Copyright hurdles, digitisation considerations and OER discussions: post selection activities

I’m very pleased to report that much progress has been made since the Christmas break and as a result it feels like the Manufacturing Pasts project is fully underway. 

Early in January our Learning Technologist Terese Bird met with Simon and Rebecca to gauge their ideas for and expectations of the OERs produced by the project, some of which she has detailed in her recent blogs Building learning and research materials from image banks and Making Engaging Learning Materials about History, Industry, Sociology…

Coupled with this, three weeks ago Simon and Rebecca finished their initial selection of resources for two of our four themes:

• Conservation and Regeneration – focussing on the Liberty Shoe Factory

• Organisation of the Factory – focussing on the Corah textile factory (with additional pieces about the D. Byford and Co. Factory)

Armed with these lists of resources, Terese and I set about familiarising ourselves with the items selected from the Skinner Archive, held here in the David Wilson Library.  Terese wanted to see what kind of material she could incorporate into the OERs, and I was interested to know whether I could ascertain their copyright status.

Whilst Terese has been making leaps and bounds on her side of things, the © side has been progressing a little slower as many of the resources donated to us have no clear ownership status. We have books focussing on specific companies, which appear to have been created purely for internal distribution, and photographs of people who are not known to us, on top of letters from companies who are long since defunct or who have been taken over numerous times. I’ll write more on this in a separate blog when I’ve finished going through the items.

This progress has also required us to keep an eye on our other ‘work packages’, so we are also keen to get items digitised as soon as possible, so things like adding metadata, uploading content to the web site and creating our final OERs can then kick into gear.

With digitisation in mind, last week I met with our fellow team member Evelyn Cornell, along with the University Archivist Alex Cave, to establish a suitable referencing system for the items.    As we are planning to outsource our digitisation, we were keen to give each item a constant unique identifier which would not only ensure that items can be easily checked out and in again following digitisation, but also enable us to trace the source and holding location of the original of any digitised item, which is something our colleagues in the Local Record Office were keen to be able to do. 

In the midst of all this, we have also had our first steering group meeting. Although I was not in attendance, it is clear from the minutes that the group are enthusiastic about the aims of the project and have some good sound guidance to impart to us. We have a project meeting later this week in which we will discuss some of the points raised and I hope to write a blog about them next week.

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