I was having a think about what I’ve achieved in 2016 and what I’m proud of and reflecting lots of really great stuff amidst the depressing political stuff that’s been happening in the world. So here’s my top ten of achievements and things (and people) I am proud of this year.
1. Conference presentations – I always seem to be giving conference presentations but this year really has been quite a year for them including two keynotes – one at the Dublin Institute for Technology’s E-learning Summer school and my big highlight, a keynote at ALT-C in Warwick in September. I’ve also presented on a range of topics, from information and digital literacy to copyright education and games-based learning. In Ireland, Prague and all around the UK. Presenting at the CILIP conference on the Brighton Dome stage (where Abba won Eurovision in 1974) was another highlight for me this year, on the TeenTech information literacy award! And the show will go on, with plenty of exciting trips lined up for 2017!
2. Publishing my fifth book – I was so pleased to finally finish Copyright and E-learning in the spring which I updated with my co-researcher and copyright buddy Chris Morrison. It really has been great to see the positive book reviews over the last few months and to have people make such nice comments on it. I didn’t enjoy writing this book first time around, but working with Chris was a lot of fun and as I predicted, his knowledge and attention to detail (pedantic, no never!) made it a far better book from from the first edition. So thanks for working with me Chris to produce something we can both be really proud of.
3. Chairing the CILIP Information Literacy Group – I’m now in my second year of chairing the ILG and I love working with my committee. We’ve been working on an exciting rebrand to be launched at Lilac in April and the work we’re doing on outreach such as funding research projects and working with TeenTech is so rewarding. I’m so proud of everyone on the Committee and the ILG working groups and can’t thank them enough.
4. Raising over £1000 for Cancer Research UK through charity runs. Some of you will know my friend Maria was diagnosed with cancer last year and I’ve completed 3 charity runs to raise money for CRUK this year. I would have liked go do more but injured my foot so I’m building up my strength and also hoping to do some charity cycle rides instead in 2017, as I love my new bike!
5. Getting a place on Aurora the women’s leadership in higher education. I was so pleased to get a place on this programme which I’m just over half way through and I am so grateful to Rosie Jones, Nic Whitton and to Suzanne Christopher formerly of LSE Learning and Development who suggested I apply for this programme. I’ve met some amazing women and I am learning so much. And it’s got me really fired up about issues related to gender and equality more broadly and helped me make some really big decisions about my future career.
6. Becoming an auntie. I cannot explain the joy and love I have felt since becoming an auntie to Henry James Secker who was born in July 2016. He’s an adorable little chap and I enjoy every moment I spend with him and his wonderful parents, my brother Dan, the computer games geek, and his lovely, generous wife, Keeley. I look forward to a future with this lovely chap in my life and want to share so many things with him when he grows up. I’m also proud to say I bought him his first book and a pen as I have great hopes for him!
7. Giving something back and amusing people through my costumed historical walks. I volunteer for an animal charity, but I am also secretary of our local civic society, which preserves the built heritage and green spaces of the town I live in. This is partly because of my love of history but has also been a great way of being part of the community I live in and I’ve met some really inspiring people, who give up their time to campaign for things they believe in. I’ve also got to combine two of my great loves, dressing up and telling people about history through leading two costumed historical walks this year! I can’t wait to do more.
8. Making copyright literacy a real thing through the website, our first bits of consultancy and continuing road show. This is largely the work I’ve been doing with Chris for the past couple of years, but it’s growing and becoming an international movement, with hopefully an IFLA event next summer in Poland bringing it all together. Teaching people about copyright may seem boring and geeky to many people, but for librarians it’s a really important part of their work and something many feel anxious about. So if we can help here, then that is a great thing, but also to teach this in a wider context as part of digital and information literacy, so copyright isn’t just a problem to fix, but part of open practices in education.
9. Discovering the creative side of me or should that be rediscovering it as I did study art and graphic communication at school and loved both subjects. Through working on games and developing new ideas for workshops I am really starting to enjoy bringing creativity and fun into the work I do and hopefully using that to inspire people. I also now have a lot of coloured pens, post-it notes and a collection of owl related stationary which help inspire me.
