Marvellous May…..

May is my favourite month of the year. I have been telling everyone this recently and when they ask why I say it’s because of the light, and the very specific shade of green that is in my garden and in Northampton Square when I look out my office window at City University. I love the fact the days are getting longer and it’s getting warmer. I also feel there are so many exciting things coming up to look forward to, including kicking off the Copyright Literacy tour next week by heading down to Dartington Hall for the DARTS conference. The week after that I’m off to Strasbourg, then to Dublin, then to Berlin! It’s all go and that is only half of it.

My mood lifting is probably also helped by the fact I finished my Copyright X course, the 12 week online course I did at Harvard Law School. It culminated in a 96 hour take home exam 2 weekends ago and ever since I finished it I can’t believe how much lighter I feel! Studying the course was fantastic but it was also really hard work, which isn’t surprising I guess. And I have a month or so to wait until I find out if I passed. Ask me about US copyright law some time, I’d love to talk about Fair Use and some of the underlying philosophies of copyright and IP!

Last week also saw the launch of the podcast I recorded back in January with Jo Wood, for the Librarians with Lives series. I had been looking forward to (and slightly dreading) listening to it again and hoping I said a few things that made sense. So far a few people have told me they liked it and I really enjoyed Jo’s style of questions, which were both serious and light hearted – I suspect quite a few of them didn’t get to the bit about flip flops and Indiana Jones! It turned out to be good timing as it came out the day after a blog post I wrote for the ILG blog, on my role as Chair, saving the world and rewriting the CILIP definition of Information Literacy. And I’d spoken at CILIP on Monday, which led to some fantastic tweets about the new definition doing the rounds. There is lots to look forward to, and lots to do. In some ways I want to bottle this month though, it’s a beautiful time of year. My greenhouse is full of seedlings and as everything breaks into bloom I’m waking up early, doing my mediation and feel I have a lot to be grateful for.

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What do I do with my ‘free’ time?

Since I started work at City last April I now work 3 days a week and you may ask what I do on my days off. In fact I seem to be busier than ever but I actually spend the vast amount of time doing things that mean a lot to me and so my days off never feel like work, even if I am very busy. It’s the Japanese concept of ikigai for me, I feel like I have found a purpose! And the relevance of the owls? Well owls symbolise knowledge and I like them and so here’s a collection of them I found when helping out at a local rummage sale recently because I feel a bit like I am collecting owls at the moment! However I thought I would write a post about the sorts of things I do in my ‘free’ time, if only to reflect on whether I am focusing on the things that really do matter, so here goes….
1) CILIP Information Literacy Group – chairing the group takes up a fair amount of my time. I’ve been busy this week as we had a committee meeting, the last one before Lilac which is always exciting and a little fraught, with last minute teething problems. I saw Nick Poole in the morning to discuss the plans for the launch of the new CILIP definition of IL and ideas for a future campaign to mainstream the concept. It’s taken us over a year to get to this stage, but I am really excited about launching the new definition at LILAC.  I have also been getting things ready for TeenTech – ILG will be judging the Research and Information Literacy award for the fourth year running at the Royal Society in June and I need to line up judges for the entries from students and coordinate who is going to attend the awards.
2) Planning for Icepops – this is a new one day conference on copyright education I’m chairing with Chris and it is currently taking up a fair amount of my time to ensure all the delegates are booked, to prepare the joining instructions and to get the catering and evening venue sorted. I’ve also been checking in with our keynotes and wrestling with the new CILIP events booking system.
3) Reviewing feedback and planning for events – for example I got feedback from some recent training I ran with Chris in Salford for NoWAL last week. And for CPD25 last month. I’m always keen to see what people liked and disliked to improve what I do. I now offer a range of courses on copyright and copyright education for organisations and other educational institutions. I really enjoy teaching so this has been something I can do a bit more of now I’ve got more time. I’m also planning a masterclass on information literacy at LILAC for a few weeks time and another on running copyright literacy training.

Photo by Claire Sewell taken at Cambridge University Library

4) Keeping the Copyright Literacy train rolling – from translating Copyright the Card Game into Welsh (admittedly I didn’t actually do the translation but I have dropped all the text into our template) to running some showcase sessions for the Publishing Trap, this work keeps me busy. We’ve got a steady line up of guest posts so I put those up on the blog, liaise with potential authors and write a few posts of my own. I also tend to spend some time on twitter. Our UKCopyrightLit account has over 1000 followers so I look for relevant copyright education stories.

