting and policing, rather than enabling. We try to educate them but there is so much to do to promote ERA as an enabling service, as a way to make resources available. It’s been seen as a thing for people who deal with copyright licencing only.

KB: We are trying to do that now…

Alan: We are producing the next generation of producers and users. Copyright will not go away. It is an essential part of your toolkit as teachers, and support staff…

KB: We used to have a separate Open University licence, that’s now part of ERA, so you are now getting more than you used to too!

And with that we come to our next speaker…

Overview of CLA/NLA Licences – Julie Murray, Education Licences Manager, CLA Gursh Sangha, Education Support Manager, CLA

The Copyright Licence Agency now also have the Newspaper Licence Alliance Education Establishment Licences

Gursh supports educational organisations, Julie reviews queries and feeds into support.

Gursh: We will be talking about what this licence means in real terms. So do look out for tips in your institution about getting best value from your licence. Recently CLA took over the Newsprint Licence Alliance so we’ll focus on that in the latter half of our talk.

The CLA licence permit education establishments to make copies of materials, books, journals, prints, some online materials and subscription content. The licence covers millions of titles from the UK and Overseas. And the college can copy from any materials it owns or subscribes to, and those from the British Libraries. The licence allows you to copy without having to notify the copyright holder every time. And we also pay licence fees back to the copyright owner. And by making copies we are talking about photocopying, printing, etc.

Julie: So the benefit of this sort of licence gives you the flexibility to make copies as a course changes, as you decide on later resource purchases, etc. And the CLA licence does allow you to build packages of resources. Students are good at scanning materials quickly, assessing materials… but they like having materials to take away with them for deep reading.

The 5% limit in the agreement doesn’t mean all from one chapter… It can be useful to, say, take from early in a text, then further content from later in the text… that has possibilities in English Literature, in science too perhaps… It enables creative use of these copies in the classroom. And the CLA is intended to compliment your regular purchases of resources. So you might purchase a key text, but also provide a small portion of a text that argues with that core text and adds to students understanding.

Practically photocopying can be done on or offsite. In terms of scanning you can use that in the classroom, by email but also in VLEs. When we consider all the devices students have, the scanning part of the licence helps facilitate that, and also the “flipped classroom” where the student prepares in advance and brings those ideas back to the classroom. You can also annotate the scan as long as you don’t obscure the text – prompts at appropriate places in the text for instance.

The digital part of the licence covers website… Links to websites can change, material can change… And in-house copy enables you to know you have that in-house. With subscription materials you can use either your primary licence or the CLA licence, whichever is more generous. So if you have a subscription for 10 students, but 100 students you might use CLA for a reading from that text, whilst also having that subscribed to text available throughout the year under the primary licence. You can reuse materials you’ve scanned or copies if still in good condition. You can use the same texts in different ways/copy different parts provided they are for different courses of studies.

The CLA licence covers all UK publications, It also covers a range of other territories – some for the full three types of copying, some for copying and scanning only, some for copying only. We also have specific publishers that we work with over their international territories. You can find a list on the website but we also welcome suggestions of publishers to approach… We also have websites and magazines that are also covered by the licence – about 55o and a list organised by students is coming up.

Gursh: We have good practice materials, and we ask Licensors to help raise awareness in their organisations. We strongly recommend staff inductions on copyright and why that is important. On our website though we also have best practice guides and case studies. For instance some organisations do copyright health checks, they also remind colleagues to ensure all copies come through the central department that manages those copies.

We also have a specific site for colleges: http://fe.cla.co.uk. This enables you to check permissions. We recommend searching by ISBN… So if we look up Nursing Times, for instance, you can view the permissions for licence type (in this case FE). It quickly shows you the permissions for that publication. If you get stuck we have a dedicated email address (checkpermissions@cla.co.uk) where you can ask questions. We also have a free phone app (iOS and Android) which enables staff to scan a barcode to check a publication quickly and easily.

Julie: If you see an explanation mark in the check permissions tool then it may not mean that it’s not available, and we have lots of resources on how to use that…

Gursh: We welcome all questions, suggestions, and we log all queries to inform the support we give you. For instance recent reviews of FE comments suggest that succinct information at the beginning of the academic year would be valuable for colleges – so we are creating bitesize materials and webinars. And if you would like a specific webinar, do get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

We are always keen to improve and develop. There are pilots we are starting to do in the HE sector, and we’ve started to talk to colleges in England and Wales about this, which is an extended permissions services. This is about licencing a second chapter or article on a per-transactional basis, if that exceeds the standard 5%.

Julie: I’ll now talk about the NLA Education Establishment Licence. We took this on in spring 2014. We are still separate legal entities but the idea is to reduce the administrative burden on educational establishments. The NLA licence covers all UK regional publications, and you can copy from 5 of them. And there are various levels that extend to more ranges of regional and international publications. If you teach a lot of languages, you may want to copy from a wider range of titles for instance. You can check these permissions in the same check permissions tool – don’t be alarmed if it shows a publication is not covered by CLA if it is covered by the NLA licence. And of course newspaper articles can be useful in nursing, looking at a health issue and it’s coverage for instance, in tourism, etc.

Gursh: There are some differences in the NLA: you can copy the whole publication, there is not a 5% limit. But the storage limits are much shorter, you can store (digitally) for 28 days. But there are add ons to allow you to circulate materials to the whole organisation. If you want to use an article to publicise your organisation there is another commercial add on. There is a lot there and we welcome your comments and questions.

Julie: We’d love your questions now or later – and we’d be happy to record this session to share with colleagues too…

Alan: I get to speak to both ERA and CLA on a regular basis… We look to get licences that are increasingly fit for purposes… but first, others for questions…

Q1: We’ve just been through the data collection excercise, looking at the results of that. The results have been very low. I’m interested in the extended permissions service and the transactional service model. Are you planning to move the core service to a transactional model?

Julie: Because our licences are through agreements with copyright holders and that’s for a blanket licence. The data collection process is there for rewarding our copyright holders. The add ons are to allow further usage but the core licence isn’t under review there…

Gursh: We are always reviewing what we do but the add ons and extended permissions are very early pilot stage.