10. Having less fear and becoming more comfortable being me. There are going to be some big changes for me in 2017 and I am actually really excited about the future and starting to feel more happier knowing who I am, what I stand for, what I value and what I want to do in my life. It’s been a difficult year in some ways, with some disappointments at work too, but overall the future is looking really positive. I’m excited about 2017, the travel opportunities, the new people I will meet and the fantastic people I hope to carry on working with, so here’s to the New Year and everything it brings! I am ready for it!!
I was speaking to a colleague recently who was delighted to hear about the increase in the extent limits from 5% to 10% in the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) recently revised Licence for the higher education sector and she asked how this had come about. In a rather flippant way I said, ‘I did that’ and she laughed thinking I was joking. And then I thought about it for a moment, and then said ‘no in fact I did do that, through my work on the Universities UK / Guild HE Copyright Working Group. Of course it was not all my work, there is a team of us, and I am just one of the group, but collectively this is something our group did achieve for the higher education sector this year, through our hard work and negotiations over the past three years with the CLA. One of the meetings was with publishers where we strongly argued the case for increasing the extent limits along with a wider ‘wishlist’ of requests from the HE sector. The requests had been gathered during a workshop in July 2015 which was attended by over 40 university copyright officers and I helped to organise.
My colleagues know I disappear about four times a year up to Woburn House where UUK is based and I usually report back that we had a meeting with the CLA or another collecting society – we do also meet the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) and respond to various consultations on copyright matters from the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Most recently I was one of four members of the group who attended a meeting at the IPO about Brexit and the copyright implications for universities. However, in the run up to August this year, when the new CLA Licence was finally launched, the UUK / Guild HE Copyright Working Group meetings became more frequent and I did help with quite a number of pieces of work, such as reviewing the user guidelines for the sector and being on a group reviewing the set up of a new optional service for universities called the Digital Content Store.
A chance comment from my colleague made me realise that it was important to write more about why I am on this group, what we do, and why it’s so important to LSE and the HE sector as a whole. It’s also one of the most rewarding external committees that I am part of, and one that over the years has really tested my abilities to negotiate, stay calm under pressure and deal with people and organisations who sometimes have polar opposite opinions on matters relating to copyright, educational exceptions and licensing for the sector. But it’s also an example of what can be achieved through setting those differences aside and trying to work for the common good.
What is the UUK / Guild HE Copyright Working Group
The CWG was established by the then Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principles and the Standing Committee of Principles (now Universities UK and Guild HE) in anticipation of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988. The act provided for the copying of strictly limited extracts of copyright material for teaching purposes. THE CLA developed a licence to permit educational establishments to produce multiple copies under this provision in return for a payment based on the number of full time equivalent students at each higher education institution. Initially, the CWG that negotiated the terms of the licence was chaired by the then Vice Chancellor of York University and subsequently by David a former senior policy advisor at UUK. In the early years of the operation of the licence the production of multiple course packs was not permitted. To do so required separate permission and payment under a transactional arrangement. This and other unsatisfactory aspects of the licence eventually led the group to advise UUK/ Guild HE in 2001 to refer the terms of the licence to the Copyright Tribunal as permitted by the 1988 Act. Its ruling favoured the case of the HE sector and the terms of the licence was modified and greatly improved along with its cost. In 1999 the CWG collaborated with JISC and the CLA in the development of a licence permitting photocopying, scanning and digitisation of copyright material. Further background and the history of the CLA Licence is outlined in a paper by Sol Picciotto.
