Lifesign outline of the final project report by xqo91978

VIEWS: 15 PAGES: 136

									LIFESIGN: NETWORKED MOVING IMAGES FOR
            THE LIFE SCIENCES

                   Final Report of the Project

       Prepared for JISC by the Lifesign Project Steering Group



             Jeremy Atkinson      University of Glamorgan

             Gayle Calverley      University of Manchester

             Andrew Dalgleish     University of Glamorgan

             William Garrison     University of Portsmouth

             Richard Hackett      University of Portsmouth

             Gabriel Jezierski    University of Wales Institute, Cardiff

             Kerry Shephard       University of Southampton




April 2004




                                     1
Table of Contents

1. Executive summary                        p. 4


2. Background to the project                p. 5


3. Aims and objectives                      p. 6


4. Outcomes and deliverables                p. 7


5. Project management                       p. 9


6. Activities

   6.1 Content                              p. 10
   6.2 Reuseability                         p. 16
   6.3 Technological solutions and issues   p. 21
   6.4 Pedagogical evaluation               p. 24


7. Key findings

   7.1 Content                              p. 31
   7.2 Technology                           p. 31
   7.3 Evaluation                           p. 32
   7.4 Metadata                             p. 32
   7.5 Project management                   p. 33


8. Future priorities

   8.1 Content and service delivery         p. 34
   8.2 Technology                           p. 34
   8.3 Evaluation                           p. 35
   8.4 JORUM+                               p. 35
   8.5 Use in learning and teaching         p. 37


9. Dissemination                            p. 38




                                                    2
Appendices

i. Lifesign Server Development       p. 41
ii. Evaluation Methodology           p. 46
iii. Directory of Resources          p. 50
iv. User Support Documentation       p. 52
v. Metadata Literature Review        p. 53
vi. Interoperability Status Report   p. 75
vii. Metadata Application            p. 77
viii. Metadata Proposals             p. 89
ix. DNER and Learning Objects        p. 90
x. Lifesign Publications             p. 92
xi. Materials Delivery Evaluation    p. 93
xii. Lifesign External Evaluation    p. 102




                                              3
1. Executive summary
The Lifesign project aimed to evaluate the use of networked moving images in teaching and learning,
with a subject focus on the Life Sciences. Its key outputs have been:

   The streaming of some 62 rights cleared videos available to HEIs via the project website
   The creation of associated metadata for these resources
   The development of software facilities for users to customise and embed video segments into other
    learning environments
   Evaluation reports and case studies
   User support resources to guide those wishing to adopt streaming in the curriculum
   A feasibility study on adapting library reading list management software for handling video metadata

Lifesign was a multi-faceted project which involved collaboration across several areas of professional
expertise. It has relied on considerable technical skill to stream quality moving images over the academic
network. However, unusually for projects of this nature, we have from the outset placed central
importance on pedagogical evaluation of the resources, the application of the resources and their
influence and impact on learners and teachers. Equally, the importance of developing appropriate ways of
describing our resources and providing access points for users was an integral component of the project
and drew on the expertise of librarians in metadata theory and application. In terms of embedding the use
of moving images in the curriculum it is likely that this kind of collaboration between media producers,
educational developers and librarians will be crucial to the success of take-up.

The project has been successful in developing a significant collection of resources potentially relevant to
learning and teaching in the Life Sciences. As we explain in section 6.1.1, the identification, selection
and validation of suitable content is a problematic process, not directly analogous to building (say) a
collection of library books. However, as we describe, an approach which combined the maximisation of
volume, and one which focussed on the requirements of users has been reasonably effective.

In terms of the technical delivery of streaming, the project was successful in building capacity the to
enable large numbers of simultaneous users to reliably access content over a wide area network.
Nevertheless, as we discuss in detail in our Materials Delivery Evaluation Report (appendix xi), our
obligations to introduce access controls on material in the interests of rights owners did lead to some
instability in accessing certain content. The key lesson for future service developers is that whilst
streaming technology is proven and mature, a key to embedding resources is effective communication
between providers, local support staff and end users.

As our work on metadata shows, the project had interoperability and re-usability as part of its core aims
and, as a result, has been recognised as one of very few projects of its kind which has the potential for
vertical horizontal and overall re-usability of its collection. The project developed rich metadata at
various levels of granularity for its resources. Although we would have liked to integrate this with access
to the streams during the life of the project, we are optimistic that developments such as JORUM will
enable us to do so in the future.

Nevertheless, the project‟s success in developing a website for resource access to some extent obviated
the immediate need for metadata integration. The website not only provided a means of searching and
previewing content, but also developed a number of tools for users to customise and re-use streams and
segments of streams.
Although evidence of usage of the website was not available at the time of this report, Lifesign did seek
to evaluate the use of specific applications, not only in terms of perceptions but in terms of the more
difficult area of „implementation evaluation‟. Our evaluators sought to build on initial expressions of
interest from academics by working with them in designing, implementing and evaluating the use of
particular video streams. In fact, very few academic colleagues were willing or able to follow through
their interest in this way to an evaluated outcome. However, from our case studies we were able to draw
several broad conclusions about the take-up of streaming video in HE (experimentation by enthusiasts)
and make tentative comments on the learning impact. In section 8.5 we make the case for a future
research agenda for the use of streaming video in Higher and Further Education.


                                                         4
2. Background to the project
Feedback from both the Imagination/Universities Network Pilot project and the Shotlist initiative
demonstrated that unless a collection of visual resources is of sufficient quality and comprehensive in
coverage it is unlikely that lecturers will feel inspired to change their teaching habits. Lifesign proposed
to compile a collection of resources relevant to learning and teaching within the life sciences. It aimed to
achieve the critical mass necessary to impact upon the delivery of the curriculum and effectively evaluate
the educational potential of streamed video within a subject discipline (although, as we discuss below, the
definition of critical mass is problematic). In this way the project aimed to assist JISC by identifying and
developing a collection of digitised video material in the life sciences which could then be offered to the
UK higher education community within the DNER framework. The project would also envisioned that
its activities would assist the Managing Agent and Advisory Service for Moving Pictures and Sound to
identify issues, problems and solutions associated with the networked delivery of moving images which
could then be extended to other disciplines.

There are three key areas upon which this project focuses:

   Content Development
   Cataloguing
   Evaluation

Each of the partner organisations in this project contributed skills and expertise in one or more of these
areas and each was responsible for co-ordinating activities in a particular area. The partners and their
roles may be briefly summarised as follows:

University of Glamorgan: The consortium was led by the University of Glamorgan, which is responsible
for the overall project management. Glamorgan was also responsible for compiling the metadata
associated with all resources, cataloguing of the collection and exploring issues for integrating into library
and other database systems.

University of Portsmouth: Learning Media Development at the University of Portsmouth was responsible
for technical implementation of streaming media facilities, identification and evaluation of video
resources, negotiation of rights and licenses, software development, and the ongoing development of
the website.

University of Wales Institute, Cardiff/University of Southampton: The Centre for Learning and Teaching
at Southampton and the Learning and Teaching Support Unit at UWIC were responsible for defining
pedagogical objectives and monitoring/evaluating their achievement within the partner organisations.
They were also responsible for ensuring the integration of project objectives with the Learning &
Teaching/Information Strategies of partner organisations.

LTSN Centre for BioScience: The Centre provides guidance and validation for the project to ensure that
the objectives and content developed are appropriate for wider application within the HE sector. They
provide an important infrastructure enabling the project partners to gain access to the Life Sciences
community. They also play an important role during the dissemination phase of the project outcomes and
in providing a sustainable base for the continuation strategy of the project. Gayle Calverley continued to
assist the project in engaging with the community and with infrastructure developments, despite a change
of personal job roles during the project.

Talis Information: Talis Information provided the project, with technical consultancy and software
research and development support, particularly in respect of metadata storage and transferability.

In addition the project has maintained a working relationship with the Managing Agent and Advisory
Service (MAAS) on aspects of rights clearance and licence agreement issues. It is intended that the
experience of the project will contribute to the development of national services for the delivery and use
of moving images.



                                                          5
3. Aims and objectives
The Lifesign Project aimed to evaluate the use of networked moving picture and sound material for
learning and teaching in the Life Sciences.

The Project Plan identified the following objectives at the outset:

   Compile a comprehensive collection of video resources, in association with the relevant LTSN
    Subject Centres, relevant to the practical teaching of a range of life science disciplines. This will
    comprise material already in existence and new commissions.
   Structure and digitise the catalogue in a format appropriate for networked delivery via Metropolitan
    Area Networks.
   Index, catalogue and compile the associated metadata for the resources in a format that can be
    integrated into existing library database systems.
   Develop software that enables the full integration of multi-media resources in library catalogues and
    hybrid library systems
   Work with the Managing Agent in order to clear rights for use of all resources identified and develop
    a licensing framework to facilitate the continued production of related resources from within the HE
    sector.
   Install the digital collection on two Metropolitan Area Networks (SWMAN and LENS) providing
    local access for up to 18 HEIs.
   Evaluate the pedagogical effectiveness of streamed moving images within the life sciences and assess
    the impact upon current curriculum delivery
   Provide guidelines, supporting material and staff development to the Advisory Centre in order to
    embed the use of networked moving images within the DNER
   Develop the infrastructure necessary in order to sustain the continued development of this initiative
    beyond the lifespan of the project




                                                         6
4. Outcomes and deliverables
The Lifesign Project Plan specified a number of deliverables

Deliverable 1: Management Reports
The project reported on a bi-annual basis to the JISC Programme Manager.

Deliverable 2: Directory of Resources
A list of rights-cleared streamed video content was made available via the project website and is included
in an appendix to this report.

Deliverable 3: Technical framework for content delivery
The technical infrastructure has successfully delivered content, not only to project partner institutions, but
on a national and international scale. The technological framework is documented in greater detail in
section 8.3 of this report and a Server Development Strategy is provided in appendix 1.

Deliverable 4: Assigned metadata for all project resources
This has been achieved. As part of its continuation and dissemination strategy Lifesign is considering
how to transfer re-use this metadata in other resource discovery and retrieval systems.

Deliverable 5: Software product
The project delivered a database driven website in which users can search for titles and content, view
streams, extract URLs for these streams, and choose portions of streams for integration into online
learning resources (see section 8.3.2 below). The project also undertook work to explore the technical
issues involved in customising content management software (a report is due in June 2003).

Deliverable 6: Digitised moving image resources
62 programmes were digitised and streamed from the project website. Their continued availability to
remains subject to licence agreements.

Deliverable 7: Approved needs analysis and evaluation methodologies
The project has learned some important lessons about the relationships between user needs and
developing critical mass. This is reported in section 6.1.1. The evaluation methodology reported in
section 6.4.1 will also be of interest to future projects and their stakeholders.

Deliverable 8: Reports
The following reports are available via the project website:

Server Development Strategy
Evaluation Methodology
Metadata literature review
Case studies
Materials Delivery Evaluation Report
Pedagogic Evaluation Report (Deliverable 12)
Lifesign Final Project Report
External Project Evaluation Report

Deliverable 9: Publications
A bibliography of Lifesign publications is provided in appendix x.

Deliverable 10: Website
http://www.Lifesign.ac.uk

Deliverable 11: Training and best practice user guides
Guidance on using streaming technology and its application in learning contexts is available via the
website. This includes a streamed video produced by the project.


                                                          7
Deliverable 12: Pedagogic Evaluation Report
Completed (see deliverable 8 above).

Deliverable 13: Rights clearance documentation
Our experiences in handling rights clearance negotiations are described in general terms in this report.
The documentation on specific agreements has been restricted to the Project Manager and the University
of Portsmouth.




                                                       8
5. Project management
During the period between the original project proposal and the start of the project, the intended project
manager (Jeremy Miles) became unavailable because of a change of job, and management responsibility was
agreed to be undertaken by personnel at the University of Glamorgan. A Project Director provided strategic
co-ordination. This role included chairing the project Steering Committee, representing the project at Cluster
Group meetings and liaison on strategic issues with appropriate JISC bodies, notably the Moving Pictures
and Sound Working Group (which he happened to chair). Overall project co-ordination was maintained by a
Project Manager whose role was to ensure the tracking of all activities in relation to the overall project plan
and the liaison with external agencies to ensure effective dissemination and sustainability of the project.

Strategic monitoring, evaluation, review and planning were carried out by a Project Steering Group. This
included representatives from all the project partners, although in practice an informal approach was
taken to membership criteria so that all project staff had the opportunity to attend. The Steering Group
met as frequently as the need arose, on average every two or three months. The minutes are available on
the Lifesign website. There were a mixture of face-to-face meetings and meetings via videoconference.
Communication on specific issues took place via e-mail. The Steering Group benefited from advice from
an external advisor (Greg Newton-Ingham).

Compliance with the project plan was reviewed and communicated through the mechanism of bi-annual
reports to the Programme Manager. The Project Manager liaised with the Programme Manager on the
major re-focussing of the project plan, namely the approach taken to software development.

The Project Manager also played a key role in relating Lifesign‟s work to the wider DNER/Information
Environment. The main mechanism was participation at JISC-sponsored „all-projects‟ meetings.

The Project Manager at Glamorgan undertook financial management and administration. Budgets were
allocated to broad categories: staffing, equipment, production/software, administration and travel.
Commitments were made against institutional budgets at the partner sites and the costs were re-charged to
Lifesign via the Project Manager. Regular reports on the overall financial position were provided to the
JISC in the bi-annual reports.

As required, a full expenditure statement has been submitted to JISC separately from this document.
However, it is relevant to note that the project showed a positive variance on its allocation due to a
number of key factors:

   Staffing vacancies
   Less new production than planned
   Catalogue software development relied heavily on an existing product
   Travel and subsistence costs minimised by use of videoconferencing

JISC approved the reallocation of project funding towards some one-off enhancements which will add
value to the original objectives.

Towards the end of the project, Lifesign engaged independent consultants to evaluate the project as
whole. The purpose of this external evaluation was:

The evaluation aims to

   Provide a summative evaluation of the Lifesign project as it reaches the end of the period of funding
   Provide a self-critical awareness by the Lifesign project of its performance, progress and impact
   The report by the Centre for Information Research is included as an appendix.




                                                         9
6. Activities
6.1 Content

6.1.1 Critical Mass & User Requirement Issues

In our original bid for funding, Lifesign proposed to compile a collection of resources relevant to learning
and teaching within the life sciences. It aimed to achieve the critical mass necessary to impact upon the
delivery of the curriculum and effectively evaluate the educational potential of streamed video within a
subject discipline.

However, during the definition phase of Lifesign, tensions quickly became apparent in the way the
direction of critical mass should be defined. Resolving these tensions was particularly significant for the
development of a project process that would be sustainable in circumstances of increasing expressions of
interest. Policy decisions relating to the definition of critical mass, in conjunction with project aims and
objectives, would prove to be significant in terms of the project‟s ability to build capacity. Such decisions
weighed the effect of a policy relating to procurement in order to build quantity of material, against
Lifesign ability to effectively service the needs of users who might turn to the collection material to meet
specific needs. Such decisions cut to the heart of the argument as to whether collections that are not
designed specifically for teaching and learning can effectively meet these needs if they are not procured
specifically with this purpose in mind.

The outcome was that two remits for Lifesign were identified, aligned with these different approaches.
That is, a need to build a collection of streaming Life Sciences material that focused on procurement of
content with a view to maximising volume, coupled with a need to build a collection that focuses on
users. This is reflected in the varied perspectives on provision of content (by the project perceived as a
service provider) and the availability of provided content (as perceived by the evaluators and users). The
impact of these considerations within Lifesign are described by the experiences of the Technical and
Evaluative partners.

In addition, as soon as the user is considered, the issue of granularity is raised as a factor in critical mass.
This is because the level of granularity presented for a resource affects the ability of the user to apply
what is available to their specific need. In television and video, provision is made for granularity within a
resource through segment metadata. To increase the value of a resource and its applicability across a
wider range of users, as well as to allow more effective searching across resources, Lifesign has made
provision for the inclusion of segment metadata with each of its resources. There are limitations to how
this has technically been able to be applied within Lifesign, although several purpose-dependent solutions
are available. These are described elsewhere in this report.

Although a huge number of video resources for the Life Sciences exist, not all of these are available.
To consider the best approach to the Lifesign collection, the issues that determine availability become
significant. Any critical mass definition that is based on faulty assumptions concerning availability of
material, is unlikely to be attainable. Examples of availability issues include:


   It is impossible to check all apparently available sources when attempting to match a user‟s
    requirement or request for material. (It is difficult to locate and determine all extant material; there is
    too much to review when it is located; material is not pre-viewable; pre-view is time-consuming;
    screeners don‟t have sufficient subject knowledge to determine an exact match; etc.)
   Sources identified to match a user requirement may not be easily or cost-effectively licensable
   Duration of procured licensing, and lead-in time, may preclude use
   The identified video resource(s) may not be suitable for streaming
   It may be difficult to widely apply segmented material in an effective way (such as to provide
    sufficient coverage to warrant the effort involved in procuring)

In addition, it also may be assumed that developing a collection that is not integrated with user needs
from the outset will result in lower uptake. Conversely, it can be argued that providing useable examples


                                                           10
of the technology will encourage uptake. However, adopting either of these approaches alone has been
demonstrated within Lifesign to be insufficient for building sustainable collections of specialist electronic
resources.

Yet, even for technically complex resource delivery services, it is still desirable to have a realistic
mechanism by which critical mass can be achieved. Such mechanisms will need to take account of the
technical constraints of production, and the complex issues surrounding existing collections of materials,
that are faced by these service providers. It is recognised that under such circumstances, the quantities of
materials available are, in practice, unlikely to be large.

However, narrowing the topic focus too tightly can affect the transferability of materials beyond the
enthusiast user-base. On the other hand, widening the topic base can result in large gaps in user
requirements. One approach is to opt for material at more basic levels, likely to cover a range of specialist
topics, rather than focus on a single area. At the same time, aim to include specialist materials as they are
or become available, to maintain the diversity of the collection. A second approach is to procure or
develop materials on a case-by-case basis. But again, this results in limited quantities of materials that are
targeted at the enthusiast. A third approach is to target large easy-to-provide collections bolstering mass
of relevant materials quickly. Each of these approaches could individually adopt a different, but still
relevant, definition of Critical Mass.

This questions the fundamental purpose of Critical Mass as an effective identifier against which to
measure collection performance. Does it take on purely a content focus as a measure of the range and
diversity of materials offered or literally as a measure of Mass of Materials available? Or is it a measure
to determine whether the collection is achieving coverage of all those users specifically approaching the
service for support in providing a particular resource?

Given the cost and external funding required to produce and sustain such services, resource providers and
their funders are very likely to be concerned about uptake of their services and materials beyond the
initial user group. If so, then each of these definitions for Critical Mass alone is insufficient. The
experience of Lifesign has indicated the need for all three strategies to be simultaneously adopted to
maximise success in development of increasingly complex resource services. This makes it desirable to
produce a definition of Critical Mass that is both user-oriented and takes into account the human and
technological constraints of developing and maintaining such resource services.

Ideally, such a definition should acknowledge that each user does not have to have every requirement
fulfilled on every visit. Yet it should allow identification of instances where the service holds sufficient of
relevance to users in terms of tool, services, and materials, that they are likely to return. This allows a
collection approach to be taken simultaneously with building for users.

6.1.2 Identification and prioritisation

The original proposal for content acquisition was to find an academic who had a specific request for a
programme or subject area and then find material to licence. After discussion by the project partners, the
approach to content acquisition was altered. The revised approach incorporated the original, but in
addition allowed a comprehensive search for any potentially available life sciences material and to
negotiate for the rights to use and host the material. By adopting these two approaches, material would be
available from the site and any specific requests for material would be targeted. This also allowed for
wider use by lecturers and students who could search the project website site for relevant programmes for
their respective teaching and learning. Thus, an interest in adopting moving images in teaching could be
inspired by previewing material.

The Production Assistant based at Portsmouth attended two courses at the British University Film and
Video Council “Copyright Clearance” and “Searching for Archive Footage”, which helped to give a
better understanding of the issues surrounding digital media and its distribution.

Given that there is not a comprehensive national directory of resources comparable to (say) „British
Books in Print‟, the approach adopted in searching for material was via the Internet and approaches to


                                                          11
established film and video distributors. Firstly a key person responsible for video in a particular company
or video distributor was contacted. The project and its aims were outlined. The company / person were
asked if they would be willing to provide material for the project. It was explained that although there
was some limited funding for content acquisition, the project was not charging for the use of programmes.
Content holders were asked if it would be possible that any material could be provided for free as the
content was to be used for educational purposes.

All UK University departments who produce video were contacted and advised about the project and its
focus. There was a great deal of resistance from producers regarding video streaming. Concerns ranged
widely, from end users saving programmes and remaking them, to issues concerning the specific type of
“release” signed by actors and music providers. Producers felt they had the actors/musicians permission
to sell or show an analogue video, but did not have the authority to “broadcast” a digitized video over the
Internet – this was not specific in their agreements with these parties. As such they would have to go
back and renegotiate with the parties concerned to secure the right for a different method of distribution.
This was the most common response from those with video content both inside and outside the HE
community.

Although content identification and development was overwhelmingly driven by pragmatic
considerations of available material, a specific management protocol was adopted for resources which
had the potential to lead to evaluated applications. The value of systematically responding to expressions
of interest with application proposals is explained in section 8.4.4. However, it is worth elaborating here
that such proposals were submitted to the Project Manager for prioritisation on the basis of meeting
certain criteria, namely:

1.   The proposed application is of generic interest (e.g. laboratory techniques)
2.   Some resources already exist and are available
3.   The academic member of staff has demonstrated an enthusiasm for and commitment to the project.
4.   The project will involve evaluation at one of the Lifesign partner institutions.
5.   The project is likely to yield evaluation results.
6.   There are adequate institutional resources to view streaming video.

In practice, prioritisation became less of an issue given the small number of evaluatable applications.
Nevertheless, the protocol and the associated criteria served to ensure appropriate use of project
resources, and may be of interest to other collection development projects.

However, our approach to collection development was not, in the main, user driven. We had been unable
to get a strong steer from academic colleagues about specific content that they wanted to be made
available (not least because of the absence of precisely the sort of moving image portal which this project
and others were trying to create!). Therefore, Lifesign invested heavily in some content acquisition on the
assumption that it would raise the project‟s profile and improve take-up of streaming, rather than on the
basis of specifically expressed need. The practical outcome of this was that we were unable to
systematically evaluate the use and impact of such material. Indeed we had no meaningful data on the
extent to which much of our content was being used.

6.1.3 Moving images content

This section provides brief narratives of the approaches made to content providers and rights owners, and
list the programmes provided by each.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute - content provided at no cost, indefinitely

The wide number of approaches to producers and persistence in following up an initial contact eventually
paid off with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the United States. They gave permission for eleven
videos produced by their Institute to be digitised and hosted on the project website. They provided master
copies of the tapes for free to the project and allowed (at our request) the videos to be made available
without restriction, to anyone with a computer, anywhere in the world. The material covered various
aspects of laboratory safety, which was certainly pertinent to the project.


                                                         12
Programmes include:

Practicing Safe Science
Controlling Your Risks: HIV in the Research Laboratory
Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 1 - Chemical Hazards
Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 1 - Radionuclide Hazards
Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 1 - Emergency Response
Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 2 - Chemical Storage Hazards
Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 2 - Centrifugation Hazards
Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 2 - Glassware Washing Hazards
Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 3 - Mammalian Cell Culture Hazards,
Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 3 - X-ray Diffraction Hazards
Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 3 - Assessing Risks of Toxic Chemicals


The Biochemical Society - content provided at no cost.

The next success for the project was content provided for free by the Biochemical Society. Again (at our
request) the material was available for free to all and globally unrestricted. In total they provided three
programmes of around 60 minutes each.
There were some delays from the Biochemical Society in establishing that they were indeed copyright
holders. The licenses for the three programmes have now been extended until the 31st March 2006, with
the possibility of obtaining further programmes once produced. The material covers various biochemical
processes.

Programmes include:

The Biochemical Basis of Biology - Cell Structure and Energy Production
The Biochemical Basis of Biology - DNA and Protein Synthesis
The Biochemical Basis of Biology - Manipulating DNA


Educational Broadcast Service Trust – content paid for

The Shotlist series was produced specifically for use in higher education and was aimed at the life science
community. As such, this collection had special interest to the project.

Lifesign was not the only group interested in licensing programmes from Shotlist. The Managing Agent
and Advisory Service (MAAS) began negotiations with EBS to license these programmes for inclusion in
the EMOL (Educational Media On-Line) project. MAAS was working within the strict guidelines for
licensing required by JISC. This contract was considered excessively restrictive for EBS and therefore
they were unable to reach agreement.

With the consent of MAAS, Lifesign approached EBS to negotiate licenses. Unlike MAAS, Lifesign had
considerable flexibility regarding licensing terms and was able to reach mutual agreement with EBS.
Lifesign did not allow the downloading of content and therefore licenses were much easier to control and
revoke. In addition, Lifesign used an IP-based authentication system that is extremely reliable and
effective. This guaranteed that all viewers must be connected to the UK academic network. These
additional features and control of licensing, coupled with greater flexibility regarding terms of the
contract allowed Lifesign to reach agreement with EBS.

Licenses for the Shotlist collection expired 31st August 2003. EBS granted a temporary continuation of
these licenses until a suitable funding source can be found to extend the licenses until the 31st March
2006.




                                                         13
The programmes include:

Aseptic Technique
Cystic Fibrosis
Clinical Biochemistry: Diabetes
Clinical Biochemistry: Galactosaemia
Clinical Biochemistry: Phenylketonuria
Culture of Human Fibroblasts
DNA Profiling
ECG and Cardiac Physiology
Immunoblotting
Introduction to Microscopy
Membrane Structure and Transport
Monoclonal Antibodies
Scale Up - Using Penicillin
Southern Blotting
Staying Alive - A Thoroughly Modern Microbe
Staying Alive - The Tougher Sex
The Human Brain - In Situ
The Human Brain - Anatomy
The Human Brain - Pathology
The Management of Pain
The Physiology of Pain
The Psychology of Pain


Viewtech Limited – content paid for

Viewtech Limited are a commercial provider of video, who specialise in science programmes. The
company showed initial interest and were invited to Portsmouth for a discussion about the project and
given a demonstration. After the meeting, the company director contacted producers in the United States,
for whom he acts, and agreement in principal was given to the idea of experimenting with video
streaming. The streams had to be restricted to the UK.

A list of titles was sent to the project partnership and titles were selected where it was felt the programme
could be of interest to the life sciences community. Ultimately the programmes were licensed to the four
partner institutions only. One-minute previews of the programmes were made available to all UK higher
and further education institutions. A licence to buy a programme could be bought by any institution
wishing to view a particular video, or paid for by Lifesign if there was an opportunity for evaluation.

The current licenses expired on the 31st March 2003.

In total eleven videos were licensed to the four partner institutions from Viewtech Limited.

The programmes include:

The Biology of Molluscs
The Biology of Cnidarians
The Biology of Viruses
The Biology of Annelids
The Biology of Flatworms
The Cell Biology Resource: Introduction to Living Cells
The Cell Biology Resource: The Molecular Building Blocks of Life
The Cell Biology Resource: The Mitochondrion & ATP Synthesis
The Cell Biology Resource: The Genetic Code; Transcription & Protein Synthesis
The Cell Biology Resource: DNA Replication & Mitosis
The Human Body Series: The Endocrine System


                                                          14
BBC Worldwide Limited – content paid for

The final coup for content acquisition was as a result of persistent contact with BBC Worldwide. After
nine months of emails going to the same point of contact, the BBC offered a selection of programmes
from which to choose. A list of programmes was sent to the project partnership and two series were
selected for the project. The programmes were “The Human Body” series and “The Private Life of
Plants”. There were also two Horizon programmes “Professor Bonner and the Slime Moulds” and “Is
GM Safe?”. All programmes are broadly applicable to the life sciences and expressions of interest in the
two main series form Glamorgan, Southampton and Portsmouth. This material represented a first for the
project and the BBC in that it is the first time that any BBC material has been streamed.

The BBC allowed for a one-minute preview to be available to anyone anywhere in the world with a
computer for the duration of the project. This is another first, because normally the BBC will only allow
a preview before a broadcast. Because streaming is different the project was allowed an exception to the
rule. This was at the request of the project. The main purpose of this was to show others around the
world how material can be made available for use in education.

Negotiations with the BBC were protracted. The MAAS was consulted on the proposed figures to be
paid and felt that the rate was “excellent”. The MAAS had also negotiated with BBC Worldwide for
rights, but negotiations had unfortunately broken down. Madeleine Gilbart of MAAS felt that the reasons
for the breakdown were likely to be for the same reasons that EBS Trust stated – inflexibility with the
“mother contract”. The project kept the MAAS abreast of negotiations with BBC Worldwide at all
stages.

The current licenses expire on the 31st March 2006. But enquires have been made about expanding the
content with the addition of the “Trials of Life” series.

The programmes include:

The Private Life of Plants 1 - Travelling
The Private Life of Plants 2 - Growing
The Private Life of Plants 3 – Flowering
The Private Life of Plants 4 - The Social Struggle
The Private Life of Plants 5 - Living Together
The Private Life of Plants 6 - Surviving.
The Human Body 1 - Life Story
The Human Body 2 - An Everyday Miracle
The Human Body 3 - First Steps
The Human Body 4 - Raging Teens
The Human Body 5 - Brain Power
The Human Body 6 - As Time Goes By
The Human Body 7 - The End of Life
Is GM Safe?
Professor Bonner and the Slime Moulds

GlaxoSmithKline - content provided for free

GlaxoSmithKline provided a video, which gave “rushes” of some of the process at their UK laboratories.
A contract was signed by GlaxoSmithKline, which allowed the use of the video for teaching in the UK
higher and further education. It was judged that the content was of little educational value and was not
hosted by the project.

Unsuccessful approaches to content holders

The Wellcome Trust



                                                        15
Early on the Wellcome Trust were contacted by Portsmouth and a meeting was arranged to discuss how
they could assist with content for the project. The meeting went well. Programmes were identified which
the Wellcome Trust held the rights for, and agreed in principal that the programmes be used for free by
the Lifesign project.

The MAAS became involved in negotiations with the Wellcome Trust. A year after a letter from the
Wellcome Trust to Portsmouth University confirming the Trust would supply six titles to the project, no
material has arrived for digitisation via the MAAS. This is because of problems with the contract to be
used.

The Chemistry Video Consortium Collection

The Chemistry Video Consortium is a series of programmes produced for higher education. After an
initial meeting with the video producer, a list of programmes was circulated to the project partners for
consideration. Further investigation revealed that the producer did not in fact hold the rights for
distribution. The rights were held by the producer‟s distribution agency. They were unwilling to discuss
rights for video streaming with the project.

Other content

The MAAS provided a list of material from the St. Georges Hospital Medical School. A list was sent
around to the project partnership and this was further passed on to academics. Interest was shown,
however after consulting with the MAAS, the material has yet to be made available to the project. It is
understood that there are still issues with insurances yet to be put in place at the time of this report.

6.1.4 New production

Treatments (outlines) for programmes that could be made and that would be available free to higher and
further education institutions were put forward to the project partners. These treatments were for…

1.   Eukaryotic cell structure and function
2.   Mitosis
3.   Meiosis
4.   DNA structure
5.   Chromosome structure
6.   DNA transcription and translation

The treatments were aimed at an area where the project had no content. They were also in a field that
could be broadly applied to teaching and learning in the life sciences.

A list with detailed outlines of the treatments was distributed to all project partners, to forward to life
science staff. There were no recorded expressions of interest from the academic colleagues at the
evaluation institutions and, on that basis, the Lifesign Steering Group was unwilling to commit resources
to their production.

At the time of writing, Lifesign staff are creating two short videos, one introducing the website and
another which is a users‟ guide.

6.2 Reuseability

6.2.1 Standards and metadata

At the point of conception of Lifesign, key issues revolved around identification of appropriate material
for streaming, and the mechanisms by which this could be delivered within specific use scenarios. Users
involved in the Lifesign evaluation studies were typically directed towards a specific stream or segment,
without having to search and retrieve it from a wider collection. In such a scenario, metadata was not an
important factor. However, it was important to also give consideration to the wider user requirements for


                                                         16
pre-view and selection from a growing collection generally accessible from the project website. This
situation was especially true for users not directly solicited or serviced as part of Lifesign evaluations, and
who were potentially excluded on this basis.

