Addendum to ‘Enhancing Sustainability …’ section of 16/11 DI Call

The recently announced 16/11 JISC Digital Infrastructure Call contained a section (in Appendix B) called ‘Enhancing the Sustainability of Digital Collections’. £500,000 available for up to 10 projects.

So far so good … please do consider bidding to this strand if you manage digital material and you are interested in issues around its sustainability.

Accidentally, a section was left out of the text of the original document that was released on 11th October 2011. This has been put right now though and as of the 21st October 2011, the above URL has links to the document containing all the correct and relevant information.

The following details what was originally missing from the text and also unavailable in the form of a briefing paper, which was erroneously referenced.

The ‘Enhancing Sustainability of Digital Collections’ section invites bidders to undertake some work that will add to the value, benefit or impact of digital materials. Without being prescriptive, the following list should give the community an indication of the sort of work that they might consider including in their proposals:

  • Building relationships with other relevant initiatives to bolster intellectual capital and momentum, or to add economies of scale and scope to the resource.
  • Packaging and re-presenting the material. Concentrating on marketing and impact and learning lessons from the commercial domain, e.g. picture libraries and commercial broadcasters.
  • Making processes and projects more open and discursive. Using crowdsourcing techniques  and encouraging more linkage and discussion around the resource resulting in search engine optimisation (seo).
  • Presenting the technical development as ‘work in progress’ to elicit community feedback; which in turn both informs ongoing R&D work; acts as marketing information; and builds a network of links (resulting in seo).
  • Increasing the focus on learning from users and doing formal and methodical surveys of user requirements. This means putting the PI/researcher mentality to one side and embracing a user-driven paradigm and a customer focus.
  • Considering research and analysis of competitors and considering the issue that academic resources and projects are competing for eyeballs and mindshare for many of the things that drive commercial initiatives.
  • Fostering an agile learning based flexible approach that will accommodate risk-taking and withstand failures.
  • Reducing costs instead of focusing on ways of increasing revenue, either through technical, organisational or contractual means.
  • Defining a plan and sticking to it. Creating a new strategic way forward using the experience of recent projects (e.g. CEDAAME project)
  • Enhancing and aggregating the metadata within and between collections to improve the discoverability of material
  • Investigating recent recommendations for enhancing user experience of online materials and for employing faceted search techniques for interface design
  • Considering the development of Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) as a way of allowing more flexible ways of exploiting the data
  • Enhancing the persistence of the data, its semantic qualities and its exploitation via linked data methods
  • Adding GIS (Geographical Information System) information to the data to enhance its value
  • Considering novel ways of visualising the material to appeal to wider or different audiences
  • Migrating the material to a more accessible, more scaleable and more sustainable information environment
  • Investigating the use of connecting and aggregating with resources in the public cloud to add value to the collection (e.g. FlickR, Picasa)

A useful reference point and information source for relevant work in this area has been provided by the JISC e-Content Programme (2009-11)

Many other enhancement measures will undoubtedly be relevant to this work and proposals should be ambitious and creative with this aspect. Bidders should also remember and be aware that the ultimate purpose of this work is to contribute to our collective understanding of sustainability and how to best increase the long-term prospects for digital information.

Bidders might also want to take a look at the fantastic range of resources on sustainability that have been comissioned and produced by the Strategic Content Alliance.