Strategic Content Alliance Home Nation Forum

I attended the Strategic Content Alliance (SCA) Scottish home nation forum this week. I have been vaguely aware of the SCA but to be honest haven’t really looked at the work of the SCA in any depth as I had thought it was mainly concerned with procurement of content and not with content creation. However as I found out yesterday this is not the whole story.

Briefly, the SCA is a two year JISC initiative involving a number of strategic partners (BBC, Becta, British Libary, MLA, National e-Science Centre and NHS) to “build a common information environment where users of publicly funded e-content can gain best value from the investment that has been made by reducing the barriers that currently inhibit access, use and re-use of online content”. The project is currently looking at ways of “providing a set of principles and guidelines for best practice”. As part of this process the SCA are trying to get feedback from as many sectors as possible, hence the series of ‘home nation’ forums. Although most sectors are all working to a broadly defined common goals around use and re-use, there are key differences in drivers in each of the home nations – for example unique learner numbers (as outlined in Clive’s post) will not be implemented in Scotland in the same way as England. So it is crucial that these differences are recognised.

After an introduction to the SCA by Emma Beer the morning was taken up with two case studies outlining the current work of the SCA. The first of these was from Naomi Korn who, along with Prof. Charles Oppenheim, are carrying out a study on IPR and licensing work. This work will include a synthesis of existing work and the development of guidance and dissemination of good practice in this area. This of course would be of great interest to the CETIS community as the need for clear guidance was an issue which was raised at the JISC learning resources and activities event last week. Some of the deliverables outlined by Naomi were maxtrices, a terminology toolkit, template statements, exemplars and case studies – all of which would be incredibly useful for those us involved in developing, sharing and re-using learning content. These outputs should be available by early next year.

The second case study was presented by Chris Batt (former Chief Executive of the MLA) who is undertaking research on user characteristics and behaviours of the sponsoring partners of the SCA. Chris has really just started this work so wasn’t able to share many findings with us. However, he outlined the scope the study and some of its aims in trying to develop methodologies for analyzing audience behaviour and audience relationships to/with e-content. The study will to begin to create cross-audience profiles and scenarios exploiting multiple content sources to help the SCA understand who/what the users of the future will expect from content providers and what services they themselves require as content producers.

The majority of the attendees seemed to be from the library and museums sector, however there were a couple their from the education sector. There was a real feeling of willingness to share experiences, resources and develop common frameworks (which allowed for regional variation) which was very positive. The next Scottish meeting will take place on 22 May and the SCA blog has details of the other home nation events taking place over the next few weeks.

As there is obvious cross-over with CETIS communities we will keep you updated on the work of SCA and try to foster collaboration wherever possible.

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