The need for a user interface for a growing Lifesign resource base rapidly became apparent, with growing
requirements defined from the difficulties experienced by all partners in Lifesign in engaging users at the
desired rate. Resource granularity was identified as an issue, and linked to this work through existing
practice within the television and video industries, through considering how segment metadata practices
might be effectively applied within a learning and teaching environment. The database and records nature
that would underpin any sufficiently useful interface also placed additional requirements on considering
the metadata now appropriate to the project.

In addition, another important strand of the project (although not directly related to the above) was the
development and application of metadata standards which could influence the design of a library
management system – with the aim of eventually integrating Lifesign resources with other material.

The Lifesign metadata process therefore had to be redirected, and address the following areas of need:

   Records design and presentation
   Stream segmentation
   TALIS system compatibility

An initial period of research was required in order to get a full understanding of the environments in
which videos streamed by the Lifesign project would be used and the proposed database of descriptions
would operate. Amongst the activities carried out were literature searches, joining email lists and
examining organisations, websites and online resource collections of interest. Areas of research included:

   Metadata specifications, developing standards and issues relating to description of
   resources in general
   videos
   learning resources
   standard vocabularies and thesauri for describing general resources, life subject directories, online
    journals etc.
   the place of the academic library, its resources and website within the wider institute
   learning resource repositories
   interoperability
   DNER standards for projects and the emerging vision of the JISC science materials, video and
    pedagogical aspects
   the use of online learning resources
   virtual and managed learning environments
   the importance or otherwise of a library's catalogue amongst its information environment
   methods of formatting of metadata such as XML and RDF in comparison with MARC
   ensuring accessibility of resources and resource descriptions to all users and the requirements of
    disability discrimination legislation when applied to UK higher education establishments

The main output of this research was a review of the literature. This is included in appendix v.

Building on some of this theoretical work, suggested techniques of application relevant to the developing
collection on the project website, and as related to appropriate standards for learning and metadata, were
presented in the position paper Lifesign Metadata Application in Appendix vii. This includes
descriptions of those metadata extensions required by the Lifesign Application Profile, although these
have been kept to a minimum to ensure maximum capacity for interoperability.

6.2.2 Development issues for a Content Management System (TalisList)

Initial discussions with Talis centred on the importance of providing access to the moving image material
and associated metadata through a number of routes – direct from the project web site, as well as


                                                          17
integrating into other mechanisms through which students find material: the reading list system and the
library OPAC. It was felt important to support a variety of access routes, including subject browse,
browse for course resources as well as the serendipitous OPAC search route.

Early investigation showed that the MARC format was not hospitable to the metadata required, so
cataloguing the material in a Library Management system was not an acceptable way forward.

On this basis it was decided to adapt the functionality of the TalisList system. TalisList supports student
access to video material as part of the course material, it offers browse access by subject and can also be
searched alongside the library OPAC.

TalisList‟s relational database architecture and presentation of information in a hierarchical browse
structure matched the need to present information on a whole programme connected to detailed
description of its segments and sub-segments. A draft data model was produced. This also included a
mapping of fields to Dublin Core and IMS elements and notes on additional standard element values for
all records to be exported in those formats. This process was important in taking the development beyond
the constraints of proprietary data definitions. It was intended that the metadata specification would be
comparable to those adopted by other providers and represents elements of interoperability.

It was not necessary for the development to start from scratch as TalisList is already a reading list
management system, with the features necessary to add descriptive metadata, along with management
facilities to control access, and (significantly) timeout of material whose licensing has expired. The
changes required for the Lifesign project support the storage, editing and export of the metadata
appropriate to streaming video.

The main outcome from this strand of the project (from the Talis perspective) is a demonstrator that
illustrates the browse and search approaches to the metadata. The system will offer templates for
cataloguing moving image metadata with the potential to create links to the live material. The project will
have an ongoing outcome in terms of the influence on future systems development, in addition to
producing the metadata in an electronic exchange format.


6.2.3 Interoperability

Appendix vi outlines the interoperability status of Lifesign material as of February 2002 from the
perspective of the Lifesign project, and as provided to the JISC DNER&LO Interoperability project. It is
worth quoting from the summary document F [see Appendix ix] of the DNER &LO project to illustrate
the conclusions reached with regard to the Lifesign project at this mid-stage of development:

“ The outcomes of this project stated “Taking into account that the projects funded under 5/99 had no
access to guidelines for interoperability and reusability at the time of funding, when budgets and project
plans are drawn up, the overall results of this study are encouraging. While the projects‟ understanding
of the issues varied widely, and resources for ensuring interoperability and reusability were often scarce,
the figures show that much of the 5/99 content has potential for reuse. Moreover, perhaps the most telling
feature of this study‟s findings is the fact that the most highly reusable materials, vertically, horizontally
and overall, were produced by the two projects which made these factors core aims of the project, and
planned accordingly. These two projects were also the only two that developed collections of educational
aggregations (Learning Objects and/or Units of Study). It would no doubt be useful if lessons gleaned
from the experiences of Lifesign and INHALE were passed on to subsequent projects, such as the X4L
funded work. Additionally, funding bodies must take on board the need for clear guidelines for reusability
and interoperability when planning content development, as well as for ongoing support programmes for
funded projects, to enable them to keep up with developments in this swiftly evolving arena.”

This work has been revisited as of February 2003, in light of the future proposals for Lifesign related to
JORUM and the JORUM+ project. Preliminary investigations have highlighted that although Lifesign
content has been identified as fully interoperable, the issues that need to be addressed in terms of
packaging and transferring Lifesign metadata and content for wider use and integration are quite distinct


                                                          18
from those defining interoperability of the associated content and metadata. The two possess significantly
different issues and solutions, requiring further work in this area. It is anticipated that further work will
both enhance the reuse of 5/99 projects more generally, as well as promote Lifesign and its content in a
location that may form a primary access point for those seeking learning support material. This is
described in detail in section 8.4.

6.2.4 Practical application of Lifesign Metadata to Resources

The work presented on Standards and Metadata (Appendix vii) has formed the basis for several further
areas of exploration by Lifesign.

Initially this took the form of a series of proposals for applying the metadata information across the
project with the aim of developing the metadata examples into real benefits for access to Lifesign
resources. These are presented in Appendix viii, entitled “Metadata Proposals”.

It is unfortunate that these specific examples, and the work on provision of detailed stream metadata,
could not be taken forward in this form. This was largely due to technical difficulties associated with
attaching metadata to the streams directly. In addition, the project timing associated with producing a
metadata format for the stream database records did not dovetail effectively with the development
schedule as required by the original project plan. This also means that integrated searching across
segment metadata for an individual or multiple stream(s) has not been able to be achieved as a part of this
area of Lifesign.

Nevertheless, metadata has been carefully documented for all of the project‟s rights cleared videostreams.
It was decided to make detailed cataloguing notes for each video within a Word document, including
descriptions at whole programme and segment level, information about producers, presenters, copyright
date etc taken from onscreen credits and keywords from standard vocabularies. It was intended that this
information could then be pasted into any future database or repository.

Production of stream metadata during the funded Lifesign cycle did allow effective extraction of specific
segments of streams selected by the evaluators working with academics for classroom use. Without this,
some potential interest that has been developed into Lifesign uptake would have been lost, through
rejected use of the streams on the basis of exact match for purpose or length.

We found several methods of enabling users to start playing at a timepoint after the start. As mentioned in
the evaluation case studies, use was made of ASX files (a small file of code that when run opens the
stream indicated in the file then starts and stops playing it ay specific points). It was also possible to use
Windows Media Player „marker points‟. These had certain limitations for resource discovery. Marker
points with associated text could be placed within the digitised video stream file. When the stream was
played a drop down menu appeared within Media Player showing the list of texts for the points, for
example

Plants exploiting animals, South America Acacia
Plants exploiting animals, New Guinea - Ant plant
Fungi - Bracket fungi, Oak

Clicking on one of these lines would jump the stream to the point at which that section started. These
marker points were useful, but they could only convey a limited amount of information. They did not give
a good picture of the structure of the intellectual content, for example not differentiating between a
segment and a sub-segment or indicating the duration of footage between marker points. Viewers needed
some instruction on how to use marker points, and using them in conjunction with a segment description
could be complicated. It involved stating the relevant marker points in the description, the viewer starting
the stream, finding and clicking on the correct starting marker then noticing when the end marker had
been passed and stopping the player.

Thus, although it was not possible to integrate metadata into the project website, it was considered
important to invest time in providing transcriptions and detailed visual descriptions. Many of the videos


                                                          19
did not come with any sort of transcript or shotlist describing on-screen action. The Shotlist series of
videos were accompanied by Word documents containing their video cover sleeve content, which gave
some indication of start times for topics as well as identifying target audience characteristics like level
and study area. The BBC series The Human Body and the programme Is GM Food Safe came with
combined transcripts and shotlists in Word documents. Those for The Private Life of Plants came as
paper documents which were converted to Word documents by a scanning and OCR process, and in
addition had lists of the numerous plant species featured giving common and Latin names.

The earliest materials used for cataloguing practice did not have accompanying material. It was soon
found to be easier to write a description and in particular decide how to divide the programme into
segments and sub-segments when some type of shotlist and/or transcript with timecodes was created. As
understanding was gained of the needs of the visually and hearing impaired, who would be most
disadvantaged by the use of audio-visual, it became obvious that transcripts and description of important
visual activity not mentioned in the commentary would be important resources for creating alternative
access methods.

So for every programme a timecoded description of action and a summary or verbatim transcript of the
commentary was created where it was not already available. Understandably this was quite a time
consuming activity. Where transcripts were already provided the segmenting and description process was
very quick and simple, with practically no need to view the video.

As well as these resource descriptions, two standard vocabularies were chosen as sources for keywords.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) was selected for its detailed coverage of the life sciences, reputable
source and use by other life sciences resource collections. It is available online in a browsable and
searchable format along with cataloguing guidelines and introductory material. MeSH seemed ideally
suited for most of the videos, with terms available even for specific nerves described in an anatomical
dissection. However work with The Private Life of Plants demonstrated it is less strong on plant species
and plant biology (for example, there is no term for pollination, the major topic of one of the
programmes). MeSH is revised annually and there are some indications that plant subjects may be
improved in the near future.

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) was selected for overall subject description and
interoperability with other library systems. The project officer was not familiar with the system and felt it
would be more profitable to concentrate first on applying terminology at a very detailed level from MeSH
and then learning about LCSH later to apply high level subject terms. This was not done before she left
the project. Given the potential use of MeSH within JORUM, and JORUM‟s preference for Dewey rather
than LCSH, our prioritisation was correct.

The project has continued to seek ways in which the streams contained in the Lifesign database and their
associated metadata can be linked. The emergence of a national materials repository provides an
opportunity for doing so, and forms the basis for those Lifesign development proposals being put in place
with the JISC-funded JORUM and JORUM+ project. As these opportunities lie outside the original
funded period of the project, the implications for Lifesign are described in the section below on Future
Priorities.

However, production of stream metadata during the funded Lifesign cycle does allow effective extraction
of specific segments of streams selected by the evaluators working with academics for classroom use.
Without this, some potential interest that has been developed into Lifesign uptake would have been lost,
through rejected use of the streams on the basis of exact match for purpose or length. In addition, without
production of materials as part of the project, there would be no base on which the JORUM work could
draw.




                                                          20
6.3 Technological solutions and issues

6.3.1 Streaming technologies

The technical aspects of the Lifesign project was built upon work under way at the University of
Portsmouth. Development work to support streaming media had been ongoing for three years, and as a
result, Lifesign was able to launch a website with active videostreams within three months. The
University of Portsmouth began its streaming service in 1997 with the implementation of video-on-
demand system called Netshow Theater. This Microsoft system was designed for use in hotels, hospitals,
and aircraft where network usage could be tightly controlled. It was based on MPEG1 streams and was
unsuited to the internet.

Initial success with this Microsoft product resulted in the early adoption of Windows Media over the rival
systems of Quicktime and Real. This decision to adopt Windows Media had less to do with a quality
comparison and more to do with the momentum generated by previous efforts. In retrospect, this was a
good decision as Windows Media has developed into a mature, reliable, and effective system. Each
system has its proponents, and there is no suggestion here that Windows Media is better than another.
However, it is clear that Windows Media has performed well for the Lifesign project.

After experiments with Netshow Theater, the Learning Media Development at Portsmouth implemented
another product from Microsoft confusingly called Netshow. This product was intended for streaming
across the internet where quality of service cannot be guaranteed. This implementation was successful
and found to be more appropriate for delivering high volumes of streaming content within the University
and across JANET. Like the rival systems, Netshow used highly compressed video delivered using loss-
tolerant protocols. This and other differences allowed Netshow to be effective across unreliable networks
in a way that would have been impossible using Netshow Theater. Netshow was re-branded by Microsoft
as Windows Media and implemented on a large scale for the Lifesign project.

During the technical phase, the Lifesign Project identified five significant issues that needed to be
addressed. The project had to build capacity to serve a large number of clients simultaneously. Related
to this, the project also had to achieve as high a level of reliability as possible. Anecdotal evidence had
shown that if a potential user experiences failure on first attempt, they seldom try again. The third issue
faced, at some Universities, was ensuring that the necessary software components were properly installed.
The fourth issue revolved around addressing the security concerns of network administrators and the final
issue relates to protecting intellectual property rights.

6.3.1.1 Building Capacity

Tests conducted prior to the Lifesign project by Learning Media Development at the University of
Portsmouth showed that each server could reliably deliver 200 individual broadband streams to 200
simultaneous users. When the number of users exceeded 230, the quality of each stream suffered and
requests from new users were rejected. In order to achieve the target capacity of 1000 simultaneous
users, a system of five redundant servers was proposed. These servers were custom built using standard,
low-cost components. This strategy of building low-cost servers in large numbers is in stark contrast to
the model used for web services. System administrators typically opt for high-spec systems often with
multiple processors and expensive disc arrays. This approach is often described as “scaling high.”
Lifesign choose to “scale wide,” where many low-cost servers in tandem deliver the capacity and
reliability required. (See appendix i for more information).

6.3.1.2 Building Reliability

Another reason for choosing to scale wide and not high is reliability. Server systems with few “single
points for failure” and a high degree of redundancy are generally considered most reliable. If any single
system fails, other servers are available to assume the load. This redundancy is a key feature of the
Windows 2000 server architecture. The Lifesign project successfully implemented some of these features
but not all.


                                                        21
At the core of Windows 2000 server is a technology called “Active Directory.” It is designed to replicate
critical network information across multiple servers so that if one server fails, the burden falls to others
without disruption. Active directory is designed for large enterprise networks where many thousands of
users must be authenticated to access network services. The Windows Media architecture is a small
subset of this system. Implementing this subset required a general understanding of Active Directory on
the enterprise level before it could be implemented effectively. This was an enormous endeavour – much
larger than anyone at Lifesign ever imagined.

Lifesign implemented an Active Directory domain, two domain controllers, two web servers, domain
name server and five Windows Media servers. This complex system of domain controllers was necessary
to implement the reliability features of Active Directory. Each media server held a directory of media
files that was duplicated automatically across the array using two windows services: Distributed File
Service and File Replication Service. DFS ensured that all media directories across the array could be
accessed as a single point. FRS ensured that all directories contained exactly the same media files. DFS
and FRS simplify the management of five media servers and ensure that each user, regardless which
server is delivering streams, receives exactly the same choice of content. Any video stream added to any
server is immediately replicated to all. This system provides reliability, capacity, and scalability.
Capacity can be increased through the simple addition of new, cloned servers.

When a user connects to Lifesign servers, they are allocated to one of the five servers using a DNS
function called “Round Robin.” The University of Portsmouth DNS server holds a list of Lifesign servers
and simply reads down the list as each request is made, directing each user to a different server. In this
way, demand is spread across the different servers.

A more appropriate solution is to use Clustering technologies that monitor server demand and spread this
demand across the array. Clustering also detects failures and redirects demand to the remaining servers.
Clustering is clearly a more appropriate solution and will be applied in any future deployment.

6.3.1.3 Client Software

Windows Media relies on the correct installation of three software components on clients‟ computers.
These components are core elements of all Microsoft operating systems beginning with Windows 98.
Therefore, software installation was not considered to be a problem until it became apparent that many
Universities had chosen to disable these elements of the operating system.

The Windows Media Player communicates directly with the servers to determine bandwidth, request
streams, and decode and display images. Lifesign services require player version 6.4 or greater.
Although this player is a standard component, it had been removed at some Universities for security
reasons. Network administrators often remove functionality for which a demand has not been established.
While this may be sound practice in a high-security environment, it has the consequence of stifling
innovation. It becomes impossible for Lifesign to promote streaming media when users are unable to
experience the benefits of a technology that has been disabled. They do not request it because they have
no knowledge of its value. At the University of Portsmouth, this issue was only solved satisfactorily at the
end of 2002.

A second software component is required for users of Netscape Communicator. Netscape does not
recognise the “mms” protocol used by Windows Media and therefore a plug-in is required. This plug-in
is automatically installed by the player installation software in standard machines. As with the player,
this function is often disabled by system administrators. As a consequence, many Netscape users within
HE were unable to view streams. This has been largely solved as users abandoned Netscape in favour of
Internet Explorer. It has also been solved through the proper installation of the plug-in where Netscape
remains the browser of choice.

The third group of software components required for playback of windows Media are CODECs
(compression-decompression algorithms). CODECs are software components that allow the player to
decode video streams. The player cannot decode video streams unless the appropriate CODEC is


                                                         22
installed. If these CODECs are not present, the Player automatically downloads and installs the necessary
CODEC from Microsoft. Again, network administrators often disable this functionality. The only
solution for this is to seek institution-level intervention to have the necessary CODECs installed.

6.3.1.4 Network security and firewalls

During the Lifesign project, many universities implemented firewalls to control the flow of data in and
out of their networks. Many firewall administrators were unaware of the requirements for streaming
media and blocked the protocols and ports required. The Lifesign project has worked with many
Universities to advise on the requirements for streaming media. Windows Media relies on the UDP
protocol to deliver streams. It also uses a large number of ports to deliver streams and to enable
communication between the client and server. If these ports are blocked, Windows Media defaults to the
standard protocol for web pages (http) over port 80. This fallback position is effective in delivering
streams, but users lose many of the benefits that are provided by the client-server dialogue including;
smart streaming to adjust bandwidth and increased reliability.

Most Universities now accept the importance of streaming media within a learning environment. Most
now support the installation of Windows Media Player and allow the free flow of media streams across
their firewalls. This change in attitude is partly attributable to the work of the Lifesign project. The
technical group at Portsmouth responded to numerous requests from other universities for information
regarding firewall configuration and software installation. These requests often came from lecturers who,
using the information we provided, found the necessary support within their institution to enable the
necessary facilities. This is undoubtedly one of the significant contributions of the Lifesign Project.

6.3.2 Web-based technologies

Windows Media is the primary web-based technology utilised by the Lifesign Project. However, it
became apparent very early in the project that in order to effectively deliver video streams and promote
the use of streaming media in HE, the Lifesign Project would require a sophisticated website and provide
numerous software tools. This website and tools were generated using HTML, ASP server side
programming, Java Script, Access database software and SQL. The result is a database driven website in
which users can search for titles and content, view streams, extract URLs for these streams, and choose
portions of streams for integration into online learning resources.

6.3.3   Development of user tools

The Lifesign site also includes tools that allow users to create and manage playlists of clips, arrange clips
into sequences, add additional data and links, and then publish custom web pages containing their data
and Lifesign streams. These tools bring a new level of sophistication to the site by allowing students and
lecturers to create highly specialised learning resources from generalist video streams. For instance, the
BBC series “The Human Body” follows a narrative intended for general audiences. The complete
programmes are not suitable for students in higher education; however, they contain sequences and
animations of exceptional quality and clarity. By using these tools, the user can create a playlist and then
add segments of any Lifesign programme to that playlist. Programmes can be restructured. New
collections can be created incorporating shots and sequences from many programmes. Once the playlist
is complete, the user publishes the list on the Lifesign server as a custom web page in which they can
include additional text, links, and even HTML code. Each published page has its own unique URL
providing students with direct access to the playlist. This facility allows all users to create custom web
pages incorporating video streams with absolutely no knowledge of web authoring.

6.3.4 VLE integration

Lifesign streams are intended to be easily integrated into virtual learning environments. Through the
tools described above, any user can generate URLs for entire programmes or segments within
programmes and insert these URLs into web pages, VLE pages, Word documents, Powerpoint, or e-mail.




                                                         23
6.4 Pedagogical evaluation

This evaluation report draws on analysis within the projects Materials Delivery Evaluation Report
(appendix xi). In addition, some analysis is common to recently published academic papers on wider
learning resources and streaming media issues (Shephard, 2003a; Shephard, 2003b; Calverley and
Shephard, 2003).

6.4.1 Evaluation methodology

Lifesign's adopted Evaluation Methodology is included within the appendix to this report. The work of
educational evaluators has become more elaborate and more comprehensive with the advent of the
learning technologies. A comprehensive analysis of this „new role‟ was developed by Alexander and
Hedberg in 1994 and this has become the blueprint for evaluation within Lifesign. In particular,
evaluators need to engage with the learning resources and with the potential application in order to help
the tutor (or learner–support team) identify what is good and not so good about the existing programme
and make suggestions for improvements. For most applications involving on-line resources the evaluation
must include an analysis of the skills and experience of the tutors and students as well as potential
constraints imposed by the accessibility and characteristics of the equipment. The process involves
activities that focus at the beginning (What could be done better? What innovation is likely to bring about
the desired outcome?) as much as those that occur at the end (Is the innovation producing the intended
learning outcome? Is the learning transferred beyond the immediate context of the innovation?)
(Calverley and Shephard, 2003; Shephard, 2003).Evaluation to this extent is not a simple process,
whether conducted by a professional evaluator or by the tutor. It is time-consuming and detailed. In most
expressions of interest considered by Lifesign, tutors could probably not find the time to attempt an
evaluation of this extent, with or without the assistance of Lifesign evaluators. Yet without in depth
evaluation it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from case studies or to contribute effectively to the
wider academic debate on the issues. Lifesign, and other streaming media evaluation studies, has had to
find many compromises.

There are well-recognised problems that have a bearing on the development of streamed resources
(Shephard, 2003a). Traditionally many aspects of taught programmes of study are poorly defined by
academics; the need for specific learning resources and definition of learning outcomes are particular
examples of this and they are often closely related. Streamed resources do need to be specifically
identified; linked to specific learning outcomes; and cross-linked to routine audits of prerequisite skills
and knowledge. The traditional problem is accentuated by the highly specific needs of on-line resources
for skills, equipment and learner support. Combinations of ambitious learning outcomes, inaccessible
learning resources and inadequate learner-support lead to significant problems for individual students
(Hara and Kling, 2000, http://www.slis.indiana.edu/csi/wp00-01.html; Slaouti, 2001) and potentially for
cohorts of students (McNaught, Whithear and Browning, 1999). Within the case studies described below,
some of the identified problems could have been avoided by paying significantly more attention to detail.
In some cases, however, even cursory audits of skills, equipment and support do identify sufficient doubt
about student skills and available infrastructure for the academic concerned to relegate streaming
resources to the „optional resources‟ category. The use of all resources within this category is notoriously
difficult to evaluate. Additional problems arise, even with the best methodology, when tutors fail to see
the benefits of comprehensive evaluation. Often put down to insufficient time to „develop, innovate and
evaluate‟ there are probably deeper issues involved. It is clear that some tutors are not comfortable with
the extent of reflection and analysis required for effective evaluation. (Flashlight Programme, 2002;
http://www.tltgroup.org/resources/Flashlight/FMO.html). In addition the scope of the required evaluation
is often underestimated. Many evaluations focus on „student perceptions‟ and fail to address the difficult
aspects of „implementation evaluation‟ so important to developments in learning technologies (Shephard,
2003b).

Two additional issues which may impact on the delivery of streaming video but for which opportunities
to evaluate were not available within the scope of this project are; an analysis of the relative costs and
benefits of delivering streaming resources and some issues surrounding the accessibility of the resources
(see also section 6.3).



                                                         24
6.4.2 Case studies

Several case studies contributed to this pedagogic evaluation. Case studies are described in full on the
Lifesign web site and in formal academic publications. Brief descriptions are given here with an analysis
in each case of the effectiveness of the streamed resources in supporting student learning. Formally-
evaluated applications are not the only evidence of the use of Lifesign resources. Lifesign partners have
received complimentary email from as far away as Fiji and we know that the URLs of Lifesign‟s streams
are given to students in lectures, on handouts and in reference lists. We have no way, however, to
evaluate either the delivery of the streams to students or their use in supporting student learning, without
the involvement and co-operation of academic staff. It was hoped that analysis of server web-logs would
give more information but these were not made available to the project‟s Evaluators for analysis in time
for this report.

Case Studies for evaluation were chosen following expressions of interest from academic staff. These
expressions themselves followed extensive promotional work by Lifesign partners, including promotional
material on the web site, promotional articles in LTSN publications, and personal appearances at
conferences and workshops. All Partners also provided specific promotional events within their own
institutions. Further details of user needs analysis are provided elsewhere in this report.



6.4.2.1 Case study: School of Applied Sciences, UWIC

The lecturer concerned was responsible for a practical class (21 students) in the first year of a BSc course
in Dietetics. The particular class was concerned with changes in blood pressure in response to postural
changes. A link to the video stream The Measurement of Blood Pressure The Measurement of Blood
Pressure (http://video.mdc.port.ac.uk/jisc/southampton/larkin/) was provided from the module content
delivered via Blackboard. In order to avoid any potential “ethical” issues regarding possible advantage /
disadvantage of receiving information by word of mouth, in written form or via a computer, students were
provided with all three forms of presentation. At the start of the practical class the methodology of
measurement was explained by the tutor, a handout was provided and students also watched the video
stream, which was then available throughout the session on a number of PCs. At the end of a two-hour
practical, students completed an on-line questionnaire regarding their responses to the streamed video.

Results; 90.5% of the students said that they had “enjoyed” the video. Some 60% of the students said that
they had prior knowledge of the technique but all of the students thought that the academic content was
clear and appropriate to the level at which they are studying. With reference to how they would prefer to
learn about the technique of measurement, 83% of the students said they would prefer to learn from a
tutor and 17% said they would prefer a written text. None of the students said they would prefer to learn
from the computer video stream alone. All of the students thought that both the visual and sound quality
were good and there were no problems with delivery of the video throughout the laboratory session.

Discussion; the video clip provides a useful source of instruction if available during a practical class.
Students reported that the content was: “Clear and easy to follow”. “It was a very helpful video because it
demonstrated very precisely what you had to do and the lady commentating explained in simple terms
what everything was.” “I thought that this video was good because it was very informative. I think that
it's good to know that I can refer to this kind of thing easily which is to do with my course.”

There is no doubt that the video is appropriate to the initial study of blood pressure measurement, and
certainly during this particular session there were no problems with delivery of the material over the web.
Two of the students also stated that they had viewed the video in their homes and were able to access the
material without any problem.




                                                         25
6.4.2.2 Case Study: The University of Glamorgan

The evaluation was undertaken with a group of six students studying a module on “The Management of
Pain” for the Diploma of Professional Practice at the University of Glamorgan. All the students were
qualified nurses and attended the college on one day per week.

Links to a number of video clips were provided via a virtual learning environment (Blackboard) as
supportive material to lectures and tutorials. The intention was that students could have access to the
material at any time and place that they wished, with respect to their personal programme of study.
Unfortunately, this was not possible due to the “restricted” nature of the clips. At a later stage students
were provided with the video clips on an unrestricted server and gained access by using their e-mail
addresses. This was a temporary measure in order to be able to progress an evaluation. However, due to
the timing of this provision, the students were visited at the university and then completed a paper-based
questionnaire in class, after viewing the above video stream.

Results; Analysis of the questionnaire showed that all students had enjoyed viewing the video stream,
even though they were qualified in the particular subject area and that the material was a reiteration of
knowledge, rather that novel information. All of the students felt that the material was at the “right level”
for the particular course. It was particularly interesting to note that, of the 67% of students who
responded, all said that they would rather have learned the material from a tutor rather than from
information presented via a computer.

With regard to access this particular group of students had a serious problem, all of them reporting that
they had found it impossible to access the information when remote from the University. Special
provision was made, at a very late stage, for these particular students to access the material but by this
time students had moved on in their study and incentive to attempt to view it was extremely low. This
resulted in a null response to an on-line questionnaire.

All of the students thought that the sound and visual quality of the video was “good”.

6.4.2.3 Case Study: University of Portsmouth

A lecturer in Pharmacy developed a WebCT course (including a URL link to the Lifesign streamed video
„Manipulating DNA‟) to accompany a series of lectures on Cellular Biochemistry and Genetics. The
lecturer evaluated student-use of these resources, using a paper questionnaire given to students during the
last lecture.

Results; of 163 students, 75 attended the lecture and 25 submitted the questionnaire. None of the
respondents had used the on-line resources and student tracking indicated that only seven students in total
had visited the site. Most respondents indicated that a lack of time was the major problem. The lecturer
also felt that students needed more training on how to access online resources. The lecturer was unable to
demonstrate the videos during the lectures, as the computers in the lecture room did not have Windows
Media Player installed. He felt that this was a major problem. More recently the same lecturer has
recommended the video 'Staying alive; a thoroughly modern microbe‟, again from within WebCT. Again
a disappointing proportion of students had used the on-line resources. The lecture felt that students
needed additional incentives to use online resources.

6.4.2.4 Case Studies: University of Southampton

Application 1. Learning to Measure Blood Pressure.

A lecturer in Social, Health & Behavioural Studies at the University of Southampton‟s New College
worked with the Lifesign team to produce a video stream
(http://video.mdc.port.ac.uk/jisc/southampton/larkin/) about how to measure blood pressure and used this,
as one of three learning resources, with second year students. Students used one of three different


                                                         26
resources as they learnt how to measure blood pressure: Written instructions (handout); A PowerPoint
slide presentation, incorporating video; A Streaming video.

After watching or reading the resource, students attempted to take blood pressure readings using a
stethoscope and sphygomomanometer. Finally, each student completed a questionnaire giving feedback
on: His or her opinion of the learning method; The blood pressure reading obtained and; Answers to
questions designed to test their learning.

In terms of the students‟ perceptions of ease and quality of learning, the handouts came out best and
streaming video worst. Just under half of the students found it difficult to carry out the procedure after the
learning, regardless of learning method. Students who learnt from the PowerPoint presentation gave more
incorrect answers than those using the other methods, but the average scores for all three groups was very
high.

Application 2 . Embedded video stream in a VLE for Nursing and Midwifery students.

The educational activity involved here is a first-year module on Life Sciences taught to student nurses.
The module ran over two semesters in the academic year 2001/2002 and involved over 700 students along
with a large group of academic and support staff. Three videos were „embedded‟ within the module‟s
Directed Learning Sessions by establishing hyperlinks, in Word documents, either to complete video
streams; or to segments of video via „asx redirector files‟. Extensive evaluation occurred. From just over
750 students, approximately 350 made some use of video streams, outside of face-to-face sessions, and at
least 265 confirmed that they enjoyed this learning resource.
There were some problems. The need for students to acquire skills was a difficult issue. Streamed video
was embedded within Directed Learning Sessions in a way that was thought not to require specific
„video‟ skills. Nevertheless receiving streamed video on a computer was a new experience for most
students. Support staff observed that some students did not appreciate that there would be a time delay
between clicking on a link and receiving the video; they assumed that access to the video was not
possible. Anticipation of this delay was a „skill‟ that needs to be taught. A similar problem arose where
„buffering‟ of incoming streaming video does not keep pace with playing; the video stops for a few
seconds. Students occasionally assumed that there was a fault and did not wait for the video to resume.
The problem was compounded where videos were divided into short segments. Students watched each
segment but occasionally thought that video segments had „crashed‟, when in fact they had simply
stopped where they should have. Written instructions were provided to clarify these problems but they do
indicate the need for students to acquire a range of skills to view streaming video.

