Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, January 28, 2007

16 UK digitization projects

Digitising five centuries of UK life, a press release from the JISC Digitisation Programme, January 25, 2007.

JISC today announced the successful bids in a further £12m investment in the digitisation of major resources of national importance. Following the enormous interest in last year’s call for proposals and the high quality of the many bids received, the extra investment has been made by the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and Wales (HEFCE and HEFCW) to support the wider availability of national, scholarly resources.

The 16 winning bids represent a wide range of rich and vivid perspectives on the history, culture and landscape of the UK and beyond. The successful consortia include nearly 60 organisations from education and other sectors, including the British Film Institute, The National Archive, the BBC, ITN, the British Library, the National Library of Wales and the Bodleian Library, alongside nearly 30 universities....

The 16 projects will join six current projects funded in 2004 which are delivering resources of enormous value to education and research, widening access to otherwise inaccessible and in some cases fragile and unique resources....

Update. Klaus Graf has discovered that not all of these projects will be OA. Several will be toll-access only through JSTOR or pay-per-view. It's difficult to understand why, since these are public-domain documents digitized at public expense. In the recently announced and very controversial NARA-Footnote deal, public-domain documents from the US were digitized at private expense, so it's more defensible to institute temporary toll-access to benefit the company funding the digitization. Did JSTOR invest in any of these digitization projects? If not, I hope JISC will rethink its access policies.