Why did I join the group?
it was into this world that I was introduced in 2000 when I joined University College London working on developing a trial electronic course pack service as part of the Access to Core Course Materials project. For 18 months I lived and breathed all things related to copyright, digitising course materials (both published and lecturer produced content) and became extremely familiar with the controversy surrounding digitisation and course pack copying. My developing interest and experience in this subject led me in 2002 to move to LSE to manage their fledgling electronic course pack service, provide copyright advice for staff using learning technologies and over the next 6 years I developed this service which went from strength to strength, promoting it to academic staff at LSE until we could barely cope with the demand for it. I became the Chair of the Heron User group in 2002, because of my interest in the field and the use of the Heron services at LSE, to help us scale up our scanned reading service. Heron were offering copyright clearance and digitisation services to the HE sector and I worked with the Technical Manager, George Pitcher to develop what started out as an in-house tool to manage our scanning and clearance services. That tool became Packtracker and it was subsequently launched for use in other universities to help them manage their copyright permissions and scanning. But I remember vividly trying to explain what I wanted a system to do to George and him saying in a matter of fact way to me, I can build you that. It is worth noting that it was in part that tool that has inspired the CLA to develop the Digital Content Store, which was launched this year for the HE sector.
And it was due to my experience of chairing the Heron User Group meeting that David first asked me to attend a UUK Copyright Working Group meeting in 2004. I have a suspicion it was on the recommendation of Charles Oppenheim (at the time a CWG member along with Sol Piccitto and Toby Bainton) whom I knew through LIS-Copyseek events. David was looking for more on the ground experience of the impact of some of the decisions that the new, enhanced blanket scanning licence might have. One of those requirements was full reporting of all the scans undertaken by a university on an annual basis. After attending a meeting I realised fairly quickly that the CWG had not entirely appreciated the administrative burden to which they had committed librarians in the collection of this data. I first attended the pre-meetings held at UUK, where I was conscious not only of the seniority of the rest of the group, but also their expertise in copyright matters. It was an amazing learning experience and I hope I demonstrated in those early days that practical on the ground experience was at least as important as detailed knowledge of copyright law. After one pre-meeting in around 2005 I recall David said to me, ‘I think you need to become a member of the CWG’ and that was when I really felt like I had made it! One of the first things I did was to suggest another academic librarian might join our ranks, and Lyn Parker who was then managing the scanned readings service at the University of Sheffield and a member of the Heron Committee, joined the group. Lyn and I served together on this group for many years until her retirement in 2012 and we were also joined by Linda Purdy from Sheffield Hallam. Steve Bowman was a lively member of the group for several years while working at the Director of Library Services at Ravensbourne College. And in latter years, the late Lawrence Bebbington was an important member of our group, who was always robust in pre-meetings and in negotiations with CLA.
What does the CWG do?
Our group has two main purposes which is to negotiate blanket licences for the HE sector with organisations such as CLA and ERA and to respond to UK and European consultations on copyright matters on behalf of Universities UK. In these latter activities we often liaise with other groups in the library sector, such as SCONUL and the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA), of which I am also a member, to collaborate on our responses. When negotiating licences we need to represent a diverse range of universities which are either UUK or Guild HE members (or both). The alternative would be each university would need to negotiate the terms and the price separately and while the deal is seen as high for some institutions, overall through negotiating for the sector as a whole we believe that we get a better deal. Our challenge is to represent the diverse needs of the sector and we are increasingly trying to be more visible as a group and to encourage individuals to get in touch with us with feedback. We periodically ask for feedback and carry out surveys or small pieces of research to understand what universities need or how a licence might be meeting they needs. Our current CWG comprises Chris Morrison, Kate Vasili, Monique Ritchie, Ralph Weedon, David Farley, Sam Roseveare, Neil Sprunt, Ruth Macmillan and Cat Turhan, myself and David. Sol Picciotto and Toby Bainton continue as corresponding members.
Why does it matter to LSE and the sector?
Access to copyright material is essential for teaching, learning and research. Universities couldn’t teach effectively without a CLA Licence if they want to deliver multiple copies of paper or digital copyright resources to students in a timely and cost efficient manner. While we might like to think all readings are now available in electronic format, that simply isn’t the case. There are also times when purchasing an electronic journal title for one article that is needed for one course, is also not cost effective or practical and here the CLA Licence can be used. Over the years we have tried to streamline the process, and cut down on the reporting that needs to be done. The most recent negotiations involved working with CLA over the development of a reporting tool for the sector, called the Digital Content Store, which allows us to share readings and hopefully reduces the burden of administration to HEIs.
