Tag: rights

we hold these truths

Picture taken by me, mask of young president Lincoln. No rights reserved by me.
Lincoln data. Picture taken by me, 3d printed mask of young president Lincoln from SmithsonianX. No rights reserved by me.

Four score and seven hours ago  I arrived at the NMC conference. I am learning a lot about maker spaces and how they are used by libraries and universities to support the development of digital skills.

The University of Edinburgh is committed to people development and digital skills. With apologies to Thomas Jefferson:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all members of the University  are created equal, that the University  is endowed by our benefactors to deliver  certain unalienable  acts, that among these are teaching, learning and the  pursuit of research.–That to secure these activities, IT Services are instituted among (mostly)men, deriving their just powers from the consent of PSG –That whenever any form of IT services becomes disconnected from these ends, it is the Right of the directors to alter and restructure it, and to institute new IT/digital skills training laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect your Safety and Happiness online.


Actually, what our University’s people strategy 2012-16 says in relation to new technology is:

“The rapid technological developments in the modern world demonstrate the need to be able to review our approaches to teaching and research on an ongoing basis…… The challenge is not only to be able to invest in the continual costs and development of our technology, but to be aware of the potential of new and emerging technologies, so that we can exploit them effectively. Ensuring that staff know as much about these technologies and their capabilities as our students is vital.

We require the skills to use these technologies in new and differing ways, in order to maximise their benefits across our varied areas of work, significantly enhancing our efficiency. To this end, we need to embed digital literacy and digital wisdom across our workforce, to cover the breadth of our activities and functions.

The role of technology in undertaking research and delivering teaching will continue to change and may transform the manner in which teaching will be delivered in the future.

……. By increasing the skills of our workforce in the use of digital technologies, we will also embed good practice by ensuring good health and welfare is an essential consideration, in moving to new ways of working and learning”

Information Services currently has an IT skills training team of about 6 people, but the manager post is vacant. The plan for this summer is that that team will join  LTW services division and we will begin the search for a new head.




visitors and residents

Unique creation by Sophie of Kellogg. Commercial use by negotiation.
Unique creation by Sophie of Kellogg. Commercial use by negotiation.

Last night I dined at Kellogg again. Now that I am a visiting fellow rather than a resident one I was pleased to be invited to be guest Chamberlaine for the evening.

It was Scholars evening, so we celebrated the many generous gifts of donors to the College, some of whom are alumni, and others who just believe that the work of the College and the work of these individual students is worth supporting. I had lovely company at dinner sitting with social policy champion Amanda and Heather, Desmond Tutu Scholar and Wikipedia researcher.

I chose the importance of voting as the theme for my after dinner speech. We had a number of guests from Somerville College so I was able to make reference to Mary Somerville’s campaigns for women’s suffrage as well as the recent MCR elections, the Scottish independence referendum and the imminent general election.

I was also able to remind the current University of Oxford students that until 1950 as a graduate of that ( and this) university you would actually have had 2 votes in a UK general election. One for the area of the country where you reside, one for the university constituency.

The university constituencies, Oxford, Cambridge, University of London, the ancient Scottish universities and Queens Belfast all sent elected MPs to Westminster.

This was a wheeze started by the Scots and imported to England following the union of the crowns. It went on for a very long time. Several Cromwells, Pitt the Younger, Lord Palmerston, Francis Bacon, Issac Newton, Robert Peel and Ramsay MacDonald benefitted from the arrangement. Needless to say, it did nothing for the town and gown relations in any of the cities and was all ended by the Representation of the Peoples Act in 1948.

In preparing the speech I made use of a very handy OER from University of Cambridge: ‘Dons in the House’.


plagiarism and re-use

The Custody is as Barbarous as the Crime. Francisco de Goya. ECA Library Image Collection http://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/n25sfo
The Custody is as Barbarous as the Crime. Francisco de Goya. ECA Library Image Collection http://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/n25sfo

I was in a discussion to day where the suggestion was made that licensing materials as Creative Commons for re-use would promote plagiarism. I was able to refer to the online papers from the BIS 2013  consultation about open access which explains:

At least one commenter suggested that the adoption of CC BY “[(a)] offers virtually no protection against plagiarism … [and (b)] unfettered creative commons licensing would constitute a serious infringement of intellectual property rights and pose a threat to UK intellectual capital.”

As to (a), plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else’s work and passing it off as one’s own. Plagiarism is a completely orthogonal issue to copyright infringement, and there is simply no evidence to support a claim that CC BY would promote or encourage plagiarism in a way any other solution would not as well.

As to (b), CC licensing does not infringe IP rights; rather, it is a conditional permission for the public to exercise some rights on specific terms that can only enhance UK intellectual capital by making it more readily available for wide distribution and innovative use.

copyright in teaching

University of Edinburgh Digital Image Collections CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 ECA Photography Collection

I get asked about this a lot.

As the library advice pages rightly say: It is a common misconception that there is an “exception” to copyright for educational purposes. In fact “fair dealing” only covers non-commercial research or study, criticism or review, or for the reporting of current events, but this does not extend to making copies of texts for students to use in the classroom, or to including images in presentations. It can be an infringement of copyright to include copyrighted images in teaching materials without permission.

Luckily there are a wealth of images collections which have been licensed for re-use with Creative Commons. In these collections you can easily see the permission you have been given and there is no need to undertake the onerous task of tracking down the copyright holder, or consulting a librarian.

Choosing Creative Commons images saves you time and effort as well as being good practice.

If you’re looking for content that you can freely and legally use, there is a giant pool of CC-licensed creativity available to you. There are hundreds of millions of works — from songs and videos to scientific and academic material — available to the public for free and legal use under the terms of our copyright licenses, with more being contributed every day. Flickr is a good place to start. Also Wellcome images, Wikimedia Commons, the British Library, Getty Images, Internet Archive or Edinburgh University Digital Image Collections.

Some of these collections even include handy tools to help you attribute the images once you have decided to use them so you will never again forget from where you got them.

JISC also provide a helpfulguide.

a long day’s journey into rights

Picture taken by me in the room. No rights reserved.

“Sharing, done properly, is both smart and right.” 1

I talked a lot about Creative Commons licences today.

The horizon ( as seen from the rooftop terrace of Evolution House) looks bright, and near, and enlightened. What a privilege to spend a beautiful morning in a stunning venue brainstorming creative ideas with clever and motivated colleagues. I enjoyed reflecting on the last 15 years which have brought me back to this place and on how much easier life is now that the we have a licensing framework that the creators of works can understand, their users can understand, and even the Web itself can understand.

Most of my presentation was based on  an open approaches case study I wrote for Jisc a while back, but I also managed to get in a name check for Bodington VLE.

Two of the things I like about Creative Commons are the mission and the vision. These seem to me like values a university’s learning, teaching and web service should embrace.

Our mission

Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.

Our vision

Our vision is nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.