Video was streamed by the Lifesign project with high levels of reliability. There were server crashes but
these were rare. This, however, disguises an underlying problem. Student access to video streams was not
via the Lifesign web-page but via hyperlinks embedded in Word documents supported in a Blackboard
environment. As Lifesign implemented its „authorisation and authentication‟ programme it changed the
URL of videos used in the Nursing applications. As a result video, always available via the Lifesign web-
site became temporarily unavailable via Blackboard. These errors were rectified rapidly but point to
underlying problems in evaluating the use of resources supplied by projects, themselves undergoing
development. This provides evidence for the need to have a „development server/platform‟ and a
„production/delivery server/platform‟ to ensure that evaluated applications are not disrupted by project
development.

An additional problem related to the availability of video streams outside of University networks. In an
attempt to conform to copyright licensing restrictions, Lifesign implemented IP-address-restriction,
partway through the module, so that only users in UK Higher Education could access the video streams.
Only students actually using computers with IP addresses registered to HE institutions were able to access
„The Human Brain In Situ‟ and „Endocrine System - The Human Body Series‟. Students trying to access
these videos „at home‟ via a modem were refused access, unless linked to the internet via a remote „dial-
up‟ facility. The issues inherent within this restriction are considered elsewhere in Lifesign‟s Final
Report.




                                                          27
Throughout the module, Academic Staff kept the Evaluator informed about their concerns and reflections
on their use of streaming video to support student learning. In general Academic Staff remained
enthusiastic about both the potential for streaming video to support learning and its ongoing reality. Staff
expressed enthusiasm for the quality of the videos identified and used. They were happy about the
processes of embedding the video streams in Directed Learning Sessions and were happy to be
researching into the use of streaming video to support student learning. They were also balanced in their
feedback to the Evaluator and did say when the use of streaming video was not working. One quote from
a „reflective email‟ will illustrate the point and provides information that relates to the data on student
access to, and use of, the resources. “I spoke to my class yesterday and asked specifically about the video.
Those students who were able to access it thought it was very useful.... (but)…. It was commonly
reported as fragmented, far too slow or it crashed. About 50% of my class said they tried to access it and
gave up...that's not good.”

The results do suggest that streamed video can contribute to useful resources to support learning by
student nurses but, for a variety of reasons, it may not appeal or be adequately accessible to all students at
present. (Green et al 2003).

This application of streaming video took place within the context of a pilot module designed to evaluate
the use of Blackboard and individual learning routes. The module was extensively evaluated, the results
disseminated within the School and interpreted in relation to the School‟s own e-Learning Strategy. The
module, together with its Streamed videos and Directed Learning Sessions was maintained in the
following year. This case study gave rise to an additional evaluative element; that of dissemination
beyond the immediate context of the innovation. This is an important element of the Lifesign Evaluation
Methodology. In this case there were several examples of migration of the use of streaming. Lecturers
within the School who did not use streaming video within the Pilot Module began to experiment with it
and subsequently used „Staying Alive‟ and „Cystic Fibrosis‟ in their own teaching the following year.
These are arguably the most important evaluative elements in the project; where properly supported,
evaluated and disseminated within an academic stetting, streaming video as a learning resource is
sufficiently beneficial to become embedded within a learner support programme.

Application 3. Video stream embedded in lecture presentations for student nurses.

A streamed video on Cystic Fibrosis was shown within a lecture for student nurses. The video was used
to reinforce the technical content of the lecture by providing a 'real patient' context to the genetic and
biochemical theory. The value of the video as a learning resource was identified by the lecturer and, at
first, it was described as „recommended viewing‟ to the students. On this occasion there was no way to
ensure that students did view the video (any more than to ensure that they read recommended texts). On
the next occasion the URL for the video was embedded within a PowerPoint presentation, used within the
lecture, and streamed via a video projector to the audience. The video takes 20 minutes and was used at
the end of the 50-minute lecture. It was hoped that the video would allow students to re-examine the
information provided in the earlier presentation in the context made possible by „video‟. The video
worked very well. In a subsequent lecture the activity was not so successful. The lecture started late (due
to the previous occupants of the lecture room „running over‟), the video projector developed a fault (that
needed correction part way through the lecture) and the video stream „froze‟ half-way through. By this
time the lecture period was nearly over and there was insufficient time to restart the video. The lecturer
considered that enough was shown to enthuse motivated students to access the video in their own time.

Application 4. Streaming „Back Care for Health Professionals‟

The subject of this case study is a two-part video, Back Care for Health Professionals, which the
University of Southampton, in conjunction with the National Back Pain Association, produced in 1998.
Since its production the video recording has been used to support learning on a variety of undergraduate
and postgraduate/registration courses, including Degrees in Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy,
Nursing and Midwifery, and the Post-Registration Foundation Programme in Basic Moving and
Handling. Data from the 2001/2 cohort of undergraduates in the School of Health Professions and
Rehabilitation Sciences suggested that for a majority the conventional video played a useful role in
enhancing their learning and helping them prepare for their practical examination. Since access to the


                                                          28
video was somewhat problematic for a substantial minority, it was decided to stream it to enhance further
its contribution to student learning.

The reengineering/digitisation/streaming process was completed in June 2002 and video streams were
subsequently embedded in a learning resource to facilitate student engagement with the material.
Evaluation of its use by participants on the Post-Registration Basic Moving and Handling Course
highlighted some outstanding issues. One of these is ease of access. Unless students can access video
streams more easily than conventional videos then their potential as a learning resource is unlikely to be
fully realised. Ideally, this means access at home, but until Broadband is more extensively available
access via a public work-station is the most feasible option. To enable this, but still restrict access to bona
fide users, a flexible system for authorisation and authentication needs to be adopted. There is also a
pressing need for a CIT equivalent of the UK Libraries Plus Scheme. This would provide „reciprocal
arrangements‟ whereby students from one institution are given access to resources in another. However,
overcoming problems of access is only a necessary not a sufficient condition for effective learning from
video streams. Equal attention needs to be given to pedagogic issues. In the case of the back care video,
the most important of these relate to:-

the accuracy and contemporaneity of the content;
the availability of electronic guides/tutors by the side;
the provision of formative feedback; and
the means of confirming and celebrating learning.

The case study is described in more detail on the LIFESIGN web site.

6.4.3 Impact on student learning and on wider aspects of learner support.

These case studies collectively „paint a picture‟ of tentative experimentation with streaming video by
enthusiastic individuals generally without the broadly-based institutional integration typical of more
established learning resources. They were all heavily dependent on support from the Lifesign Project.
These cases do suggest that streaming video can have a significant impact on student learning but they
also emphasise limitations in delivery, in evaluation and in staff time to innovate. In a broader sense they
have much in common.

   They demonstrate enthusiasm from some academic staff towards experimenting with new learning
    resources.
   They report significant enthusiasm from students. Cases do emphasise the extent to which students,
    generally, support academic‟s experimentation with new learning resources.
   They involved additional work by academic staff and additional support by project staff. All result
    from collaborative „teamwork‟ from a wide range of professions but not necessarily from
    conventional institutional support structures.
   None of them report on the use of streaming video as if it were a „mainstream‟ learning resource.
    Cases indicate that lecturers are experimenting with new resources and do not wish, or trust, video
    streams and related activities to replace conventional learning opportunities. Rather they are looking
    for learning resources that could support learning in situations where conventional resources may not.
   Most of these applications were probably not „cost-effective‟ in the short term. In strict financial
    terms it is unlikely that the combinations of „additional academic work‟, additional support‟ and an
    „optional resource‟ could ever be truly cost-effective
   In all cases it is difficult to see clear evidence for substantial educational improvement over more
    conventional educational opportunities. Such clear evidence would probably require more substantial
    and probing evaluation than was possible in these cases.
   All cases exist in „blended‟ learning situations; where on-line resources support face-to-face
    activities.
   They generally report some technical difficulties but go on to describe how these were overcome or
    why they were accepted. In general, cases do demonstrate that applications anticipated the range of
    technical problems that streaming would introduce and either successfully avoided them or
    accommodated to them.



                                                            29
6.4.4 An Analysis of User Needs

We referred elsewhere to our needs analysis process in the context of resource identification and
prioritisation, to which it is closely related. From an evaluation perspective, this process operated with
some success in this project. The project started to develop a resource-base almost entirely dependent on
our ability to acquiring licenses to stream video in HE. (The Shotlist collection was an important and
essential milestone here). This enabled us to promote steaming video, but most importantly, show staff
who had expressed an interest what was possible. Enthused staff then were in a position to identify their
needs. Lifesign's response was to research and produce a content delivery report that could inform the
tutor about the video programmes currently available, those that could become available and time (or
financial) constraints. This Needs Analysis Cycle and related Content Delivery Report proved very
important in Southampton's Nursing application; not just in the development of the resource, nor just in
linking the resource to staff needs, but most importantly in convincing potentially sceptical tutors that the
Lifesign Project could respond to their needs and deliver learning resources. This was a confidence-
boosting process as much as anything else. Users definitely need this confidence boosted at every
available opportunity. For this project, as with many others, an initial user expression of interest proved
to be the starting point for successful support.




                                                          30
7. Key Findings
7.1 Content

   Content acquisition has undoubtedly been more successful than we had anticipated. However, it must
    be noted that the process was not at all easy. The process of identifying programmes and then
    acquiring licenses was complex and difficult. We had assumed that video was widely in use in the
    teaching of life sciences and therefore the identification of content could be easily accomplished by
    consulting with the users – lecturers. The consultation process yielded very little information. Few
    lecturers responded to our numerous queries and those that did indicated little use of video. As a
    consequence, the Lifesign team conducted its own research to identify appropriate content. Secondly,
    Lifesign was working in uncharted waters. License holders were universally uneasy about
    distributing their content in this way. Concerns were expressed about the ability of users to download
    programmes and distribute these illegally. There were also concerns about the security of the servers
    and the effectiveness of authentication systems. This complex mix of licensing and security
    compounded the problems faced by the project.

   In total, sixty-two programmes were provided on the project site for use in UK higher education.
    Fifty-one programmes were available for free to use in UK further and higher education. In
    conjunction with two distributors, the Lifesign project has made fourteen programmes available for
    free to anyone with a computer and modem, anywhere in the world.

   Payment for content delivery via streaming was a venture into uncharted territory.

   In total seventy-seven percent of the content for UK higher and further education was paid for by the
    Lifesign project, from funds allocated for licensing. Twenty-three percent of the content has been
    provided to the Lifesign project without charge from the rights holders.

   Although the project bore the costs of content provision, this financial model proved inherently short-
    termist since neither we nor JISC had a continuation strategy beyond the period for which rights
    clearance had been obtained. Future content development in HE and FE will need to explore
    alternative models, including those that pass on costs to stakeholders.


   The project has gone some way to showing producers and rights holders that a number of their fellow
    producers and distributors - including and importantly the BBC - are now willing to allow
    programmes to be hosted / distributed on the internet and used in higher and further education.


7.2 Technology

   With regards to the technology, the key finding is that streaming media is a mature technology. It
    works, is as reliable as any other online technology, and is therefore an appropriate choice of medium
    to facilitate learning in higher education. There were many concerns voiced at the beginning of the
    project (see below) which have been shown to be unfounded. The technological implementation of
    Lifesign has been low-cost, reliable, and had minimal impact on other forms of network usage.

   Concerns over the technology of streaming fall into the following broad areas:

   Cost: Conventional wisdom at the time that the Lifesign project began held that the cost of
    delivering moving images to the desktop would be high. Feasibility studies at the University of
    Portsmouth and elsewhere suggested costs approaching one million pounds. However, advances in
    software, hardware, and networking have shown that effective streaming can be achieved with
    minimal costs. One example is evident in the design of servers used for the project. Conventional
    wisdom at the time held that servers must be complex systems incorporating storage arrays and
    multiple processors. These systems are inherently expensive and unnecessary. Lifesign achieved
    high capacity and reliability using systems costing a fraction of conventional servers.

                                                        31
   Network Usage: IT departments at Portsmouth and elsewhere voiced concern that streaming media
    would overwhelm networks saturated with traffic. This never occurred, partly because usage of the
    system has not been enormous. But perhaps more importantly, streaming media technologies are
    designed to have minimal impact on network traffic. Video and audio are compressed to such a high
    degree using new CODECs that the quantity of data is small. Secondly, streaming media servers, in
    this case Windows Media, are designed to minimise impact on other traffic by delivering controlled
    and uniform data streams across the network. Typical network usage results in spikes of data as users
    make requests of the servers. Streaming media does not produce spikes, and as a result tends to
    trickle along in the background attracting little notice. Overall bandwidth usage across a network is
    almost exactly the sum of all streams in use. Overhead is low and data spikes are nonexistent.

   Reliability: The Lifesign project has experienced numerous technical difficulties and challenges.
    However, most of these related to design issues, authentication and authorisation, firewall
    configuration, local software installation, and website management. Windows Media technologies per
    se performed reliably and consistently, although, as we note elsewhere in this report, effectiveness in
    terms of delivery to end users is usually constrained by under-developed institutional infrastructure.
    The conclusion is that streaming media is as reliable as any other web-based service. 100% reliability
    can never be achieved, however, streaming media performs with comparable effectiveness to other
    forms of web-based delivery.

7.3 Evaluation

Lifesign case studies collectively „paint a picture‟ of tentative experimentation with streaming video by
enthusiastic individuals generally without the broadly-based institutional integration typical of more
established learning resources. These case studies do suggest that streaming video can have a significant
impact on student learning but some also emphasise limitations in delivery, in evaluation and in staff time
to innovate. Key issues are;

   The infrastructure to support staff and student use of video streams is only slowly developing within
    UK institutions and it is probably not keeping pace with technological advances. Until academics can
    anticipate the presence of Internet links and video projectors in teaching rooms, and support for
    innovative learner-support, they are unlikely to work seriously with streamed videos as learning
    resources.
   The technological possibilities are changing far more rapidly than staff awareness, willingness, and
    ability to use them. The use of streamed video to support student learning is new and relatively
    „untried‟ and academics are naturally reluctant to rely too heavily on it.
   The UKs copyright legislative framework is not currently providing a supportive environment for
    educational experimentation with streaming video.

       One School at Southampton has a well-structured e-Learning Strategy and a commitment to
developing on-line learning resources to support diverse students. Its staff are highly motivated to
innovate and there is substantial support and encouragement for academic staff who wish to develop
innovative approaches to learner support. In these conditions, one case study demonstrates that streaming
video can make a significant and maintained impact on the learning of some students.


7.4 Metadata

Although the provision of metadata was an integral part of the project plan, the emergence nationally of
widely adopted standards, and the technical infrastructure with which to exploit them, happened only
gradually during the project. Projects such as Lifesign would clearly have been more effective had other
elements of the „information environment‟, particularly in the areas of interoperability and reusability,
been more mature. Nevertheless, Lifesign‟s own key findings on metadata serve as a contribution to this
evolving environment:




                                                        32
   Lifesign found that the Dublin Core and IMS metadata schema were suitable for the type of resources
    being provided by the project and would maximise the potential for interoperability.
   Implementations of these were documented, including how the various elements might be represented
    to an end-user in an information retrieval system. This enabled us to experiment with the presentation
    of different views of metadata. Our particular requirement was for a content-centred display, with one
    display record showing all versions of the video content. This was at variance with metadata
    standards which take a file-centred perspective (one record per digitised file).
   A key issue for moving image metadata was found to be that of granularity, particularly the level of
    description required to identify and retrieve specific segments of an entire video, and the relationship
    between metadata for a whole stream and its parts. The project documented various ways of
    implementing segment metadata within general descriptions of whole videos which are relevant to
    Dublin Core or IMS based records.
   Metadata creation was provider-centred (either derived from the source provider or project staff), but
    as end-user tools developed for defining the start and end points of clips, there are issues for the
    community about decentralisation and ownership of metadata, and its re-purposing.


7.5 Project management

The roles of the respective partners of the Lifesign project were defined in the project plan, which
adopted a „workpackage‟ approach. The milestones and deliverables in each workpackage were regularly
monitored via meetings of the Steering Group (c.f. minutes on the project website). Certain lessons from
this approach may be relevant to other projects:

   The workpackage approach at times influenced project partners to focus too narrowly on their
    individual objectives. The relationships between workpackage activities, and how they impacted on
    each other, were sometimes obscured.
   This occasional lack of common ownership of objectives had a tendency to exacerbate the „fault
    lines‟ of competing priorities which were inherent in the project. In the case of Lifesign, this was
    most apparent in the natural tension between the production and evaluation strands of the project.
   Other than the need for effective communication in projects, the key finding is for project managers
    to remain flexible about determining the framework in which objectives are expressed.




                                                         33
8. Future priorities
8.1 Content and Service Delivery

   Lifesign has established an effective service that is of value in the Higher Education community in
    two ways. It provides national access to a substantial collection in the life sciences. Secondly, it
    provides the academic community with unsurpassed tools for easy integration of moving images into
    online learning. Lifesign project hopes to continue offering this service beyond the end date of April
    1, 2003. This service is in use by students and Lecturers across the UK and it is felt that maintaining
    this service is essential so that users can have confidence in the use of video for online learning.
    Removing the content at this time could be catastrophic to users who have invested the time and
    effort to incorporate Lifesign streams into online learning. It is hoped that additional funding can be
    secured to continue providing a “test-bed” for academics interested in experimenting with streaming
    media.

   Lifesign had proposed that existing licenses be extended until March 2006 using residual funds in the
    Lifesign budget, but it was not felt appropriate to use resources in this way. However, project
    partners will seek additional funding to enable the project to continue to grow and to explore the
    integration of content and delivery within a national information environment. Opportunities exist for
    the acquisition of new content through sponsorship and grants. There are also opportunities for the
    project to extend its reach beyond the UK and to deliver streaming media to Europe, Asia, Africa, and
    many developing nations.

   As section 6.1.1 seeks to demonstrate there is a complex interaction between user requirements,
    content development and critical mass. Thus we recommend the development of content which is
    user-oriented and takes into account the human and technological constraints of developing and
    maintaining such resource services.

8.2 Technology

The pace of change in streaming technologies is enormous. These changes have, in three years, yielded
significant improvements in quality and reliability. Improvements in the software used to develop and
deliver streaming media in web pages has also provided new tools for online learning. There is enormous
potential to adopt these changing technologies and deliver more effective and more flexible learning
materials across the globe for an increasing number of users. To achieve this, there will need to be further
investment in facilities and staff time to develop and implement solutions. These are currently defined as
the following:

   Windows Media 9. Windows Media 9 provides a new plateau for reliability and flexibility not
    possible with current technologies. Windows Media 9 has many improvements in picture quality
    while minimising bandwidth usage. It also supports high-quality DVD and digital cinema standards
    which would be appropriate for some areas of medical and arts education. Implementing this
    technology will require new licenses and staff time to upgrade existing systems. It will also require
    the re-encoding of existing content to harness the new potential.
   Windows Server 2003. The Lifesign project relied on a basic implementation of Server 2000. This
    implementation does not take advantage of all the facilities available for enhancing reliability, such as
    clustering. Rather than modify the existing systems, it makes more sense to implement the new
    server technologies as these are designed for increased reliability in areas such as clustering, backup,
    and authentication. Server 2003 is essential for delivering Windows Media 9. Moreover, it will be
    important to explore ways of increasing capacity by supporting additional servers at other UKERNA
    sites.
   Encryption, Authentication and Authorisation. One of the most important advantages of
    streaming media is the ability to deliver learning content at a distance. The Lifesign Project was only
    partly able to achieve this because of concerns over authentication and authorisation. The project
    decision was to limit access to workstations connected to the Joint Academic Network (JANET). This
    prevented access to students studying at home or other remote locations. Windows Media provides
    numerous tools for the encryption of streams and the creation and management of licenses. These

                                                         34
    tools allow rights owners to control access and use of streams. Any future continuation of the
    Lifesign project should apply these tools so that streams can be made available to users not directly
    connected to JANET.
   End-user software tools There is an ongoing need for software development to harness new
    potential for interactivity and integration with learning resources.

8.3 Evaluation

The evaluation studies in Lifesign suggest that the following are important developmental needs;

   As mentioned in the previous section, Lifesign‟s present methods of authorisation and authentication
    (based on institutional IP address ranges) have been shown to be insufficient to meet the needs of the
    UK‟s lifelong learning; work-based learning; and widening participation agendas. Conventional
    campus-based and placement students also need to access learning resources off-campus, without the
    constraint of university dialup provision. Mechanisms exist to handle this, but have not been explored
    due to technical resource constraints. If implemented they need to be evaluated in real learning
    applications.
   There is a need to produce more „user-friendly‟ ways for academics, or learning technologists, to
    develop play-lists, and other devices, to link on-line learning activities to on-line segments of video.
    Lifesign has produced potential useful facilities for users to create subsets of videos and has
    developed a structured database for storing user-defined clips. However, these and other
    developments need to be evaluated in real learning applications.
   Further development of the integration of streaming resources into library catalogues is required. If
    developed this needs to be evaluated in real learning environments.
   Lifesign needs to work with others to promote „version compatibility‟ in software.
   An analysis of the relative costs and benefits of streaming resources.


8.4 JORUM+ Implications for Dissemination of Lifesign Content and Improving Re-use of
Project Outputs

The Lifesign project has made significant progress in three parallel areas related to the effective provision
of streaming video within the Life Sciences. These are: in setting the groundwork for the integrated areas
of stream and delivery metadata, stream procurement and delivery, and educational evaluation of the
streams. Unexpectedly, the project conceptually demonstrated that it is possible to develop these areas to
a relative stage of advancement without truly broaching integration. This suggests that so far, even with a
good understanding of the complexities involved in developing integrated areas, provision for integration
has been insufficient for co-ordinated binding of these three areas to occur.

This is due in part to the necessary alignment of requirements of the three development schedules, that
comprise the various parts of the project. For each to arrive at a sufficient stage of development to allow
integration into a full trial service, has required the full duration of the project. In recognition of the need
for such groundwork and the project‟s role in this area, Lifesign has continued to work towards providing
a strong base from which to extend these areas as part of future development. This work has included
development of tools for users, examining the issues for integrating metadata with streams, and ways of
presenting streams for better educational adaptation and recognition. Related issues inherent in
educational evaluation of the streams have also been raised.

However, to be able to successfully implement all significant developments to date, would require
significant re-development of the project software delivery mechanisms. Under current funding
circumstances, this is impractical. Such a venture would require further planning for a structured longer-
term re-development phase, to include a further formal iteration of project delivery systems development,
and with a view to providing a full service delivery environment.

As a consequence, Lifesign has therefore retained a watching brief for potential adaptations, technical
developments, and openings relating to changes in sector working. This may allow identification of
alternative routes for maximising the potential from these developments, while they remain less

                                                           35
integrated within the project systems than might have been hoped. It should be noted that although
provision for integration was made from early on in the project, this was not a core objective with in the
original project brief. Instead, this was identified by Lifesign as a key need developing from initial work
when polling potential project users. This understanding was further extended during project development
iterations, and linked to investigation for improving the effectiveness (and subsequently wider
application) of project deliverables.

The advent of the JORUM+ project may therefore be a mechanism for re-considering how the three major
Lifesign development areas might be re-integrated. This offers an opportunity to review issues relating to
Lifesign content storage and preservation, and to link these into those areas of Educational Standards that
apply specifically to the handling of content and metadata. As the JORUM becomes recognised as a
point-of-entry for locating relevant educational content, dissemination of Lifesign material through its use
should also potentially be extended.

The main issue for Lifesign in presenting content in a form suitable for JORUM, is the complexity of
presenting its richness in a self-explanatory way via a third party interface. This is hard enough when
considering the streams and metadata alone, yet bearing in mind the dissemination role of content
presented through the JORUM route, it is equally important to consider how supporting information may
be provided on the way the content might be used in an educational setting. Merely providing access to
the content on its own, especially in a period where the medium is still considered as “emerging” within
an educational context, is unlikely to result in greatly improved uptake for the project. In turn, this means
reduced return on what is potentially a significant effort for LifeSign to create appropriate exemplars, that
would facilitate deposit of access points for educational use of all key Lifesign material. These would be
needed, as this work is unlikely to be able to be carried out in its entirety using existing project staff who
familiar with the material and its potential.
Due to the limited duration of the Lifesign project, and the expiry of the project officer posts, it is
unrealistic for Lifesign to expect to be able to provide a full range of access points and material for all of
its streams. It is however realistic to select one or more key streams for which the majority of data types
are held (metadata types, evaluation and use cases, background information) and to produce a series of
exemplars of how content can be presented in various forms of granularity. These would then need to be
reviewed in light of:

   the deposit mechanisms within the JORUM repository systems, xTensis and Intrallect
   their practicality in terms of offering the streams and related project data as a learning resource
   ability to include an expiry date on the object (object termination) where all or some material is
    licence limited (related unlicenced material within an object would be unaffected )

It is anticipated that the most granular resources easily produced en-masse will be the least useful, that is,
a base record to each whole-stream URL with no further information. In effect, such presentation would
bypass even the basic record information and support levels, as supplied within the Lifesign selection
interface. The most granular resource, which is a stream segment, could also be supplied this way, but
would result in a huge number of (albeit practically useful) individual resource fragments, with the
proportional scaling in production time.

Instead, ways to combine stream record metadata (which is not the same as the basic record information
as supplied within the Lifesign selection interface), appropriate bandwidth stream access via URL, and
stream segment information will be sought. This will present an interesting and potentially “lucrative”
exercise for Lifesign stream reuse, as currently there is no technical mechanism available within Lifesign
to integrate this material effectively. Where additional learning information is available for a stream, such
as a case study or accompanying exercises, reference or access to this may be included within the learning
object. It may also be sensible to include objects that specifically offer material guidance on
implementation of the medium within learning, or even to include this with each resource reference.

It is anticipated that these models could then easily be extended by a JORUM+ or other appointed JISC
project officer to create equivalent access material for the remaining Lifesign streams for deposit within
the JORUM+ systems. It is also anticipated that documentation would be produced to explain the
selection and technical processes relating to exemplar design.


                                                          36
8.5 The use of streaming video in learning and teaching: a research agenda

Our most important recommendation here is to encourage academic staff to experiment more with
streaming video. This experimentation requires the development and implementation of a research agenda
for the use of streaming video to support learning and teaching. This has been considered by Shephard
(2003) from which the following is an extract;

·   The academic community needs to record and communicate how streaming video is used in specific
    cases; documentation and communication of case studies is probably a necessary component of this
    action.
·   The effectiveness of each application would also be useful information and itself entirely dependent
    on submission of the application to educational evaluation. Evaluation, of the kind recommended by
    Stake (1967), or Alexander and Hedberg (1994) would assess the broad „environment‟ of the
    application and identify its key attributes.
·   To yield useful data, some formal description of a research methodology and its associated research
    tools is a great advantage. „What changes are proposed‟ and „how can their effect be measured‟ are
    simple elements of research design.
·   To move forwards, some element of „experimentation‟ in the use of streaming video is probably
    necessary. Experimentation is a broad concept but in general it involves an element of risk that the
    innovation might not work.
·   An obligation to communicate the results of an application would also form part of a research
    agenda.

Although such elements seem to be desirable they may be difficult to achieve in practice. Many academic
staff, despite being enthusiastic and devoted supporters of learning, are not inclined to evaluate their
taught- programme or report stages in the development of their teaching expertise (Flashlight Programme,
2002; http://www.tltgroup.org/resources/Flashlight/FMO.html). The need for robust „evidence of
effectiveness‟ was emphasised by the USA‟s Expert Panel on Educational Technology‟ whilst
establishing a „Framework for Quality in Educational Technology Programs‟ (Confrey, Sabelli and
Sheingold, 2002). A further fundamental problem lies in the high rate at which the technology changes.
Maintaining a balanced and functional research agenda in the face of such change would probably
frustrate academics in any discipline.

Other elements of a research agenda are less obvious but will be important. Streaming media provide
opportunities for conventional learning resources to integrate with new computer-based learning tools and
approaches. Video, for example, can transform from an essentially narrative medium into an adaptive
medium once „liberated‟ within an IT environment (Laurillard, 1995) and offers opportunities for
learner/learning resource/teacher interaction and the establishment of exploratory-learning approaches at
a level previously not possible (Simms, 1999). Opportunities such as these beg a range of significant
research questions that are in danger of going un-asked and un-answered if the academic community does
not establish an adequate research environment to follow and direct the evolution of streaming video as it
supports student learning.




                                                        37
9. Dissemination
Promoting Lifesign and moving images

Lifesign recognised the value of the LTSN Centres, particularly those for Bioscience and for Health
Science & Practice, as an infrastructure for gaining access to the academic community. In the early stages
of the project this link was a useful conduit for dissemination of and online questionnaire about using
moving images in learning and teaching. As the project progressed the LTSN was important in raising
awareness of Lifesign activities in newsletter publications and conferences, and in their resource packs for
new lecturers.

All project members were active in dissemination. The following is a note of some of the main activities
and dissemination outputs. A full bibliography is included as an appendix.

Jeremy Atkinson, „Digitising moving images: national and local perspectives‟, JUGL Seminar on
Digitisation in Practice, London, January 2001. http://bubl.ac.uk/org/jugl/digitisation2001/present.html

Andrew Dalgleish, „The Lifesign Project‟, WHELF/HEWIT Colloquium, Gregynog, May 2001.

' Video resources for the academic community; responding to enthusiasts or providing a critical mass of
material'. panel session at ALT-C, Edinburgh 2001.

John Mahoney, „Lifesign delivers moving images for learning in the life sciences‟, Media Online Focus
(5), October 2001.

William Garrison, „Video streaming into the mainstream‟, Journal of Audiovisual Media in Medicine,
vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 174-178.

John Mahoney, „Lifesign Project‟, in BMJ Hermans and JT Goldschmeding (eds.), Streaming Video in
Hoger Onderwijs‟, SURF, pp40-42

Presentation at a meeting of the Standing Conference for Heads of Media Services (SCHOMS), Bangor

Collaboration with the TLTP Diverse project which sought to encourage the wider integration of video
within learning, teaching and assessment by promoting the self-production of videos by staff and
students.

Andrew Dalgleish, „The Use of Networked Moving Images for Learning and Teaching: the Lifesign
Project‟, Internet Librarian International: collected presentations, London, UK, 18-20 March 2001,
Medford, N.J., Information Today, 2002, p. 30.

John Mahoney and Andrew Dalgleish, Presentation to the Society of Experimental Biologists, 10th April
2002, University of Swansea.

Andrew Dalgleish, demonstration to Jenny Randerson, AM (Assembly Minister for Culture, Sport and the
Welsh Language), University of Glamorgan, February 11th 2002.

„Pilot web project nets BBC science shows‟, Times Higher Education Supplement, 21st June 2002

Shephard KL (2003a) Questioning, promoting and evaluating the use of streaming video to support
student learning, British Journal of Educational Technology (in press).

Shephard KL (2003b), 'Integrating national initiatives and local developments; Streaming Video to
support Nurse Education in the UK' in Winds of change in the sea of learning. Proceedings of the 19th
Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education..Unitec,
Auckland New Zealand. (In press).