As a whole the CLA collect over £14 million from the HE sector, but the vast majority of that money is distributed back to authors, to publishers and to artists and designers to compensate them for the copying that is done of their work. I encourage academics to sign up to the Authors Licensing Collecting Society (ALCS), which is the way they will receive their share of these payments for the copying of their work. And if they really don’t agree with this model, then it is all the more reason to make their publications available on open access so they can be used freely. My work on the UUK Copyright Working Group means that the needs of LSE are taken into account when licences are negotiated and the members have important role to play working for the sector as a whole. Being on this group has developed my knowledge of copyright matters enormously and allowed me to establish LSE’s reputation for a high quality copyright and digitisation service. We also got to be part of the pilot to test out the CLA’s Digital Content Store. I also have access to a fantastic networks of colleagues, several of whom more recently I recommended were invited to join the group! I appreciate the time LSE gives me to work on this group, and I know that we benefit and are contributing to improving copyright and licensing matters for the education sector as a whole.
Today I was delighted to visit the University of Sussex to give a seminar in their Technology Enhanced Learning Seminar series. Dr David Walker is the head of TEL at Sussex and we first met in May when we both spoke at the UCISA Digital Capabilities event. This led me to invite David to speak at the ILG / MMiT joint event on Digital libraries and digital literacies one day event held in August.
Today I gave a similar talk to the one I had given at the UCISA event, reflecting on over 10 years of running a digital literacy programme at LSE, the lessons learnt and challenges, and the importance of collaboration, which in our case is between the librarians and learning technologists and working with students as partners. My slides are below, but it was great to meet staff at Sussex and some old friends from the library. I had a chance to talk about the importance to embed copyright literacy and the use innovative approaches to learning such as games. And of course I spoke about information literacy and the importance of using technologies in a critical way. After the session we recorded a short podcast and I look forward to hearing this and the recording of the event.
I’m really excited to be presenting at the European Conference on Information Literacy which this year is being held in Prague from 10th -14th October. This is the fourth conference and I’ve been lucky enough to attend every year since the conference started in 2013 in Istanbul. I went to Dubrovnik in 2014, Tallinn in 2015 and this year I am in Prague. The focus of the conference is information literacy, and many papers address issues related to digital literacy as well. It’s a European conference but in fact people come from all over the world, so it’s a fantastic place to get a global perspective on the work I do at LSE to support staff and students develop their digital literacy. The conference also has a strong link with the work I do to provide support and education in copyright matters. This year there are nearly 300 delegates from over 50 countries with just 19 from the UK. The conference theme is about information literacy in the inclusive society and we’ve had keynotes from Tara Brabazon and Jan Van Dijk.
I am presenting twice at the conference, firstly in a panel session that was held on Monday, based on outreach and advocacy work I do as Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group (ILG). My co-presenters were Sharon Wagg from the Tinder Foundation, who are a charity who work to promote digital inclusion, and Stephane Goldstein, who as well as being a freelance consultant, is the Advocacy and Outreach Officer for the ILG. In our panel we discussed some recent collaborations between librarians in academic sector with those in public libraries, to share their experiences of helping to develop digital literacies and promote digital inclusion. The TeachMeet events ILG and Tinder Foundation organised earlier in the year were a great way that academic and public librarians could share ideas and experience. I was delighted that two colleagues from LSE Library, Andra Fry and Sonia Gomes, attended one of these events in February to share our experiences from the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) programme we were running for three years, to support LSE undergraduates. The panel discussion encouraged participants to share any digital inclusion initiatives they were involved in around the world. We also discussed what made these collaborations successful and why there might be problems and challenges working in this space. Sharon highlighted the Tinder Foundation’s work with libraries through their digital inclusion fund and it was inspiring to hear about work to support the most vulnerable in society, such as the elderly, job seekers and refugees develop basic and more advanced digital skills.