5) Writing – I’ve just finished an article for Information Professional on the Publishing Trap, another for the Catalogue and Index journal on librarians as researchers. I’m also working on a chapter on licensing for the Copyright Cortex with Chris and a Palgrave pocket study skills guide with Emma. I love writing and I particularly like writing with other people who always improve my grammar and prose!
6) Chatting to people – I love meeting new people with common interests to me and last week I had a long chat with another RSA Fellow who is a retired art teacher looking to develop an educational resource and wanting to talk about copyright and images. This week I spoke with Joyce Martin at JCS Online about her plans for a digital literacy conference for school librarians and teachers. She’s invited me to keynote and I’m excited about this event as it will reach people who don’t traditionally come to conferences like LILAC.
7) Studying – I’m currently taking a course at Harvard Law School called CopyrightX and so I spend some time doing my reading, watching the video lectures and preparing for my weekly webinars. It’s a fantastic course and Professor Terry Fisher has all his video lectures on a You Tube channel – here’s the first one if you want a taster.
8) Work for the UUK Copyright Negotiation and Advisory Committee – I’m on several subgroups as well as the main negotiation group with CLA. Printed sheet music is an area we are currently looking at, as well as working with CLA on the data we obtain from universities about scanning. I’ve got a couple of meetings coming up before and after Easter. I also sometimes go to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) such as a few weeks ago when I went along with a delegation from LACA (which I’m also a member of). And in April I’ll go to my first meeting of the IPOs Copyright Advisory Panel which is a governance group of the IPO mainly made up of people from the creative industries and I’ve recently been elected to be a member representing the education sector, and I am really excited about this opportunity.
9) Supporting LIS students – I’ve given a few lectures for library school students recently on information literacy and copyright. We played Copyright the Card Game at City a couple of weeks ago with students. I was also delighted to work with Pam McKinney at the ischool in Sheffield to judge this year’s student award for a place at LILAC.
10) Going to the gym! Sometimes I get time out of my days off to do a lunchtime gym class. I’ve always found it vital to stay active and going to gym classes forces me to take a break whether it’s pilates, yoga or more energetic things like Body Pump, Combat or Body Attack!
It’s all great stuff, I still need to spend more time in my garden and away from the computer, but that’s what weekends are for! I’m looking forward to lots more travel as well this year, with trips coming up to Liverpool, the DARTS conference, Strasbourg, Berlin and later in August to Uruguay! More about that in another post though.

2017: the year in review

I have been writing the Copyright Literacy review of 2017 and it amazed me how much fabulous work I’ve done with Chris as part of UK Copyright Literacy. Two people working together can do far more work than two individuals faffing about on their own. Updating and launching v2.0 of Copyright the Card Game and co-creating our ‘academic game of life’ The Publishing Trap has been fantastic.
However, what I’ve discovered this year is that what I do on my own is also important and like everyone, I have to keep trying to work out what matters to me and be better at what I do. This year has been a journey, a time of change, but it has also been a year of trying to be authentic, ‘braving the wilderness‘ (I now work 3 days a week!) and make a difference myself.
Rather than just reel off a list of achievements, I thought I would try to provide a balanced look at some of what I’ve been up to. I’ve had a lot of fun this year, but I feel I have worked harder than ever and perhaps had less time off, less time in my garden, or just chilling out. So I am reviewing the themes of 2017, rather than just running through everything I have been up to. These include:

Travel: I’ve always loved to travel, whether in the UK or abroad. But my trips away specifically those on my own have been important this year: to the USA for ACRL in Baltimore (did I mention it before?) to Latvia with the British Council, to Llandudno for CILIP Wales, to OER 17 with a terrible hangover, where I almost missed my presentation slot. Travel broadens the mind, but travelling on my own has been good for me. To visit places, to enjoy time on my own, to be open to meeting new people and having new experiences. In Latvia I went to my first opera. In the US I went to the Library of Congress. I realise I love travelling, particularly by train – I just need to learn to pack more lightly!

