Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

So what could possibly be the value of “Observing the 1980s”?

by Jane Harvell

“The value to education at all levels will be in their unprocessed nature and the potential for use across subject areas such as politics, sociology, oral history, cultural/media studies. linguistics, gender studies, narrative and memory studies, migration studies, folklore studies, anthropology and contemporary history”

This demonstrates how we saw the value of the “Observing the 1980s” project at the time of writing our bid to JISC.

On reflection and at this late stage of the project I can see clearly that it’s importance and value has been (and will be) so much more than creating newly digitised OER content across many subject areas for use in HE.

Firstly, and most importantly, receiving funds to undertake a project of this nature at Sussex has been pivitol to our learning and understanding of the impact of work of this nature. We had never worked on larger scale digitisation projects, dealt with OERs or Creative Commons licences, collaborated with the British Library let alone plundered our newer Mass Observation Project material (post 1981) in order to expose it to audiences outside Sussex. So here the impact of the project on our learning, skills and experience has been enormous.

Additionally, “Observing the 1980s” offered us the opportunity to:

  • explore opportunities for making the content available to other levels of education including schools
  • bring together departments in the University in a very creative and energising way – e-learning, historians, librarians and archivists
  • to drive forward questions of institutional support for this type of material including questions of storage (and accessibility) of digital objects in general
  • to pull together material held both in the Library (ephemera) and in Special Collections (Mass Observation)
  • to explore the use and availability of external repositories
  • to raise the understanding and profile of OERs within the Library (and the University)
  • examine the Mass Observation and ephemeral material much more closely than it has ever been looked at before. Similarly the BL material was also researched so we know have a much greater grasp of what primary resources are available in these areas to support teaching and research

and finally – as a result of the funding –  we are also involved in a fabulous JISC-funded project called Scarlet+. This is allowing us to develop in-house skills in using Augmented Reality to support learning that is using some of the digitised material from “Observing the 1980s”. We have great plans to take this technology and develop it further within Special Collections and for using it to potentially support our Widening Participation work in our new archival resource centre, The Keep.

  1. […] to blog about what I felt was the value of a JISC Project we are leading here at Sussex called Observing the 1980s. Of course one of the unforseen values of that Project was that it provided us with the […]