Every year, libraries make significant investments in digital archives. They complement more traditional resources such as journals and books, and have become a fundamental part of the scholarly communication lifecycle.
There is plenty of evidence showing that digital collections of primary source material have a positive impact on research, teaching and learning, as testified in the recent Jisc-ProQuest study on the impact of digital collections.
Buying digital primary sources from publishers forms part of the standard purchasing cycle of many higher education libraries and can constitute a significant investment. Librarians have told us that they would be able to make better decisions about buying digital collections if they had consistent reliable information to hand.
We have established, through interviews and workshops, that it would be helpful to tackle issues in the following areas:
- Benchmarking/institutional profiling with regard to provision of digital collections - so libraries can evaluate the quality of their own content offering against those of other institutions
- Cost transparency on publishers’ products and market intelligence - ensuring they are getting the best possible deals and can plan and budget more effectively
- Aggregated usage metrics - helping to evidence the impact of collections on teaching, learning and research internally and for the purposes of the TEF and REF
- Negotiation and licensing support - allowing libraries to tailor access to their users' needs and enables shared agreements to reduce costs
- Promotion of institutional collections - libraries have invested in digitisation and want to see their collections used to increase their visibility to enable positive impact on their students
What we're doing
We will run a number of pilots to test out the best uses of collection data and the ways of aggregating it. There are three strands of work:
We have selected 12 institutions to participate in the digital archival collections pilot. The pilot will run to the end of June 2017 and we will run three webinars and two workshops with the participating institutions.
We will be posting reports on the content and digitisation blog during the pilot and will ultimately draft a report with recommendations for the development of a new service and the associated Jisc business case. We will also have defined a way of consistently describing these collections and have established the means of aggregating usage data.
We are running a group purchasing pilot with three publishers (ProQuest, Adam Matthew Digital and Brill) to test new ways to support institutions with the licensing and purchasing of digital archival collections based on an approach which leverages the collective purchasing power of institutions thus widening access to resources.
Each publisher is offering a number of collections for one-off purchase (including one-off platform fee). The more products that are bought across institutions, the lower the final price. Institutions can pledge interest to any of the products on offer through the Jisc Collections website between March-July 2017:
This will result in institutions actually being able to purchase collections at a discounted rate according to Jisc Collection’s bands.
We will also be collecting wish lists from institutions, to inform the choice of products that publishers put on offer in the future.
Reveal Digital’s Independent Voices
Reveal Digital’s Independent Voices is a groundbreaking initiative based on an innovative library crowdfunding open access model, which pools money contributed by libraries to clear rights, digitise and host humanities collections aggregated from many institutions.
We have raised about £10,000 towards UK digitisation and four institutions have pledged so far, with a few more expressing interest.
Pledging is open until 31 July 2017, visit the Jisc Collections website for more details.
We've set up a digital archival collections advisory group which is made up of members of the library and academic community, chaired by Joanna Ball, head of library content delivery and digital strategy at the University of Sussex.