                                                         38
Green S, Voegeli D, Harrison M, Phillips J, Knowles J, Weaver M and Shephard K. (2003) Evaluating
the use of streaming video to support student learning in a first-year life sciences course for student
nurses. Nurse Education Today (In press)




                                                        39
References

Alexander S and Hedberg J (1994) Evaluating technology based learning; Which model? In: K Beatie, C.
McNaught and S. Wills (eds) Multimedia in education; designing for change in teaching and learning.
pp233-244 Amsterdam. Elsevier (1994)

Calverley GJ and Shephard KL (2003). Assisting the uptake of on-line resources: why good learning
resources are not enough (in preparation)

Confrey J, Sabelli N and Sheingold K (2002) A Framework for Quality in Educational Technology
Programs. Educational Technology 42 (3), 7-20

Flashlight Programme (2002) http://www.tltgroup.org/resources/Flashlight/FMO.html

Green S, Voegeli D, Harrison M, Phillips J, Knowles J, Weaver M and Shephard K. (2003) Evaluating
the use of streaming video to support student learning in a first-year life sciences course for student
nurses. Nurse Education Today (In press)

Hara N and Kling R (2000) Students‟ Distress with a Web-based Distance Education Course: An
Ethnographic Study of Participants' Experiences http://www.slis.indiana.edu/csi/wp00-01.html

Laurillard D. 1995 Multimedia and the changing experience of the learner. British Journal of Educational
Technology, 26 (3): 179-189

McNaught C, Whithear K and Browning G (1999) Systems, not projects: focusing on evaluating overall
student experience, rather than isolated innovations. Higher Education Research and Development 18 (2)
247-259

Slaouti D (2001).Student voices and course development; reading the signs on a distance course in
educational technology. Alt-J 9 (1) 62-72

Shephard K L (2003a) Questioning, promoting and evaluating the use of streaming video to support
student learning. British Journal of Educational Technology (in press)

Shephard K L (2003b) Integrating national initiatives and local developments; streaming video to support
nurse education in the UK. In Winds of change in the sea of learning. Proceedings of the 19th Annual
Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education.Unitec, Auckland,
New Zealand (2002) (in press)

Stake, R. E. (1967) The countenance of educational evaluation. Teachers College Record 68 (7): 523-540.
Sims R (1999) Interactivity on stage; strategies for learner-designer communication. Australian Journal
of Educational Technology 15 (3) 257-272




                                                        40
Appendix i
Lifesign Server Development
One of the purposes of the Lifesign Project was to demonstrate the feasibility of delivering high-quality
streaming media to the desktop of students across higher education. Lifesign has achieved this by
providing an example to the academic and IT community in Higher Education and it has gone further by
turning this demonstration into a national service. Much was learned during the technical implementation
of the Lifesign server farm. This appendix is an attempt to share some of this knowledge and to
encourage users to implement similar systems.
The Lifesign project relies on two core software systems from Microsoft, Windows 2000 Server and
Windows Media 4.1. Both of these technologies have been superceded. Others planning to deploy
streaming media systems will face many similar challenges, however, their experience will not be
identical. Current versions of Microsoft software are Windows 2003 and Windows Media 9.

Demonstration and Deployment

At the inception of the Lifesign Project, conventional wisdom in the IT sector was that delivering video
across University networks would require substantial investment. Costs in the region of one million
pounds were often mentioned to develop parallel networks optimized for video. These sorts of sums were
not considered viable. To meet its objectives, the Lifesign Project had to deliver streams using existing
networks and standard software/hardware components. The feasibility of this had already been
demonstrated by the JISC funded Imagination project and through earlier streaming work at the
University of Portsmouth. These were small-scale projects. One of the Lifesign objectives was to
determine feasibility on a large scale and could only be achieved with the development of a substantial
system of servers.
To achieve this level of service, the Lifesign Project followed a two-stage strategy. The first stage was
the implementation of a development system. This system consisted of three computers; a Windows
2000 server hosting Windows Media
Services 4.1, a second Server hosting
Internet Information Server, and a client.
This minimal configuration allowed
Lifesign to deliver an effective but limited
service for initial evaluation.
The limitations of this deployment system
were twofold. Capacity was limited.
Initial tests suggested that a single server
could deliver approximately 200
simultaneous streams to individuals across
JANET. While 200 may be adequate for
many applications, it was felt that the
Lifesign Project could easily exceed that
number if students from numerous
Universities accessed streams at the same
time. The second limitation is that a
single server provides a single point of failure. If the server fails, all services cease. This was considered
inadequate for the deployment of a national service.
Lifesign began streaming content within three months of the project commencing using this development
system while work proceeded in the design and implementation of the deployment system.




                                                          41
Design Specifications

The group agreed that the Lifesign servers should meet the following specifications:

   Capable of server 1000 simultaneous broadband users.
   Capable of hosting hundreds of hours of broadband video.
   Scalable to support increasing numbers of users.
   Reliable – Failover systems designed to provide high levels of reliability.

Implementing such a system on a limited budget required innovative thinks. This involved overcoming
some areas of conventional wisdom.
Standard practice in server design suggested that servers needed to be powerful and complex. Capacity
and complexity were directly related. For instance, to serve additional users, one added additional
processors and memory. Using this model, servers tended to be large and expensive boxes built from
custom components such as multiprocessor boards and SCSI arrays. These systems are quite costly and
not entirely appropriate for streaming.

Design Issues

In designing a server farm for large-scale application of streaming media, the Lifesign Project examined
several issues in server design and network planning. These have to do with the difference between a
streaming server and standard web/file servers. Most servers have to deal with large number of requests
for small amounts of information. For instance, a web server may be serving thousands of clients with
each client requesting bits of text and images from multiple directories. These bits of information are
likely to be spread across storage media in a fragmented way. As a result, web and file servers are
working very hard to serve many users making many requests for fragmented data. Media servers,
however, serve many fewer users. Each user is making few requests for larger quantities of data. For
instance, a user may request a single programme of one-hour duration. The server then begins sending a
trickle of data across the network in a predictable and steady manner. Furthermore, the data is likely to be
stored sequentially on the hard disc allowing the system to buffer data requests. Processor demand is low,
and activity is easier to predict. These differences lead the Lifesign group to make the following
observations and assumptions.

   Streaming servers do not require high processor specifications.
   The primary limiting factor is the network interface. In most instances this is limited by the 100Mbit
    interface card.
   The hard disc subsystem is also an important limiting factor. Streaming servers must be designed
    with sufficient throughput from the hard discs to the network to support large numbers of users.
   Storage capacity and speed is best achieved through large numbers of low-cost hard discs in storage
    arrays.
   Service capacity is best increased through the addition of multiple servers rather than more powerful
    servers.
   Reliability is best achieved through redundant servers arranged in clusters.




                                                         42
Based on these assumptions, the Lifesign Project designed and implemented a system based on an array
of eight servers working together to deliver capacity, performance, and reliability.

System Description

The Lifesign server array contains
eights servers of which five host
Windows Media Services. All servers
are based on dual Pentium III
processors, 256Mb of ECC RAM and
an integrated IDE RAID system. The
hard disc subsystems consist of four
standard IDE hard discs configured in a
RAID 0 array. This configuration
provides high-performance at a very
low cost, however, it does not provide
reliability. Greater reliability would
have been achieved through
implementation of RAID 1, although at
greater cost.

Each of the five Windows Media servers contains 230GB of storage sufficient for over 1500 hours of
broadband video. This content is duplicated across all five servers using Windows File Replication
service ensuring that every server hosts exactly the same media. Every server is redundant so that the loss
of any individual server does not result in the loss of any data. Demand for the service is spread across
the five servers

The Windows Media servers are further
divided into two blocks. Three servers        Centralised and Distributed Architecture
have been restricted to UKHE users            Models
through IP based restrictions. Two
servers remain unrestricted allowing
global access to unrestricted content.
In addition to the media servers, the
Lifesign server array includes two
Internet Information Servers to host web
pages, databases, and server side
programmes. There are also two
domain controllers that manage the
automatic replication of data among the
web servers and the media servers.
There is also one development server
used for testing content prior to
deployment.




                                                        43
Centralised Vs Distributed Architecture

This deployment design is generally described as a centralized approach with all the servers located in
one place. The original plan was to move towards a distributed model where additional servers would be
located at remote locations or at UKERNA sites to minimize network traffic at Portsmouth and to
increase system reliability. This was never implemented because the centralized approach worked well
and was less complex and less costly to implement and the distributed approach. If demand for Lifesign
content were to rise significantly, a distributed approach might become necessary.

Windows Media 4.1 vs. 9

Lifesign servers host Windows Media 4.1. The successor is version 9 on the Windows Server 2003
platform. This new version has many improvements, both in streaming technology and server
technology. The result is that implementation is both more effective and less complex.
The key areas of improvement are in
picture quality, server performance, and      Distributed
reliability. For these reasons, the           Model
Lifesign Project is planning to redeploy
all its servers with WM9 once new
funding has been allocated. Our
recommendation to those embarking on
Windows Media projects is to implement
series 9. Principal improvements
include:

   Multiple bitrate and Multilanguage
    support
   Improved quality and performance
    for high-end applications such as
    digital cinema.
   Greater scalability.
   Simplified clustering
   Improved deployment of distributed architecture
   Server-side playlists
   Improved and enhanced digital rights management

Conclusions

The Lifesign Project has been very successful due, in part, to the effective implementation of the server
array. However, not all facets of the implementation went according to plan and were fully effective.
Lifesign never achieved the level of reliability intended. This was a consequence of the complexity of
Windows 2000 Server environment and Microsoft‟s Active Directory. These systems are really intended
to support large enterprise networks and require a high level of knowledge in the architecture of such
systems. Even though Widows Media is a small subset of this system, implementing clustering on the
small scale requires a broad understanding of enterprise network architectures. We were unable to
develop this level of expertise within the scope of the Lifesign Project. For instance, original plan to use
clustering and failure detection to increase reliability was abandoned due to rising costs and increasing
complexity. Clustering is a Windows Server feature that is principally designed for data servers.
Applying this technology to Windows Media servers is possible, however, the documentation and support
are lacking. We also discovered numerous bugs in these systems that were not fixed until the release of
Service Pack 3 after much of the implementation had taken place.
Lifesign hopes to continue this service with funding from other sources. Future implementation and
expansion of the service will begin with a wholesale transition to Windows 2003 Server and Windows
Media 9. Many of the features that were poorly implemented in Server 2000 have been refined and are
now supported through extensive documentation. There are many more hosting services using Windows
Media now and therefore the challenges and pitfalls have been identified and documents. We believe that



                                                         44
implementing streaming media on a large scale using Windows Media is much easier now than at the
time Lifesign implemented its systems.
Lifesign also hopes to implement new methods to protect intellectual property rights. The current system
using IP addresses has very effective but inflexible. Therefore, any future implementation of the Lifesign
servers will apply Digital Rights Management rather than IP based restriction.




                                                        45
Appendix ii
Evaluation methodology
Evaluation within Lifesign is closely linked to another aspect of the project, that of identifying and
obtaining suitable video for streaming. As the resource-base of streamed video enlarges the opportunities
for using video to support learning and teaching also increase. Lifesign is developing by simultaneously
developing its resource base and identifying opportunities for evaluating the use of video in higher
education. Lifesign project members are working to ensure that the two processes complement one
another and there are significant overlaps between them. Evaluation, including 'needs analysis' is
described below. Processes of content acquisition and development, including the related 'needs
consultation' are also documented;




The evaluation methodology is based on Alexander and Hedberg (1994), Bain (1999) and others. This
methodological approach assumes that the evaluation programme is integrated with the design and
implementation of a „learning innovation‟ using streaming video; rather than added as an „afterthought‟.




                                                        46
  The evaluation process occurs in three phases:

  1. 1 identify potential applications of streaming video;
  2. 2 design, implement and evaluate the use of streaming video;
  3. 3 report the results of each application.


  1. Identify application of streaming video.

  Built on „expressions of interest‟ from academic life scientists in UK HE, with current or proposed
  teaching duties. Expressions of interest are generated via Lifesign‟s „Needs Analysis Cycle‟ with links to
  the ongoing development of Lifesign‟s own „video resources‟ database.



                         Needs analysis cycle
                                1. Define area of interest (initially lab
                                techniques)


                                                                       2. Search for     CTI resourcebase
                 6. Revise area of                                     relevant
                 interest                                              footage

                                                                                         Database of
                                                                                         useful video

                                           Evaluation centres
5. Follow up             4. Receive
expressions of           input from
interest                 UK HE staff                                                     LIFESIGN
                                                                                         resourcebase

                                                                      3. Promotional
                                                                      work;
   Evaluation strategy                                                emails/webpages/
                                                                      word of mouth




  2. Design, implement and evaluate the use of streaming video.

  Expressions of interest are followed up by UWIC and Southampton and the following processes started.
  Interactions between Lifesign groups are co-ordinated by the project manager at Glamorgan and ensure
  that developments link evaluation needs, availability of content, rights clearance, use of Lifesign
  resources and cataloguing of video streams.




                                                                                         47
Stage             Focus         Purpose of the   Methodology/               Responsibility
                                evaluation
Design of         Analyse       What could be  Self, peer, expert review,   UWIC/Southampton/staff
evaluation        existing      done better    educational literature,      member
programme for     element of    using          survey methods; focus
each              taught        streaming      group, user- requirement
intervention or   programme     video?         analysis, interviews,
change;                                        confidence logs, attitude
                                               surveys.
  Specify area Optimise use To identify the Advice from all                UWIC or Southampton
   of interest  of existing   video            LIFESIGN partners            lead each case but UofP
  Identify     video         resources        (UWIC/                       carry out the tasks
   stakeholders resources and available to     Southampton/Other). For      involved.
  Identify     identify need support the      each expression of
   source of    for rights    indicated        interest the LIFESIGN
   information clearance,     curriculum       partnership should
   and support conversion to element. To       produce a list of video
  Agree the    streaming     identify need    resources that will be
   scope of the video and new for new          useful, indicating some
   evaluation footage.        footage and      idea of rights clearance
  Agree time-                initiate process applicable to the footage
   scales                     of production and information and
  Specify                    where            advice on conversion to
   questions                  necessary.       streaming format.
                Design        What             Design team                  UWIC/Southampton/
                innovation    innovation is                                 staff member/institutional
                              likely to bring                               staff development group.
                              about the
                              desired
                              outcome?
                Specification How feasible Feasibility analysis by          UWIC/Southampton/
                of innovation is the proposed prototyping,                  staff member/institutional
                              innovation and storyboarding,                 staff development group.
                              how likely is it peer/expert review
                              to bring about
                              the desired
                              change?
Development     Formative     Is the           Observation, user-           UWIC/Southampton/
                monitoring of innovation       tracking, student and peer   staff member/institutional
                changing      accessible and interviews, focus group.       staff development group.
                learning      functional?      Peer and expert review.
                environment
                Formative     Is the           Student and peer             UWIC/Southampton/
                monitoring of innovation       interviews, focus group.     staff member/institutional
                changing      influencing the Reflective journals.          staff development group.
                learning      learning         Confidence logs. Attitude
                process       process?         surveys. Peer and expert
                                               review.
Implementation Summative      Is the           Outcome-relevant             UWIC/Southampton/
                evaluation of innovation       assessment. Survey           staff member/institutional
                learning      producing the methods; focus group,           staff development group.
                outcome       intended         interviews, confidence
                              learning         logs, attitude surveys.
                              outcome?




                                                    48
                   Summative         Is the          Peer and expert review.      UWIC/Southampton/
                   evaluation of     innovation      Evidence of integration      staff member/institutional
                   the validity of   appropriate in  of the innovation into the   staff development group.
                   the innovation    this setting?   whole curriculum.
Dissemination      Impact            Is the learning Evidence of beneficial       UWIC/Southampton/
                   evaluation        transferred     learning in other areas of   staff member/institutional
                                     beyond the      the curriculum (transfer     staff development group.
                                     immediate       to the workplace?) via
                                     context of the  peer and expert review,
                                     innovation?     focus groups. Indirect
                                                     indicators such as
                                                     progress and retention
                                                     rates?
                   Maintenance       Is the          Peer and expert review of    UWIC/Southampton/staff
                   evaluation        innovation      benefits in relation to      member/institutional staff
                                     sustainable and cost and educational and     development group.
                                     transferable?   funding policies of the
                                                     institution.



3. Report the results of each application of streaming video.

We will write a case study for each evaluated application of streaming video. These will be available via
http://www.LIFESIGN.ac.uk. and be the responsibility of the co-ordinating evaluation site.
We also plan for a number of publications to come from the project group. From an evaluation
perspective the major focus will be on the general value of MAN/JANET based streaming video to life
science education in UK HE, using, as its evidence, case-studies which demonstrate the value of
individual applications of the use of streaming video. Evaluation of individual video footage (fitness for
purpose rather than generic quality) will occur within the evaluation process for each application.




                                                         49
Appendix iii
Directory of Resources

A Directory of Lifesign Moving Images Resources: listed by content provider

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

1) Practicing Safe Science
2) Controlling Your Risks: HIV in the Research Laboratory
3) Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 1 - Chemical Hazards
4) Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 1 - Radionuclide Hazards
5) Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 1 - Emergency Response
6) Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 2 - Chemical Storage Hazards
7) Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 2 - Centrifugation Hazards
8) Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 2 - Glassware Washing Hazards
9) Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 3 - Mammalian Cell Culture Hazards,
10) Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 3 - X-ray Diffraction Hazards
11) Safety in the Research Laboratory - Set 3 - Assessing Risks of Toxic Chemicals

Biochemical Society

12) The Biochemical Basis of Biology - Cell Structure and Energy Production
13) The Biochemical Basis of Biology - DNA and Protein Synthesis
14) The Biochemical Basis of Biology - Manipulating DNA

Viewtech Limited

15) The Biology of Molluscs
16) The Biology of Cnidarians
17) The Biology of Viruses
18) The Biology of Annelids
19) The Biology of Flatworms
20) The Cell Biology Resource: Introduction to Living Cells
21) The Cell Biology Resource: The Molecular Building Blocks of Life
22) The Cell Biology Resource: The Mitochondrion & ATP Synthesis
23) The Cell Biology Resource: The Genetic Code; Transcription & Protein Synthesis
24) The Cell Biology Resource: DNA Replication & Mitosis
25) The Human Body Series: The Endocrine System

Shotlist

26) Aseptic Technique
27) Cystic Fibrosis
28) Clinical Biochemistry: Diabetes
29) Clinical Biochemistry: Galactosaemia
30) Clinical Biochemistry: Phenylketonuria
31) Culture of Human Fibroblasts
32) DNA Profiling
33) ECG and Cardiac Physiology
34) Immunoblotting
35) Introduction to Microscopy
36) Membrane Structure and Transport
37) Monoclonal Antibodies
38) Scale Up - Using Penicillin
39) Southern Blotting
40) Staying Alive - A Thoroughly Modern Microbe

                                                      50
41) Staying Alive - The Tougher Sex
42) The Human Brain - In Situ
43) The Human Brain - Anatomy
44) The Human Brain - Pathology
45) The Management of Pain
46) The Physiology of Pain
47) The Psychology of Pain

BBC Worldwide

48) The Private Life of Plants 1 - Travelling
49) The Private Life of Plants 2 - Growing
50) The Private Life of Plants 3 - Flowering
51) The Private Life of Plants 4 - The Social Struggle
52) The Private Life of Plants 5 - Living Together
53) The Private Life of Plants 6 - Surviving.
54) The Human Body 1 - Life Story
55) The Human Body 2 - An Everyday Miracle
56) The Human Body 3 - First Steps
57) The Human Body 4 - Raging Teens
58) The Human Body 5 - Brain Power
59) The Human Body 6 - As Time Goes By
60) The Human Body 7 - The End of Life
61) Is GM Safe?
62) Professor Bonner and the Slime Moulds




                                                         51
Appendix iv
User support documentation

Extensive User Support material was developed by Lifesign Partners and provided via the project‟s Web
Address (http://www.lifesign.ac.uk).

The following are key elements of this.

1. A comprehensive website giving access to video and to supporting material.

2. Extensive on-line help.

3. Guides within the Pedagogic/ Supporting Users section of the Web Site.


An extensive guide to Lifesign‟s Evaluation Methodology and links to content acquisition.

A description of useful evaluation tools.

Offers of personal support from Lifesign Partners, with contact details.

Pedagogic Guidelines for Users of Streaming Video

   Laboratory Safety; This page provides some ideas for embedding video, based on a series of
    professional videos on laboratory safety.
   Streaming audio and video for course design; This page links to an on-line user guide that focuses on
    designing taught courses that use streaming video as learning resources.
   Using video to support learning and teaching. This page presents some ideas on the general use of
    video and links to on-line resources.
   Exploring the role of streaming video to support student learning in HE. This page was designed to
    support a research presentation for Southampton's Research and Graduate School of Education on
    January 21st 2003.
   Edited streamed media used in the role of supporting a lecture. These pages were designed to offer a
    visual aid, for students, that relates to an earlier lecture.




                                                         52
Appendix v
Metadata literature review
Introduction
This paper aims to identify the major trends and developments affecting the description and discovery of
networked moving images for use in higher education. It will include looking at the issues raised when
attempting to incorporate this material into library OPACs, and the wider field of digital and hybrid
libraries in the academic sector.

Resource discovery and the Internet
The Internet today is a very large and disorganised place. For example in July 2000 the search engine.
Google claiming to have fully or partially indexed at least one billion pages, whilst a survey released in
the same month estimated some 543 billion individual documents were contained within online
searchable databases, or what they termed the 'deep web' (Bergman, 18). The Web is has been described
as having a central paradox: the more information available, the greater the likelihood that relevant,
authoritative information will not be found (Hudgins, Agnew & Brown. 1). One vision of the future
development of the internet is the 'Semantic Web,' where information is given structure and meaning,
enabling software agents to "understand" and process retrieved information in order to carry out tasks
such as identifying a physiotherapist approved by your health insurance scheme and scheduling
appointments, or locating the person you met last year who works for one of your clients and has a son at
your old university (Berners-Lee, Hendler & Lassila). One method of providing the structure and
meaning required to realise this vision, or just to improve the ability to find relevant information is to
provide metadata to describe information resources.

What is metadata?
Metadata is often defined as "data about data." A metadata record generally only exists or has meaning in
relation to a referenced document or object (Hudgins, Agnew & Brown. 1), and consists of a set of
attributes or elements necessary to describe that resource (Hillmann). In the library and information field,
the concept is not a new one, even if the terminology is more recent. Librarians have produced metadata
records for generations in the form of the library catalogue, with its structured recording of bibliographic
details. However metadata extends further than this to describe aspects such as:

   Content: subject keywords, description, table of contents, language
   Technical information: physical or digital format, required hardware, browser level supported, file
    size, duration
   Preservation: information that will enable a resource to be accessed or migrated to a more modern
    format at a future date
   Rights: intellectual property rights, access restrictions, cost of reuse
   Agents: information about people related to the resource such as owner, creator, administrator – their
    contact details, role, organisation etc.
   Educational content: user level, audience, education methods used, genre of resource.
   Content rating information: for use by filtering software

Metadata records can even have their own metadata, sometimes referred to as metametadata, usually
recording administrative details such as record creator, creation or modification date, language of record
and so on.

Metadata can be stored in a variety of places. These include

    Embedding metadata within a document. Examples include
    Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) information in a book title page
    Title tag in the header of an html document
    As a separate static html page
    In a separate database with a pointer to the described resource
e.g. a card catalogue entry or OPAC record, which gives bibliographic details of a resource along with a
shelf mark or URL to guide the enquirer to its physical or digital location.
Metadata can be created in a variety of ways. It can be entered

                                                         53
   Manually, when someone inputs data into the actual document or a metadata database.
   Automatically, such as
   Importing a MARC record from a bibliographic database into an local OPAC catalogue record
   Harvesting information from the described resource e.g. URL, file format, automatic indexing of
    content or from its own embedded metadata
   Automatic assignment of a value such as unique identifier or copyright statement on creation of a
    database entry

For metadata to be of use in the discovery, access and use of resources, it has to be framed in such a way
that it can be used and understood by others. This is known as interoperability, and has a number of
aspects, including

   Technical interoperability – being able to communicate with and transport, store and represent
    information from other systems.
   Semantic interoperability – being able to understand the meaning applied to a metadata element or
    value from another system.
   Inter-community interoperability – being able to understand information from other domains, for
    example between the library and museum sectors
   International interoperability – being able to understand information from another country
   (UKOLN interoperability focus)

What metadata standards have been devised?
A number of metadata standards have been developed world-wide by various bodies and sectors. The
library and information sector has MARC, with its many variants world-wide. The cultural heritage sector
has the Consortium for Computer Interchange of Museum Information, or CIMI Consortium, developing
standards of description and transport "to make information move." The archives domain has developed
the Encoded Archival Description or EAD, maintained by the Library of Congress and the Society of
American Archivists, which covers describing archival finding aids. The US Federal Government devised
the Government (or Global) Information Locator Service, or GILS, to help citizens locate government
information on the internet (Dempsey & Heery).
Perhaps the best known example of metadata standard devised for cross domain use is the set of fifteen
elements developed by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. More recently it has added qualifiers which
enrich meaning, for example date.created or relation.isversionof, and specify some schemes for data
representation, such as date formats, or classification systems like Library of Congress subject headings.
The initiative has the backing of bodies across many domains including national libraries, publishers,
networking bodies, archives and museums. Its standards have emerged from a series of workshops and
working groups. Dublin Core has always intended to be a simple system of core descriptive elements
which can be understood and applied by the lay person. This simplicity has led to its being described as
"relatively crude," although it also seems to be its strength as it has been found to be useful in a variety of
contexts (Cathro). It is being used in high profile projects, such as PictureAustralia, a central access point
to Australian images hosted by the National Library of Australia, with metadata supplied by participating
image collections. Dublin Core has government support from countries like Denmark and Australia
(Cathro), has recently been chosen as the basis for the UK government's metadata framework and is said
to be described by some as "industry standard metadata" (Apps).

Namespaces and application profiles
When planning to use metadata to describe their resources, an implementer may find that no one existing
standard set of metadata elements, or schema, covers all the descriptive facets they require. In this
situation metadata implementers have a number of options to choose from. They could construct and
define a completely new set of metadata elements which cover all the required descriptive elements, or
they could use an existing schema and create extra elements to fill gaps in its coverage. However, whilst
these new elements fulfil a local need, interoperability problems arise if no-one else can understand them.
This can be overcome by publication of the new elements declaring their definitions, formats and so on.
This is know as a namespace, and places a responsibility on the publisher to maintain their schema (Heery
& Patel).



                                                          54
If the implementer does not wish to devise their own elements they can "mix and match" metadata
elements from a number of schemas to cover all the desired facets. If necessary elements can be altered in
certain ways in order to optimise their use in the particular project. Elements can have their published
meanings narrowed or made more specific and element values can be constrained by stipulating particular
formats or controlled vocabulary. This collection of elements has become known as an application profile
(Dekkers; Heery & Patel). One example of using an application profile is to mix elements of the VCARD
system, which notes biographical and contact details of individuals, with another metadata schema such
as Dublin Core. This leads information about a resource creator being transported with information about
the resource, but not being used for search purposes and avoiding misleading results.

A recent survey of Dublin Core implementers in libraries has shown how namespaces and application
profiles are being used in practice. 73% of respondents said they were using a combination of elements,
rather than pure Dublin Core. 195 additional elements were listed, with very little duplication between
them. Some were local qualifiers to Dublin Core elements or involved specifying particular vocabulary or
classification schemes, some were specific elements for the particular project and some elements from
other schemas (Guinchard 3-4,10-15).

When deciding what existing elements and schemas would suit their situation implementers would benefit
from being able to locate and examine existing namespace schemas and application profiles. Several
projects have established prototype metadata registries to provide a central point for information and
comparison of schemas, elements, semantics and best practice. Examples include the DESIRE metadata
registry, the ROADS metadata registry and the SCHEMAS project registry.

Technical interoperability
As mentioned earlier some metadata standards include protocols for the storage, transport and interchange
of metadata, whilst others just outline format and usage, leaving technical matters for design at a local
level. Standard protocols have already been devised for the access or exchange data between computers
across networks. Perhaps the best known of these is Z39.50, an internationally recognised standard
maintained by the Z39.50 maintenance agency, hosted by the Library of Congress. This is used by many
sectors, such as libraries, which uses it to facilitate communication between library management systems,
catalogues and databases. A patron can employ the library system in library A to search the catalogue of
libraries B, C and D, each of which run a different brand of software, or a cataloguer can download a
MARC record from a bibliographic database.
Example of Z39.50 at work include the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) which links five major
resources, each with their own subcollections. The enquirer can search across any combination of the
five. Whilst the results page builds, which can take some time, the enquirer is shown a running total of
hits from each group, but results are shown as one list of document titles. The California Digital Library's
Searchlight system uses Z39.50 to search across library catalogues, journal indexes and abstracts,
electronic journals, web directories and archive finding aids. The results pages lists number of hits per
resource, with links to individual resource hitlists. The user can specify the period they are willing to wait
for results (the default is 1 minute) and can interrupt the search to receive a partial list of hits.

Over the years Z39.50 has been implemented or interpreted in differing ways by software suppliers or
particular communities. These differences can lead to incorrect search results. In response to this problem
a number of profiles have been devised in an attempt to standardise interpretation and implementation
within specific user communities. The Bath Profile is being devised for use by the library community and
beyond to support a range of library functions such as improved search and retrieval from library
catalogues and inter-library loans, along with searching other resource discovery systems world-wide (P.
Miller, "Z39.50 for All"; Lunau 1-2).

In the wider world of information exchange over the internet, the standard for representing information
content is becoming the extensible mark-up language, or XML. It is a licence-free, platform independent
metalanguage derived from SGML, and was developed under the auspices of the World Wide Web
Consortium (W3C). It is designed for describing structured data such as spreadsheets, bibliographies or
metadata records. It belongs to a family of technologies exploiting XML such as XSLT, a stylesheet
language which enables the user to create different views of data held in one XML file (Bos; Tennant;
Cawsey). Its potential usefulness in library activities is beginning to be exploited, for example the


                                                          55
National Library of Medicine uses XML to disseminate Medline bibliographic data for local use (D.
Miller), and there are several projects to produce MARC records in XML, like those at the Library of
Congress and the Lane Medical Library of Stanford University There is now a discussion group
XML4LIB specifically covering the use of XML in libraries. XML is also being used to manipulate
metadata from legacy systems, such as the Informedia project's standalone database of metadata
describing thousands of hours of digital video. Results of queries to the database are converted to XML
files, which are then transformed via XSL stylesheets to create different views of the results. Stylesheets
can also produce XML metadata records that conform to different metadata standards (Christel, Maher &
Begun 4-5).

Also being developed under the auspices of the W3C is the Resource Description Framework or RDF. It
has been designed to be the foundation of metadata interoperability, providing a structure and syntax for
exchanging metadata, whilst not defining what that metadata should be. The syntax given in the
recommendations relies on XML, although other representation models may emerge (Iannella; W3C RDF
recommendations). RDF supports application profiles by allowing use of metadata elements from
multiple namespaces and can group properties together in various ways, for example element values in a
variety of languages (Iannella). Between them XML and RDF are the backbone of the vision of the
Semantic Web described earlier.

Another initiative to aid exchange of metadata is the Open Archives Initiative (OAi), which aims to
produce a low-cost, easy-to-implement protocol for requesting and exchanging metadata from
repositories. At present it requires metadata to be described in simple Dublin Core format framed in
XML, although other metadata formats could be supported. It is still being developed, having recently
finished its alpha testing period, with varying results indicating possible areas requiring work. Problems
included not being able to identify what subject classification system had been used and issues of
authorisation protocols. Addressing these might introduce more complexity to the system (Heery;
Powell).

Semantic Interoperability
Semantic interoperability involves one system being able to interpret the "meaning" of another's
metadata. One barrier is the use of different metadata schemas, and to this end various mappings or
crosswalks have been devised to translate between metadata systems, for example from MARC21 to
Dublin Core or GILS core elements to USMARC (M. Day, "Mapping"; Metaform). Some tools have been
written to do this automatically, such as d2m which converts Dublin Core to a selection of Scandinavian
MARC formats. Research is also underway looking at using XSL stylesheets to transform XML metadata
records from one standard to another (Hunter & Lagoze 79; Hunter, "Metanet").

Another barrier when trying to cross search information resources is ensuring the use of the same
descriptive value as the metadata author. Problems occur through the use of different knowledge
organisation systems such as classification schemes, subject headings, thesauri or arrangement of element
values like personal names (Hodge 4-6). One way of overcoming this is to use multiple schemes within
metadata, but this requires cataloguers with knowledge of many schemes, or duplication of effort and
staff (Hodge 17). Another option is to develop mappings between schemes, whether for cross searching
local databases using different subject classification systems (Hiom) or for wider use, as that between
Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress subject headings (Chan). But given the number of classification
schemes and thesauri in existence (Lutes; Wake, "HILT Thesaurus List"; Koch) how does one choose
which to use? One could try to devise a new, all-encompassing system, or impose one existing system,
but that would cause many problems. The recent HILT project stakeholder survey of subject classification
systems used by a cross section of information communities in the UK and abroad showed that even the
most popular system, Library of Congress subject headings, was used by less than half the respondents
(Wake, "HILT Stakeholder Survey"). The problems become more complex when considering searching
across resources in multiple languages (Neuroth).
Metadata for specialised use

Collection Level Description
Many metadata systems are designed to describe individual items, but there is also a need to be able to
describe a collection of items, whether a physical collection of artworks or a digital collection of


                                                         56
webpages or metadata records. Creating a metadata record at the level of the whole collection could help
a search engine focus its energies on sources rich in resources for a particular enquiry, whilst not
interrogating others. A collection level metadata record could also be harvested for an entry in an internet
subject gateway. This concept has led to the development of the Research Support Libraries Programme
(RSLP) collection description schema, a namespace combining collection level elements with Dublin
Core and VCARD (Powell, Heaney & Dempsey; RSLP).