Q1: It was a great licence 10 years ago, but we are increasingly moving to digital so I’m not sure we really get the value from the licence anymore… That licence goes up year on year but we are using paper and photo copies less and less…

Gursh: Our director is looking at these issues but we can’t really discuss those issues here today, that’s a longer term issue for our director to look at this.

Q1: We have cuts to front line  services right now and that makes these costs a real concern for us.

Julie: Events like today are so useful for us to think about and understand that. Hopefully we’ve shared the tips to help use the licence more, but it’s also up to use to really look at what we can do.

Q2: Recently as our colleges have merged we’ve radically cut book stock… So we photo copy less… But we also know that we need to prove that we have paid for an item to use a copy… But we may have copies that we now find we have disposed of the original print version…

Julie: That ownership is print of digital… So if you have either a book or a digital copy that applies. But mergers are a major complexity, and thank you for raising that and we can think about how we support that.

Gursh: We appreciate that complexity… We don’t have guard dogs!

Comment: We are in a reprographics department… We need to educate the staff who request our services. We still use huge amounts of copies from magazines, journals, etc.

Julie: How many organisations are attached to their reprographics departments?

Alan: Decreasing numbers these days. It’s good to have Julie and Gursh here. Do you feel you get value for money from your CLA licence?

Comment: Some of our lecturing staff aren’t aware that we need to own materials to copy them… That’s an issue for us.

Julie: How many of you have a VLE here? [most do] And is it BlackBoard of Moodle? [Mainly Moodle]

Jennifer: There is now a SLIC tool for Moodle to flag up any texts, images, videos to ensure that you are checking copyright and rights as well as reference checking information. It’s freely available from the resource site from CDN website. Those resources also help you find access to open materials, licenced materials etc.

Alan: I think that will be an extremely useful plugin. We have to think again about the issue of transactional licencing, as raised by Jennifer… Historically looked too tricky administratively but with phone apps, etc. that becomes more possible. I’m very keen that what we pay for, goes back to the people who pay for it… When you pay CLA, the CLA take a slice for administering the system, that goes back to licencing organisations who take a slice, and some back to the actual creators… But it really matters that we understand what we pay for. And that we only pay for what we using or needing.

Gursh: We did look at a plugin for checking licenced materials… That wasn’t as smooth a process as we’d hoped for building that into college workflows as we’d liked but we are looking at it.

Julie: I’d just like to thank you all again for your comments, it’s been so helpful for us and I hope it has been helpful for you.

British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC) – Helen Fitton, Marketing and Events Manager, BUFVC

It’s always lovely to be back in Scotland! I’m here to talk about BUFVC and our Box of Broadcasts (bob), I know we have a number of colleges here in Scotland including some of you here today…

We are a charity and a membership organisation. We “promote the production, study and use of moving image, sound and related media within learning, teaching and research”. So we are all about opening up this type of material for use… And we want it be there to enhance teaching and learning. We see ourselves as a bridge to enable you to use this material. We have been around since 1948 so we have a wealth of knowledge. We were set up by academics but although our name says “Universities” our trustees are both from HE and FE, 95% of our members are linked to education, and we are focused on both HE and FE. And one of our fundamental aspects is that our resources are accessible by all staff and all students – accessed by Athens/Shibboleth – which means they can find what they need.

We have a helpdesk with queries coming in every day, amazing questions like “do you have video of the battle of Waterloo”, er, no… But we get a wealth of questions and, as a charity, we connect you to other resources so we aren’t just about selling our resources but also connecting you to the resources you need whoever may provide  them.

We do access, expertise, advocacy, and research. A lot of our work is based around research projects. Bob started as a research project with Bournemouth, then became a research project with the BBC and with Jisc. We are all about research and about working with partners.

Our resources include:

  • TRILT – two weeks of listings… like a super enhanced Radio Times, but for everything ever broadcast. And information on how you get hold of it. There are over 20 million items are in TRILT. Everything broadcast in the UK since 2001 is there, most broadcast since 1998 is there too.
  • Moving Image Gateway
  • News on Screen
  • BoB National
  • Chronicle
  • Off Air Back up Recording Service
  • Shakespeare on Screen – open to absolutely everyone!

So, our off air recording service has two elements. We have hard copies (DVDs) and we have BoB. Basically we don’t want a telly on a stand being ignored in the corner. We want film and TV used to make a point quickly in the classroom, as part of teaching, a few minutes to make a point that a lecture could not…

So, for example I have a clip used by Anna Bankman, a Senior Lecturer in Business and Marketing. She uses the clip in how to pitch and sell a product. The clip is very engaging for students. She has a great quote that “if people think education and entertainment are different things, then they don’t understand either”. [cue clip from Watson & Oliver (9th May 2013) on pitching a business which is “both global and international”]. You can see that’s the perfect clip of what not to do! [and indeed it is]

Our off air back up DVDs/CDs includes the stuff you might miss with your ERA licence. Ring us up – as a member you get an allocation of copies per year of back up copies. We have blanket recordings from 1997; 10 channels 24/7; AV library of 1.5 million programmes. I don’t know of anything similar that you can access in this way. When we send you out DVDs you can keep them forever, you can copy thems, but you have to use them in line with the ERA licence: only for teaching, learning and research. You can’t use for personal use, and you can’t edit them into other programmes (which we do get all along). Many of the orders for those recordings come through TRILT. One thing that takes a long time for librarians is finding content, TRILT lets you set up alerts for keywords, programme names, etc. We are always making it easier for you to access the content you need.

BoB is our online off air shared recording service. One of the things I love about my job is going online, on Twitter, and seeing how students describe BoB National, e.g. “iPlayer on steroid”! To access to BoB you need an ERA licence, you need a machine of some sort, and an Athens/Shibboleth log in. And you can view, record, create clips from 60+ TV and radio channels, including an archive of 1.2 million programmes. Anything that anyone records, is accessible to everyone using BoB. It was launched in 2009, overhauled in 2014. We have 85 members using BoB. We don’t delete anything because you never know how these programmes and clips can be used… Sometimes it’s the adverts, sometimes it’s comedy – like the clip I showed. Anything can be used in an educational way. We have 10 foreign language channels, we have recording budder of at least 30 days from 67 channels, and we have BBC Archive from 2007.