My work for the CILIP Information Literacy Group: I am entering my third year as Chair of the group, we continue to be involved in TeenTech, we have been busy creating a new definition of information literacy, building a strong committee, creating a new brand for the group, launching a new website and a overall creating a united team between ILG and LILAC. I’ve also been building a relationship with CILIP over campaigns like ‘facts matter’ and realise there is still a lot to do on all fronts. But this is my plan for 2018, to continue to build a strong team and advocate for information literacy everywhere I can.

Personal and professional development: completing Aurora, the women’s leadership programme, in March made me realise that personal and professional development are completely linked. Aurora was a fantastic experience and I have spoken about it a few times since and encouraged women I know to do the course – I was particularly pleased that LSE opened up the number of places after my endorsement of the programme. I’ve also tried to add more of ‘me’ into my talks which is partly through discovering the work of Brene Brown on shame and vulnerability. Brene says that vulnerability is the key to connections with others and wholehearted living, but it doesn’t stop us feeling fear. Through reading Brene’s work (and other similar writers) I realise I need to keep getting out there and going into the arena and showing up and learning to have courageous conversations. It’s all about trying to be authentic which will probably always make me feel a bit uncomfortable, which is the reason why I need to keep working on it.

Discovering mindfulness, which is about noticing when the mind drifts, trying to develop greater awareness and trying to be in the present moment, trying to still the ‘monkey mind.’ But also learning we are not our thoughts and emotions and we can’t always control them. And trying to practice my meditations but not beating myself up when I don’t have time or manage to always be mindful. I’ve completed two courses on mindfulness and also realised it has some really valid links to teaching and pedagogy, and information literacy. Again, it’s the realisation that personal and professional development often overlap.

Leaving LSE, not being a copyright  person and having to build up a new identity and a new network at City University.  I have now have School-wide responsibilities for departments such as Music, Journalism, English and a wealth of social sciences. Learning about how people teach in these subjects and how I might be able to help them has been massively rewarding and scary. But I’ve really seen how not being a copyright officer is liberating, but also often leads me to have conversations that return to it in some shape or form. And it’s amazing how many times I find myself telling people I was the Copyright Advisor at LSE for 15 years and watch their eyes widen!

My fantastic new job – I finally feel I have found my place, being able to say I am a Senior Lecturer in Educational Development is amazing and I realise I love to teach people about teaching more than anything. I love watching people teaching others, trying to find ways of engaging students with a discipline. Trying to convey their passion for a subject to others. And realising this is one of the most challenging things you can do, it makes you vulnerable if you do it properly and yet it’s the way you learn and develop. And at times it’s been exhausting and I’ve felt under scrutiny about the way I teach and whether I’m modelling good practice (or using the right verbs in my learning outcomes!). Because as much as every teacher, I want my students to learn but I want them to like me too.

Friendship: which comes in so many shapes and forms and how people can help us in so many different ways. But also to cherish those people, as they won’t be there forever. Losing a friend, and Deputy Chair of ILG Rowena was a shock in October and this year has been marked with sadness. People come into your life, people can leave, people can change and so can you but friends and family are so important. And when I feel down I think of my little nephew Henry with his cheeky little smile and the world doesn’t seem so bad. But I want to thank all my friends for their support this year, new friends (Ruth, Sheila), friends I’ve known a while now (Chris, Emma, Lisa, Louise) and those who’ve just been kicking about forever, but I promise I don’t take for granted (Sue, Maria, Sarah, Caroline, Ellie the list goes on and in mentioning anyone I feel I have inevitably forgotten many people).

Developing a business: thinking hard about my talent and reputation, getting people to pay me for my expertise, which is something I struggle with because I wonder if I am worthy enough? But also asking what should I charge people for and what should be given away freely because it’s something I just want to do and because I have a level of privilege that means I can help others. And I’m so grateful to Lisa for all her support and help on the business side of things and working with me and Chris on one of the most fun projects you can have about copyright!

Writing: I’ve continued to write loads of things with Chris, we’ve had reports, articles, conference papers published many of which are listed on our website. We have a chapter coming out in a new Routledge book early next year. But getting a proposal accepted by Palgrave to write a ‘Pocket guide’ book on information literacy for students with Emma, is very exciting. It’s going to be a different format to what I’m used to, and it uses cartoons and illustrations. It should be fun!