Preservation metadata
Preservation metadata is not generally used for resource discovery, but is vital for the long-term use of
digital resources. Software and hardware develop continuously, and paperwork explaining data structures
can go astray, making it very difficult to access and understand archived data. The experience with the
Newham Museum archaeological fieldwork data archive demonstrates these problems (Dunning). The
aim of those working to define preservation metadata is to record information which will enable access to
the electronic data files at a future date through methods such as software emulation or migration of files
to modern formats. The work also covers topics like ensuring objects have survived unaltered, and
management of metadata to ensure it too can be preserved (M. Day, "Metadata for Preservation", Beagrie
& Jones 134-38). Work on a standard led to the development of the Reference Model for an Open
Archival Information System, or OAIS, which should not be confused with the OAi mentioned earlier.
Projects involved in implementing the model include Cedars in the UK and NEDLIB in Europe.

Tools for metadata creation
There are a variety of tools for metadata creation available to an implementer. Some, like DC-dot,
examine a given URL and create metadata from information it finds there. Others provide templates or
wizards to help the user through the metadata creation process. Some of these, like the Nordic Metadata
Project template (Koch & Borell), are designed to produce specific sets of elements and/or element
values. Others like Metabrowser and TagGen can produce metadata in a variety of metadata schemas and
output formats.

Indexing and retrieving moving images
Moving images have a very complex structure. Just one second contains 24 individual frames, which
means a 90 minute film has 129,600 frames. Moving images can generally be broken down into narrative
sequences or scenes lasting from a few seconds to many minutes. Some sequences can stand alone as a
discrete item, such as stories in a news report or modules within an educational programme. Each
sequence is itself made up of a number of shots edited together. Digital moving image files can be large,
for example 40MB for a one minute video (Lesk 92). They can be produced in a number of proprietary
formats, such as QuickTime or Real Media, and compressed in different ways. Users are connected to the
Internet in different ways, from the home user with a modem paying per minute for his phone time to the
office user with a high-bandwidth network connection on his desktop. Multiple versions are often
provided to satisfy the needs of this range of users and formats (Agnew 9-13). These points all have an
effect on the design of navigation aides for moving image users.

One decision that needs to be made is what level of granularity of description to use. Describing the
general subject matter of a programme would help someone identify if it was of interest, but then they
might have to spend a lot of time and money to download a huge file via their modem and watch the
entire programme only to find the particular image they required was not included. An alternative is to
produce a more detailed description, perhaps at scene-by-scene or shot-by-shot level. This would help
locate specific action but could create other problems. A modern two hour movie might have 4,000 shots
to describe (Lesk 94), and take a great deal of time to do. Still image indexing times of between 7 and 40
minutes have been reported (Eakins & Graham), so describing a shot with a lot of activity within it would
presumably take longer still. One report speaks of a national TV broadcaster taking 30 times the length of
a programme to index it (Enser 202).

Breaking a video down into smaller units does have other advantages for the users. They can quickly
download a small file that contains the scene of interest, or start a streamed video from a point half way
through (Fuller). Moving images are a visual medium, and users seem to be helped by being presented
with visual cues to the content. This can take the form of selecting a number of key frames from the video



                                                         57
that give a good representation of the scenes contained within, presenting them as a storyboard of still
images or animated as if fast forwarding through the video (Fuller; Lesk 93; Komlodi & Marchionini).

Any metadata system employed would have to be able to cope with the complex collections of file
formats, subfiles, jump-in points and related materials like keyframe storyboards described above. The
video datamodel has been described as “somewhat non-traditional" when compared with a document
repository (Fuller). At present there does not appear to be a standard metadata schema which describes all
aspects of digital video, including technical and descriptive information, although some systems have
been developed for specialised areas of audio-visual production (de Jong). Indeed, some feel that the
diversity of video genres, e.g. news, travel, sport, comedy or conference presentations, makes it highly
improbable that a detailed descriptive metadata standard covering all genre will develop. Rather, they
foresee a basic framework to which can be attached genre specific descriptive elements (Christel, Maher
& Begun 4)

Some have used Dublin Core metadata to give a general description of a film's content, personnel and
history (Owen, Pearson & Arnold). Others, like the Australian Centre for the Moving Image project, have
tried to use Dublin Core as a framework for their catalogue, describing holdings in a more detailed and
complex way, including links to clips and keyframes, although content description is still at an overall
level Records can be output as a general XML file or Dublin Core html. Work has been carried out to
draw up schema based on Dublin Core, assessing a number of description and validation methods using a
variety of information systems including RDF and XML (Hunter, "Comparison of Schemas"; Hunter &
Armstrong, Hunter & Newmarch). There is also a Moving Images Special Interest Group within the
Dublin Core Metadata Initiative structure, but little seems to be coming out of it at present.

The European Chronicles On-line (ECHO) project has drawn up its own metadata model with a multi-
layered, hierarchical structure, based in the concepts of work, expression, manifestation and item.
Through this a transcript and a video are expressions of a programme or work. Each could have several
analogue and digital manifestations, and each of those their own item details. Metadata elements vary
depending on level and type within level, such as audio or video (Amato et al 10-14, 17-34). The US
Defense Technical Information Center has developed a set of metadata guidelines for its Defense Virtual
Library based on the USMARC format (Silver Image Management 1-4).

Implementers should be aware of several developments in the field of moving image delivery. One is the
forthcoming MPEG-7 standard, or Multimedia Content Description Interface. The current MPEG-1 and 2
standards relate to compression of digital video files and makes content available. MPEG-7 intends to
help locate required material by providing "the world's most comprehensive set of audio-visual
descriptions" including

   Catalogue information: title, creator, rights
   Semantic information; who, what, when, where, concepts
   Structural information: colour histogram, segments, textures, shape, encoding

Suggested outcomes include being able to hum a tune and find clips of it being sung by Pavarotti or
searching for your firm's logo on TV output (N. Day). MPEG-7 is still undergoing its ratification process,
and is due to become a standard in September 2001.

Another is Synchronised Multimedia Integration Language or SMIL (pronounced smile), again
developing under the auspices of W3C. It enables the authoring of a multimedia presentation, or macro-
object, using a number of files or micro-objects, containing audio, images, video, animation, text and so
on. In this presentation events can be synchronised, so that, for example, a text file could be made to
appear at a particular point of a video. One benefit of using a number of small files rather than one big
one holding the entire presentation is its speed of delivery to users with low-speed internet connections.
The sub-elements can also be re-used in other applications. Audio or text can be offered in different
languages (Brophy, Eskins & Oulton 5-6).

Describing images, whether still or moving, is very difficult, because as well as having obvious basic
attributes such as colour and shape, they have meaning imputed through interpretation. They can mean


                                                         58
different things to different people, as well as different things to the same person at different times (Enser
200-1; Chen & Rasmussen 293). Various theories have described levels of indexing possible with images.
One mentions hard indexing - what can be seen in the frame - and soft indexing - what the image is about.
Others describe three levels of meaning

   Pre-iconographic: "ofness" or "aboutness" of objects in an image that can be interpreted through
    everyday experience, or without referring to an external knowledge base
   Iconographic: Requires some cultural knowledge, e.g. Ulysses, not a sailor
   Iconologic: Involves more sophisticated world and cultural knowledge, plus understanding of the
    history and background of the image

It is the second and third of these that involve subjectivity and are the root of differences in understanding
between viewers; the understanding of "invisible facts" that differentiates between seeing an image of a
plane taking off and one of a Chilean Airforce jet taking General Pinochet back to Chile after being
threatened with war crimes charges (Chen & Rasmussen 293; Enser 201, 204). The interpretation of
images can vary over time through changes in knowledge and opinion. A photograph of modern
professional nurses is regarded as an illustration of old-fashionedness 100 years later (Keister 13); what
was footage of President Clinton greeting a crowd becomes understood as showing him embracing
Monica Lewinsky.

Textual indexing of image content, whether descriptive or subjective, is referred to as concept-based
indexing (Chen & Rasmussen 296). It is often associated with physical, "bibliographical" and intellectual
rights details, such as size, materials used, artist and copyright holder. These aspects can involve the use
of thesauri or controlled vocabulary, and there are several systems available for image-specific use. These
include:

   ICONCLASS, for Western Art,
   Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), covering the history and making of the visual arts
   Library of Congress Thesauri for Graphical Materials (LCTGM or TGM)
    TGMI: subject terns
    TGMII: genre and physical characteristics
   Union List of Artists' Names (ULAN)
   Opitz coding system for machined parts

(Chen & Rasmussen 296; Eakins & Graham)

Generalist subject systems, such as Dewey Decimal, are used as well. However, many image collections
have opted for in-house schemes that reflect their collections strengths or clientele, and some use natural
language indexing either applied manually or derived from sources such as captions or accompanying text
(Eakins & Graham; Chen & Rasmussen 296; Goodrum 63). Indexers have the same problems with
interpretation of images mentioned above; research has shown inter-indexer consistency of 7% for
terminology and 14% for concepts (Chen & Rasmussen 294).

But is indexing being carried out in a way that matches how and why people use and seek images? Some
studies of image user needs and behaviour have been published, but they are fragmented, focusing on
specific user groups, e.g. journalists, or collections, mostly in the arts and humanities (Eakins & Graham;
Chen & Rasmussen 294-5; Armitage & Enser 287). Work is just beginning at Penn State University on
the Visual Image User study (VIUS) which will examine user needs for digital image delivery in the
context of an educational institution.

Various ways of categorising enquiries have been devised. Subject enquiries have been called unique,
such as a known person, or non-unique, like dinosaurs, either of which can be refined by a location or
time restriction (Armitage and Enser 288). Attempts have been made to map subject and provenance
enquiries such as title or director against the three levels of image description mentioned above (Armitage
& Enser 290-4; Eakins & Graham). The type of material held in a collection can affect the enquiries
made, for example over 50% of enquiries to two local studies collections involved named geographic
locations, but less than 10% to a collection involving the history of medicine (Armitage & Enser 293).


                                                          59
The language used in queries varies between types of enquirers. At the National Library of Medicine
picture professionals would use graphics terms like "action shot.horizontal" whilst medical professionals
might enquire by illness and the museum community by title and artist. One third of enquiries involved
constructing an image in words and emotions, such as "warm" or "the man sitting in the chair with a box
on his head," and many described and used an image in a different way than its original intent (Keister 9-
13). The necessity of supplying a surrogate of the image has also been noted. It can be used with the
textual description after a text search to see if the image "works" in the user's context (Keister 17), as a
method of browsing the collection (Enser 206) or as part of a visual thesaurus (Chen & Rasmussen 297).
It has been said that it is much easier to index for a specific user group since a heterogeneous group will
always led to unanticipated approaches to content (Chen & Rasmussen 297).

Over the last decade a new method of indexing and retrieving digital still and moving images has been
developed, generally referred to as content-based information retrieval (CBIR). This involves computer
analysis at pixel level to automatically retrieve images (Enser 203; Eakins and Graham). At present most
systems operate on the level of "primitive" features such as colour, shape, texture and motion. Queries
can be entered by submitting an image and the system returns others similar, or creating an ideal image by
specifying colour, drawing shapes or specifying motion. Demonstrations of a number of systems using
these techniques have been developed by the Advent project at Columbia University. These types of
system have be found to have some practical applications such as fingerprint matching, trademark
recognition and diagnosis from medical imaging output (Eakins and Graham; Chen & Rasmussen 297).
In the video field commercial digital video asset management systems have been developed which use
CBIR techniques to automatically segment material into its constituent shots, sometimes defining longer
sequences as well. They can also pick representative frames from shots to create a keyframe storyboard.
An example of such a product is Virage's Videologger.

Many CBIR systems are still at an experimental stage, and scaling up to an operational level is felt by
some to be a "major challenge" (Enser 204). There are worries that they are being tested with artificial
queries that do not relate to the real world, and little work has been done to evaluate their retrieval
effectiveness (Enser 204; Eakins & Graham). Also as CBIR developments have tended to come from the
computer laboratory there is perceived to be a lack of communication between the developers and the
practitioner community which could hold back improvements (Enser 208).

Pure CBIR systems obviously cannot cope with indexing and retrieval at levels that requires some
external knowledge, such as location or name. However, many image types come with other sources of
information attached, such as a text page in which they are embedded; soundtracks, music and closed-
captions for the hearing impaired, or files link to a video in a SMIL presentation. Some hybrid systems
are being developed that use CBIR techniques along with optical or speech recognition to provide a richer
retrieval method (Enser 207-8; Eakins & Graham). An example of these techniques is the Informedia
Project and its commercial development the ISLIP Mediakey Digital Video Library System.

Indexing and retrieval of online educational material
Various influential projects have been set up to develop national gateways to educational sites and
repositories of educational material, including Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) in the US,
Education Network Australia (EdNA) and ARIADNE in the European Union. These projects have had to
develop metadata models to organised their collections. Other bodies have also been developing
metadata models for educational material, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Learning Technology Standards Committee (IEEE LTSC) and the IMS Global Learning Consortium, a
collection of education, government and commercial bodies. These bodies have taken differing
approaches to metadata creation, but all have pinpointed certain areas of interest for the discovery of
educational resources, including:

   Audience and end user: teacher, student, gifted students, bilingual students
   Target grade, level or age of use: e.g. primary, HE year1, age 7-11, key stage 1
   Interactivity level of resource
   Learning time – typical time taken to work with resource
   Learning objectives and outcomes
   Conformation to national standards


                                                         60
   Quality gradings and peer reviews
   Required technology and equipment
   Learning resource type: e.g. graph, simulation, test, curriculum, lesson plan
   Pedagogical methods of teaching, grouping and assessment: e.g. discovery learning, role play, cross
    age teaching, peer evaluation

Most of the models also include some administration elements to keep track of the cataloguing and
review process and on metadata record creation.

The Gem and EdNA projects have used Dublin Core, devising their own elements to cover some of the
educational aspects they felt could not be adequately covered otherwise, along with their own sets of
controlled vocabulary for some of these elements. The IEEE LTSC is developing its Learning Object
Metadata (LOM) scheme, which as of May 2001 was at draft 6.1. It defines a learning object as "any
entity, digital or non-digital, that may be used for learning, education or training." The LOM has its own
design of nine sectors of elements and sub-elements which give a rich description of the general and
educational facets of a resource. A mapping of Dublin Core elements to a number of LOM elements has
been developed. The IMS metadata specification and ARIADNE model are based on the LOM, using
subsets of elements and specifying vocabulary, and the work of each these groups influences the
development of the others.

The Dublin Core initiative has an education working group looking at how to apply Dublin Core in the
sector. It has set forward proposals covering some of the educational descriptive areas, with suggestions
for extra elements and an application profile employing elements of the LOM. It is currently working on
other areas such as teaching and learning methods and a resource type vocabulary. Its members include
key personnel from some of projects mentioned earlier. In December 2000 it and the LOM working group
signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop interoperable metadata standards for the
education sector. Other projects are also working closely together, for example GEM and EdNA have
agreed to share educational resources and their metadata.

One problem of interoperability in the educational sector is that each country has its own education
infrastructure, with different terminology, gradings, curriculum standards etc. There are also several
general education thesauri in use, such as the ERIC descriptors, the British Education Index (BEI)
thesaurus and the UNESCO thesaurus education section. In the UK the Metadata for Education Group
(MEG) has been established under UKOLN's interoperability focus. This aims to be a forum for public
and private sector bodies to discuss best practice for working with existing standards, a source of
information on using metadata in education and a representative of its members to the standards makers.
Although it has a UK focus, it has already attracted membership from overseas projects, and is likely to
collaborate with them (P. Miller, "Towards Consensus")

The LOM and IMS schemas are only part of the metadata work of their originating bodies. Other
specifications being developed include:

   Learner descriptions
   Contain a record of personal information, learning styles, skills and abilities, courses taken etc.
   Used for student records, adaptation of course content to meet skills etc.
   Student identifiers for use in records, systems security etc.
   Competency description
   Interoperability of computer based teaching packages between platforms
   Interoperability between educational systems and other systems in an institution e.g. a management
    information system
   Content Packaging to tie individual resources into larger units
   e.g. a text, a worksheet and an assessment become a lesson, or a series of lessons gathered into a
    course
   XML language for describing questions and tests to allow their import and export between
    educational software systems




                                                         61
The IMS specifications have XML bindings and examples available. There have also been Java toolkits
designed for creating XML IMS metadata documents. Other projects such as GEM and EdNA have
developed cataloguing tools, harvesting systems or templates for use by resources authors, who can then
submit their materials to the site. The sites then review the record and resource for suitability and
correctness of metadata, before adding them to their database.

There are many gateways to educational websites and repositories of learning objects available. Many use
IMS metadata elements, such as MERLOT, the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE), the
National Engineering Education Delivery System (NEEDS) and the Educational Object Economy (EOE)
Applet Library. Some of these systems use recognised subject classification systems, for example the
EOE applet library is organised by Dewey Decimal headings for subject browsing, or multiple metadata
schemes, such as NEEDS which also uses USMARC. The IMS Consortium has the backing of large
software and educational management system suppliers, such as Microsoft, Apple and Blackboard, so the
popularity of its metadata is unsurprising. However, other services and projects are using Dublin Core
based metadata, such as Education Queensland (Thornely 121) and the EASEL project, and Dublin Core
is useful for interoperating outside the education sector.

Digital and hybrid libraries
Having examined the latest developments in describing moving images and educational resources, we
now need to focus on the wider environment of the academic library where these materials are intended to
be held. The availability of many information resources in digital format has produced what have become
known as digital and hybrid libraries. The digital library, sometimes referred to as an electronic or virtual
library, has been defined many ways, such as

   a collection of materials digitised or encoded for electronic transmission,
   an institution that possesses or an organisation that controls such materials,
   an agency that links existing institutions for providing access to electronic information, establishing
    prices, providing finding aids, and protecting copyright restrictions,
   a consortia of collecting institutions,
   a library that scans, keyboards and encodes all its materials to make the entirety of its holdings
    electronically accessible from anywhere,
   a library with Internet access and CD-ROM collection,
   an organisation that provide the resources, including specialised staff, to select, structure, offer
    intellectual access to, distribute, preserve the integrity of, and en-sure the persistence over time of
    collections of digital works so that they are readily and economically available for use by a defined
    community or set of communities

(Brisson 4)

However, many collections of digital resources have been developed and managed by a "traditional"
library which also has physical holdings. Such an institution is often referred to as a hybrid library, one
which “brings together technologies from [digital libraries], plus other electronic products and services
already in libraries, and the traditional functions of local, physical libraries."
(elib project summary).

The development of such systems has raised a number of questions about the future aims of traditional
libraries and the roles of cataloguing and OPACs in providing access to a wide range of materials.
The traditional library often worked on the premise of collections, defined by physical medium or format,
subject or location. Digitising and networking holdings in theory breaks down these barriers to enable the
seamless creation of "virtual collections" of objects of any format owned and located anywhere in the
world (Hudgins, Agnew & Brown 1). Digital libraries however often evolve from numerous small scale
digitisation projects, run by different units, each with their own metadata, cataloguing and software
systems, as the following selection of digitisation projects at Oxford University shows.




                                                          62
Name of Project                  Metadata System                  Delivery System
Beazley Archive                  Beazley‟s own cataloguing        INGRES and Access (to Web
                                 system                           via ASP)
Bodleian Broadside Ballads       Standard catalogue system        Allegro
                                 and ICONCLASS for image
                                 description
Celtic and Medieval              SGML: HTML (have                 Web server delivering
Manuscripts                      experimented with TEI DTD        standard HTML
                                 with Piers Plowman project)
Centre for the Study of          Own catalogue system in          Web browser but also 4D
Ancient Documents                HTML                             database
Internet Library of Early        SGML: EAD and TEI                OpenText 5.
Journals
(Lee Appx. H)

Examining just one of these collections, the Beazley Archive, shows it has several subcollections of
digital images each with their own catalogue, browsing or search system, but no method of examining the
whole archive. The concept of seamless access and interoperability seems a long way away.
A similar problem is seen with the electronic resources available to an academic library. These could
include local and regional OPACs, special physical collections such as slides and maps, local and remote
online databases, off-line, stand-alone and networked CD-ROMs, local and remote web subject
directories, ebooks and so on (Rusbridge). The library website is often the gateway to all these resources,
so it is no wonder that patrons reportedly become confused by the plethora of names used for resources
accessible from the website and fail to find a resource that meets their needs (Brown; Benko) or try to use
the website search engine to search the OPAC (Brisson 7).

Presentation of digital materials is also important for the user's convenience in finding resources. For
example, the “Photographic Documentation of Pneumonic Plague Outbreak Sites in Los Angeles"
subcollection of the California Digital Library contains 617 item listings on one page, most of which are
accompanied by small digitised photographs. It is very difficult to browse through and would be very
slow to download via a modem.

Academic library users nowadays often have high levels of IT and Internet literacy, and have great
expectations of what they can do within a hybrid a digital library environment. They want to be able to
personalise their interface with the library. They like to have a variety of ways of accessing resources
from freetext searches to browsing through hierarchies of subject or resource types. They want online
access to the actual digitised resources, not bibliographic references, and would like a permanent record
of them through printing. They require access to their personal data areas so they can manipulate a
resource by saving it, emailing it, linking to it, incorporating chunks in a report or downloading
bibliographic details to a references database. They are used to one internet search engine covering
millions of pages and do not see why they should use different search facilities for the OPAC, the library
web site and a digitisation project's own website (Antelman; Dorner 76; Rusbridge).

Users have experience of internet subject directories like Looksmart or Yahoo, which have hierarchical
subject trees where the user can navigate up and down or jump across topics at will. Such users approach
a library expecting similar methods of accessing information about and links to journals, databases,
subject directories, evaluated webpages, digital and physical holdings. They also expect to be able limit
information by resource type and access conditions. Some libraries are approaching this aim. One
example is the Florida International University Digital Library, which offers hierarchical subject
browsing with the ability to jump any number of steps up and down the tree, along with browsing by
technical resource type such as image or audio. The California Digital Library has a subject tree directory
covering journals, databases, reference texts and archive finding aids. The user can restrict results to one
of these resource types, and also restrict results to those accessible from a specific University campus or
available to the general public. Another option, used by the New Jersey Environmental Digital Library, is
to offer browsing by selection of terms from a drop down menu.




                                                         63
Personalised interfaces, sometimes referred to as "MyLibrary" after personalisation systems on
commercial sites like MyYahoo and My BBC, have begun to be introduced into libraries. Some, such as
the California Digital Library's personal profile system, allow you to change default search settings such
as database or institution, save searches and email citations to yourself. Others allow customisation of the
user's interface with the library to create quicklinks to sources of direct interest to them. By specifying
subject of interest they can also receive targeted information on new resources, tables of contents etc.
(Lakos & Gray).

Academic libraries and their websites have been described as "islands in the ocean of university
information" (Ketchell). Some universities have developed personalisable institution-wide portals, such as
that at Monash University in Australia. My.Monash gives the account holder access to course related
local and internet learning resources, including reading lists, exam papers, lecture slides and tapes, and
discussion groups, email, campus news, local news and weather, access to personal enrolment details and
results, library catalogues etc. Some material is chosen by subject co-ordinators whilst account holders
can add other links as they wish.

Universities are also seeing the introduction of virtual learning environments (VLEs) and managed
learning environments (MLEs). A VLE involves online delivery and assessment of curriculum elements
and learning resources, tracking achievement and enabling communication between learner, tutor and
peer group. An MLE involves the VLE along with other institutional systems that contribute directly or
indirectly to learning and learning management, such as registration, timetabling and business systems
(Everett). Some universities have designed and built their own systems, whilst others have purchased
software such as Blackboard or WebCT, which ahs led to fears of commercialisation of content and loss
of academic control (Werry). The academic library has to make itself visible within these systems.

Some of these developments have been highlighted by the elib hybrid library projects in the UK, such as
Builder, Headline and HyLiFe. Other issues raised by these projects include authentication systems that
will allow users to move seamlessly between local resources, commercial resources and wider university
systems (Builder final report 38). Another was access to technology when institutions were delivering
courses via franchise colleges, distance learning or to students studying part-time or on work placement.
The information technology available in these situations was often very different in terms of hardware,
software, quality and quantity of service than at the hybrid library's home university (Livesey & Wynne
23; Hutton & West 41-2).

The hybrid library also includes physical items, often catalogued via the library's management system.
One conclusion in the Builder project's final report was that the library management system was at the
heart of the hybrid library (38). However, some commentators doubt the ability of the current generation
of library management systems, often based on the flatfile MARC catalogue, to meet the needs and
expectations of today's users (Ortiz-Repiso & Moscoso; Antelman; Brisson 8-10). They are felt to deal
well with managing printed material, but not all can support physical non-book and digital materials
(Pearce, Cathro & Boston). Digital holdings can come in different formats of the same content, as we
have seen with digital videos, or contain many sub-elements that need to be pulled together, like
individually scanned pages of a diary or journal. MARC is said not to be designed to establish these sorts
of parent/child or sibling relational links (Ortiz-Repiso & Moscoso; Pearce, Cathro & Boston).

The catalogue is now just one part of a wider information resource, the library web site; a part that is said
to be diminishing in importance due to the difficulties interchanging the data held within (Antelman). The
library website itself is often developing from being a collection of static HTML pages to producing
pages dynamically from databases, using languages such as SQL or XML (Brisson 19, Gardner &
Pinfield 35-42). These have a number of advantages for libraries, such as

   ease of maintenance: with just one entry to update when details change, rather than a number of
    static pages
   consistency of style through templates
   the same data can be viewed in different ways, e.g. by subject or format
   different information can be shown to on-campus or off-campus users, e.g. hiding passwords, how to
    access online databases


                                                         64
   Information can be edited via templates, so subject specialists can be responsible for information
    without needing detailed technical knowledge
   Personalisation and customisation systems
   Communication between database systems
   Hierarchical linking of resources to improves navigation
   Feedback on failed searches to help improve indexing
   (Antelman; Brisson 19; Gardner & Pinfield 35; Lakos & Gray).

A large amount of valuable information is already stored in a library's OPAC and management system. If
a database-driven website is used this information has to be accessible to provide a seamless, integrated
interface for the user. Rather than re-catalogue or duplicate information, the ideal is to use interoperability
protocols and crosswalks to pull information out and map it into new systems, or search across databases
(Pearce, Cathro & Boston; Lakos & Gray; Hudgins, Agnew & Brown 44). Library system suppliers are
now starting to develop systems to link different types of database together. One example is Endeavor's
ENCompass system which presents a unified interface to search across its Voyager OPAC system, or any
Z39.50 enabled OPAC, and digital collections described by a wide variety of metadata models and stored
in different places.

Conclusions
One finding of the Builder project was that a hybrid library will never be a finished product (38). This is
also true of any plan to create a library-based collection of moving images for educational use. We have
seen that metadata standards for moving images and educational resources are as yet not fully formed,
and new developments such as MPEG-7 could have a major impact on moving image description. As
educational resources they have to be able to be integrated within virtual and managed learning
environments, which seem to be moving towards the IEEE LTSC/IMS LOM model. Yet other sectors
with which the library works use different systems such as Dublin Core. Progress in other areas also
needs to be monitored, such as metadata for preservation of digital materials, technical interoperability
standards, collection level description and semantic interoperability topics such as thesaurus mapping.
The solution seems to be to employ as rich a description of the material as possible, with the ability to
produce metadata records in a variety of standards, using well supported open formats such as XML and
its derivatives. The implementer will have to keep abreast of developments and have a system flexible
enough to incorporate changes as they occur.

Moving images will have to be provided in a way that meets the needs of the image user, with multi-level
description, segmentation of video and visual cues to the narrative sequence. Little research has
apparently been undertaken into how the image user frames his approach to resource discovery; again the
implementer should keep aware of developments in the field. The recent CBIR developments are not
envisaged as having much application in UK higher education in their pure form, except in a few
specialised fields such as medical imaging education. However there would be a place for video
management software that uses CBIR techniques for automatic shot detection and storyboarding (Eakins
& Graham). Hybrid systems using other information sources could also be of use, although how many
educational resources would come with closed captions, or how well speech recognition could cope with
specialist terminology such as chemical names, is unsure.

Any moving image project would also have to take users' technical facilities into account, considering
what connection speeds and software are likely to be used, and supplying multiple versions of videos to
meet these needs. There are also technical infrastructure considerations for the institution to consider,
such network capacity and provision of multimedia-enabled workstations, along with their ensuing noise
problems, within the physical library, the wider institution and franchise colleges.

One of the aims stated at the start of this report was to examine the integration of the images into the
OPAC. We have seen how the OPAC is now just one part of a hybrid library and its website, which in an
academic institution is itself part of a wider set of information systems. Perhaps it would be wiser to
consider how to integrate the OPAC, moving images and other digital resources into one seamless library
interface. A further task would then be to ensure the hybrid library is represented within university portals
and virtual and managed learning environments. The Builder project found that for students the
integration of hybrid library and learning environment was a vital part of providing seamless access to


                                                          65
resources, but that it produced a great deal of negotiation and debate on a wider institutional level (26,
38). These issues, and the technical processes of connecting library and learning systems are being looked
at in the UK by projects such as ANGEL and INSPIRAL, and their conclusions should be noted.




                                                        66
Sources

Advent Project homepage. http://www.ctr.columbia.edu/advent/home-full.html

Agnew, Grace. Digital Video for the Next Millennium. http://sunsite.utk.edu/video/video.pdf

Amato, Guiseppe et al. ECHO Metadata Modelling Report.
http://pc-erato2.iei.pi.cnr.it/echo/workpackages/wp3.html

Antelman, Kristin. "Getting Out of the HTML Business: the Database-Driven Web Site
Solution." Information Technology and Libraries 18.4 (1999)
http://www.lita.org/ital/1804_antelman.html

Apps, Ann. "Dublin Core metadata now in PDF." 11 May 2001. Online posting. DC_General
Jiscmail list. http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa.exe?A2=ind0105&L=dc-
general&F=&S=&P=1015

ARIADNE project homepage. http://ariadne.unil.ch/

Armitage, Linda A. and Peter G. B. Enser. "Analysis of User Need in Image Archives."
Journal of Information Science 23.4 (1997): 287-299.

Arts and Humanities Database homepage. http://www.ahds.ac.uk/

Australian Centre for the Moving Image catalogue (guest login: catdemo password: letmein)
http://splicer.cinemedia.net/metaweb/default.asp

Authenticated Networked Guided Environment for Learning (ANGEL) project homepage.
http://www.angel.ac.uk/index.html

Bath Profile Maintenance Agency homepage. http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/bath/bath-e.htm

Beagrie, Neil and Maggie Jones. Preservation Management of Digital Materials. Pre-
publication draft. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/dner/preservation/workbook/workbook.pdf

Beazley Archive homepage. http://www.beazley.ox.ac.uk

Benko, Karen Gorss. "Re: Usability and Language." 8 May 2001.Online posting. Library User
Interface Issues (LUII) list.
http://www.topica.com/lists/luii/read/message.html?mid=1602729662&sort=d&start=109

Bergman, Michael K. The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value.
http://128.121.227.57/download/deepwebwhitepaper.pdf

Berners-Lee, Tim, James Hendler and Ora Lassila. "The Semantic Web." Scientific American
May 2001. http://www.scientificamerican.com/2001/0501issue/0501berners-lee.html

Bos, Bert. XML in 10 Points. http://www.w3.org/XML/1999/XML-in-10-points

Brisson, Roger. "The World Discovers Cataloguing: A Conceptual Introduction to Digital
Libraries, Metadata and the Implications for Library Administrations." Journal of Internet
Cataloguing 1.4 (1997).
http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/r/o/rob1/publications/JICmetadata.pdf

British Education Index (BEI) thesaurus browser. http://brs.leeds.ac.uk/cgi-bin/brs_engine




                                                        67
Brophy, Peter, Richard Eskins and Tony Oulton. Synchronised Object Retrieval:
a feasibility study into enhanced information retrieval in multimedia environments using
synchronisation protocols. Library and Information Commission Research Report 92.
Manchester Metropolitan University, 2000.
http://www.cerlim.ac.uk/projects/synchro/finalv2.pdf

Brown, Stephanie Willen. "Usability and Language." 8 May 2001. Online posting. Library
User Interface Issues (LUII) list.
http://www.topica.com/lists/luii/read/message.html?mid=1602728821&sort=d&start=109

Builder Project Final Report http://builder.bham.ac.uk/finalreport/pdf/fr.pdf

Builder Project home page http://builder.bham.ac.uk/

California Digital Library homepage. http://www.cdlib.org/

Cathro, Warwick. Smashing the Silos: Towards Convergence in Information Management and
Resource Discovery. http://www.nla.gov.au/nla/staffpaper/2001/cathro2.html

Cawsey, Alison. Mirador RDF/XSLT Demo.
http://www.cee.hw.ac.uk/~alison/mirador/xml/demo.html

Cedars Project homepage. http://www.leeds.ac.uk/cedars/index.htm

Chan, Lois Mai. Exploiting LCSH, LCC and DDC to Retrieve Networked Resources: Issues
and Challenges. http://www.loc.gov/catdir/bobcontrol/chan_paper.html

Chen, Hsin-Liang and Edie M. Rasmussen. "Intellectual Access to Images." Library Trends
48.2 (1999): 289-302.

