How to Measure and Understand Usage / Impact of Digital Content

JISC sponsored a workshop under the title “Digital Impacts: How to Measure and Understand the Usage and Impact of Digital Content” at Jesus College, Oxford earlier in 2011.

The question of how we can measure and understand the usage and impact of digital content within the education sector is reflected by the substantial investment that goes into the creation of digital resources for research, teaching and learning.  Content creators, publishers as well as funding bodies are being asked to provide evidence of the value of the resources they’ve invested in. How do we go about defining value and impact? Which metrics should we adopt to understand usage? When is a digital resource a well used resource?

This one-day event explored these issues and showcased the work of the JISC-funded Impact and Embedding of Digitised Resources programme. Speakers included: Melissa Highton (Oxford University Computing Services), Brian Kelly (UKOLN), Dr Jane Winters (Head of Publications, IHR), Professor David Robey (Oxford e-Research Centre), Paola Marchionni (JISC), Dr Eric T. Meyer (Oxford Internet Institute), and  Dr Kathryn Eccles(Oxford Internet Institute). The workshop was aimed at:

  • content creators and publishers
  • Information professionals and content managers in charge of maintaining and developing digital collections
  • librarians, archivists and institutional staff involved in digitisation efforts
  • researchers and research directors interested in learning about alternative methods of measuring impact
  • representatives of funding and evaluation bodies
  • early career researchers concerned about ways of demonstrating the impact of their online activities
  • those interested in understanding the impact of distributing materials online

Further details are available at the Oxford Internet Institute.

Hyphens, capitals and spaces

The addition of the letters ‘e’ and ‘i’ before words in our online knowledge economy has led to perhaps the greatest set of spelling variations in the history of the language.

What to do? Should organisations establish a strict rule for people to adopt a certain way of spelling an e-word, or just leave it to everybody’s personal preference? Does it matter if one person posts an item on a site with one spelling and another person spells it another way. Just as likely, one person spells a word one way in the morning and a completely different way in the afternoon…

Of course, publishers have been applying style manuals as long as they have been publishing, and finding a rule will be second nature to them. I wonder… Does every publisher have a rule for spelling e-Learning/eLearning/E-Learning online outside their copy-edited content? They should, and would probably be thoroughly ashamed if they realised they didn’t?

“What about our Search Engine Optimisation?” they might cry. Well, happily Google ignores hyphens – and you can prove it, though the result of the test is slightly disturbing. Through a Google search and putting in ‘e-Learning’, if you include the ads, it brings seven different ways of spelling the same word out of 18 results…!