CRS2 Digitisation Programme Update
The Joint Information Systems Committee Digitisation Programme is funded
with a £10 million grant from the Comprehensive Spending Review in
response to a widespread recognition that a series of large-scale
digitisation projects of primary learning, teaching and research
material would bring significant benefits to the UK Further and Higher
Members of the community may recall the digitisation working group
sought input from the further and higher education community on twelve
short listed digitisation proposals. Suggestions for additional
collections that would fit the criteria for inclusion in the programme
were also requested. Considerable interest was generated from this
consultation process. The result was that JISC received over 300
responses to the questionnaire early in 2003. From these, eight
digitisation project proposals were identified.
The projects chosen will work in collaboration with other digitisation
initiatives. For example, the British Library Sound Archive and the
National Gallery of the Spoken Word, the History Data Service and The
There is enormous potential for the proposed content to be applied in a
very broad range and depth of educational contexts. Learners, teachers
and researchers will have a fantastic opportunity to search and access
materials from a broad range of subject areas, including history,
politics, society and culture. This content will be enhanced by the
creation of new learning and teaching tools, portal developments and
very importantly, through community involvement throughout the
life-cycle of the digitisation programme.
We are delighted to announce that the following projects have been
endorsed by the JISC and final negotiations are now underway with the
project partners. These are:
· British Official Publications 18th - 20th century
The project will digitise around one million pages of fully searchable
texts of 18th Century House of Commons and House of Lords papers and
bills. The papers relate to a very wide variety of themes and issues and
provide in-depth information on social, economic and political issues of
their day. They also offer a fascinating insight into the workings and
procedures of the British Parliament over a period of more than three
The digitisation of the materials will be undertaken utilising highly
innovative technologies, such as a robotic book scanner and high volume
file management software. Members of the community will be invited to
visit the BOPCRIS project, attend workshops and gain insights from the
expected lessons to be learnt from using the cutting edge technologies
employed. Further information on the knowledge dissemination programme
will be made available in early 2004.
· British University Film and Video Council / ITN and British Pathe
3,000 hours of ITN content will be encoded (1955 to date) as will
Reuters content (1896 to date). This represents 1% of the 300,000 hours
of content currently held by ITN. An additional 3,500 hours of existing
digitised British Pathe content (1896-1970) and 12 million images
captured from the archive will be licensed for use by the community.
The project will be based at ITN's headquarters in London. Members of
the community will have the opportunity to visit the BUFVC/ITN project
headquarters and will essentially help steer the selection process
through an online consultation. Workshops will also be offered.
Members of the community may wish to read further coverage of the
BUFVC/ITN project in today's Times Higher Education Supplement on page 6
and the Times Education Supplement (FE Focus, front page) which outline
some of the key benefits of this ground-breaking deal. To clarify one
statement in the THES article, this deal with ITN is only one part of
the £10m CSR2 programme, which includes the seven other projects
described in this announcement.
Details on the knowledge dissemination programme for the project will be
made to the community in early 2004.
· Early English Books Online - Text Creation Partnership
25,000 volumes or 20% of the Early English Books Online (1475-1700) will
be converted into fully searchable text. The content covers literature,
philosophy, politics, religion, geography, science and all other areas
of human endeavour.
The community will be invited to assist in the selection process of
titles to be included in the project through an online consultation.
Further information on the project will be made available in early 2004.
· History Data Service Census Data 1801-1937
All UK census reports 1801-1937 (109,000 pages), Registrar General(s)
reports 1801-1921 (70,000 pages) and ancillary material (13,000 pages)
will be digitised in this project. The project team will be in close
collaboration with key individuals working at The National Archives.
The project will be based at the University of Essex. The History Data
Service project will be inviting members of the community to attend
workshops and gain from the lessons learnt from the creation of the
primary census data.
Further announcements regarding specific projects will be released in
the coming weeks, whilst information on the knowledge dissemination
programme will be made available in early 2004.
Other projects currently being scoped under the CSR2 programme include:
300,000 images will be digitised, with a particular focus on Asian and
American art, architecture and modern design. A core collection of
200,000 images will form ArtSTORS's Image Gallery. The Image Gallery is
designed to match a common curriculum study, for example for
undergraduate art history courses. The learning and teaching tools which
are currently being evaluated include the ability to create student
portfolios and teacher course folders.
Currently, there are 14 US museums and universities which are testing
ArtSTOR. A second phase of testing will commence in January 2004. The
JISC has asked the Andrew Mellon Foundation for one or more UK
institutions to be involved in this evaluation.
ArtSTOR are currently drafting their licence agreements. These will not
be ready until the first half of 2004. The JISC will be negotiating with
ArtSTOR for a national licence for the UK further and higher education
· British Library Newspapers 1800-1900
This project will digitise around two million pages of fully searchable
texts and associated images from 19th century newspapers and journals.
Approximately 50% of these titles only exist in hard copy. Consequently,
access until now has been restricted to those members of the community
who can visit the collection at Colindale.
The proposal benefits from the lessons learnt under the Burney newspaper
project. The British Library is currently exploring the optimal delivery
system for this type of content for the further and higher education
Further information on this proposal should be available in late 2003.
· British Library Sound Archive 20th century
3,900 hours of audio content from the 20th century will be encoded. None
of the short listed recordings is currently available online. The
selection of content will be guided by an academic steering committee
and online community consultation. The short listed recordings range
from the oral history of jazz in Britain to architecture, design and
Further announcements and information about this proposal should be
available in late 2003.
· Wellcome Trust UK/US Medical Journals
The aim of this project is to digitise approximately 1.5 million pages
of key UK and US medical journals and create a highly valuable resource
for the further and higher education community.
Further information on this proposal should be available in early 2004.
The above projects are currently being scoped by bid partners and being
evaluated by the JISC. As indicated, further announcements will be made
in due course.
For further information on the CSR2 Digitisation Programme go to
Please contact Stuart Dempster, Programme Manager, at
[log in to unmask], should you require further information about any
of the JISC CSR2 projects