So, on the homepage of BoB you can see highlights from the collection, you can see Tweets etc. And you can go to “Programme Guide” to explore the materials. Anything in Green are available to view. Yellow is being transcoding and will be available. Red hasn’t yet been broadcast and recorded. Those in blue can be requested, and you can request a certain number in any 24 hour period…

It is the ERA licence that allows you to access this content. Every one of the 1.2 million programmes is licenced under ERA – there is a disclaimer on the page for every item to show that the limitations are that they must be used for “non-commercial educational purposes under the terms of the ERA licence”.

When looking at an item, you can search the transcript for key mentions. You can mark a section. You can make a clip of a programme. You can share a clip in your VLE, by email with students, or on your website (though anyone has to login to view).  Some feedback we had a few years back was that students are not comfortable citing TV and Radio so we have a “How to Cite” section on the page to make that easy. And there are loads of sharing options. You can save clips to “My BoB”. You can also create playlists, and create a playlist along with some text about that playlist that gives context… It is normal for students to have reading lists, it should be normal for students to have viewing lists. Some additional BoB features: iOS compatibility; playlists; transcripts.

There are so many benefits of BoB. First and foremost you know you are using legal content. Some lecturers use YouTube, much of what is in there is uploaded illegally so there is an issue there. But you also have no control of YouTube, of whether a clip or programme will come down – even if it is legal. It then can’t be referenced or used. So, the way it is with audio visual items in education is that there can be real fragility about that material. With our materials you know you can have them forever, for your students to have them forever, to use them for education and research.

The only constraints of BoB is that you cannot access content outside of the UK. You cannot edit the content. You can make clips for showing in class, you can make playlists. And you cannot make any use outside education – the licencing and clearance process is very different, and also a lot more expensive.

But BoB is a real break for education, video is such a great way to make content more engaging for students, to provide new ways into your material.

Q1: The example you showed had a transcript… Do those videos include captions, so that students can see what has been said as well as hear it.

HF: When you view a programme you can switch subtitles on and off, but you can also see the rolling transcript – they will be there and you can watch them.

Q1: Does that apply to all videos?

HF: We had a big upgrade in late 2014. All programmes since then have this, anything previously does not have that functionality. That is down to the broadcasters who now let us have that information (but didn’t previously).

Q1: How does that work in terms of earlier content and accessibility… Could it be adapted to add captions under the new Copyright agreement

HF: We do have subtitles IF it was broadcast with subtitles…

Q1: But can someone from a college now add their own substitles…

Alan: I would say that it could be done… But you’d have to work with the rights holder and the licencing agency. The exception lets you do that… But its about improving the learning technology – so that would be about working with BUFVC and BoB, if you are talking about sharing that with others.

Q1: Assuming something doesn’t have captions, thinking about older content

Comment: Fine to do your own subtitles locally… are you talking about adding into BoB

Q1: I guess I’m asking about that

HF: The rolling transcripts is a major bonus, a huge help to have. But the question of adding to earlier content…

Alan: The only thing I can think of is to get the DVD, and adapt it… Simple solution would be that. There’s usually a way…

HF: When you make your clips the transcripts are great, and let you do that quickly with searches.

Alan: One of the issues highlighted already today is just finding out what is out there… I know about BUFVC, BoB etc… increasingly you know about this stuff because commercially you have to subscribe to BoB or ClickView…

Comment: ClickView is different – clips expire

HF: The main difference between BoB and ClickView is that we have everything and it doesn’t expire. ClickView expires after 30 days but you can upload your own recordings. We get requests for that, but as a shared service that comes with lots of issues. We charge on a flat basis. ClickView is banded and you have to manage your own recordings and your own storage…

Licensing Requirements for Public Use of Films – Robert Darling, Account Executive, Filmbank Distributors Ltd (by video)

Alan: We have two services now, Filmbank and the Motion Picture Licencing Company (MPLC). Whilst we get set up for Robert’s talk… I will be talking later about discussions on continuing licences for ERA. And a wee bit of news on that, which is that ERA will not be putting up their licences for us this year. Some more details to work out but that’s where it’s at so far.

Alan: Mr Darling doesn’t seem to be available! So straight onto Jisc…

Alan: You only need to use Filmbank or MPLC if you are showing films outwith ERA licence terms. Filmbank can provide you with films as prints, DVD, etc. For film screenings for film clubs etc.

Me: Also Park Circus and BFI.

Alan: BFI sometimes share things on YouTube as well. Again, the elephant in the room… I am always amazed by how little Colleges are enthused about moving from licenced to non-licenced/open materials but they use YouTube, despite the licences being about private non commercial use on the whole. And when there are BoB and other relevant resources out there. But you have to know them there.

And now a random aside…

Alan: FireFox has just launched “Hello”, a Skype type system

Penny: It’s seems good and easy to use.

Jisc Collections – Catherine John, FE Licensing Manager, Jisc Collections; Anne Robertson, Geodata Projects and Services Manager at EDINA; Nicola Osborne, Jisc Media Hub Service Manager and Digital Education Manager

The Jisc Model Licence – Catherine John

I’m just going to start by saying a bit about the Jisc Model Licence… This allows you to use something that you don’t own but you lease the item, in this case digital content, and it allows you to use that content under particular restrictions.

So, to use the analogy of a hire car… you could lease it to a friend in a physical way, but you that doesn’t mean you should or can legally do that.  Digital content is the same. And the Jisc Model Licence is there to complement existing copyright law. So why do we have this model licence rather than publisher licences? Well it is for consistency across resources, and intended to help organisations make the best use of material to it’s fullest potential.

There are different licences depending on the content, format, or length of time. The licences are regularly updated to reflect changes in technology, in the law, and also changes in Higher and Further Education. So, the thing we get asked in FE most often is “who is an authorised user”. That’s up to the college. As are the terms of walk in users. Another thing we get asked is about Inter Library Loans – you can, that’s one of the reasons that our licence is as broad as possible. In the current sub licence we have Clauses 3 and 4 is about permitted usage… Some variance of parts of materials you can use – sometimes the items themselves, sometimes just a link. We do get questions about continuations of access, and post cancellation access – when issues arise we will always seek legal advice to protect the college.

