Digitisation success at the University of Worcester
The Library Services’ Digitisation Team at the University of Worcester shared with us how positive the feedback has been from academics on the service. In this blog post, Andrew Manton-Maund, Senior Library Services Advisor shares their approach and feedback from his colleagues.
Having consistently received positive feedback from numerous academic staff members on our customer and service delivery, we thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on the experiences and the benefits of digitisation services from the Library Services’ Digitisation Team at the University of Worcester.
The University of Worcester currently has over 1600 live digitisations across our resource lists. We believe these offer many advantages to both students and academic staff, particularly in circumstances where the library cannot source a full-text multi-user eBook, as we can make a chapter or extract available online via their resource list, through digitisation and where copyright permitted. Most UK publishers and a range of international publishers do permit this through our Higher Education Licence with the CLA, which gives us great scope for assisting students and academic staff with digitised extracts.
The benefits of digitisations for students are many, the most obvious being how it makes the relevant chapter of a book accessible online where otherwise we might only be able to offer print copies in the library. We believe this helps students make the most of their preparation time and encourages them to engage with the readings that academic staff have selected.
“Digitised book sections bring many benefits to students on my modules. Students really like having the expected preparation for each week’s module session available electronically and clearly signposted on the Resource List and linked on Blackboard. This includes digitised book sections alongside other resources, with questions for reflection and preparation. Students can thus access the reading easily and conveniently, making the most of their preparation time and enabling participation. Commuting students and those with caring responsibilities or other external time commitments are particularly appreciative. Students also comment that accessing digitised material on the Resource List can encourage them to borrow hard-copy books for use in their independent work, so digitisation is also a taster and stepping-stone to further reading and independence. A huge thank you to the digitisation team for providing such a great service!” Jenny Lewin-Jones – Associate Lecturer on BA Sociology and BA English Language
“Digitisation offers me the opportunity to hand-select the most useful sources for students and to provide them in full-text versions online so that they are always to hand. I find that students are much more likely to use sources that are readily available to them like this, and that the overall quality of their work is improved because I’ve had a chance to vet the sources in advance of students accessing them.” Dr Whitney Standlee – Senior Lecturer in English Literature
The Digitisation Team supports these endeavours by processing requests in a timely manner, supplying eBooks (where appropriate) and adding student notes to associated bookmarks to highlight that a particular extract is available online. When reviewing a resource list, we may suggest digitising a particular chapter, where there is evidence the chapter is essential and there is no eBook available.
In some instances, we might suggest digitising multiple short extracts rather than an entire chapter, such as business texts where there are short case studies that would be most useful and could be included in weekly readings. These have proven to be very popular, with one case study alone receiving 252 views and 118 downloads.
Before uploading scans, the Digitisation Team apply ‘optical character recognition’ (OCR) software, which converts characters of the document into text that is readable by assistive software, in order to increase accessibility.
We also make use of the Enhanced Higher Education Supply Service (EHESS) with the British Library and CLA through an API linked to Talis Aspire Copyright Clearance (formerly Talis Aspire Digitised Content). This allows us to use the Talis Aspire Copyright Clearance interface to source copyright-free paid documents from the British Library which the university does not otherwise own, which is particularly useful for articles not held within our subscriptions.
Overall, we are very encouraged by the use of digitisations within our institution and, despite the prevalence of eBooks, we find digitisation services continue to play an important role in supporting teaching and learning and meeting the needs of students and academic staff colleagues.
Thank you to Andrew Manton-Maund for his contribution to the post. We look forward to continued working with the team at the University of Worcester as their Talis Aspire service evolves for the benefits of academics and students.