Fun, games and play: that’s been another part of the year realising that I really like playful and creative approaches to most things in life. It’s partly why I have really taken to leading historical walking tours in my spare time. It’s a bit like acting (which I am dreadful at!) combined with teaching and a bit of showing off. Life has been too serious for a long time and I like laughing and using humour as an approach to helping people learn and engage with me. I’m so very proud of the Publishing Trap, but I feel this is just the start of more games and creative approaches to education. I just know how much work this will be, but that is good, because when it’s something you love, it’s not work.

In conclusion….
Wow what a year, it’s no wonder I feel tired, but not everything always goes to plan – turning up at a conference and almost missing my presentation slot was a personal low as well as almost missing the ILG AGM due to a lost pair of sunglasses! I found at times I had definitely taken on too much work, with multiple crashing deadlines towards the end of the year leading me to work far too late into the night (and test some people’s patience with me to the limit). I have to get better at saying no to things that don’t matter to me, at delegating (when I have someone to delegate to!) or working smarter, so setting up apps and reminders that mean I always know what I’m up to. Wunderlist has tried to keep me on track and more of my tricks and tips were included in the chapter (I rather rashly) agreed to write for David Hopkins in his EdTech Rations book. I can’t promise I’ll be perfect in 2018, I am sure I will still take on too much, and have plenty of failures or times when I just don’t live up to my expectations of myself. But I know with some fantastic friends and colleagues around me and with techniques like mindfulness, next year is going to be a great fun!

On finding a place and space to reflect

I’ve been doing a lot of work recently, for those following the Copyright Literacy blog, it’s been a fairly hectic few months. Since starting my new job in April I’ve been to Latvia to speak at a Media Literacy conference in Riga, I’ve been to Southampton Solent to the UCISA Digital Capabilities event. Then I’ve been to pretty much every CILIP conference going (the CILIP Copyright Conference in April, CILIP Wales in Llandudno in May, CILIP Scotland in Dundee in June and the main CILIP Conference in Manchester in July). At pretty much all these events I was speaking about copyright education and the work I’ve been doing with Chris Morrison. And in fact in less than two weeks the road trip continues as we’re off to Wroclaw, Poland to speak at an IFLA joint offsite meeting organised by the Copyright and Legal Matters Advisory Committee and Information Literacy Section Committee. We had an exciting July as we launched version 2.0 of Copyright the Card Game. The content has been updated and amended and the cards have been re-designed with a more professional brand. We even have a colour palette which I am particularly pleased about because I had a lot of input into that.

However, one thing that has become clear to me over the last few months is that I’m not employed as a library and information professional anymore (arguably I wasn’t really at LSE I suppose!) and so I’ve been thinking a lot about my interests and how they might be evolving. I remain interested in copyright, information and digital literacy as it’s such an important part of learning. I can see that not knowing how to find, manage or use information can seriously hamper people’s chances of success. Understanding copyright is not central to all disciplines, but it does impact on many lecturers and teachers when they share content with their students or with colleagues. It also is something that students need to think about not just in creative subjects, as they are increasingly producing content they want to share online.

I’m about to start teaching in early September for real (I’ve dabbled a bit over the last few months), on the Learning, Teaching and Assessment module of the MA in Academic Practice at City, University of London. I’ll be teaching about learning theories, learning environments and approaches to teaching in the first workshop. In preparation I’ve been reading up on educational development and learning theory (it has been a while since I studied this stuff!) I’ve been drawn to the work of Donald Schon, partly because I see him on our reading list, partly because I think reflection is really important, and also because I’ve started to read what he had to say about change.  I remembered how Emma quoted from him in her ANCIL theoretical background report – she used this quote to preface the study:

[O]ur society and all of its institutions are in continuing processes of transformation ….We must learn to understand, guide, influence and manage these transformations. We must make the capacity for undertaking them integral to ourselves and to our institutions. We must, in other words, become adept at learning.” Donald Schon, 1973.
Schon also wrote about reflective practice, which is hugely influential in educational development. The idea of reflecting in and on action, is something many of us may do as teachers. Reflecting in action is sometimes described as ‘thinking on our feet’ and involves looking to our experiences, our feelings, and attending to the theories that influence us. Through this we can build new understandings to inform our actions in a situation, as it unfolds. However I think the important thing is to ensure we record these experience, observations and feelings soon after they happen, to really benefit from them. This is what Schon called ‘reflecting on action’ where we write up, talk through with a colleague and explore why we did what we did. This is really important to help us develop our own ideas and questions about our practice. I think you can avoid being overly critical when things go wrong, but reflection is so important to help us improve our practice.