In English law there is a requirement for both parties to exchange something of value for a contract to be enforceable in court – this is why you see “peppercorn” referred to – meaning a small payment of some type. Licences do get updated but we protect confidentiality, and limits on liability. We try to make things as realistic and enforceable as possible. If you ever have any questions about the licence please always ask us rather than the publishers.

Sometimes we do accept more restricted licences – for instance for the British Standards materials – but only where the resources are highly valued enough for that to be acceptable.

[There were some significant issues with the video conference]

Penny: If you have any questions about Jisc Collections, and licencing, please do ask me and get in touch.

Digimap for Colleges – Anne Robertson

I’m talking about quite a different resource today, I’m talking about mapping data in Digimap for Colleges…

Myself and my colleague Nicola are both based at EDINA, we run a number of services funded by Jisc as well as some services funded by others. But we are here to talk about two services funded by Jisc.

We’ve been running Digimap for about 15 years for HE, and Digimap for Schools for about 5 years. Although Digimap has been available to FE for some time it wasn’t being taken up that well so Jisc asked us to create a new service and that is Digimap for Colleges. It is a different service, it is free to use, and it includes a number of learning resources mapped to the curriculum – and it’s not just for geographers.

Digimap for Colleges runs across browsers, there is no set up to do, you don’t need to host data, you just access it via those browsers – and it works on both laptops/desktops but also tablets. And we have learning resources at the moment, but we’d love to see more learning resources from other areas of the curriculum too so do give us your thoughts on what would be useful.

We have a YouTube channel with support materials and guides, and we also share information on Twitter. The main thing that Digimap for Colleges enables is the annotation of the map – fantastic resource for identifying locations for a potential new business with your plumbing students for instance. You can measure distances, calculate areas, you can colour in areas of the map, you can search for features. You can upload photos/any image (jpg, png) so you could upload charts, graphs etc. into the map. You can use annotation to track building use in an area, create a key, etc. And whenever you generate a map the copyright statement is always shown. The maps can be saved as PDFs or JPGs, to share in the class room, to drop into word documents.

What are people are saying about the service? Really lovely things – it is being used in Childcare courses, in Construction classes, in the Public Services Course. The link and the banner are in the VLE in one college, that also sees those resources used in fieldtrips and activities.

The terms and conditions of the service are really quite flexible. Maps can be used in learning materials, maps can even be used and annotated on your college website – that’s really fantastic!

And please do come and join users! We already have 172 subscribed, 8 of them in Scotland. It’s a really simple subscription process.

Alan: Thank you Anne, very much. When I was at Dundee we used maps in construction and with PE… In those days licence was with OS directly. And OS have rebranded lately! New governance too. But an exceptionally good service and usage here.

Q1: Are you thinking of using geospatial data in terms of historic maps?

Anne: If I go back to that slide about Digimap products. Digimap – which isn’t free but is available for the FE sector – does enable you to download data, do much more, and that includes historical data. We wanted Digimap for Colleges to be a clear offering, but that functionality is there.

<my talk happened here>

It’s Good to Talk – Alan Rae 

I was just going to give you an update on what is happening across licences… We are talking to CLA and there are alternatives too – but not sure Colleges would sign up to that. Then we have PRS and PPL licences – if you play any recorded music you need both licences. PRS gives money to publishers and lyracists, the money from BPL goes to producers and performers. Total confusion… PRS and BPL have been trying to fit into colleges commercial licences. We come back to exceptions. Section 34(2) allows you to play music on campus, where you replicate the ambience of the real work. PRS and BPL have tried to give us a principally commercial licence – they think our training hairdressing salons compete with commercial salons for instance, which they do not. And I find that few colleges actually tell students that they need to have a licence to play recorded music in professional premises. BPL and PRS have different metrics for licensing. PRS use FTEs, which has it’s own issue, and how much money you receive in the place of playing. BPL want the range in which music is heard. But we will be moving to a combined licence now… So you have that exception for curriculum related playing of music and you would have a licence for other uses on campus, based on a simple head count because we have moved away from FTEs – and funding models are so different in England – so we are doing a process of business models… We are trying to find a reasonable rate so that we come out of this cost neutral. These aren’t big costs, the CMOs are just those you have to go to if you want to use this material. At the moment it would be head count. We had hoped we might have news for the new academic year in August… won’t quite make that date but we are pushing forwards. When the government announced the exceptions last year they were clear that they wanted to make any works available… So that’s where we are with PRS and BPL.

ERA are keeping prices the same, reportoire may increase but all to be confirmed.

CLA still in negotiation.

But I also want to persuade you to look at the exceptions… There is room for interpretation here… They want to free up education, but all fall under “fair dealing”. That is not “fair use” like in the US, that would be very different. So those exceptions, in the new legislation, has been simplified…

Firstly it must be for non-commercial purposes. Be very very careful what you do with a commercial licence in a college… That’s why we are fortunate that we have Jisc MediaHub and BUFVC it would be hugely expensive to get this stuff on the open market, but we need to be careful we don’t abuse that privilege.

Secondly it must be by or for education.

Third aspect is an acknowledgement where “practicable”. It’s the same as CC licences – the most popular version is the simple CC-BY as long as you attribute them. Much of what we put out here is CC-BY. Acknowledgement is always always strongly recommended. That means any comments or complaints or questions can go back to the creator – it’s not only about crediting materials.

There will be a guide, that will be sent out soon. Those exemptions allow us to make more liberal uses of materials. You don’t have to state that you are using an exemption… But you have to understand and be able to justify that usage. Lots of changes!

I hope you have found today useful, I have certainly found it useful to see all of these alternatives, all of these resources…

One thing I hope will work, is the “Copyright Hub” (http://copyrighthub.co.uk). Just as the new exemptions came from Professor Hargreaves’ report in 2010/11, once recommendation was the idea of “copyright exchanges”. It’s something that won’t really impact large scale licences… This will be much more impactful on small organisations, creators, etc. You will get to the stage very soon where if you or a colleague makes up a learning package and you really want an image or video… you should be able to right click to tell you if you have a licence or not. It may say “no, but we’ll sell you one’ – and you can click and pay there and then… What we are used to in the retail world being brought to the education and domestic world. I’d love to think that everyone understands copyright but really many do not. People don’t like being caught for that. So the idea is that you can find the copyright holder, the licence you have or the item you can buy… I’m trying to encourage CLA to work for that… There are working ways to do that… It’s expensive but it’s doable… We are into micro payments these days, elements of that has to come into education… We don’t have the administration to support other models and that’s what our students are used to.

