Webcasts of "Digital Impacts" Workshop

On 20 May 2011, the Oxford Internet Institute held a workshop for over 100 participants to re-launch TIDSR and to release Eric Meyer's report "Splashes and Ripples" (available online at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1846535).

The following webcasts (also available at http://webcast.oii.ox.ac.uk/ for download) are from that day.

Webcast 1: Digital Impacts : Impact and embedding of Digitised Resources

 (Webcast 1 is also available at http://webcast.oii.ox.ac.uk/?view=Webcast&ID=20110520_359) 

Webcast 2: Measuring Impact: Tools


 (Webcast 2 is also available at http://webcast.oii.ox.ac.uk/?view=Webcast&ID=20110520_360) 

Webcast 3: Thinking about Impact: Reflections

(Webcast 3 is also available at http://webcast.oii.ox.ac.uk/?view=Webcast&ID=20110520_361)

Webcast 4: Roundtable Discussion: Impact and Digital Content

(Webcast 4 is also available at http://webcast.oii.ox.ac.uk/?view=Webcast&ID=20110520_363)

About the workshop

On the 20th May 2011, the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), with funding from JISC, hosted a workshop entitled: ‘Digital Impacts: How to Measure and Understand the Usage and Impact of Digital Content’.  The OII proposed this workshop to JISC in order to lead discussion with funders, content providers, educators and repository personnel, all of whom have a vested interest in showing the impact of the resources that they provide or contribute to.  The OII was in a strong position to lead this discussion, with researchers Dr Eric T. Meyer (PI) and Dr Kathryn Eccles having worked with JISC in 2008-9 to conduct a usage and impact study of the projects funded through its first phase of digitisation awards.  As part of this research, the OII produced the Toolkit for the Impact of Digitised Scholarly Resources, a set of best practices in measuring usage and impact comprising ‘how to’ guides, tools and other resources.  In early 2009-10, JISC launched a new funding initiative, to provide the means for seven new digitised resources to measure the usage and impact of their resources using the TIDSR toolkit.  Dr Meyer was invited to review applications for this funding stream, the Impact and Embedding of Digitised Resources, and to produce a report synthesising the findings of the seven projects.  The OII therefore proposed the Digital Impacts workshop in order to present these findings, to re-launch an updated and expanded TIDSR toolkit, and to consider the current developments in this field.

Format of the workshop

The workshop was held in a new purpose-built conference venue at Jesus College, Oxford’s Ship Street Centre.  The format of the meeting was to devote the first half of the day to the most recent work funded by JISC in the Impact and Embedding programme, and to spend the second half of the day thinking about the issues raised by such impact-seeking activities through presentations by invited speakers, and a roundtable discussion (shown in the above webcasts).

Popularity of the workshop

Interest in the workshop was strong, and after initial publicity about the event had been circulated by JISC on the web, through social media and by email, 30% of the available places were taken.  After a further (similar) publicity exercise by the OII (which took place after the workshop speakers were confirmed), 95% of the available places were taken, with the final few places (and waiting list places) being taken by respondents to a final email prompt to relevant listservs.  We registered the maximum number of participants, 108, and of those, 102 attended on the day of the workshop.

Variety of participants 

One of the most gratifying aspects of the workshop was the number of different institutions and organisations represented.  Delegates included representatives from universities (a huge range was represented from across England, Wales and Scotland and one European university), libraries and archives (including the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales and the Wellcome Institute), funding councils (JISC and the ESRC), the media (BBC), publishers (including Oxford University Press and digital publishers Adam Matthew Digital), and the museum and collections community (the Ashmolean Museum and the Wallace Collection).  The variety of institutions and organisations represented reflects both the importance and the ubiquity of this topic, and the ease with which the discussion developed across such a diverse audience underlines this further.

Themes of the day

Dr Eric Meyer introduced the key themes of the day in his presentation of highlights from his JISC report, Splashes and Ripples, which summarised and synthesised the results of the seven JISC-funded Impact and Embedding of Digitised Resources projects.  Meyer explained that the title of his report reflects the current reality of digitisation efforts in the UK: that there is clear evidence that some collections have made a big splash both for research and the broader public, while others have made smaller ripples that are nevertheless demonstrably having an impact, but on smaller communities. He highlighted some of the diverse empirical evidence that had been gathered by the funded projects, and together are able to allow recommendations to be drawn about methods for measuring and enhancing impact. Following these recommendations, discussed in detail in the report, can help individuals and organizations both to enhance their impact, and also to be able to better demonstrate the types of impacts they are having on various communities.

All of the projects reported that they had enjoyed the experience of measuring their usage and impact, that they had found the TIDSR toolkit an invaluable starting point for doing so, and that they had each learned something new about their resource in the process.  This represented a huge success for JISC’s Impact and Embedding programme, together with a ringing endorsement of the original Usage and Impact project which funded the TIDSR toolkit.  The updated TIDSR toolkit was demonstrated by Dr Kathryn Eccles (see Appendix 3), alongside a new (pilot) JISC resource, Digipedia.

Picking up on these themes, our afternoon presenters were Brian Kelly, who presented a highly informative (and enthusiastically tweeted) session on methods of tracking impact through social media, Melissa Highton on the impact of both the activity and the content of the Oxford podcasts on staff, students, our neighbours and the institution, and finally, Jane Winters on the importance of taking a long view when thinking about impact.

During the roundtable discussion, moderator Professor David Robey introduced the session by talking about a recent review of AHRC-funded digital resource projects that had been published on the website Arts-Humanities.net, indicating that the kind of impact-gathering exercise sponsored by JISC and showcased in the Digital Impacts event was vital in order to gain a full sense of how successful these projects have been.  Discussions were then opened up by the audience, who raised a range of issues relating to fear factors surrounding impact measurement (when impact is perceived to be negative), and the dangers of comparing different projects’ impact.  There were lots of positive points raised as well, with projects discussing how fortunate they felt to have discovered new users and usage by tracing their impacts.  The overall message of the final session appeared to be that we should all be thinking about impact and taking every opportunity to measure it, but to present this data with care and context.

Social media responses

With support from invited speaker, Brian Kelly, the OII set up a Twitter hashtag, #oiiimpacts11, to encourage microblogging from the workshop, and a Twitter archive at http://twapperkeeper.com to archive the tweets.  The results can be viewed here: http://summarizr.labs.eduserv.org.uk/?hashtag=oiiimpacts11.

In brief, there were 221 tweets by 70 twitterers, tweeting 9 different hashtags and 40 URLs.  During the workshop, after a brief flurry of tweets establishing the twitterers at the Digital Impacts event, the majority of tweets focused on highlighting themes, methods or tools being discussed by the presenters, and disseminating the URLs of projects and reports.  With the close of the workshop on Friday afternoon, remaining tweets on Friday expressed a satisfying and provocative day, and thanks to the organisers, thereby giving the OII instant feedback on our event.  On Monday, a further flurry of tweets alerted the community to a series of blog posts reviewing the workshop.  Blog posts of note include:

Brian Kelly (UKOLN, Speaker): http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/oiiimpacts11-and-evidence-gathering-for-jisc-reports-events-etc/

Melissa Highton (OUCS, Speaker): http://blogs.oucs.ox.ac.uk/melissa/2011/05/21/peaks-and-spikes-and-pads/

Jane Winters (IHR, Speaker): http://ihr-history.blogspot.com/2011/05/digital-impacts.html

Paola Marchionni (JISC): http://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/impact/