Change, transformations and adaptation are a good thing, but they can be hard work, so it is important to reflect on where we are, where we’ve come from and where we are heading. With that in mind I’m working on adapting one of the resources I developed in my copyright education, on creative approaches to learning. It’s a new set of cards, so far there are just three suits, but I am working on a fourth, to make it a nice compliment to the copyright card game. I have cards for learning theories and for learning (or teaching) approaches. I plan to create a set of cards for learning environments (lecture theatres, online learning, flexible classroom), and then perhaps I need discipline and level of students, which is of course where any planning needs to start. I don’t think teaching is a pick and mix approach, but I think that being exposed to a variety of different scenarios and approaches helps teachers come up with some more creative approaches to learning. So many of the lecturers at City I’ve spoken to recently are concerned about student engagement and relying on lectures and expecting students to do further reading is pretty much the bare minimum these days. It’s difficult, because we don’t want to fall into the rhetoric of saying that our learners have changed and need more engaging teaching, as we have further evidence that digital natives do not exist from Kirschner and De Bruyckere. But I think student expectations have changed, with far greater numbers of students coming into higher education, from a wider variety of backgrounds, we can’t afford to be complacent and adopt a sink or swim approach. We owe it to all our students to help them be the very best they can, and that means helping the lecturers be as best they can too. I hope that is what I’m going to do this term!

It really has been quite a period of change and on my days I don’t work for City I’ve started doing some freelance work, including some copyright consultancy for several universities. I am also in the middle of a great project working with Learning on Screen to better understand the needs of the education sector for copyright advice related to audiovisual materials. It’s great to work with friends and Team J’seskimo as we jokingly called ourselves (Lisa Jeskins, Chris and I) have run a survey, two focus groups and are currently in the middle of telephone interviews and analysing the survey data.

And not being a librarian has finally meant I need to start addressing some of my short comings. I am fed up with being dreadful at organising my own information, particularly my paperwork, but generally all my stuff. I’m a bit of a hoarder and I am desperate to change. Having so many things to juggle means I have to be better organised and so I’ve been using some leave to have a house tidy up and clear out. I’m not exactly embracing Marie Kondo principles, but I do keep repeating William Morris’s saying of having ‘nothing in your house that is not beautiful or useful’. It’s a slow and painful process, one room at a time, but I do think that to organise my mind, I need to de-clutter and be surrounded by the things I need and love to inspire me (although I don’t need two cats sitting on my desk and paperwork all the time). I’ve also decided to sign up for a mindfulness course. I’m hopeless at switching off. My idea of taking a break recently has involved just having two devices on the go and not looking at Twitter for 15 minutes. However, I realise to think clearly I need to get outside much more and start walking and being in green places, visiting gardens and going on long walks by the sea. A few days down in Dorset earlier in the week showed me that and then I read this article on walking.

I’m looking forward to autumn, I’m sure there will be plenty going on and plenty of challenges along the way. I’ll be making time for reflection, sharing my successes and failures (I love that Thomas Edison quote about not failing but finding 10,000 ways that don’t work!). I’ll hopefully be a bit better organised, and more mindful, but most of all I know I will be learning a lot along the way.