I would recommend the Copyright Hub but I would also recommend copyrightuser.org – it is part of the Create scheme, they have lots of events in Glasgow in March. They have government funding for this exceptionally good website. The CLA and ERA have good website. PRS now have a superb video to explain the difference between PRS and BPL. But that Copyright User website is beautifully illustrated – and they have some great case studies. And the BBC now has a site – “Copyright Aware” – which is again beautifully illustrated, and very good. That visual stuff is so important that the illustrations matter, our students are really visually aware and engaged.

I would remind you all of exception 29: research and private study. If you don’t need to make multiple copies… give them the URL. CLA applies to multiple copies only remember.

As I said earlier, we are producing the next generation of producers and users. It’s not going away… Copyright is here, it’s not going away… It’s evolving… But digital copyright is a thing we can track, so we really need to understand this stuff.

And with that we close a very interesting day!

Feb 252015
Duncan Shingleton from Design Informatics presents their projects at the University of Edinburgh GeoLocation in Learning and Teaching event.

This afternoon I am attending, and supporting my colleague Tom, at the GeoLocation in Learning and Teaching event at the University of Edinburgh. This is an internal event arranged by the Social and Cloud based Learning and Teaching Service. The event will be focusing on Geolocation technology used in learning and teaching at the University of Edinburgh.

We are kicking off with a brief introduction from Susie Greig to the day noting that “there does seem to be some interest in using GeoLocation in learning and teaching” – something definitely backed up by a very full room for this afternoon’s session!

Dr Hamish MacLeod, Senior Lecturer, Moray House School of Education– will be discussing the INGRESS game, he will describe the many rich features, and why he thinks they are (potentially) relevant to learning.

I think there are two real approaches to learning in gaming… One you might attribute to Marc Prensky – a kind of con folk into learning approach. I have much more sympathy for James Paul Gee‘s take on gaming and learning.

I am talking about INGRESS, a mobile game (iOS and Android) but it is not a casual game, it requires proper engagement. It is a location dependent game – you have to get out there and use it in the world and it demands movement in the world. It is also an “exergame” – perhaps encourages exercise. It is an augmented relaity game, and alternate reality game, and it is open to users – you can contribute, interact, actively contribute to the game.

The game itself uses Google Maps as a basis, and the deceit of the game is that bright sparkly “portals” bring exotic matter to the world… and that exotic matter powers our scanner, our mobile phone… The object is to capture these portals and explore them. There are two factions in the game: green is the enlightened; the blue is the resistance…

The Enlightened is a faction attempting to help aliens called “Shifters” in the world. The Resistance are opposed to the Shifters presence in the world. Immediately shades of post modern theory…

Looking at a player profile you see a name, you see badges for achievements… and Google sits behind all of this… You can link your playing identity to your G+ profile (I haven’t).

The game is planet-wide – at least in terms of locations that are populated. My own neighbourhood is occupied by the enlightened faction… ! You can grab portals from your desk but the object is really to go further out, to explore the world…

The portals are not placed consistently, they tend to be associated with human objects… When you are proximal to a portal you can do various things… You can “hack” the portal to deploy objects useful in the game. You can deploy resonator or recharge it… Portals decay over time… You can also choose to attack portals… All of these portals have a physical existance… When one captures a portal, one finds out about the places one is moving around in… The information about the object the portal is focused on can be edited and added to… additional views can be included… If I really wanted some exercise, I would go up to Calton Hill… They will be less heavily defended because they are more remote than those in the city centre. Unclaimed portals are white… you use “resonators” to claim it… As a player I am level 6… that dictates what type/number of resonators I can deploy… I need other people to help me defend the portal… So there is a collaborative aspect whether you know who you are playing with or not…

There is a massive amount of media associated with the game: those announcing international events around the game; something that appears to be fan fiction, but managed by Google; and there is some back story about the game and the Shapers… Very rich media background to the game…

So, here, now… here is what one might do… Near here you will find a plaque to Clarinda, the name Burns used for Alice Macleroy who corresponded with him… There turns out to also be a plaque at the Carpet[I’ve misheard this] Tollbooth… Things you don’t know about the world around you…

From this game you can expose information, shapes to remember… puzzles and sequences to be echoed back to earn points… But these are not just arbitrary shapes, these are meaningful glyphs… Once we understand what they mean, they will read as meaningful or enigmatic sentences… A lovely illustration of George Meliores mystical number 7 in which we chunk information in order to process it better…

Here we see a (tweet) visualising a Christmas tree composed of links between portals… The two factions do compete in the game but this pattern is a massive act of collaboration and organisation to do this. There are halloween variants too… So the game is played at various levels, from casual to this sort of organised community…

We can add portals, and propose portals… It can take a while for portals to be vetted and recognised… I have managed to establish some… Including Hutton’s Rock on Salisbury Crags, and sites where core samples have been taken to find changes in the magnetic field over time… I’ve been systematic… and you could do that process, of creating portals.

You can also propose missions in the game – so there are missions around Scottish Enlightenment sites, The Royal Mile, Sir William Topaz McGonagall… So these user generated activities, projects… could be taken on to engage with resources in our environment that we wouldn’t usually engage with in that way…


Q PW: This reminds me of Geo Caching, but this seems to have far more central control. Is that good or bad?

A HM: It is controlled by Google, of course it is providing them with many points of interest. Offers of suggestions can be slow to do… Geo Caching can be more controllable activity for a group of students to use though…

Q SG: Are you thinking of using this on your programme?

A HM: We are thinking about the Games Based Learning module… We use World of Warcraft there… But we look at designs of games for learning so it is interesting in that contact. But our degree is online and interestingly INGRESS really relates to shared geographical space – WoW is better in a lot of ways.. But you could work on the pattern making aspects.

Comment FH: It could be about time rather than location perhaps…

A HM: To play with this in a geographically co-located group would be interesting, might be other uses entirely for a distributed group of learners

Q TF: If I want students to learn about, say, medical education could I map it onto this game – or another – or does the game need to change?