Christel, Michael G., Bryan Maher and Andrew Begun. XSLT for Tailored Access to a Digital
Video Library. http://billswin.inf.cs.cmu.edu/Papers/JCDLLoRes.pdf

CIMI Consortium homepage. http://www.cimi.org/index.html

D2M: Dublin Core to Marc converter. http://www.bibsys.no/meta/d2m/

Day, Michael. Mapping Between Metadata Formats.
http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/interoperability/

Day, Michael. Metadata for Preservation.
http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/cedars/AIW01.html

Day, Neil. "MPEG-7: Daring to Describe Multimedia Content." XML Journal 1.6 (2000).
http://www.sys-con.com/xml/archives/0106/Day/index.html

DC-dot metadata editor. http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/dcdot/

De Jong, Annemieke. "Audio-visual sector." Metadata Report #3. Ed. Makx Dekkers.
http://www.schemas-forum.org/metadata-watch/3.html

Dekkers, Makx. "Application Profiles, or How to Mix and Match Metadata." Cultivate
Interactive 3. http://www.cultivate-int.org/issue3/schemas.




                                                         68
Dempsey, Lorcan and Rachel Heery. A Review of Metadata: a Survey of Current Resource
Description Formats. http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/desire/overview/

DESIRE metadata registry homepage. http://desire.ukoln.ac.uk/registry/

Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) homepage. http://www.dlese.org/

Dorner, Dan. "Cataloguing in the 21st Century-part 2: Digitisation and Information Standards."
Library Collections, Acquisitions & Technical Services 24 (2000): 73-87.

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Education Working Group homepage:
http://dublincore.org/groups/education/

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative homepage: http://dublincore.org/

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Moving Images Special Interest Group homepage:
http://dublincore.org/groups/moving-pictures/

Dunning, Alistair. Excavating Data – the Retrieval of the Newham Archive. Arts and
Humanities Data Service case studies. http://www.ahds.ac.uk/newham.pdf

Eakins, John and Margaret Graham. Content-based Image Retrieval. Report to JISC
Technology Applications Programme, January 1999.
http://www.unn.ac.uk/iidr/research/cbir/report.html

Education Network Australia (EdNA) homepage. http://www.edna.edu.au/

Educational Object Economy Java Applet Library. http://www.eoe.org/FMPro?-
db=Categories.fp3&-token=library&-format=/library/library.htm&class=Branch&-find

Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) thesaurus search facility.
http://www.ericfacility.net/extra/pub/thessearch.cfm

Educator Access to Services in the Electronic Landscape (EASEL) project homepage.
http://www.fdgroup.com/easel/

Encoded Archival Description Official Homepage. http://lcweb.loc.gov/ead/

ENCompass product information. http://www.endinfosys. com/prods/encompass.htm

Enser, Peter. "Visual Image Retrieval: Seeking the Alliance of Concept-Based and Content-
Based Paradigms." Journal of Information Science 26.4 (2000): 199-210.

Everett, Richard. MLEs and VLEs explained. JISC Managed Learning Environment Briefing
Paper No. 2. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/mle/reps/briefings/bp2.html

Florida International University Digital Library homepage. http://fiudl.fiu.edu/

Fuller, Chuck. Deploying Video on the Web: Logging, Searching and Streaming.
http://www.webtechniques.com/archives/1999/12/fuller/

Gardner, Mike and Stephen Pinfield. "Database-backed Library Websites: a Case Study of the
Use of PHP and MySQL at the University of Nottingham." Program 35.1 (2001): 33-42.

Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) project homepage. http://www.geminfo.org/




                                                         69
Global Information Locator Service homepage. http://www.gils.net/index.html

Goodrum, Abby A. "Image Information Retrieval: An Overview of Current Research."
Informing Science 3.2 (2000): 63-67.

"Google Launches World's Largest Search Engine."
http://www.google.com/press/pressrel/pressrelease26.html

Great Britain. Office of the e-Envoy. E-Government Metadata Framework.
http://www.govtalk.gov.uk/documents/e-GIF2/UK_Metadata_Framework_v1.pdf

Guinchard, Carolyn. Summary of DC-Libraries Questionnaire Responses. Attachment to
"Survey Results: Dublin Core Use in Libraries" message to DC-General Jiscmail list, 25 April
2001. http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa.exe?A2=ind0104&L=dc-
general&F=&S=&P=2403

Headline Project homepage. http://www.headline.ac.uk/

Heery, Rachel. "OAi Open Meeting." Cultivate Interactive 4. http://www.cultivate-
int.org/issue4/oai/

Heery, Rachel and Manjula Patel. "Application profiles: Mixing and Matching Metadata
Schemas." Ariadne 25. http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue25/app-profiles/

Hillmann, Diane. Using Dublin Core.
http://dublincore.org/documents/2000/07/16/usageguide/

Hiom, Debra. Mapping Classification Schemes.
http://www.sosig.ac.uk/desire/class/mapping.html

Hodge, Gail. Systems of Knowledge Organization for Digital Libraries: Beyond Traditional
Authority Files. http://www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub91abst.html

Hudgins, Jean, Grace Agnew and Elizabeth Brown. Getting Mileage Out of Metadata:
Applications for the Library. Chicago: American Library Association, 1999.

Hunter Jane. A Comparison of Schemas for Dublin Core-bases Video Metadata
Representation. http://archive.dstc.edu.au/RDU/staff/jane-hunter/mpeg7/contribution.html

Hunter, Jane. "MetaNet - A Metadata Term Thesaurus to Enable Semantic Interoperability
Between Metadata Domains." Journal of Digital Information.1.8 (2001).
http://jodi.ecs.soton.ac.uk/Articles/v01/i08/Hunter/

Hunter, Jane and Liz Armstrong. "A Comparison of Schemas for Video Metadata
Representation." Computer Networks 31.11 (1999), 1431-1451.

Hunter, Jane and Carl Lagoze. Combining RDF and XML Schemas to Enhance
Interoperability Between Metadata Application Profiles.
http://www.cs.cornell.edu/lagoze/papers/HunterLagozeWWW10.pdf

Hunter, Jane and Jan Newmarch. An Indexing, Browsing, Search and Retrieval System for
Audiovisual Libraries.
http://archive.dstc.edu.au/RDU/staff/jane-hunter/ECDL3/paper.html

Hutton, Angelina and Liz West. "Scalability and Sustainability: Research Experiment to
Operational Service." Library Management 22.1/2 (2001): 39-42.



                                                        70
HyLiFe project homepage. http://hylife.unn.ac.uk/

Iannella, Renato. An Idiot's Guide to the Resource Description Framework.
http://archive.dstc.edu.au/RDU/reports/RDF-Idiot/

IMS Global Learning Consortium homepage. http://www.imsproject.org/

Informedia Digital Video Library homepage. http://www.informedia.cs.cmu.edu/

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Learning Technology Standards Committee
(IEEE LTSC) homepage. http://ltsc.ieee.org/index.html

International Standards Organisation Archiving Standards. Resource Model for an Open
Archival Information System. http://ssdoo.gsfc.nasa.gov/nost/isoas/overview.html

INveStigating Portals for Information Resources And Learning (INSPIRAL) project
homepage. http://inspiral.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/

ISLIP Mediakey Digital Video Library System. http://www.islip.com/corporateweb/mainpage/

JISC. eLib Project Summary. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/elib/projects.html

Keister, Lucinda H. "User Types and Queries: Impact on Image Access Systems." Challenges
in Indexing Electronic Text and Images. Ed. Raya Fidel et al. Medford: Learned Information,
1994.

Ketchell, Debra S. "Too Many Channels: Making Sense out of Portals and Personalization."
Information Technology and Libraries 19.4 (2000). http://www.lita.org/ital/1904_ketchell.html

Koch, Traugott. Controlled vocabularies, thesauri and classification systems available in the
WWW. DC Subject. http://www.lub.lu.se/metadata/subject-help

Koch, Traugott and Mattias Borell. Dublin Core Metadata Template. http://www.lub.lu.se/cgi-
bin/nmdc.pl

Komlodi, Anita and Gary Marchionini. Key Frame Preview Techniques for Video Browsing.
http://www.glue.umd.edu/~komlodi/dl98/dl98_1.html

Lakos, Amos and Chris Gray. "Personalized Library Portals as an Organisational Culture
Change Agent." Information Technology and Libraries 19.4 (2000).
http://www.lita.org/ital/1904_lakos.html

Lee, Stuart D. Scoping the Future of the Oxford Digital Library Collections.
http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/scoping/

Lesk, Michael. Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes and Bucks. San Francisco: Morgan
Kaufmann, 1997.

Library of Congress. MARC SGML and XML. http://lcweb.loc.gov/marc/marcsgml.html

Livesey, Suzanne and Peter Wynne. "Extending the Hybrid Library to Students on Franchised
Courses: User Profile, Service Implementation Issues and Management Strategies." Library
Management 22.1/2 (2001): 21-25.

Lunau, Carrol. The Bath Profile: What is it and Why Should I Care? http://www.nlc-
bnc.ca/bath/bathfaq.pdf



                                                        71
Lutes, Barbara. Web Thesaurus Companion.
http://www.darmstadt.gmd.de/~lutes/thesauri.html

Medlane XMLMARC homepage. http://xmlmarc.stanford.edu/

Metabrowser homepage. http://metabrowser.spirit.net.au/index.html

Metadata for Education Group (MEG) homepage. http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/education/

Metaform homepage. http://www2.sub.uni-goettingen.de/metaform/index.html

Miller, Dick R. "XML: Libraries' Strategic Opportunity." netConnect Summer 2000.
http://www.libraryjournal.com/xml.asp

Miller, Paul. "Towards Consensus on Educational Metadata." Ariadne 27.
http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue27/meg/

Miller, Paul. "Z39.50 for All." Ariadne 21 http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue21/z3950/

MPEG-7.com homepage. http://mpeg-7.com/

MPEG-7 Standard Overview. http://www.cselt.it/mpeg/standards/mpeg-7/mpeg-7.htm

Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) homepage.
http://www.merlot.org/Home.po

My.Monash homepage. http://my.monash.edu.au/

National Engineering Education Delivery System (NEEDS) homepage. http://www.needs.org/

NEDLIB project homepage. http://www.kb.nl/coop/nedlib/

Neuroth, Heike. Talking Heads no. 3. http://www.renardus.org/talk/talk3.html

New Jersey Environmental Digital Library homepage. http://njenv.rutgers.edu/njdlib/

Open Archives Initiative homepage. http://www.openarchives.org/

Ortiz-Repiso, Virginia and Purificacion Moscoso. "Web based OPACs: Between Tradition and
Innovation." Information Technology and Libraries 18.2 (1999).
http://www.lita.org/ital/1802_moscoso.html

Owen, Catherine, Tony Pearson and Stephen Arnold. "Meeting the Challenge of Film
Research in the Electronic Age." D-Lib Magazine 6.3 (2000).
http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march00/owen/03owen.html

Pearce, Judith, Warwick Cathro and Tony Boston. The Challenge of Integrated Access: The
Hybrid Library System of the Future. http://www.nla.gov.au/nla/staffpaper/jpearce1.html.

Photographic Documentation of Pneumonic Plague Outbreak Sites in Los Angeles.
Subcollection of the California Digital Library.
http://www.oac.cdlib.org/dynaweb/virtual/calher/bubonic/@Generic__BookTextView/149;hf=
0;cs=default;ts=default?DwebQuery=pneumonic&DwebSearchAll=1#X

PictureAustralia homepage: http://www.pictureaustralia.org/




                                                      72
Powell, Andy, Michael Heaney and Lorcan Dempsey. "RSLP Collection Description." D-Lib
magazine Vol. 6 No. 9. http://www.dlib.org/dlib/september00/powell/09powell.html

Powell, Andy. An OAi Approach to Sharing Subject Gateway Content.
http://www.rdn.ac.uk/publications/www10/oaiposter.pdf

ROADS metadata registry homepage. http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/roads/templates/

RSLP Collection Description homepage. http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/rslp/

Rusbridge, Chris. "Towards the Hybrid Library." D-Lib Magazine July/August 1998.
http://www.dlib.org/dlib/july98/rusbridge/07rusbridge.html

SCHEMAS project registry. http://www.schemas-forum.org/registry/

Silver Image Management. Defense Technical Information Center Defense Virtual Library:
Metadata Guidelines for Digital Moving Images.
http://dvl.dtic.mil:8100/metadata_guidelines/dvlvideo_guidelines.pdf

TagGen Office software homepage. http://www.hisoftware.com/tent.htm

Tennant, Roy. "XML: The Digital Library Hammer." Library Journal Digital 15 March 2001.
http://www.libraryjournal.com/articles/infotech/digitallibraries/20010315_17960.asp

Thornely, Jennie. "Metadata and the Deployment of Dublin Core at State Library of
Queensland and Education Queensland, Australia." OCLC Systems and Services 16.3 (2000):
118-129.

UK Interoperability Focus. http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop-focus/about/

UKOLN Bath Profile page: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop-focus/bath/

UNESCO thesaurus homepage. http://www.ulcc.ac.uk/unesco/

VCARD specification homepage. http://www.imc.org/pdi/

Virage Videologger information page. http://www.virage.com/products/videologger.html

Visual Image User Study (VIUS) homepage.
http://www.libraries.psu.edu/crsweb/vius/index.html

Wake, Susannah. HILT Stakeholder Survey.
http://hilt.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/Reports/SurveyResults.html

Wake, Susannah. HILT Thesaurus List. http://hilt.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/Sources/thesauri.htm

Werry, Chris. "The Work of Education in the Age of E-College." First Monday 6.5 (2001).
http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue6_5/werry/index.html

World Wide Web Consortium. Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) homepage.
http://www.w3.org/XML/

World Wide Web Consortium. Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model and Syntax
Specification. http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-rdf-syntax/




                                                           73
World Wide Web Consortium. Synchronized Multimedia (SMIL) homepage.
http://www.w3.org/AudioVideo/

XML4LIB homepage. http://www.lib.uwaterloo.ca/~cpgray/xml4lib.html

Z39.50 Maintenance Agency homepage. http://lcweb.loc.gov/z3950/agency/




                                                   74
Appendix vi
Brief Status Information on Lifesign Streams: DNER Interoperability Project
Requested:

   Interoperability - Metadata standards and Specifications
   Re-usability – educational level, technical format, subject specificity, aggregation level, interactivity,
    pedagogical framework
   Re-surfacing content for content management systems and VLEs

Reference for Further Information: http://www.Lifesign.ac.uk/

Subject Specificity & Educational Level
The project is identifying and developing a significant collection of video resources in the broad life
sciences as relevant to UK HE & FE.

Pedagogical Framework
These streams can be added to any web page supporting teaching and learning and segments can be
selected to support specific learning objectives. Information is provided in the Evaluation section of the
site. Support for integration is provided within specific courses on the basis of formal submissions of
expressions of interest. A formal evaluation programme forms a core activity of the project.

Technical Format & Access to Content
Lifesign content consists of presentation of video streams that have been cleared for access to either all of
UK HE/FE or relevant subsets that are restricted to these groups via the delivery system according to the
licencing arrangements agreed either by the project or by MAAS in conjunction with the project. These
are delivered across metropolitan area networks and the Internet from the Lifesign site, and are for use by
staff and students free of charge. The project is also developing software to integrate moving pictures and
sound materials in library catalogues and hybrid library systems.

Examples of the video streams available for .ac.uk and/or public viewing (IP restricted) are available from
the Lifesign website at http://www.Lifesign.ac.uk/ Select the VideoStreams tab. The video streams are
available in different qualities suitable for different access routes, such as high-speed LAN or Modem.

Metadata Standards and Specifications
Each stream is being developed with associated metadata. Both IMS metadata and Dublin Core have been
reviewed in detail. Further information on the process and present status of metadata relating to displayed
streams is available from the project officer Kate Lloyd-Jones based at Glamorgan. Contact details on the
project site.

Aggregation Level & Interactivity Issues
The project would like to see the webservice/database provide direct access to the metadata, although
work in this direction is currently ongoing. This section considers the implications for pedagogic access
to streams, and the relevance of the different access mechanisms for content packaging techniques and
tools.

For the purpose of pedagogic access to streams (including for VLE use):

1. For the majority of streams, access is via the web database, as demonstrated in the VideoStreams
   catalogue, which also lists streams by collection or category and provides a search facility. The “GET
   URL” facility allows direct embedding of these resources through web links.

2. Some selected streams have additional functionality, which explores the way individual streams can
   be divided into relevant pedagogic categories. These segments of a stream can be directly accessed
   from a TOC without viewing the entire stream. In some cases, this is particularly important for staff
   to use the material in their teaching at all.


                                                          75
Examples include:

http://video.mdc.port.ac.uk/heather/industrialecon/advertisingbehaviour/AdvertisingBehaviour.htm
http://video.mdc.port.ac.uk/science/biology/virology/virology2/virology2.htm
http://video.mdc.port.ac.uk/heather/introecon/interact/kh1.html

The examples in (2) currently use javascript functionality to invoke the TOC linkages to the stream. So
although segmentation exists, it is not yet in a format that offers the greatest flexibility.

(These examples have been provided by the Lifesign partner, Portsmouth, in response to requests for
additional forms of test content on behalf of the CETIS EC-SIG and DNER Interoperability Projects.
Strictly speaking, the functionality of this content is offered by Portsmouth rather than Lifesign, but is a
good illustration of the capacities available relating to this form of media presentation for learning).

1. For maximum flexibility, access to specific segments of a stream should be defined by invoking
   specific pre-integrated markers within a stream (e.g. play between markers “2” and “3”), or by
   indicating the specific timeslots required within a stream (e.g. play 02:24 to 05:30 within say a 55-
   minute duration stream). The first offers delivery of individual or sequential groups of pre-defined
   segments. The second allows delivery of individually-defined or custom segments.

   Demonstration work has been carried out using asf/x technology to demonstrate delivery of streams
   by both techniques. Specific working examples of these can be supplied on request. Staff at
   institutions will be able to produce such files themselves to reference appropriate segments of streams
   according to start and end markers in the stream or from specific timings within the stream. It is
   intended that staff and students will be able to take advantage of such technologies to create their own
   stream playlists.

   Once a single example is available, it is relatively simple to edit this to create other similar examples
   for the relevant bandwidths. The additional linking information needed to do this for any other
   Lifesign available streams can be obtained using the “Get URL” button on the Lifesign site.
2. The techniques described in (2) and (3) are important as they allow users to define, reference, and
   deliver pedagogically relevant segments of a stream, using either producer-controlled techniques as in
   (2), or user controlled techniques as in (3). Without this functionality, much of the Lifesign material
   would not be considered directly useable by academics.
3. It would be desirable to link access to the segmentation described by direct application of the relevant
   videostream metadata. This would allow specific segments to be played as identified through their
   metadata. However, as of January 2002, technical issues still remain surrounding the ability to turn
   specific metadata references into a stream. This holds issues for the realisation of maximum flexibility
   for the streams offered from the Lifesign database. However, it is still planned for Lifesign to include
   integration of stream and stream segment metadata into the delivery database, and to make this openly
   available to users.

Relevance to Content Packaging Techniques and Tools:

1. The simplest option for packaging (but one of the least effective pedagogically) would be to create a
   package using the reference to a single stream in its entirety for the required bandwidth. The content
   would comprise the URL of the specific stream for the bandwidth required, as made available through
   the “GET URL” facility on the web database.
2. Alternatively, create a package using the reference to a pre-prepared content unit (again a URL),
   containing TOC functionality such as described in (2) above. This is more pedagogically effective
   material, but requires more development around the streams upfront.
3. Create a content package containing the *.ASX file which references the desired stream segment by
   the chosen technique (timeslot or marker). This provides the most tightly customised and granular
   form of resource from the Lifesign material. This content at present needs to be created by the user to
   their own requirements.


                                                          76
Appendix vii
Metadata application
These examples of how resources might be displayed to users have been produced using the Dublin Core
and IMS metadata standards. They are not the actual metadata records. Both standards specify that any
one metadata record should correspond with one and only one electronic file. Thus where we have a
variety of delivery formats for a stream, we have to have the same number of metadata records identical
apart from technical details such as connection speed and link. The user would be confused if presented
with say three almost indistinguishable records. Here then there is one display for users which
amalgamates information from each record. The ease with which this could be done varies between
metadata formats. Another option is to create a relational database whose fields are based on the two
standards from which Dublin Core or IMS records can be extracted when required for download or
exchange.

All the examples shown are based on one video. A variety of description styles and levels are shown.
Some information noted, such as educational level or audience age range, is perhaps implicit from
Lifesign's stated target audience, but is required for resource discovery when records are included in
larger educational resource databases. Occasionally element names have been altered from those used in
the standard to make them more understandable for users. For example "format.extent" becomes "running
time". The keywords used have been selected from the MeSH (Medical Sub Headings) thesaurus created
by the US National Library of Medicine


1. Descriptions of whole programmes
1.1 Based on simple Dublin Core

Title             Emergency Response
Description       Addresses fire safety, radiation, chemical and biological spills and personal
                  injuries in the laboratory.
Subject           accidents; safety; fire; accidents, radiation; laboratories;
Language          US English
Date              1994
Format            11'42; wmv
Creator           Schumann, Werner
Publisher         Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory Safety
Rights            Copyright Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory Safety.
                  Available for use free in UK higher education institutions. ATHENS
                  password required for access
 Play              Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                   Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                   Highband version for JANET users

1.2 Based on qualified Dublin Core

Title             Emergency Response
Description       Addresses fire safety, radiation, chemical and biological spills and personal
                  injuries in the laboratory.
Subject           accidents; safety; fire; accidents, radiation; laboratories
Language           US English
Date               1994
Running time       11'42
Video format       wmv
Requires           Windows Media Viewer version 6.4 or higher.
Creator            Schumann, Werner
Publisher          Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory Safety


                                                        77
Rights              Copyright Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory Safety.
                    Available for use free in UK higher education institutions. ATHENS
                    password required for access
 Play                Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                     Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                     Highband version for JANET users

An additional element, shown below, is available if the Dublin Core Education system is used

Audience       higher education, vocational education

1.3 Based on IMS standard

 Title                        Emergency Response
 Description                  Addresses fire safety, radiation, chemical and biological
                              spills and personal injuries in the laboratory.
 Duration                     00:11:42
 Language                     US English
 Keywords                     accidents; safety; fire; accidents, radiation; laboratories
 Educational resource
                              Instructional video
 type
 Educational level            higher education, vocational training
 Age range                    18-
 Video type                   whole programme

 Author                       Werner Schumann
             Contact          Schumann Productions Inc, Cabin John, Maryland
             details
 Publisher                    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory
                              Safety
             Contact          adr: 4000 Jones Bridge Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815-
             details          6789
                              tel: (301) 215-8500
                              email: warfield@hhmi.org
                              url: http://www.hhmi.org/index.html
 Publication date             1994
 Review                       J Bloggs, Safety at Work Journal
                              1st Feb 1995
                              http://www.review.com

 Cost                         No
 Rights                       For use in UK HE only. Copyright Howard Hughes
                              Medical Institute Office of Laboratory Safety
 Access restrictions          Athens password required

 Video format                 wmv
 Plug-in                      Windows Mediaplayer version 6.4 or higher
 Other requirements           256 colour graphics card, soundcard

 Play                         Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                              Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                              Highband version for JANET users




                                                         78
Other description styles
The following descriptions show a number of different levels of description compared with that used
above, from very short to very detailed shotlist of what is seen and heard. In future examples if the above
description is used it is for reasons of brevity not preference.

Description                   This video examines how to deal with accidents in a
                              laboratory using reconstructions and eyewitness accounts.
                              Covers fires, small scale radiation, chemical and biological
                              spillages, major emergencies and personal injuries. The
                              emphasis is on what can be done by an individual and their
                              responsibilities to be informed and alert of the dangers of
                              their own and others' actions.
                              (KLJ)

                              Stresses preparation and training. The video addresses fire
                              safety and emergencies involving personal injuries, and
                              includes demonstrations on the proper cleanup of spills
                              involving radioactive materials, chemicals and biological
                              agents.
                              (HHMI website)

                              What to do in the event of an emergency - in regard to
                              fire/radiation/chemical/biological spill and personal injury
                              (Lifesign website)

Description

IN     Out     Content
0'00   0'10    Howard Hughes Medical Institute logo
0'11   0'32    Text & voice disclaimer – the video is not a substitute for a formal safety
               training programme
0'33   0'57    Visual: Walk through a busy biology laboratory with staff at work. Ends with
               focus on emergency response notices on wall
               Commentary: Accidents will happen. The institute should have a plan to
               respond – would you know what to do
0'58   1'27    Eyewitness describes an accident involving alcohol and a Bunsen burner which
               set fire to his wife's lab coat
1'27   1'42    Reconstruction of accident which sets lab coat alight. Colleague smothers
               flames with fire blanket
1'42   1'50    Titles: Safety in the Laboratory – Emergency Response
1'50   2'26    A fire chief trains staff in fire extinguishers use in a car park.
               Commentary: Extinguishers should only be used be trained personnel. always
               call the fire brigade
2'27   2'47    Staff practice fire extinguisher use on a fire contained in a small pan
2'47   2'58    Close up on fire section of emergency procedures notice
               Commentary: In case of major fire staff should be prepared to take action
2'58   3'03    Graphic: Attend to injured persons
               Commentary..and remove them from immediate danger
3'03   3'07    Graphic: Alert people to evacuate
3'07   3'14    Graphic: Call for emergency response
               Commentary: Activate fire alarm or ring emergency number
3'14   3'18    Graphic: Close doors
               Commentary: … to confine the fire
3'18   3'25    Graphic: Evacuate building
               Commentary: evacuate to safe area or exit building. Do not use elevator
3'25   3'33    Graphic: Assist Emergency Personnel
               Commentary: Have a person who knowledgeable of incident and laboratory

                                                         79
              help emergency services
3'33   3'39   Close up on radiation spill section of emergency procedures notice
              Commentary: Do you know how to handle a radiation spill
3'39   4'30   Reconstruction of a radiation accident – staff member realises he has dropped a
              "hot tube/tip". He uses a Geiger counter to assess his own level of
              contamination then measures in the floor around the dropped object. He marks
              out the contaminated areas with a pen
              Commentary: First consideration is personal safety, then assessing extent of
              spillage to prevent materials being tracked through the building, turning a
              minor incident into a major job. Being a small job it can be cleaned by the staff
              member, but if he was in doubt he would contact the safety office
4'30   5'06   Man picks up radioactive object with tongs and places it in appropriate waste
              container., then uses a high phosphate solution and paper towels to clean the
              contaminated floorspace. The towels are then disposed of properly. The
              process is repeated until no radiation is detected
5'06   5'12   Close up on chemical spill section of emergency procedures notice
              Commentary: How would you deal with a chemical spill
5'12   6'33   Reconstruction: a test tube of phenol has spilt on the floor. A staff member
              wearing protective gloves and glasses is seen using tongs, absorbent pads and
              detergent to remove the spillage. Materials are placed in a well sealed bag and
              properly labelled
              Commentary: should only be cleaned up by experienced personnel to prevent
              further problems. A spill kit should be available containing equipment and
              instructions. importance of proper disposal
6'33   6'39   Close up on biological spill section of emergency procedures notice
              Commentary: And what about a biological spill
6'39   7'07   Staff member wearing protective clothing and a full face visor is seen cleaning
              up a biological spillage on the floor of a BSL2 level laboratory using a 1 in 10
              dilution of bleach. 20 minutes allowed for inactivation of infectious materials
7'07   7'31   Spillage in a centrifuge. The staff member is seen closing the lid and allowing
              30 minutes for aerosol dispersal. Then, dressed in protective equipment, she
              sprays the equipment with detergent disinfectant and wipes down with alcohol
7'31   7'56   Reconstruction: spill of airborne pathogen e.g. microbacterium tuberculosis.
              Staff member is seen leaving and placing notice on door warning staff not to
              enter and why
              Commentary: hold breathe, leave immediately and remove clothing in
              anteroom. Leave lab for 30 minutes. Clean up should be done by safety staff.
7'56   8'02   Close up on major incident section of emergency procedures notice
8'02   8'13   Shot of large chemical bottle broken on floor
              Commentary: Major incidents should be dealt with by safety & emergency
              staff, but laboratory personnel will need to take immediate action
8'13   8'39   Graphic over broken bottle, commentator reads text as each bullet point
              appears
               Attend to injured persons and remove them
               Alert others to evacuate
               If spill is radioactive avoiding tracking materials and monitor personnel
               Call emergency response number
               Close doors
               Assist emergency services
8'39   8'45   Close up on personal injury section of emergency procedures notice
              Commentary: what do you do if you or someone else is injured
8'45   9'11   Reconstruction: Man spills chemicals down his front. Rushes to safety shower
              in corridor where colleague helps remove contaminated clothes
9'11   9'28   Razor blade on desk with blood spot – staff member seen removing gloves and
              rinsing under tap
              Commentary: Any minor cut or exposure to foreign materials should be treated
              by generous rinsing

                                                        80
 9'28    9'38    Radiological spill – staff member seen washing affected site only with two
                 fingers
                 Commentary – wash carefully to avoid spreading contamination
 9'38    9'46    Biological spill – staff member seen vigorously washing with soap and water
 9'46    9'53    Chemicals in eye – staff member seen washing eye
                 Commentary - continuous rinsing for fifteen minutes
 9'53    10'0    Staff member seen with medical personnel
         4       Commentary – all cuts, puncture wounds and eye splashes should have medical
                 attention. Any exposure or injury should be reported to supervisor
 10'0    10'1    Man with lab coat on fire, flames smothered b colleague
 4       8       Commentary: Solvent fires should be smothered not doused in water, which
                 might spread flames
 10'1    11'1    Hands flick through safety notice
 9       2       Scientist's voice heard talking before he is seen about how everyone is
                 responsible to be prepared. Also keep an eye on colleagues, and let them know
                 if they are doing something wrong
                 Commentary: know what to do in an accident– it could save a life.
 11'1    11'4    Credits
 2       2

 Curriculum areas

 Users may like to know in what areas of the curriculum the resource could be used. For example
 Emergency Response could be used for any subject that involves laboratory work, such as biology,
 physics, chemistry, medical science and so forth.

 However this cannot legitimately be used in the "subject" area of Dublin Core as the video is not actually
 about these topics. An extra local "curriculum area" element could have to be employed, as shown below
 in an example based on the qualified Dublin Core Education system.