Reflecting on a transformation

I was delighted a few months ago to find out I had been nominated for the Informed Peer Recognition Award, nominated by Emily Shields, Lisa Jeskins, Rosie Jones and my other wonderful friends on the LILAC committee. It came at a time of transition for me, as I am starting a new job, as a Senior Lecturer in Educational Development at City, University of London. I’ve worked at LSE for over 15 years so this is a big change, but a move I had been thinking about for quite some time. I was asked by Jennie to write something about getting this award and I immediately thought of a talk I prepared last December when I was invited to the University of Ulster, to speak to the librarianship students. In preparing that talk I reflected on my career path to date. So I thought at this moment in time it was appropriate to write a blog post and I rather suspected it might be quite long! So if you don’t read it all, I won’t be offended because it has been a valuable process for me, to write down my journey. In doing this, I don’t want to make it seem like I had a grand plan, as I said in Ulster to the students, I often did things because I was interested in them or because opportunities came my way. Moving to City has however been about following my heart and finding a job where I can spend more time being able to teach and do research, which for means means making a transition to being an academic. It also means letting go of being a copyright advisor, something I love, and not being an information literacy practitioner. But I think it’s the right thing to do and I’m really excited about this journey and my research interests so will travel with me – I should have more time to work on them too! Working out what I really wanted to do was also a large part down to being on the Aurora Programme which I started in October last year and and finished in February 2017. I knew I wanted a change, but Aurora gave me the confidence and kick to do something about it, and getting my new job was partly down to a chance discussions with my new head of department Susannah, who is a role model on Aurora.
However to go back to the beginning of my career, like many others I fell into librarianship. I once wrote a blog post about how my decision to be a librarian was based on my inherent dislike of swimming underwater in the sea (I don’t like fish!) and the fact it didn’t require me to purchase a wetsuit. When trying to get a place through clearing after missing my A levels grades to go to Cardiff University, it was a choice between history and marine archeology at Bangor or history and librarianship in Aberystwyth. Never one for extreme sports, and frankly always liking books, I choose librarianship, with the explicit understanding I would be able to drop the subject after one year and study single honours history. But you know, after one year, it had started to get interesting, and I actually did rather well in the end of first year exams. The course had a lot about emerging internet technologies and elements of media studies in it, and (much to my parents delight) it added a vocational element to the otherwise pointless (in their view) history degree. I toyed with the idea of being an archivist, although a summer placement at a record office put me off, largely because I started to see that librarianship and helping people get access to all sorts of information was something I really cared about. I have always loved history, because history is about evidence,  arguments, and building up a picture of what might have happened in the past, while taking into account things such as bias and propaganda. But for me history was not about old documents, it was about the people and personalities and trying to understand what motivated them. Looking back I see it’s these things that have always been central to my interests – people, access to information (and learning) and the need to be discerning about what we read and what people tell us. I guess I am skeptical at heart and like to see some evidence before believing in anything!

On following your heart

Jane in RomeSome of you know I’ve been on the Aurora programme since October. It’s a women’s leadership course and I’m enjoying it immensely, not least because of the wonderful women I’ve met, the inspiring workshops and the great readings and resources you get introduced to. I love a Ted Talk and its difficult to know which I’ve enjoyed most, from Amy Cuddy to Hillary Clinton. This week I particularly enjoyed Simon Sinek on what makes for successful leadership and starting with why and Dan Pink on ‘drive.’ What has really resonated with me is focusing on why we do things, not so much what we do when trying to explain it to people.

It became clear to me last year that I love teaching and research and inspiring others to use information and technology for their own and others learning. So I’m delighted to be able to officially announce that from mid April I’ll be following my heart, taking up a new role at City University, as Senior Lecturer in Educational Development based in Learning Enhancement and Academic Development(LEaD). I’ll be focusing on educational technologies, digital literacy and hopefully looking to support and develop open practices. Its going to be a really exciting opportunity as I’ll also have more time to pursue the things that interest me, as the post is 3 days a week. But I’m really excited to be joining such a great team, and of course just moving up the road!

I’m going to be very sad to leave LSE where I’ve worked for 15 years. I have wonderful friends and colleagues and I’ve loved working here. LSE has given me so much, including the ability to have considerable autonomy to learn and develop myself, while providing copyright and digital literacy advice for the institution. But its time for me to do something new and I’m not leaving anything behind, but building on all my experience and networks. Copyright and information literacy remain my passion and I’ll be infusing all I do at City with that perspective. I’ll continue my professional work in both these areas, remaining the Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group and staying firmly involved in the UUK Copyright Working group. So it is onwards and upwards for me and I hope you will follow me on my next step in the journey of life!

The UUK / Guild HE Copyright Working Group: a personal perspective

jane03I 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?

copyright-officers-in-canterburyOur 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.