A HM: You could have a walking tour of Edinburgh highlighting medical locations, historical dimensions and people associated with that… It might be forced or less forced depending on what you want to achieve

Comment COS: It might be fun for orientation sessions for colocated students.

Tom Armitage, Geoservices Support, EDINA –  will present on the mobile mapping and data collection app Fieldtrip GB.

I’m talking about FieldTrip GB, but firstly I just wanted to tell you a bit about what we do at EDINA. We are a Jisc Supported National Datacentre providing services, data, support, etc. Our work covers geospatial services, reference, multimedia, access areas and tools including FieldTrip GB. Digimap is our main geospatial service, we run GoGeo that allows you to search for geospatial data and create and share your own metadata records via GeoDoc – ideal for sharing geospatial research data. We have Unlock which lets you create geospatial search tools, or to georeference your own text. We also have OpenStream which allows you to stream open data from Ordnance Survey into websites/GIS. Finally FieldTrip GB which lets you gather data in the field.

We also have projects: AddressingHistory georeferenced historical Post Office Directories; we are involved in Trading Consequences and Palimpsest projects, both about geoparsing documents and visualising that; Spatial Memories was a project to help visually impaired learners to navigate the world through a mobile app; and finally the COBWEB project which is a large FP7-funded project with many aspects that link into data collection and citizen science.   

So, FieldTrip GB was about bringing some key fields to mobile. To be able to capture images, audio, text, location. To be able to use high quality background maps, and to be able to save maps for use “offline”. It allows you to do custom data collection forms, and to then access that form and collect data via your phone or tablet – it is available for Apple iOS devices or Android devices.

The main screen of the app lets you view online or saved maps, to capture data – both forms and GPS tracking. And the Download button lets you download mapping for use online. Login is via Dropbox… We chose Dropbox because it is free, the terms of use don’t give Dropbox access to users data – preferable to other services. And that also means the data is the property and responsibility of the user. And you can also potentially share Dropbox details to enable crowd sourcing…

So, the powerful bit of FieldTrip GB is the authoring tool… You can drag and drop different types of data capture into a form – text fields, multiple choice questions, ranges to select from, drop down menus, image capture, etc… You can drag and drop these items in, you can label and set limits/labels/choices as you wish. As soon as that is saved, it can be accessed from the app on your phone/tablet… And anyone with that Dropbox login can go in and use that form and submit data…

Those custom forms allow for easy data  management – consistent terms, single data structure, setting increments to aid estimates, reduced errors (or consistent at least!). Once you fill in a form, you click save.. and then you get to locate your data. Shown as a point on the map based on where you are standing. You can move that pin as needed, you can manually correct where the form things you are…

A wee bit about the mapping… We have combined OS OpenData, added contour mapping from other open sets of maps, brought in Open Street Maps, so we have a custom stack of high quality mapping for the UK, built on all open data sources… We have two different maps at the same scale – one is better in urban areas, one better for rural areas, so you see the appropriate mapping in the area you are in (may combine these in light of new data available openly from the Ordnance Survey).

The advantage of offline mapping is that it saves on cost in urban areas, and allows access in rural areas where there may not be internet access of any type. And everything cached loads faster too!

So, you go out, you collect data… You then can go back to the authoring tool to view data, to filter it, browse the data, edit or delete records if you need to, by uploader (if you include that in your form), to download/export it as kml, GeoJson, csv, wms. You can also share maps through Dropbox. GeoJson is good for embedding maps into websites. KML opens up in Google Earth – looks beautiful!

We’ve put together a vague practical lesson plan that you could use with a class… You set up a Dropbox account that you are happy to share. You download FTGB, you design your form, you share the form – and encourage downloading of maps, in the field you then collect the data using the form, you get back you get online and upload your forms/results, you go into the authoring tool and filter as needed (e.g. incomplete forms), then you can export your data and view them in your choice of whatever tools.

In the future release we will be releasing a global edition, based on OpenStreetMap. It will work the same way but with different background mapping. We may also be supporting upload of your own maps to use as a basemap when you are out collecting data. Similarly points of interest/waymarkers. Also extra sensor measurements – phone as a compass for instance, maybe also ambient noise via microphones. Potentially also more complex forms… we have had requests for logic to change later questions based on a form… All to come in future versions!


Q: Some of those extra features – your own maps, waymarkers, OSM – would be really useful.

A TA: Would be great to hear that from your as evidence for those developments.

Q: You talked about Dropbox, have you considered OneDrive which the university now has access to.

A TA: Yes, we built it to feed into any cloud storage provider… We started with Dropbox and have stuck with because it is most flexible

Comment NO: We are using FTGB in COBWEB, so we are self hosting rather than using Dropbox, also using access management.

Q JS: Can you embed images in the app for users to use to identify what they are seeing? e.g. an image of a tree.

A TA: YEs, also looked at in COBWEB, also dichotomous trees… Will all come, probably as part of the COBWEB development.

Dr. Anouk Lang, Lecturer in Digital Humanities, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures will discuss how she uses the SIMILE Exhibit platform, which runs off the Google Maps API, to create an interactive map to use with students to explore the literary culture of Paris in the 1920s.

I’ll be showing you a site I have built (see: http://aelang.net/projects/) using SIMILE Exhibit, using Google Maps Engine. This is a map of Paris with information related to literature in Paris. Paris was a particularly important place for anglophone modernism – lots of Americans moves there – Stein, Joyce, Fitzgerald, and that decade was so important to modernism. The histories of this time are concerned with a linear narrative. When we see a map it is very seductive… But that is a representation, not accurate. But I was particularly keen to map those places that matter… It can be hard to understand the role of spatiality of the places in this movement (or indeed in general).

So, in this tool you can explore by person… So you can for instance view Sylvia Beach‘s life, a book seller central to modernism in Paris. Clicking on a place gives you more information about that place, it’s relevance.

So, how do you build this? You have a script that is free to use. You enter data into a Google Spreadsheet… There are some predefined fields here… I put in bibliographic reference to allow me to use it in teaching. I put in a person as I am interested in the social links within modernism. The reason I like this is taht in the humanities is that we aren’t really trained to use GIS, but a spreadsheet we can just about manage!