Title                           Emergency Response
Description                     Addresses fire safety, radiation, chemical and biological spills and
                                personal injuries in the laboratory.
Subject                         accidents; safety; fire; accidents, radiation; laboratories
Audience                        higher education, vocational education
Curriculum areas                biology; biochemistry; medical sciences
(link to list of resources in
each curriculum area)
Language                        US English
Date                            1994
Running time                    11'42
Video format                    wmv
Requires                        Windows Media Viewer version 6.4 or higher.
Creator                         Schumann, Werner
Publisher                       Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory Safety
Rights                          Copyright Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory
                                Safety. Available for use free in UK higher education institutions.
                                ATHENS password required for access
Play                             Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                                 Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                                 Highband version for JANET users

 Such an element can be included in an IMS description through its classification section. Description 1.3
 would become

 Title                          Emergency Response



                                                           81
Description                  Addresses fire safety, radiation, chemical and biological spills
                             and personal injuries in the laboratory.
Duration                     00:11:42
Language                     US English
Keywords                     accidents; safety; fire; accidents, radiation; laboratories
Educational resource type    Instructional video
Educational level            higher education, vocational training
Age range                    18-
Curriculum areas             biology
(linked to curriculum area   biochemistry
listing of resources)        medical sciences
Video type                   whole programme

Author                       Werner Schumann
              Contact        Schumann Productions Inc, Cabin John, Maryland
              details
Publisher                    Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory
                             Safety
              Contact        adr: 4000 Jones Bridge Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815-6789
              details        tel: (301) 215-8500
                             email: warfield@hhmi.org
                             url: http://www.hhmi.org/index.html
Publication date             1994
Review                       J Bloggs, Safety at Work Journal
                             1st Feb 1995
                             http://www.review.com

Cost                         No
Rights                       For use in UK HE only. Copyright Howard Hughes Medical
                             Institute Office of Laboratory Safety
Access restrictions          Athens password required

Video format                 wmv
Plug-in                      Windows Mediaplayer version 6.4 or higher
Other requirements           256 colour graphics card, soundcard

Play                         Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                             Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                             Highband version for JANET users

Curriculum area values are purely speculative

Short records

Full IMS records are very long, and could produce pages of material for users to scroll through. One
solution could be to display truncated versions of records, with a link to full details, such as:

Title                        Emergency Response
Description                  Addresses fire safety, radiation, chemical and biological spills
                             and personal injuries in the laboratory.
Duration                     00:11:42
Keywords                     accidents; safety; fire; accidents, radiation; laboratories
Educational level            higher education, vocational training
Age range                    18-




                                                        82
Curriculum areas             biology
                             biochemistry
                             medical sciences
View full description

Play                         Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                             Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                             Highband version for JANET users

Keyframes
Video searchers can be helped by having images from the videos displayed with other information, such
as




Title                        Emergency Response




Description                  Addresses fire safety, radiation, chemical and biological spills
                             and personal injuries in the laboratory.
Language                     US English
etc




                                                       83
2. Segments
Videos would benefit from being divided into smaller sections or segments for easier use. Descriptions
need to be devised which would enable access to such segments. The layout would be much the same for
Dublin Core or IMS based records, but the degree of manipulation required to achieve them would vary
between standards. The examples below omit many fields, concentrating on the various ways of including
segments within the description, thus are relevant to Dublin Core or IMS based records

Title                        Emergency Response
Description                  Addresses fire safety, radiation, chemical and biological spills
                             and personal injuries in the laboratory.
Duration                     00:11:42
Language                     US English
.
.
Play                         Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                             Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                             Highband version for JANET users

Sections                     Introduction:
                             Do you know what to do in an emergency? Eyewitness
                             account and reconstruction of an accident.
                             Run time 1'50
                             Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                             Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                             Highband version for JANET users

                             Fire response:
                             Shows staff being trained in extinguisher use, and describes a
                             standard fire response routine
                             Run time 1'43
                             Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                             Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                             Highband version for JANET users

                             Dealing with a radiation spill:
                             What to do in a small scale incident, with emphasis on personal
                             safety, containment and cleaning of spilt material and proper
                             disposal of cleaning materials.
                             Run time 1'33
                             Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                             Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                             Highband version for JANET users
                             Dealing with a chemical spillage:
                             How to clean up a small chemical spill in a lab and dispose of
                             the waste
                             Run time 1'27
                             Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                             Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                             Highband version for JANET users




                                                       84
                              Dealing with a biological spill:
                              How to clean a small scale biological spill in a laboratory and a
                              centrifuge. What to do when airborne pathogens are released
                              Run time 1'23
                              Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                              Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                              Highband version for JANET users

                              Major incidents:
                              What individuals should do in an incident which requires the
                              emergency services
                              Run time 0'43
                              Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                              Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                              Highband version for JANET users

                              Personal injuries:
                              Examines what you and colleagues can do in the cases of
                              chemical spills on the body, cuts, radiological and biological
                              spills on the skin, eye splashes and persons on fire. When to seek
                              medical attention. Remember to inform supervisors
                              Run time 1'39
                              Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                              Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                              Highband version for JANET users

                              Your responsibilities:
                              Know your institution's procedures, be prepared and examine
                              your colleagues' working practices too.
                              Run time 0'53
                              Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                              Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                              Highband version for JANET users

alternatively

Title                         Emergency Response
Description                   Addresses fire safety, radiation, chemical and biological spills
                              and personal injuries in the laboratory.
Duration                      00:11:42
Language                      US English
.
.
Play                          Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                              Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                              Highband version for JANET users

Sections                      Introduction
(link to individual records   Fire response
for segments or direct to     Dealing with a radiation spill
video segment via page        Dealing with a chemical spillage
offering choice of speeds)    Dealing with a biological spill
                              Major incidents
                              Personal injuries
                              Your responsibilities




                                                        85
A shortened version of an IMS based record could look like:
Title                        Emergency Response
Description                  Addresses fire safety, radiation, chemical and biological spills
                             and personal injuries in the laboratory.
Duration                     00:11:42
Keywords                     accidents; safety; fire; accidents, radiation; laboratories
Educational level            higher education, vocational training
Age range                    18-
Curriculum areas             biology
                             biochemistry
                             medical sciences
View full description

Play                          Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                              Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                              Highband version for JANET users

Sections                      Introduction
(link to individual records   Fire response
for segments or direct to     Dealing with a radiation spill
video segment via page        Dealing with a chemical spillage
offering choice of speeds)    Dealing with a biological spill
                              Major incidents
                              Personal injuries
                              Your responsibilities


Segments could well require their own record. This could be for linking purposes, as shown above, or for
inclusion in an IMS manifest of files used in a larger entity such as a lesson plan or assessment. Such a
record would require a reference back to the programme from which it is derived to enable users to view
it in its entirety

Segment description based on qualified Dublin Core
Title            Emergency Response: Introduction
Description      Do you know what to do in an emergency? Eyewitness account and
                 reconstruction of an accident.
Subject           accidents; safety; laboratories
Language         US English
Date             1994
Running time     1'50
Video format     wmv
Requires         Windows Media Viewer version 6.4 or higher.
Creator          Schumann, Werner
Publisher        Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory Safety
Rights           Copyright Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory Safety.
                 Available for use free in UK higher education institutions. ATHENS password
                 required for access
Play             Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                 Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                 Highband version for JANET users

Parent             Emergency response
programme
(link to
metadata
record)



                                                        86
Again this would require a fair amount of manipulation to achieve. The link back to the parent
programme is the only indication of its segment status


Segment description based on IMS standard.
Title                      Fire Response
Description                Shows staff being trained in extinguisher use, and describes a
                           standard fire response routine
Duration                   00:01:43
Language                   US English
Keywords                   safety; fire
Educational resource type Instructional video
Educational level          higher education, vocational training
Age range                  18-
Video type                 Programme extract

Author                        Werner Schumann
            Contact           Schumann Productions Inc, Cabin John, Maryland
            details
Publisher                     Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory
                              Safety
            Contact           adr: 4000 Jones Bridge Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815-6789
            details           tel: (301) 215-8500
                              email: warfield@hhmi.org
                              url: http://www.hhmi.org/index.html
Publication date              1994
Review                        J Bloggs, Safety at Work Journal
                              1st Feb 1995
                              http://www.review.com

Cost                          No
Rights                        For use in UK HE only. Copyright Howard Hughes Medical
                              Institute Office of Laboratory Safety
Access restrictions           Athens password required

Video format                  wmv
Plug-in                       Windows Mediaplayer
Other requirements            256 colour graphics card, soundcard

Play                          Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                              Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                              Highband version for JANET users

Parent programme              Emergency response
(link to metadata record)

Note the use of the video type element to identify the segment status




                                                        87
Longer descriptions could be obtained from the shotlist quoted earlier. Times quoted refer to absolute
time in the whole video

1'50   2'26   A fire chief trains staff in fire extinguishers use in a car park.
              Commentary: Extinguishers should only be used be trained personnel. always
              call the fire brigade
2'27   2'47   Staff practice fire extinguisher use on a fire contained in a small pan
2'47   2'58   Close up on fire section of emergency procedures notice
              Commentary: In case of major fire staff should be prepared to take action
2'58   3'03   Graphic: Attend to injured persons
              Commentary ..and remove them from immediate danger
3'03   3'07   Graphic: Alert people to evacuate
3'07   3'14   Graphic: Call for emergency response
              Commentary: Activate fire alarm or ring emergency number
3'14   3'18   Graphic: Close doors
              Commentary: … to confine the fire
3'18   3'25   Graphic: Evacuate building
              Commentary: evacuate to safe area or exit building. Do not use elevator
3'25   3'33   Graphic: Assist Emergency Personnel
              Commentary: Have a person who knowledgeable of incident and laboratory
              help emergency services


Short segment display:
Title                         Fire Response
Description                   Shows staff being trained in extinguisher use, and describes a
                              standard fire response routine
Duration                      00:01:43
Video type                    Programme extract
Keywords                      safety; fire
Educational level             higher education, vocational training
Age range                     18-
Curriculum areas              biology
                              biochemistry
                              medical sciences
View full description

Play                          Lowband version for modem and ISDN users
                              Multiband version for ISDN2 to ADSL users
                              Highband version for JANET users




                                                        88
Appendix viii
Metadata proposals
Relational database with fields mappable to

1. IMS – for interoperability between MLEs/VLEs and inclusion in IMS content packing metadata
2. Dublin Core (simple and qualified) – cross searching, metadata harvesting

This enables us to present differing views of metadata. The Lifesign site would require a content-centred
display, with one display record showing all versions of video content. Metadata standards take a file-
centred perspective, with one record per digitised file.

Export records in XML
 Some fields with standard information relevant to all exported records but not to internal Lifesign
display, e.g. education.interactivitytype=expositive (IMS), can be included in records during the export
procedure

Vocabularies

Subject/keywords: MeSH and LCSH
Other fields e.g. curriculum area, role of contributor, pedagogical genre of delivery, technical format.
Values to be selected from controlled list of terms selected where possible from recognised vocabularies
(some metadata standards are still developing/consulting on recommended term lists for various
elements).

Granularity

   The feedback received so far from the metadata examples produced seems to be in favour of
    presenting plenty of information about the video content and a number of access points.
   One approach is for the Project Officer to analyse the video streams, make decisions about
    appropriate index points and provide index points for segments. Segmentation may be suggested by
    the structure of the content, or by captioning produced by as part of the implementation at
    Portsmouth, or by drawing inferences about how a student or lecturer might use the material. We can
    think of this a developer-driven approach.
   A second approach, which we should also adopt, is user-driven segmentation. Here, the Project
    Officer would receive information via the evaluators about which segments users were creating in
    practice. Metadata and resource descriptions would be created for these (note that we need some
    fairly sophisticated metadata – Media Player captions in themselves are not convenient for resource
    retrieval as they provide a simple, non-hierarchical, list.

Working practices

The Project Officer will develop an access database in parallel to the current system, to replace it in time.
Where appropriate, it will make use of data that has already been provided, but also modify and
standardise it. A parallel approach will enable work to take place on interface design, system testing etc.
Cataloguing will be collaborative in nature, e.g. Portsmouth to note stream addresses, correct details
relating to rights holders, validate technical terminology etc. This will require a template cataloguing
interface and auditing system noting operations upon files, allowing remote access and so on.

Evaluation work

We need to think through how this detailed metadata will be evaluated. Evaluation feedback must include
some comment on the usefulness of the metadata and resource description that has been created.
However, students at evaluation sites will typically be directed towards the resource (e.g. by a student
pointing to it in a VLE) rather than being asked to „find‟ it. Therefore, it will also be crucial to get
feedback from the wider community, where information retrieval by users searching the whole database
can be analysed.

                                                          89
Appendix ix
DNER & Learning Objects
Document F: Summary
By Sarah Currier and Lorna M. Campbell

F.1. Introduction
In summarising the evaluation of the JISC 5/99 projects carried out by DNER&LO, the following factors
should be kept in mind:

1. Of the 18 projects evaluated, six (33%) provided access to completed content; nine (50%) provided
   incomplete or pilot content; and in three cases (17%) no content was available for examination and
   project staff were asked for information.
2. At the time of preparing funding proposals and planning the projects, the DNER guidelines for
   interoperability and reusability had not yet been published.
3. The majority of projects had no intention of producing content with the capability of being
   granularized or otherwise treated as learning objects.

There is therefore no criticism of the projects implied by the evaluations summarised here. The intention
of DNER&LO is simply to provide a snapshot of the JISC 5/99 content at the particular time covered and
to identify the issues relating to the reusability and interoperability of such content, in order to inform
both future producers and end users.

F.2. Reusability of JISC 5/99 Content
It is clear when examining the figures at every level of aggregation within the 5/99 projects that most of
the content is Somewhat and/or Potentially Reusable. The few cases where a resource is either
Reusable or Not Reusable are attributable to the fact that those projects had particular objectives that led
naturally to these classifications. Given that the three projects that produced Not Reusable resources all
additionally produced, or hoped to produce, resources with a higher level of reusability, there is cause for
optimism.

F.3. Vertical Reusability of JISC 5/99 Content
The figures show that the majority of 5/99 projects produced material with Potential for vertical reuse.
Resources produced specifically with vertical reuse in mind (classified Yes) came a close second. Again,
this is true at every aggregation level. Both projects that created content with No vertical reusability, also
created, or planned to create content with Potential or Yes for vertical reusability. Additionally, content
with No vertical reusability was partly made up of objects with Potential for vertical reuse.

F.4. Horizontal Reusability of JISC 5/99 Content
Content that was deemed horizontally reusable (i.e. Generic or Interdisciplinary subject specificity) was
produced by about half the projects, the remainder being Subject Specific or Resource Specific. Overall,
and at each level of aggregation, most resources clustered around the Interdisciplinary or Subject
Specific.

F.5 Interactivity of JISC 5/99 Content
Overall less than half of the projects produced interactive content according to the DNER&LO definition.
Four projects produced content that was entirely based around interactivity.

F.6 Metadata
In the initial survey of projects, just over half mentioned DC, while a third mentioned IMS LOM. In
terms of actual implementation at the time of the study these figures dropped to 39% for DC
implementation, and nil for IMS. Encouragingly, however, with the exception of one project, the
remaining projects planned to implement DC and/or IMS.




                                                          90
F.7 Conclusions
Taking into account that the projects funded under 5/99 had no access to guidelines for interoperability
and reusability at the time of funding, when budgets and project plans are drawn up, the overall results of
this study are encouraging. While the projects‟ understanding of the issues varied widely, and resources
for ensuring interoperability and reusability were often scarce, the figures show that much of the 5/99
content has potential for reuse. Moreover, perhaps the most telling feature of this study‟s findings is the
fact that the most highly reusable materials, vertically, horizontally and overall, were produced by the two
projects which made these factors core aims of the project, and planned accordingly. These two projects
were also the only two that developed collections of educational aggregations (Learning Objects and/or
Units of Study). It would no doubt be useful if lessons gleaned from the experiences of Lifesign and
INHALE were passed on to subsequent projects, such as the X4L funded work. Additionally, funding
bodies must take on board the need for clear guidelines for reusability and interoperability when planning
content development, as well as for ongoing support programmes for funded projects, to enable them to
keep up with developments in this swiftly evolving arena.




                                                         91
Appendix x
Lifesign publications
Jeremy Atkinson, „Digitising moving images: national and local perspectives‟, JUGL Seminar on
Digitisation in Practice, London, January 2001. http://bubl.ac.uk/org/jugl/digitisation2001/present.html

' Video resources for the academic community; responding to enthusiasts or providing a critical mass of
material'. panel session at ALT-C, Edinburgh 2001.

John Mahoney, „Lifesign delivers moving images for learning in the life sciences‟, Media Online Focus
(5), October 2001.

William Garrison, „Video streaming into the mainstream‟, Journal of Audiovisual Media in Medicine,
vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 174-178.

John Mahoney, „Lifesign Project‟, in BMJ Hermans and JT Goldschmeding (eds.), Streaming Video in
Hoger Onderwijs‟, SURF, pp40-42

Andrew Dalgleish, „The Use of Networked Moving Images for Learning and Teaching: the Lifesign
Project‟, Internet Librarian International: collected presentations, London, UK, 18-20 March 2001,
Medford, N.J., Information Today, 2002, p. 30.

John Mahoney and Andrew Dalgleish, Presentation to the Society of Experimental Biologists, 10th April
2002, University of Swansea.

„Pilot web project nets BBC science shows‟, Times Higher Education Supplement, 21st June 2002

Kerry L. Shephard, „Integrating national initiatives and local developments; Streaming Video to support
Nurse Education in the UK‟ in Winds of change in the sea of learning. Proceedings of the 19th Annual
Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education..Unitec, Auckland
New Zealand. (In press).

Shephard K, Ottewill R, Phillips P and Collier R (2003) From videocassette to video stream: issues
involved in re-purposing an existing educational video, ALT J (in press)

Shephard KL (2002) Questioning, promoting and evaluating the use of streaming video to support student
learning, British Journal of Educational Technology (in press).




                                                        92
Appendix xi
Materials Delivery Evaluation Report
(Lifesign WP9: Pedagogic Evaluation Milestone 1: Evaluate Materials Delivery)
October 3rd 2002; Kerry Shephard and Gabriel Jezierski

1. Context

Lifesign‟s Deliverable D12 is the Pedagogic Evaluation Report. An indicated milestone is 06/02
„Evaluate Materials Delivery‟ and this will be one component of the final Pedagogic Evaluation Report
now due in March 2003. Pedagogic evaluation, the main focus of the final Pedagogic Evaluation Report,
will focus on Objective 2 from WP9: to assess the impact of streamed video on current curriculum
delivery within participating institutions in two MANS. The current success of the delivery of Lifesign‟s
learning materials is evaluated in this interim „Materials Delivery Evaluation Report‟. It focuses on the
"technical, institutional and legal frameworks that have had positive and negative impacts on how
learners have accessed and interacted with the material". The report will not attempt to describe technical
aspects of delivery in any depth but clearly successful learning and teaching using on-line resources
depends fundamentally on successful on-line delivery of learning resources. For Lifesign‟s evaluators,
evaluation of „materials delivery‟ is itself a component of formal pedagogic evaluation and not a separate
activity. (Our evaluation methodology, including the evaluation of materials delivery, is described on the
Lifesign website). Specific aspects of our evaluation processes that provide information about the
delivery of materials are contained within this report.

This report aims to distinguish between demonstrable „delivery of materials‟ to learners (where learners
and their learning needs have been identified) and another processes of „making materials available on a
web-site‟. The latter activity, while potentially beneficial, is less open to evaluation and so, arguably, less
valuable to Lifesign and to the academic community. In a similar spirit, this report does address a range
of issues that influence the ability of students to make use of Lifesign‟s streamed video; streaming
appropriate video to a computer in front of an identified student is not valuable to student learning if, for
whatever reason, the student cannot view, or hear the video.

Although the „Materials Delivery Evaluation Report‟ is destined to be part of the final Pedagogic
Evaluation Report it is also „formative‟ in nature. Lifesign is not complete at this stage and it is hoped that
current formal evaluation will inform the final stages of the ongoing development of Lifesign.

2. Generic aims of JISC 5/99.

JISC Circular 5/99 described the development of the DNER (Distributed National Electronic Resource)
for Learning and Teaching. The circular confirms (para. 4) that the main objective of the DNER is to
stimulate the use of a collection of digital resources within all areas of the HE community. The circular
established the context for funding within this area; in particular by specifying that the developments
funded by this money must be clearly and specifically for learning and teaching, not generally for
research (para.9). One area identified for funding related to the use of moving images and sound with a
specific brief „to evaluate the use of networked moving image and sound material for learning and
teaching‟ (para. 63). JISC emphasise the importance of „evaluation‟ throughout Circular 5/99.

3. Aims and objectives of Lifesign

Lifesign‟s aims and objectives are described in detail within our Project Plan, but essentially Lifesign
aims to evaluate the use of networked moving picture and sound material for learning and teaching in the
life sciences. Specific elements of Lifesign, categorised as „Work Packages‟ include: content
identification/ compilation; rights clearance; network/ equipment development; metadata development/
cataloguing/ research; content production; pedagogic evaluation; and dissemination.




                                                           93
4. Technical, evaluation and delivery milestones

Establishment of Lifesign servers and the Lifesign website.
The Lifesign website (www.Lifesign.ac.uk) was established at an early stage of the project and it now
provides a „focus‟ for the delivery of on-line materials. Lifesign‟s servers are based in Portsmouth‟s
Media (now, Learning) Development Centre. The website rapidly developed as a „show piece‟ for
Lifesign‟s collection of videos but also gives access to minutes of Lifesign meetings and to Evaluation
and user–guide materials. The web site and much of the Lifesign collection were officially „launched‟ at
the Edinburgh ALT Conference in September 2001.
Acquisition of video.

Acquiring video footage, and the right to stream it, has been fundamentally a difficult task for colleagues
at Portsmouth. Significant breakthrough occurred on July 27th 2001, nearly a year after the start of
Lifesign, when agreement was reached between the EBS trust and Lifesign that enabled us to „stream‟ the
Shotlist biology collection to UK HE and FE. Other titles have subsequently been added to the Lifesign
collection as a result of careful and painstaking negotiation between Lifesign partners and a range of
owners of video-rights.

Rights clearance
A significant difficulty for Lifesign has been the negotiation of rights to stream video. Although it was
initially hoped that MAAS would undertake rights clearance on Lifesign‟s behalf it became unlikely that
MAAS would successfully license all the content required within the timeframe of the Lifesign Project.
Furthermore, the license requirements of MAAS were much more restrictive than those required by
Lifesign; giving Lifesign greater manoeuvrability in negotiations than available to MAAS. It is significant
that negotiations were hampered by uncertainty about the legal position of licences and permissions
distributed by copyright holders before the advent of streaming technology. Colleagues at Portsmouth
were clearly breaking new ground.

Authorisation and authentication
Agreements between Lifesign and copyright holders generally required Lifesign to stream video only to
authorised users. Lifesign developed its own authorisation and authentication processes based primarily
on the IP addresses of authorised Institutions‟ computers. As described below this had serious
consequences for the Lifesign project and potential learners.

Choosing suitable content
Lifesign set out to establish a „critical mass‟ of content in the area of „practical procedures in first-year
biological sciences‟. Early discussions in Lifesign identified the need for a balance to be established; too
narrow a range of subject material would limit the use of the collection to too few individuals while too great
a range and the proposed benefits of critical mass would not be realised. Lifesign initially agreed to restrict
the range of subject material to „practical procedures in first-year biological sciences‟ but subsequently
(October 2001) opened the field to „the (broadly defined) life sciences‟ when it became clear that too few
academics were using Lifesign resources. This process paralleled an extensive debate within Lifesign about
the process of building the Lifesign collection. The Needs Analysis Approach
(http://www.clt.soton.ac.uk/kerry/lifesignevaluationJune8.htm) focused on input by academic staff who
expressed an interest in particular themes. The rationale for this was to ensure that Lifesign used its resources
(including staff time) to develop applications that could potentially lead to the use of video by identified staff
and their students; and hence to evaluated use. To support this approach a „prioritisation process‟ based on
„Expressions of Interest‟ and „Evaluation Proposals‟ was agreed by Lifesign in July 2001. Also a wide range
of promotional and marketing activities (reported elsewhere) were undertaken to elicit „expressions of
interest‟. Lifesign also adopted the pragmatic Content Delivery Approach
(http://www.lifesign.ac.uk/documents/process.gif) where the collection was supplemented by „life sciences
video‟ on the basis that it could be licensed for use, irrespective of whether or not identified staff or student
users were known. A significant proportion of Lifesign‟s collection was established on this basis. Identified
staff and students subsequently used some of this footage and this certainly validates this approach to some
extent. As described above, video that is „available to learners‟ but not „delivered to identified learners‟ is not
strictly within the remit of this report as it its use is not open to any formal evaluation.



                                                           94
5. Examples of the delivery and use of Lifesign resources to support learning and teaching.

Examples of the use of Lifesign materials, on which this evaluation report is based, are included here.
Where available the „published‟ case study, giving more information about the evaluation process and
results, is referenced. This report only describes aspects of the „delivery of materials‟ to students. The
extent to which the materials supported learning is considered more fully in the published case studies
and is the primary topic for the Pedagogic Evaluation Report.

Uof P

Streamed video to support Pharmacy students.
A lecturer in Pharmacy developed a WebCT course (including a URL link to the Lifesign streamed video
„Manipulating DNA‟) to accompany a series of lectures on Cellular Biochemistry and Genetics. The
lecturer evaluated student-use of these resources, using a paper questionnaire given to students during the
last lecture. Of 163 students, 75 attended the lecture and 25 submitted the questionnaire. None of the
respondents had used the on-line resources and student tracking indicated that only seven students in total
had visited the site. Most respondents indicated that a lack of time was the major problem. The lecturer
also felt that students needed more training on how to access online resources. The lecturer was unable to
demonstrate the videos during the lectures, as the computers in the lecture room did not have Windows
Media Player installed. He felt that this was a major problem. (More recently the lecturer has worked with
Portsmouth‟s Learning Media Development to produce a Safety Video and an accompanying web page
with multiple choice questions and links to segments of the video).

Uof S

Application 1. Learning to Measure Blood Pressure.
A lecturer in Social, Health & Behavioural Studies at the University of Southampton‟s New College
worked with the Lifesign team to produce a video stream about how to measure blood pressure and used
this, as one of three learning resources, with second year students. The case study includes a summary of
feedback data from the students. A total of forty-two students used the resources during two practical
sessions, each on a different day. The streamed video was successfully delivered to all students.
(http://www.clt.soton.ac.uk/kerry/LarkinCaseStudy.htm)

Application 2. Embedded video stream in a VLE for Nursing and Midwifery students.
The educational activity involved here is a first-year module on Life Sciences taught to student nurses.
The module ran over two semesters in the academic year 2001/2002 and involved over 700 students along
with a large group of academic and support staff. Three videos were „embedded‟ within the module‟s
Directed Learning Sessions by establishing hyperlinks, in Word documents, either to complete video
streams; or to segments of video via „asx redirector files‟. Extensive evaluation occurred. From just over
750 students, approximately 350 made some use of video streams, outside of face-to-face sessions, and at
least 265 confirmed that they enjoyed this learning resource.

There were some problems. The need for students to acquire skills was a difficult issue. Streamed video
was embedded within Directed Learning Sessions in a way that was thought not to require specific
„video‟ skills. Nevertheless receiving streamed video on a computer was a new experience for most
students. Support staff observed that some students did not appreciate that there would be a time delay
between clicking on a link and receiving the video; they assumed that access to the video was not
possible. Anticipation of this delay was a „skill‟ that needs to be taught. A similar problem arose where
„buffering‟ of incoming streaming video does not keep pace with playing; the video stops for a few
seconds. Students occasionally assumed that the there was a fault and did not wait for the video to
resume. The problem was compounded where videos were divided into short segments. Students watched
each segment but occasionally thought that video segments had „crashed‟, when in fact they had simply
stopped where they should have. Written instructions were provided to clarify these problems but they do
indicate the need for students to acquire a range of skills to view streaming video.

Video was streamed by the LIFESIGN project with high levels of reliability. There were server crashes
but these were rare. This, however, disguises an underlying problem. Student access to video streams was


                                                          95
not via the LIFESIGN web-page but via hyperlinks embedded in Word documents supported in a
Blackboard environment. As LIFESIGN implemented its „authorisation and authentication‟ programme it
changed the URL of videos used in the Nursing applications. As a result video, always available via the
LIFESIGN web-site became temporarily unavailable via Blackboard. These errors were rectified rapidly
but point to underlying problems in evaluating the use of resources supplied by projects, themselves
undergoing development. This provides evidence for the need to have a „development server/platform‟
and a „production/delivery server/platform‟ to ensure that evaluated applications are not disrupted by
project development.

An additional problem related to the availability of video streams outside of University networks. In an
attempt to conform to copyright licensing restrictions, LIFESIGN implemented IP-address-restriction,
partway through the module, so that only users in UK Higher Education could access the video streams.
Only students actually using computers with IP addresses registered to HE institutions were able to access
„The Human Brain In Situ‟ and „Endocrine System - The Human Body Series‟. Students trying to access
these videos „at home‟ via a modem were refused access, unless linked to the internet via a remote „dial-
up‟ facility. The issues inherent within this restriction need to be reconsidered and will be considered in
more depth in Lifesign‟s Final Report.

Throughout the module, Academic Staff kept the Evaluator informed about their concerns and reflections
on their use of streaming video to support student learning. In general Academic Staff remained
enthusiastic about both the potential for streaming video to support learning and its ongoing reality. Staff
expressed enthusiasm for the quality of the videos identified and used. They were happy about the
processes of embedding the video streams in Directed Learning Sessions and were happy to be
researching into the use of streaming video to support student learning. They were also balanced in their
feedback to the Evaluator and did say when the use of streaming video was not working. One quote from
a „reflective email‟ will illustrate the point and provides information that relates to the data on student
access to, and use of, the resources. “I spoke to my class yesterday and asked specifically about the video.
Those students who were able to access it thought it was very useful.... (but)…. It was commonly
reported as fragmented, far too slow or it crashed. About 50% of my class said they tried to access it and
gave up...that's not good.”

The results do suggest that streamed video can contribute to useful resources to support learning by
student nurses but, for a variety of reasons, it may not appeal or be adequately accessible to all students at
present.
(http://www.clt.soton.ac.uk/kerry/LS01CaseStudy.htm)

Application 3. Video stream embedded in lecture presentation for student nurses.
A streamed video on Cystic Fibrosis was shown within a lecture for student nurses. The video was used
to reinforce the technical content of the lecture by providing a 'real patient' context to the genetic and
biochemical theory. The value of the video as a learning resource was identified by the lecturer and, at
first, it was described as „recommended viewing‟ to the students. On this occasion there was no way to
ensure that students did view the video (any more than to ensure that they read recommended texts). On
the next occasion the URL for the video was embedded within a PowerPoint presentation, used within the
lecture, and streamed via a video projector to the audience. The video takes 20 minutes and was used at
the end of the 50-minute lecture. It was hoped that the video would allow students to re-examine the
information provided in the earlier presentation in the context made possible by „video‟. The video
worked very well. In a subsequent lecture the activity was not so successful. The lecture started late (due
to the previous occupants of the lecture room „running over‟), the video projector developed a fault (that
needed correction part way through the lecture) and the video stream „froze‟ half-way through. By this
time the lecture period was nearly over and there was insufficient time to restart the video. The lecturer
considered that enough was shown to enthuse motivated students to access the video in their own time.
(http://www.clt.soton.ac.uk/kerry/HarrisonCaseStudy.htm)

Application 4. Video resources to support Physiotherapy and Nursing students.
A video on back-care, originally produced by the University of Southampton, was „reengineered‟ for
streaming via a Lifesign-funded project. It was provided via a purpose-built website to support the
learning of „students‟ enrolled on a credited CPD/part-time Foundation Programme in Basic Moving and


                                                          96
Handling. Students attend a week long session at Southampton and then continue their studies in their
own homes/practices and in their local HE/FE institution. The project required Lifesign to restrict access
to the streamed video to „students from those institutions that had purchased the Back-care
Videocassette‟. Lifesign‟s IP address process was used for authentication and authorisation. Although this
application is on-going it has so far raised a range of issues. As with the Nursing application above,
access to Lifesign‟s streams is not possible via student‟s own computer at their home. Students, therefore,
really did need to access the video at their local HE/FE institution. For most students this proved
impossible. For some, the local HEI had not been included in Lifesign‟s IP address inventory. Other
students found that their local institution had not engaged in the „reciprocal agreement‟ whereby students
from another institution would be given (restricted) access to local resources. For some access was
granted to library facilities but not to computer facilities. Moreover, even where access to computer
facilities was granted following a request from the Evaluator, the equipment did not have sound cards
and/or Windows Media Player. Even within Southampton, evaluators discovered that student „part-time‟
registration gave automatic access to library resources but not to computer resources. Although much of
this is beyond the remit of Lifesign, these factors severely limit the extent to which Lifesign actually
„delivers materials‟ to students.
UofG (Work in progress: Issues and Barriers)

Application 1. Cardiac physiology
Two senior lecturers in the School of Care Sciences at University of Glamorgan would like to incorporate
the ECG and cardiac physiology video-material (or more especially 'segments of it' were it possible)
into a multimedia distance-learning package for (pre and post registration) nursing. As part of developing
workplace practice, the video streams would be "particularly useful and 'dovetail' with workbook
content". The purpose of using the materials would be to develop the student‟s skills in the interpretation
of electrocardiographs". To achieve this, the video would be embedded as part of a learning activity. This
learning activity would link to clinical practice. However, the integration of the streaming video into the
distance learning course has been problematic and raised a number of fundamentally important issues in
regard to the integration of such material:

Format limitations - The (streamed video) resource – has a number of limitations in its current format.
“The peripatetic nature of our learners means that they will be unable to stream this material from home
or in the clinical environment due to limited bandwidth” and “The streamed video is thirty minutes in
length. This is a long time to take in a tremendous amount of clinical information”

Curriculum design – “how can the video materials be integrated into learning and teaching?”
Learning styles – “The use of streamed video in its current format is passive” and so needs to be
incorporated into an active learning task”.