ECIL is also the spiritual home of copyright literacy, as this was where I first heard about the work of Tania Todorova and her colleagues to survey librarians on a country basis about their knowledge of copyright and requirements for education in this field. This was back in 2014 in Dubrovnik and last year Chris and I presented the UK survey results in Tallinn. This year I’m returning to present our latest research, exploring the experiences of UK librarians of copyright, using a research method used in education and information literacy called phenomenography. It’s still early days – we carried out 3 focus groups in higher education and have been juggling work and some pretty intensive data analysis. As neither of us had used phenomenography before we are grateful to the help and advice we received from Emma Coonan and Lauren Smith, as well as several very useful articles they pointed us to. I’m sharing our slides from the ECIL presentation which I delivered on Tuesday morning. It has also been great to catch up with Tania, Serap, Joumana and several of the people who undertook the copyright literacy survey in their own country. Part of what motivated Chris and I to do this research was to understand the fear and anxiety that copyright can create, to look at why it’s a topic many in higher education shy away from learning more about, and use this data to better inform how we develop copyright education. I was struck once again by how important it is to get an international perspective on the work we do, and to see in many cases there are so many things we can learn from others experiences and so much that unites us in our work.
The research and collaboration with Chris has informed my thinking about the best way to provide support for others with copyright queries at LSE. For example, I now use a Copyright Card Game in my workshops, which are a fun and engaging way to learn about copyright. However, being seen as ‘the copyright expert’ can be quite a lonely place, and for me it is important that everyone learns a bit about copyright. This is partly what has motivated me to set up a Copyright Community of Practice at LSE (admittedly I did borrow this idea from Chris who set one up at Kent over the summer). The next session is going to be on the 4th November and it is open to any member of staff at LSE! Meanwhile I will enjoy a few more days in beautiful Prague and return to LSE full of more ideas and possibilities to enhance the support that we provide!
Chris and I wrote a short blog post earlier in the year about the prototype game that we pitched at LILAC 2016, called the Publishing Trap. This week the CILIP Information Literacy group have published a case study about our game on their website. The games competition, Lagadothon is running at next year’s conference so they asked us to make a video to encourage others to enter the competition and tell you more about our game. Let us know what you think as our video is below:
The game was inspired by our work on Copyright the Card Game, and we decided to create a new game aimed at academics, PhD students and researchers to help them understand the scholarly communication process and the impact of the choices they make when disseminating their research findings. The Publishing Trap won a runner’s up prize and the IL case study describes the aim of the game, how the game works and our ideas about the game to date.
I want to write a blog post to follow up my pre-conference post. I don’t want some sort of self congratulatory ramble but I thought it might be helpful to write about how I prepared the talk and to reflect on that. In essence I did almost everything different to what I might usually do when preparing a presentation and that meant it felt very different to anything I’d done before. But I also want to thank everyone who helped me along the way, but in particular to acknowledge the help and support from my co-author, friend and research partner, Chris Morrison. When we are not mucking about playing copyright games or showing off about who knows the most about Star Wars (it’s me by the way), we’ve had some pretty good chats about education, copyright and the role of technology over the last year or so, and many of the ideas from the talk feel like they came together, in hopefully what wasn’t a large unattributed mush, last Thursday. For those who haven’t seen it, the recording is on You Tube. According to my lovely brother, my greatest critic, I sound rather nervous at the start and he still isn’t sure if he can or can’t copy an image off the internet. I promise if you watch the recording, I do get warmed up, and in answer to Dan’s question, it depends!
I got the invitation to present at ALT-C on 24th March, it was over Easter and shortly after meeting Nic Whitton and Alex Moseley at LILAC in Dublin. Well that was a memorable conference if only for learning how many straws one person could put up their nose and why lilac coloured cocktails are a bad idea. I had spent a fair amount of time with them both as they gave a joint keynote and were at the conference all 3 days. But the invite left me speechless, just for a moment and petrified! From that moment on it was on my mind as I wanted to do a really good job.