So the data is piped in from a Google spreadsheet, but you have to build the front end. I found a guide from Brian Croxall (see also this code on GitHub) will walk you through the process – you can use his JavaScript and tinker with it…. So you get it up and running…

I originally built this for teaching. The 1920s wasn’t recognised as important until much later on 1950s/60s/70s. By then it is clear, in the biographies, who the big important players are. And those who never quite published that master work etc, insert themselves into that history. For instance we have Canadian writers (e.g. Morley Hallaghan, the only person to knock out Ernest Hemingway) who have interesting interactions with the big players. John Glassco’s Memoirs of Montparnasse, documents his bisexual adventures with both male and female writers of this tine… He locates himself close to key locations… But he has a rival, Morley Hallaghn… So he mentions meeting him but never assigns the location/space there… It sheds a whole new life in their relationships that would have been invisible if I’d looked at those works in any other way… mapping their locations was so useful.

Now I built this for research, but it does double duty for teaching. It is a framework for research, but I got students to think about sociality of modernism in Paris. I asked them to find one piece of information relevant to modernism, arts, culture in Paris, and to find the Geolocation associated with that person – the details are often vague in biographies and texts. That task took them a long time… Then the students were given access to the spreadsheet… So you can then see those entries, and visualise them on that map… And we were able to see patterning of which writers stayed where. So you can explore the locations of women versus those of men. So Paris in the 20s had a group of unusually strong women, publishing each others work… so where did they hang out? That concept is in play… That cotillion sense of our everyday place actually shaped literary history. Place is such an interesting lens through which to consider this work. We may only have sparse information of where these people live and stay – and we may have location only for months or a few years… raises useful questions, lets us ask critical things… Mapping this stuff perhaps helps you see biases, particularly around the prominence of particular places versus others.

So, students begin to understand the research process… you have contingent data that you need to make an argument out of.

Something I love about the Digital Humanities is the sense and culture of openness… And when you teach there is a commitment among the best teachers in this subject to share the very best students work online. That makes students very aware of this very public process – they are very serious about, it is their reputation on the line/building up, and a thing to point employers and peers, etc. to in the future…

So, we build this stuff… We need to embed it so students have to learn a snippit of HTML. Students also learn the importance of precision. If students use “1920’s” rather than “1920s” will hide their work in the faceted search. It seems like a tiny thing but in this subject changes in punctuation can be so important – whether in student work or in those writing on Emily Dickenson’s work.

The other thing that this was helpful for was bibliographic referencing… They were expected to get a proper reference… As we clicked in things in class I mentioned errors… As I did that students were editing their own references live in response. The publicness of the sharing made them keen to correct things! I also really like the serendipity of this – and other new tools – in teaching.

I should say that you can’t do spatial analysis in this. But the SIMILE Exhibit tools do let you view a timeline (and click for more data). But the map is  a point map, I would pull the data out and put it into Arc GIS to do serious spatial analysis on this data… So looking for the shapes, comparing literary to tourist areas for instance.

So, if you want to play, I have a sand box. Find it at: http://aelang.net/projects/canada.htm, just email me for access. If you do edit, do include an identifier to ensure you can identify your own entries – and view just those points on the map.


Q: Will you put in iTunes?

A Anouk: Will I make it an app? No. Firstly Google Maps Engine has been depreciated by Google so it’s going, so I need to move to OSM. But also an app is not what I need for my students.

Duncan Shingleton, Research Assistant/Technician, School of Design will presentation on various location based research projects Design Informatics has done…

Oxfam: Sixth Sense Transport

Project under Sixth Sense Transport project, mapping people’s transport habits and seeing if we could help the efficiency of drops to Oxfam clothing banks, minimising car journeys. And to maximise the efficiency of volunteer drivers visiting donation bank sites where the fill level is below that which justifies the journey in terms of goods recovered vs time and carbon output.

We partnered with SmartBin to put infrared (IR) sensors on the bin to measure the fill rate of the bin in real time… Looking at patterns of deposit and emptying of bins we can direct the Oxfam drivers to pick up before other (theft) emptying occurs… So, we have a simple app that shows bin sites, shop sites, and where drivers are. Phones with the app went to shop managers and drivers. Tracking fill levels, (volunteer) drivers indicate stock levels.. It allows Oxfam to track high value items, or items that sell better in particular locations can be taken to the right places for sale.

We have also done predictive analysis of whether driver will be on a particular day of a week… likely places to collect from… and that helps managers suggest ad hoc pick ups – e.g. house clearances. And if a bin has been broken into that can be recorded… messaging can happen between drivers. Lots of new communication happen, there was less driving/CO2 impact, and better success with bins…

Walking Though time – negotiating the streets of Edinburgh in 1860

On the app store so you can download the Walking Through Time iOS app… We are all fascinated by maps and exploring the city… We found that visitors and tourists are looking to Edinburgh’s past. So how could you give people the experience of walking through Edinburgh in the past? It’s a simple map that uses historical maps of Edinburgh, from EDINA, and overlay that on your current Google Maps… So you can walk Edinburgh in 1807… And alongside that you can create story trails that people can add to – story trails, places of interest… And view points of interest for people to click on and learn about key buildings and sites.

Comob – Networking people movements

Comob is about networking people, or people’s movements in maps… You can see your own blue dot on the map, but what about other people? So it’s a very simple idea… It clocks you, and everyone else, drawing a boundary around all of you – kettling you in a sense… So you can login to the map, connecting to loads of people in the world… We don’t know why people are using this in the US and in Singapore. We found truckers using it along the Mexican border! If you go to a new place… I went to Manchester, Chris was there too… So we both opened up Comob, it drew a line between us, and I could just follow the line to him! And you can also use Comob to draw portraits of, e.g. audible noise pollution. Can be used by police for kettling crowds – we tried this, it didn’t launch but we tried it…

And families use it… A family in New Zealand use it, a mum can see her sons – one a pilot, one a roadside repair vehicle, to see where they all are in space and time. IT’s a connection, that feeling of comfort and knowing in the network… So she can imagine her sons day in comparison to her… She has an emotional connection with him…

CoGet – Objects hitch hiking on the path of humans

On a similar note we wanted to see what it would be like to map things… And the relationship between things in a network.. When I go to work each morning it’s the same people at the bus stop, on the train commute… It doesn’t vary a lot… So as the system gets to know everyone’s movements can you get an object from one side of the city to another? In CoGet you can work out your position in space, and direction… And where you may be in the future based on that and your speed… And then if you visualise everyone elses position in the network, and their trajectories… You can visualise that too… So if you have an object to move, you can use the app to move that thing, using the app to alert you on who to pass your object to! So, no extra journey, no extra carbon… As you walk you don’t look for opportunities to interact… everyone is stranger… So it is strange when your phone buzzes, and the other person buzzes, and you have that moment of social interaction… You then move around looking for opportunities. A good fun social experiment to take part in!

