Stepping Away from the Silos

Stepping Away from the Silos

Strategic Collaboration in Digitisation

1st Edition - November 10, 2016

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  • Author: Margaret Coutts
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780081002780
  • eBook ISBN: 9780081002797

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For over twenty years, digitisation has been a core element of the modern information landscape. The digital lifecycle is now well defined, and standards and good practice have been developed for most of its key stages. There remains, however, a widespread lack of coordination of digitisation initiatives, both within and across different sectors, and there are disparate approaches to selection criteria. The result is ‘silos’ of digitised content. Stepping away from the Silos examines the strategic context in the UK since the 1990s and its effect on collaboration and coordination of exemplar digitisation initiatives in higher education and related sectors. It identifies the principal criteria for content selection that are common to the international literature in this field. The outputs of the exemplar projects are examined in relation to these criteria. A range of common practices and patterns in content selection appears to have developed over time, forming a de facto strategy from which several areas of critical mass have emerged. The book discusses the potential to improve strategic collaboration and coordinated selection by building on such a platform, and considers planning options in the context of work on national digitisation strategies in the UK and internationally.

Key Features

  • Summarises the rise of publicly funded digitisation in the UK from the 1990s to date and identifies the need to improve coordination and content selection criteria
  • Reviews the role of digitisation in government and organisational strategies from the 1990s to the present day
  • Examines the strategic position of collaboration within and across different organisations
  • Identifies common selection criteria and outlines the coverage of exemplar projects 
  • Discusses the apparent emergence of a de facto selection strategy and the
    potential for national strategic planning of digitised content based on existing
    outputs and improved collaboration


UK Higher Education including institutional strategists, directors of information services, libraries, IT services and other units responsible for planning and creating digital content. Publicly funded UK national and regional organisations, including governmental units that create or support the creation of digital content (eg, JISC, ACE, BBC, Wellcome, Collections Trust, etc). Similar organisations in other countries active in the creation of digital content, and international organisations working across national borders

Table of Contents

    • Series Page
    • Biography
    • Foreword and Acknowledgments
    • Editorial Notes
    • Glossary
    • Chapter 1. Introduction: Digitisation since the 1990s
      • 1.1. Initiative and Innovation
      • 1.2. Expansion, Consolidation and Review
      • 1.3. ‘A Core Function’
      • 1.4. Current Issues
      • 1.5. A Silo Culture
      • 1.6. Content Selection
      • 1.7. Scope and Definitions
    • Chapter 2. Strategic Context
      • 2.1. UK and Devolved Governments
      • 2.2. Higher Education
      • 2.3. Research Councils
      • 2.4. National Libraries
      • 2.5. Public Libraries
      • 2.6. Museums
      • 2.7. Archives
      • 2.8. Independent Organisations
      • 2.9. Strategic Context in Summary
      • 2.10. Collaboration
    • Chapter 3. Digitisation Programmes and Outputs in the UK
      • 3.1. Electronic Libraries Programme
      • 3.2. Non-Formula Funding of Specialised Research Collections in the Humanities
      • 3.3. Research Support Libraries Programme
      • 3.4. Jisc
      • 3.5. Research Councils
      • 3.6. New Opportunities Fund
      • 3.7. British Library
      • 3.8. National Library of Scotland
      • 3.9. National Library of Wales
      • 3.10. The National Archives
      • 3.11. National Records of Scotland
      • 3.12. Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
      • 3.13. Wellcome Library
      • 3.14. Arcadia Fund
      • 3.15. Coherence of Content
    • Chapter 4. Content Selection for Digitisation: Principal Criteria and Mapping of UK Outputs
      • 4.1. Content Selection Criteria: Development of Principal Common Criteria
      • 4.2. Selection Criteria for Intellectual Content in Digitisation Programmes
      • 4.3. Value
      • 4.4. Thematic and Subject Content
      • 4.5. Format and Medium
      • 4.6. Coherence
      • 4.7. Virtual Reunification
      • 4.8. Clustering
      • 4.9. Funders
      • 4.10. Development of Critical Mass
    • Chapter 5. The Future for Collaboration
      • 5.1. Envisioning a UK National Digitisation Strategy
      • 5.2. National Digitisation Strategies Beyond the UK
      • 5.3. Realising a UK National Digitisation Strategy
      • 5.4. Capitalising on Collaborative Culture
      • 5.5. Stepping Away From the Silos
    • Appendix 1
      • Arcadia Fund
      • Arts and Humanities Research Council
      • British Library
      • eLib
      • JISC
      • 2014
      • National Library of Scotland
      • National Library of Wales
      • National Records of Scotland
      • NOF-Digitise: New Opportunities Fund Digitisation for Learning Materials Projects
      • Non-Formula Funding of Specialised Research Collections in the Humanities
      • Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
      • Research Support Libraries Programme
      • The National Archives
      • Wellcome Library
    • Appendix 2
    • Appendix 3
      • Mapping of Digitisation Outputs to Selection Criteria
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 212
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Chandos Publishing 2016
  • Published: November 10, 2016
  • Imprint: Chandos Publishing
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780081002780
  • eBook ISBN: 9780081002797

About the Author

Margaret Coutts

Margaret Coutts was University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection at the University of Leeds from 2005 until her retirement in 2010. Prior to that she worked at the universities of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Kent. Her previous posts included responsibility for both library and IT provision as Director of Information Services, and roles in senior management covering the full range of library services for all principal academic disciplines. Her wide range of professional activities have included serving on the Boards of RLUK and SCONUL, and on several leading JISC committees. Her current commitments include membership of the Board of Governors of Leeds Trinity University College; Chair of the JISC Content Advisory Group; and Chair of the Jorum Steering Group.

Affiliations and Expertise

Former University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds, UK.

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