I was at the time putting the finishing touches to the proofs of Chris and my recent book, Copyright and E-learning, and so it immediately seemed this should be the topic for the talk, but in the first set of notes I sketched out I had an idea that I wanted to talk about information literacy and social justice and somehow link that to copyright. I started off with doodles of all the random ideas I might include. I recall spending an afternoon in the pub waffling on to a techy friend about these ideas and not getting too far. However one of the first things I did was to buy myself a beautiful notebook to write down all these ideas as they were occurring to me.
I then decided to started reading up on how to give a great speech. The video by Chris Anderson, founder of Ted Talks was really helpful here. Next up I had an opportunity to try out some ideas as Chris and I were invited, on the back of the book, to give a keynote at the DIT E-learning summer school in June. It was a great opportunity to plan a talk, which was largely based on key ideas from the book. However this dry run also gave me plenty of ideas of how not to approach the ALT keynote. Firstly I wanted a really simple clear message and to focus on big ideas rather than detail. I also concluded that as this would be my keynote, I really needed to own it and make it mine. Again I read up on how you do this and the main idea seemed to be about making it ‘your story.’ That meant putting something of myself into it, which upped the stakes and started to make me more scared.
Two events in July gave me further ideas of how to approach the talk. The first was our book launch, where I decided to write a speech, largely to avoid forgetting to thank everyone! And then a LIS-copyseek event where I agreed to say a few words about Laurence Bebbington, who was a member of the UUK Copyright Working Group and sadly passed away over the summer. Again I decided to write a speech as I wanted to get my words right. The whole writing a speech thing helped enormously in those two occasions so seemed the way to go.
Some of you may have read my earlier blog post on my writing retreat at Wolfson College. This was where I wrote most of the keynote as a script. Chris suggested I forget entirely about visuals until the end but during the writing process ideas of useful images kept occurring to me, so I did start making a few slides. But essentially by mid August I had a rough outline speech and I refined it over the next few weeks largely by reading it to a trusted few. This led to some new ideas being added but mainly I was trying to cut it down and learn it and check it made sense. Only then did I finish my slides, which were images largely to illustrate points I was making. And then I practiced reading it many times, thanks to Tim, my mum, my step-dad and Chris for listening to it until they were probably bored senseless.
I wanted to try to convey something of me and my passion for information literacy and copyright education. But that did leave me feeling vulnerable and finding the Ted Talk by Brene Brown was another key moment for me. Largely because empathy was already a big theme in the talk and she really illuminated what this means. However, finding this talk was in many ways luck, as I had recently subscribed to the RSA talks on You Tube and stumbled across Brene Brown here. Similarly, the other book that influenced a lot of my thinking, Rethinking Copyright by Ronan Deazley, I borrowed from LSE Library, partly because I thought it might help me mug up on the history of copyright, which it did, but it was his ideas around copyright as a human right and the curtailment of the public domain that really chimed with me.
So looking back now, I don’t think any presentation will ever be quite so difficult to prepare, or take so long. I feel I have an approach that works if someone ever asks me to keynote again. I learnt to trust my instinct with big ideas and bringing in my own stories. No I don’t think the talk was perfect, but I’ve watched about 10 minutes and I liked it. I think the audience did too judging by the tweets on the day and the hugs I got at the end. My proudest moment was probably when Lorna Campbell said “I never knew copyright could be so emotional’ during the questions, oh and my colleague Sonja drew a beautiful picture of me and said I nearly made her cry. As I said in my talk, I didn’t get there on my own. I had a lot of help, support and people who believed in me. Many of the ideas I talked about feature in Chris and my book and he helped me enormously. But many of my friends and colleagues gave me help and support and I know that is a privilege and one I want to use to help others. Fear can hold us back from doing things in life, things that are new, things that involve risk, things that might expose us to criticism, but as Brene Brown says, if we clad our heart in iron it means we don’t build trust and connections. And sometime we just have to take a leap of faith. So I say bring on the next challenge! I’m ready!