Mr Seels Garden – Food narratives in the city (mrseelsgarden.org)

Memories of Mr Seels Garden was a project on the food history of Liverpool, inspired by a former vegetable garden. It started very simply as a memory pool of significant places in the food histories. That’s fine spatially… but how might you carry those food histories with objects. You have barcodes, QR codes and RFID tags in retail… So we designed an app that you can use (only in Liverpool) with city and site clouds – you could explore the whole city, or just the area/geolocation of a specific site… As you move nearer a point of interest a story can change about the thing you are carrying… And you could also see stories across multiple products – a tin of tomato, a pineapple, etc…  Some sites have stories for multiple products, some products have multiple sites associated…

That’s enabled by geo-fencing… which brings us to…

Ghost Cinema – cinematic narratives in battersea

As you walk around Battersea, this app will nudge you to alert you about film sites/filming locations, former cinemas etc. Another small site-based geofencing experience… Find out more on the Cinematic Battersea website.

Treasure Trapper – Mobile game in conjunction with Edinburgh Museum and Galleries.

Edinburgh Museums and Galleries have nine sites… But when anyone visits the city they want to go to the Castle, and maybe the NMS… But how do they attract visitors into their group of museums and galleries? So we looked at the bus network, particularly noted that many of their sites are on the tourist bus network. So we wondered if we could use that network to promote their museums and galleries…

Again we thought about unique identifiers, barcodes, QR codes, RFID codes, and number plates… Treasure Trapper works with the city’s bus network: as buses move around the city they automatically gather items on their route… And, a bit like Pokémon, you can chase buses down to grab that object… But you can only drop items off at the museum!

So, again, a very simple iphone app… museums can add items into the system… The app tells you when a bus arriving… once there you can grab it, and return it to the museum where you are rewarded with a free badge or discount code, etc.


Q PW: I was particularly taken with the CoGet idea… You showed straight lines and vectors… does it understand streets/paths etc?

A: Only in the sense that it measures every 15 seconds, and learns paths… And will update accordingly

Q PW: Given that Google Maps etc. estimate times in.. have you looked at that?

A: Not so much as those require your destination. But it does work out time based on speed of transit for estimation of subsequent location.

Jonathan Silverton Chair in Technology Enhanced Science Education in the School of Biological Sciences – will present on “Virtual Edinburgh: turning the whole city into a mobile learning environment”

Virtual Edinburgh is actually an idea, in fact one that feels like it already has so much substance already based on the work here. The idea is to turn Edinburgh, the city, into a pervasive learning environment. So I’m basically talking about little more than linking all those apps and ideas together.

As a newcomer to Edinburgh I am struck by just how much there is to learn about the city – the history, the science – and if we can open that up to students to be a resource for them to explore, to be available to them… it becomes a learning city…

So we have apps that feed data to people – WTT, Palimpsest, MESH (Mapping Edinburgh’s Social History), iGeology 3D (developed by BGS)… Already there… feeding data out… But there are also other apps like FieldTrip GB that let you feed in data too – essential for students to be able to engage and contribute if we want students to take. And there’s something of my own here… iSpot which is about identifying organisms in a community of about 50,000. Location is recorded for everything there… And another one that allows you to contribute is the “nearby” function in Wikipedia… Editing Wikipedia exposes this…

And there’s another FIELDTrip, this one from Google, with less exciting information about pubs and cafes…

We are overwhelmed with geolocated data, we are particularly blessed here… With a city with so many hooks on which to build cool things for our students to do… So the idea is to take all the stuff already going on, and make the most of the synergies already going on…

So, a theoretical example…

Calton Hill to King’s Buildings journey… On iSpot 6 spottings of organisms there… Here others have confirmed that sighting (more than a Like on Facebook), with geolocation etc… So that use of the name of the object unlocks knowledge – they can look it up, they can see Wikipedia, Encyclopaedia of Life, etc. Click to explore…

At this point we could link it into Edinburgh research… So we look up that organism and find the Halliday Lab that researches that plant… (arabidopsis thaliana)… So there we are, can find out about what research is going on at Edinburgh that you spotted on Calton Hill… It’s nearly all linked up already… We could do it quickly if this was a hack..

So we have an idea of how this might all work… you have data sets, you have students and researchers creating the things… perhaps this material is also consumed by the local community… and it builds on what’s already going on…

As soon as you overlay different data sets there is an issue of how you give people intuitive access… So we are thinking about using tools like 3D visualisations, as already are in use in the Old College app… We need something intuitive here, as all drop down lists etc. won’t do this stuff…

So, we have a lot of use cases here, some are playful, some are more practical, some artistic… There are lots of different ways this idea can be used in teaching, in research, in art…  Edinburgh can be a city of learning, just as much as it is a city of literature and of heritage… Watch this space for more on the idea.


Q MW: I love the vision of the idea, and I’d like the idea of allowing the community to contribute, and of mapping and tracking that, to see where contributions are coming from, understand what is coming in the near future, etc.

A JS: Yup, great idea.

Final Summing Up – Susie Greig

There has been some interest in Wikipedia Nearby. This is an option within Wikipedia to look at things from a geolocation point of view. It is part of the Wikipedia app. You can explore from phones/tablets or from your PC. There have been some interesting references made to Wikipedia Nearby, Wikipedia’s blog talks about this function also being used to trigger users to add images for those pages. We love the idea but me and my colleagues testing suggests that that isn’t quite working yet… Has anyone explored this yet? We just thought Wikipedia is editable, could set up scavenger hunts and trails… So we just wanted to mention that it’s there and if you can get that extra functionality to work, do share!

And finally, thank you to everyone for coming along today!