Workplace (learning) resource access – the clinical setting i.e. hospital does not allow access to the NHS
secure network, nor, if it did, does it have the bandwidth for high quality delivery”.

Media – “would this available on CD ROM?”
Lifesign partners are working with academics to overcome some of these problems, but others require
Lifesign to reconsider its delivery and support processes.

Application 2. Managing Pain
A lecturer wishes to incorporate a number of Lifesign streams on Pain into his module Managing Pain
which itself is delivered from the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Blackboard. This material will be
for some 12 students doing a nursing course. The 12 students meet him on a regular basis and are likely to
be accessing the material from home and so low band streams are being linked to. The method of
evaluation will be for the Evaluation Officer to provide the member of staff with a url which can be
embedded at the desired location in the learning materials and then the students will be asked to comment
by clicking on the url which will take them to the evaluation form which they will complete and submit.
This provides an ease of use approach for the lecturer whilst also providing a systematic approach to the
evaluation-data collection.




                                                        97
UWIC (Work in progress)

Application 1. Integration of Measurement of Blood Pressure streaming video into Year 1 Human
Physiology
The clip is going to be used as a backup resource during practical sessions concerned with Blood
Pressure. Students in the two laboratory sessions (about 20 in each group) are going to be given verbal
instruction together with a handout. The video will be available from the Blackboard site on computers in
the lab and students can refer to this at any time during the session. We will collect data from the students
after these sessions for analysis of their impression.

Other
A number of academic staff have shown interest in the Lifesign materials but have as yet not made use of
them. Beside the familiar issue of „lack of time‟ to view and assess the materials there have been local
issues in regard to access to the streams both in regard to the setup and configuration of the PCs and also
the IP based restrictions.

6. Other evidence of use of resources

Formally evaluated applications are not the only evidence of the use of Lifesign resources. Lifesign
partners have received complimentary email from as far away as Fiji and we know (e.g. from
Southampton academic staff) that the URL‟s of Lifesign‟s streams are given to students in lectures, on
handouts and in reference lists. We have no way, however, to evaluate either the delivery of the streams
to students or their use in supporting student learning, without the involvement and cooperation of
academic staff. It is possible that analysis of server web-logs at Portsmouth will give some more
information in the future.

7. Significant elements of successful use of resources for curriculum delivery

Use of the Lifesign website.
The examples described above suggest that the website itself is not extensively used to deliver materials
to students. Evaluated access by students to Lifesign‟s video streams is generally via other processes
described below. Academic staff preparing to develop on-line resources in the University of
Southampton‟s Application 2 (see above) made it clear that they felt that students needed to do no more
than „click on a link to see the video‟. The considered it inappropriate to ask students to „manipulate‟
elements of the web page, or to use menu choices in Windows Media Player, to view video streams.

Yet the Lifesign website fulfils other purposes that are important to allow the materials to be used within
an educational context. In effect, the site forms a tool for preview and selection of available material, and
provides information to assist configuration and setup of streams for use with students (e.g. “Get URL”,
Evaluation and Case Study material, Project contacts).

However, limitations exist within the current design for both educational and promotional purposes, as
Lifesign‟s evaluators suggest that it is possibly, and currently, too complex for many academic staff to
use. Academics have also indicated that an extended tools range is required for use of many of the
streams to be practical.

Use of URLs.
URLs to individual video streams are widely used to deliver materials to students. URLs have been most
commonly incorporated as hyperlinks in Word documents in VLE, or on a purpose built, web pages.

VLEs.
Many academic staff who are inclined or able to use streaming video to support student learning also
teach extensively through „Virtual Learning Environments‟. In this form it is vital that embedded
hyperlinks remain stable. Lifesign did not manage to stabilise its URLs for key evaluated applications.
ASXfiles.
At least two applications gave access to students to segments of video streams, rather than to the start of
the video; in particular so that learning activities could be closely and deliberately linked to specific video


                                                          98
footage. Pedagogically, this seems to work well but it does require significant technical effort by lecturers
or other learner supporters.

Support elements; what made these applications work?
Applications that successfully delivered streamed video to identified students worked, in general, as a
result of successful interaction between many services, events and people. Pivotal was the role of the
educational evaluators/developers who offered a „go-between‟ service between technical elements of
Lifesign and the „teaching and learning‟ activities of academic staff. There is little doubt that the limiting
factor that dictated the extent to which Lifesign‟s materials were delivered to identified students, was the
extent of involvement of academic staff. Without involved academic staff, applications of streaming
video that could be evaluated would not exist. Such involvement universally depended on the reputation
of the evaluator, his or her rapport with academic staff and the extent of confidence that the academic
developed in Lifesign. Where Lifesign resources and services did not match the expectations of the
academic, this confidence rapidly diminished. On several occasions Lifesign‟s service did not support the
endeavours of the evaluators and resulted in poor delivery of materials. In general, these instances can be
directly related to the inherent tensions that exist in developing a pilot system which must be offered
simultaneously as some level of user service to ensure later uptake.

Yet for Lifesign, pilot and technical service issues have not been the limiting factor. Rather, the technical
issues encountered needed to be better considered, aligned, and integrated specifically with evaluation
and user needs in mind; and this needed to happen from the very start of the project, i.e. much earlier than
it inevitably did. Part of the difficulty appears to have arisen from the way the project work packages
were designed, which encouraged task isolation. Better integration across work packages was needed, to
ensure relevant partners worked more closely across work packages. This would necessitate wider
consultation in relation to each core task, to assess and allow action on projected impact across the project
group.

It is unfortunate that these natural tensions within development projects have manifested themselves to
academic staff and evaluators as considered decisions where Lifesign‟s obligations to academic staff and
students were not prioritised; in particular above the ongoing development of „authorisation and
authentication‟ mechanisms to meet licensing obligations.

It is necessary to also respond to the criticism that this „clash of priorities‟ could have been simplified
here by maintaining a „development server/platform‟ separate from a „production or delivery
server/platform‟. In fact the project has worked consistently from the outset to achieve this scenario, but it
is inevitable that until a pilot service system is sufficiently developed to be able to mirror a stable system,
tandem building at this early stage will usually introduce unsustainable additional workload on
development staff. This means that the first systems built to deliver material must always be
developmental, and subject to change. Given the timescale of projects like Lifesign, it is also inevitable
that recruitment of the first users must be to the initial pilot system. Consequently, users of the early
development system will always be subject to fluctuations, and fluctuations are disruptive to academic
environment, particularly when involving students within formal course scenarios as the nature of
Lifesign evaluation demands. Formal handover and notification of changes, for example to stream URLs,
becomes evaluation critical, but course lifetimes are typically on an annual cycle and development system
schedules must be more frequent to meet project targets within the funding period. Developing
mechanisms for handling these situations as a project function becomes paramount.

In addition, combining the Lifesign evaluation requirement to examine content embedding within full
educational scenarios, with the use of streaming media, means that any fluctuation within the delivery
system design has a much higher disruption factor, than for example software implementations within
learning environments. In the latter, version control and phased evaluations go some way to mediating
these problems. However, the difficulties experienced by the LifeSign evaluation team extend beyond
these areas, and relate to the “live” nature of the stream and web delivery handling, as opposed to
“snapshot” control.




                                                          99
8. Problems encountered with materials delivery

Some significant problems have been described above. These are;

   Changes to URLs without advanced notification was damaging (damaging to student learning, to the
    evaluation process and to the reputation of Lifesign‟s evaluators).
   Lifesign‟s inability to deliver video streams in evaluated applications to students via their personal
    computers and modems.
   In both cases the problems are not easy to solve and at least partly depend on factors outside of
    Lifesign‟s control. This is even more so with respect to other problems;
   The infrastructure to support staff and student use of video streams is only slowly developing within
    UK institutions and it is probably not keeping pace with technological advances. Until academics can
    reliably anticipate the presence of Internet links and video projectors in teaching rooms they are
    unlikely to work seriously with streamed videos as learning resources.
   The technological possibilities are changing far more rapidly than staff awareness, willingness, and
    ability to use them. The use of streamed video to support student learning is new and relatively
    „untried‟ and academics are naturally reluctant to rely too heavily on it. Lack of staff involvement is
    the single greatest impediment to successful delivery of streamed video.
   The lack of anything equivalent to UK Libraries Plus for IT has been identified as one factor
    restricting the potential for what may be termed „dispersed delivery‟ (i.e. enabling students to access a
    video stream at a variety of academic locations is severely restricted).
   There is insufficient provision for educational scenarios using streaming media and understanding of
    the technical and organisational mechanisms available for access and control of streams, within the
    UK Copyright Act exemptions for education. ; This results in limitations surrounding licensing and
    delivery; and reluctance on behalf of copyright holders to grant licenses. These all significantly
    hamper the ability to conduct pedagogic evaluation of the use of streaming video to support learning.

Although much of this is out of the control of Lifesign, Lifesign must continue to address the problems.
The final report will indicate precisely which findings need to be aimed primarily at external audiences
and Lifesign will aim to ensure that these external audiences get the message.

9. Advice on future Materials Delivery based on Pedagogic Evaluation

The final few months of Lifesign may well see the greatest use of our resources. In the short term
materials delivery will be enhanced if Lifesign can stabilise its URLs so that academic users develop
confidence in them (by for example, separating the „development server/platform‟ from a
„production/delivery server/platform‟). It is probably unlikely that other problems can be resolved in the
short term; but they need to be addressed; and resolution in the longer term.

   Lifesign‟s present methods of authorisation and authentication (based on institutional IP address
    ranges) have been shown to be insufficient to meet the needs of the UK‟s lifelong learning; work-
    based learning; and widening participation agendas. Conventional campus-based and placement
    students also need to access learning resources off-campus, without the constraint of university dialup
    provision. Mechanisms exist to handle this, but have not been explored due to technical resource
    constraints. This has significantly hampered evaluation and constrained evaluation opportunities.
   Lifesign needs to produce more „user-friendly‟ ways for academics, or learning technologists, to
    develop play-lists, and other devices, to link on-line learning activities to on-line segments of video.
    Few learners want to watch complete videos. Lifesign has so far explored and tested techniques to
    meet these needs, but this has been little documented or presented within the project. A plan for
    actual development and documentation of techniques and tools for users is needed so that uptake is
    not restricted unnecessarily.
   Lifesign needs to work with others to promote „version compatibility‟ in software. Considerable
    problems are caused to academics, students and learner supporters when computers do not have the
    right version of Windows Media or any other Player relied upon. Portsmouth‟s media producers hope



                                                         100
    to develop a mechanism whereby the „receiver‟s version of WMP‟ is detected by the server that then
    sends a compatible stream.
   Efforts must be made to enable academics to make better use of Lifesign‟s resources. Although not a
    solution, the LieSignweb site certainly could be improved to become a better promotional resource.

10. Links to the wider Pedagogic Evaluation Report

The Pedagogic Evaluation Report will build on this Materials Delivery Report but focus on evaluation of
the impact of Lifesign‟s video streams on student learning.

11. Summary

Lifesign is undertaking „cutting edge‟ research and development and it is producing some significant data
on which further research and development can be built. It is, arguably, not yet managing to deliver its
materials in a sufficiently broad range of evaluated applications to fully „evaluate the use of networked
moving picture and sound material for learning and teaching in the life sciences‟….but it has also had to
cope with far more „rights clearance‟ issues and problems than it had anticipated.




                                                       101
Appendix xii



Lifesign External Evaluation



Katy Lancaster
Pete Dalton




Centre for Information Research
Faculty of Computing, Information and English
University of Central England in Birmingham
Perry Barr
Birmingham
B42 2SU




March 2003




                                                102
CONTENTS
                                                               Page

1.     Introduction

2.     Background

3.     Methodology

3.1    Constraints on the evaluation

4.     Project Objectives and Deliverables

5.     Evaluation Findings

5.1    Co-ordination with other projects
5.2    DNER vision

6.     Work Package 1: Project Management

6.1    Review mechanisms
6.2    Timescale
6.3.1 Partnership working: roles of the partners
6.3.2 Tension between evaluation and technical aspects
6.5   Communication
6.6    Staffing
6.7    Financial management

7. Work Package 2: Content Identification/Compilation

7.1    Subject scope
7.2    Needs analysis and content selection strategy
7.3    Critical mass of content

8.     Work Package 7: Content Production
8.1    Materials in offline format
8.2    Collection of existing resources
8.3    Production of new material
8.4    User support materials

9.     Work Package 8: Rights Clearance

10.    Work Package 3: Network/ Equipment Development

10.1   Access to video streams
10.2   Technology
10.3   Access problems
10.4   Website development

11.    Work Packages 4 & 5: Metadata: Research &
       Cataloguing Resources

12.    Work Package 6: Metadata: Software Development

13.    Work Package 9: Pedagogic Evaluation



                                                         103
13.1    Academics‟ involvement in evaluations
13.2    Ethics clearance
13.3    Access problems
13.4    Tension between development and delivery
13.5    Timescale of evaluation
13.6    Case studies
13.7    Impact and usage

14.     Work Package 10: Dissemination

15.     Future

16.     Conclusions

16.1    Project management
16.2    Partnership working
16.3    Content development
16.4    Rights clearance
16.5    Technology
16.6    Website
16.7    Cataloguing and software development
16.8    Evaluation
16.9    Take-up/Impact of service
16.10   Standards and interoperability
16.11   General comments

17.     Recommendations

17.1 Recommendations regardless of future funding
17.2 Recommendations if further funding is granted
17.3 Recommendations to link with JISC initiatives

18.     Appendix 1: Lifesign Project Evaluation - Questions for
        steering group members




                                                      104
1. Introduction
This report contains the findings of the external evaluation of Lifesign, a project funded by the Joint
Information Systems Committee (JISC) under Circular 5/99, Developing the DNER for Learning and
Teaching.

The evaluation was conducted by the Centre for Information Research (CIRT) at the University of Central
England. The evaluation activities were undertaken between January and March 2003.

The main aim of the evaluation was:

   To provide a self-critical awareness by the Lifesign project of its performance, progress and impact

The report provides a summative evaluation of the Lifesign project as it reaches the end of the period of
funding.




                                                         105
2. Background
Lifesign: networked moving images for the life sciences, is a collaboration between the Universities of
Glamorgan, Southampton, Portsmouth and University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC). The project is
also supported by Talis Information.

The broad aim of the Lifesign project is to develop, catalogue and evaluate the use of streaming video in
learning and teaching in the life sciences. The three key strands are:

   content development
   cataloguing
   evaluation.

The project aims to build on the work of the Imagination/Universities Network Pilot Project, which
experimented with streaming media and highlighted the potential and also some of the problems with its
use in teaching and learning.

Lifesign‟s bid was successful under Programme Area B of Circular 5/99, JISC Enhancements for
Learning and Teaching. Under Moving Images and Sound, proposals were requested for projects to
“work with emerging services to evaluate the use of networked moving image and sound material for
learning and teaching”. Projects needed to address the issues and inter-relationships of content, rights
ownership, delivering infrastructure and learning and teaching.




                                                         106
3. Methodology
The evaluation methods agreed for use were document analysis and interviews. It was considered that
these methods would be most appropriate to facilitate the „self critical awareness‟ required of the
evaluation. These methods are outlined in more detail below:
   Document analysis
Key project documents were analysed to identify the key outcomes, objectives and deliverables to provide
a baseline against which to evaluate the project. These included:
   The project proposal
   JISC tender document
   project plan.
Other project documentation was analysed to examine performance against the milestones identified.
These documents included:
   interim reports
   internal evaluation findings
   minutes of meetings.
Through reference to the „Materials Delivery Evaluation Report‟, the evaluation, as far as possible took
note of, and worked with the results of Lifesign‟s internal evaluation process as requested in the terms of
reference.
   Interviews
In-depth interviews were conducted with all but one member of the Lifesign steering group as well as
other project staff and partners. A JISC representative was also interviewed to provide a different
perspective. Interviews were conducted either by telephone or in person (a copy of the interview schedule
can be found in Appendix 1).
Both the interviews and document analysis were used to assess:
   Extent to which project aims and objectives had been achieved
   Perceived successes and challenges
   Unforeseen opportunities and constraints
   Issues around the three key project strands of cataloguing, content development and evaluation
   Effectiveness of partnership working and liaison
   Liaison and co-ordination with other projects
   Financial management of the project
   Sustainability and future development of the project.

3.1 Constraints on the evaluation

There were a number of constraints within the context of the external evaluation. These are outlined
below and should be recognised.
   All of the existing project documentation necessary to the evaluation was not received by the
    evaluators at the beginning of the evaluation. This resulted in less time to analyse documentation and
    more importantly meant that full document analysis had not been undertaken before the interviews
    were conducted. Ideally an analysis of the documentation would have been undertaken before the
    interviews to allow this process to focus the questions asked at interview.
   A source of information, web usage logs, was not available at the time of conducting the evaluation.
   The external evaluation has taken note of the internal evaluation through analysis on the „Materials
    Delivery Evaluation Report‟ and interviews with the evaluation partners. Due to the timing of the
    evaluation other evaluation reports were unavailable to the external evaluators.




                                                         107
4. Project Objectives and Deliverables
The objectives of the Lifesign project were set out in the project plan as:

   Compile a comprehensive collection of video resources, in association with the relevant LTSN
    subject centres, relevant to the practical teaching of a range of life science disciplines

   Structure and digitise the catalogue in a format appropriate for networked delivery via Metropolitan
    Area Networks

   Index, catalogue and compile the associated metadata for the resources in a format that can be
    integrated into existing library database systems

   Develop software that enables the full integration of multi-media resources in library catalogues and
    hybrid library systems

   Work with the Managing Agent in order to clear rights for use of all resources identified and develop
    a licensing framework to facilitate the continued production of related resources from within the HE
    sector

   Install the digital collection on two Metropolitan Area Networks (SWMAN and LENS) providing
    local access for up to 18 HEIs

   Evaluate the pedagogical effectiveness of streamed moving images within the life sciences and assess
    the impact upon current curriculum delivery

   Provide guidelines, supporting material and staff development to the Advisory Centre in order to
    embed the use of networked moving images within the DNER

   Develop the infrastructure necessary in order to sustain the continued development of this initiative
    beyond the lifespan of the project.

The project plan lists the 13 deliverables of the project as follows:

   management reports
   directory of resources
   technical framework for content delivery
   assigned metadata for all project resources
   software product
   digitised moving image resources
   approved needs analysis and evaluation methodologies
   report
   publications, conference papers, demonstrations
   website
   training and best practice user guides
   pedagogic evaluation report
   right clearance documentation.

These objectives and deliverables are broken down into 10 work packages with individual objectives,
deliverables and milestones. The report will use these work packages, where appropriate, as a broad
structure upon which to present the evaluation data. It should be noted that the reported findings of the
evaluation combines the data collected from both the document analysis and the interviews. Documents
are only referenced where a considerable amount of information from a single source is drawn upon.




                                                          108
5. Evaluation Findings
5.1 Co-ordination with other projects

Cluster groups were established by JISC to encourage integration between related projects. The cluster
group for JISC DNER Moving Pictures and Sound was attended by a representative from Lifesign, but
respondents indicated that this connection was of limited use. It was generally considered good to make
contacts but that all the projects were quite different despite looking similar on the surface. One
interviewee added that there were no actions arising from the meetings, whilst another commented:

I don‟t think it‟s been driven very hard by JISC…it really is up to the projects themselves and with the
best will in the world…we would recognise the need to liaise with other partners…but it‟s an extra layer
or an extra time requirement…it‟s been more of a talking shop rather than trying to get anything concrete
out of it.

Another respondent said that Lifesign was „keeping a watching brief‟ on the other projects but that this
wasn‟t a priority, whilst another comment was that the projects were all too embryonic to be of use to
each other.

As well as the cluster group meetings, Lifesign did a joint presentation with Click and Go at the ALT-C
conference in Edinburgh in 2001, demonstrating a link with a project beyond the cluster group.

5.2 DNER vision

JISC Circular 5/99 states that the main objective of its Distributed National Electronic Resource (DNER)
vision is „to stimulate the use of a collection of digital resources within all areas of the HE community‟.
It adds that all 5/99 projects should be consistent with this JISC strategy and must relate to the provision
of electronic resources in the context of the DNER. The DNER vision has subsequently been repackaged
by JISC as the JISC Information Environment. However, the vision has changed in name only and the
stated aim of the Information Environment is to, „build an online Information Environment that will offer
convenient access to a comprehensive collection of scholarly and educational materials‟.

An area in which Lifesign has been effective in preparing for a DNER is standards for metadata and
streaming. The 5/99 circular states that the success of the DNER would depend on the development of
services, „based on standards, that will enable users to identify the information they need and to access it
easily in a consistent manner‟. Lifesign has followed the standards and guidelines that were given for
5/99 projects and has been aware of the need to use standards that would facilitate interoperability with
other projects as part of a national resource. One respondent said that Lifesign was hopefully trying to
influence what standards JISC uses, whilst another added:

Part of the project‟s been to try and work towards a standard, and influence that, with a hope we‟ve
backed the right horses.

Many of the respondents were unsure about whether the project had been consistent with the vision. This
was mainly because they felt that JISC‟s strategy was unclear, following the repackaging, and they also
did not think that JISC had yet established a national resource.




                                                          109
6. Work Package 1: Project Management
   To ensure integration across all work packages
   To ensure timely and qualitative performance of the project
   To provide timely and efficient administration and financial control of the project
   To facilitate effective communication between project partners.

6.1 Review mechanisms

Lifesign established regular review mechanisms to ensure compliance with the project plan. The project
has effectively met the commitment to produce bi-annual reports for JISC and held regular steering group
meetings, however, the proposed three times yearly project board meetings have not been strictly adhered
to. The project management indicated that this mechanism had been implemented when Portsmouth was
going to be the lead site and that the directors and line managers at Glamorgan were happy to be kept up
to date in a more informal manner.

6.2 Timescale

The proposed timescale for the Lifesign project was August 2000 to December 2002, however, the end
date was extended by three months to March 2003. Some respondents attributed this extension to the loss
of the original project manager and subsequent change in lead institution, whilst others highlighted the
initial need to recruit staff to the project. These two issues are discussed in more detail in the staffing
section below.

6.3 Partnership working: roles of the partners

The evaluation explored issues around the effectiveness of partnership working and communication. The
majority of staff were happy with their role in the project and felt that it had been clearly defined.
However, some respondents expressed some minor reservations about the effectiveness of partnership
working. One respondent said that their role was clear most of the time but not all the time, whilst
another comment was that some aspects of partners‟ roles were more dominant than had been anticipated.
Another added that they felt that the roles, along with the work packages had been too clearly defined and
fitted too neatly together. They felt that this did not encourage integration and cross-working between
partner sites and that this problem with the work packages approach was not spotted early enough in the
project. Another respondent said that the commitment and focus on their own roles was sometimes at the
exclusion of having a more general overview of the purpose and context of the project. This concern
about the work package approach is also reflected in the Materials Delivery Evaluation Report, which
states that the work packages:

 encouraged task isolation. Better integration across work packages was needed, to ensure relevant
partners worked more closely across work packages.

6.4 Tension between evaluation and technical aspects

As well as the isolation of work packages, one of the main issues throughout the project has been the
inherent tension between the evaluation and technical aspects. This tension has been recognised by all
members of the project and they see it as an inevitable result of mixing two completely different sets of
professionals with different agendas. It is described by one respondent extremely, as a „fundamental
division‟ and other comments included:

We have some very committed people, people who are strong professionals and who have, and it‟s good,
very strong views on things and because they come from different sides of things, there are then inevitable
tensions.

I suppose the two sides have got slightly different agendas anyway, trying to achieve different things. I
mean it is difficult trying to get the two sides together.



                                                         110
They are heavily involved in the project and their focus is one element, which sometimes makes it harder
for them to appreciate the wider picture.

One respondent added that as well as having different agendas, they are also putting their professional
reputations on the line and do not want them to be undermined.

As well as different expertise, having to evaluate the service while it is still in a developmental stage has
also added to the tension. This issue and management of the tension is discussed further under work
package nine.

6.5 Communication

Email was the main form of communication between members of the Lifesign project and this was
supplemented by regular steering group meetings, videoconferencing and some telephone contact. The
minutes indicate that other online communication tools such as Blackboard were considered, however,
these were not implemented, one respondent suggesting that this was because Blackboard was not a
mature and well-used tool at the start of the project. Another respondent added that they were unsure
whether it would have been beneficial in terms of communication, but acknowledged that it would have
been useful as a central deposit for documentation and that it may have helped to structure some of the
conversations.

All respondents were happy with email as the main form of communication and saw it as an essential tool
for a multi-site project. They indicated that a lack of synchronicity was occasionally a problem, but
appreciated that delayed responses were due to workloads and people finding time to respond.

Communication was described by one respondent as “very healthy multi-site contact” and other positive
comments included:

There was very, very regular email dialogue and this was mainly shared with the whole group, although
there was obviously some one to one communication.

I think everyone got on quite well actually, I mean there was always some areas, but on the whole they
were quite a good bunch really.

I think probably as a project it‟s been, I wouldn‟t quite say exceptionally good, but I‟d say very
good…we‟re used to working on these multi-site partner projects so we spent some considerable time
early on…about protocols for communication.

However, one respondent indicated that communication had not been so good at the beginning of the
project:

We were all quite busy running around doing things but we weren‟t actually telling anybody what we
were doing…I think later on in the project things became better but it did take a couple of emails doing
the rounds before we actually got it together…I don‟t think it was a problem, sort of one of those what‟s
going on moments when communication would have been better just to make sure that everyone knew
what was going on.

Another respondent also indicated that there had been a slight concern that emails were being sent to the
whole team, which was not always appropriate. This is reflected and was addressed in the minutes for a
steering group meeting in May 2002, which state that:

The circulation list for most email correspondence must be restricted to the steering group and should be
confidential to that group unless otherwise agreed.

Talis was different to the other project partners in that it only had contact with the project members at
Glamorgan. The Talis representative was satisfied with the level of this communication, but did feel one
step removed from the project, saying:


                                                          111
We‟ve been involved in other JISC projects where we‟ve sat down in a room with everybody present and
had a good sense of the overall project and I feel I have less of a sense of that with this project.

The project manager added that the issue of steering group attendance was raised with Talis and there was
mutual agreement that this would mostly be unnecessary. Relevant steering group minutes were
circulated to the Talis representative.

6.6 Staffing

As indicated in the project proposal, the project manager was based at the University of Portsmouth and
this was originally going to be the lead institution for Lifesign. However, this responsibility and the
project manager role were transferred to University of Glamorgan when the original project manager left
the University of Portsmouth. Some respondents indicated that this had contributed to the initial delay in
the project and extension of the finish date, but this was refuted by the project management which
suggested that the extension was due to the time taken to recruit staff to the project, including the two
full-time project officers at Glamorgan and Portsmouth.

As well as the need to recruit staff, the staffing of Lifesign has been further affected by the loss of the
project officers at Glamorgan and Portsmouth who both left the project towards the end of 2002. A
replacement has been found at Portsmouth, but the responsibilities have been taken on by the project
manager at Glamorgan. The loss was a setback for the project because both project officers were very
able and had formed a good working relationship. One respondent said:

That‟s a usual problem about projects with people being insecure about them. That has caused some
problems because they were the two people who were full time on the project and they went a bit too
early. If you lose them very early you can probably get someone else, but we lost them at a time when it‟d
probably be too late to get another person.

Another respondent indicated that the staffing losses had made communication more difficult for them as
one of the project officers had been their main point of contact and, again, they had built up a good
working relationship.

The initial need to recruit staff and the subsequent loss of staff are common problems in project work and
the majority of staff acknowledged this, however one respondent suggested that the possibility of staffing
problems had not been considered fully in the risk analysis part of the project plan and added that staff
changes had had bigger implications than the project realised.

Another change in staffing was that LTSN Bioscience was originally going to be a partner in the project,
but changes at LTSN meant this did not happen. However, the representative did stay on as an unpaid
partner on the project. This change does not seem to have had an impact on the project and the
contributions of the unpaid partner in providing an external viewpoint have been appreciated.

Another staffing issue that is common to most project work, was the part-time nature of the work for all
but the two project officers at Glamorgan and Portsmouth. Project staff felt that this meant that it was
sometimes difficult to give Lifesign their full attention and that there was not always as much
synchronicity as would have been liked. One of the project officers said that it sometimes felt that other
work took priority over Lifesign for the part-time staff, and that they weren‟t always as „up to speed‟ and
aware of changes and developments. Other comments included:

Only working a day a week…it can be difficult sometimes to engage truly with the project when you‟ve
got your normal job to do. Other people are doing their jobs but might be able at certain given times to
focus on the project for quite a bit of time, and the rhythms of that are kind of disjointed.

Lots of emails have gone out and someone then has time for them and you suddenly get emails going back
to emails because they haven‟t been able to devote the time to it before…But you can understand it, it‟s
the nature of people only having this as part of their job.



                                                          112
[for some people] What they‟re doing in Lifesign is quite closely related to what they‟re doing in other
areas of their careers. But speaking personally for me, there hasn‟t been such a close integration
between my wider job and the project.

Despite having other priorities linked to their „everyday‟ jobs, the project staff were praised by the project
management for their focus and commitment to the project.

6.7 Financial management

All project staff felt that the budget had been managed effectively and were generally pleased with the
financial management of the project. The steering group meetings have been used as a mechanism to
ensure full agreement on any changes in the spending and to consider applications for further money. The
use of the steering group as an effective mechanism to review finances and clear changes to expenditure
is evidenced in the minutes of steering group meetings. The financial situation has also been reported to
JISC in the bi-annual reports.

A major impact on the financial aspects of the project was that the website had not been resourced
adequately in the project plan. This was because it had a more prominent role than originally anticipated
and meant that the resources for the programming side had to be done retrospectively, whereas this should
have been built in at the start. The effect of the poor planning for the website is discussed in more detail
under work package three. In addition, the minutes for a meeting in July 2000 also indicate that no funds
were allocated for rights clearance administration and that this would have to be considered in context of
existing commitments.

Despite these issues, the project has actually been running with a surplus due to under-spending and cost
effectiveness. An area in which the project has been cost effective is the steering group meetings. The
use of videoconferencing has saved money on travel and other expenses. Savings have also been made
on staffing, as there have been gaps in staffing and a lot of the project management was absorbed
institutionally. There was an underspend on the projected use of the Managing Agent for rights clearance
and this is discussed in more detail under work package eight. The decision to modify an existing
software product also saved money. This surplus was described by one respondent as a „saving grace‟ in
terms of helping to alleviate some of the unforeseen problems such as the website development.

The surplus has now been reallocated for further web development, documentation on the website and
new production.

With considered reallocation of funding through steering group agreement to meet unforeseen changes in
the project, the financial aspects of the project appear to have been well managed and cost-effective.




                                                          113
7. Work Package 2: Content Identification/Compilation
   To identify academic staff, working with evaluation centres, to participate in evaluation studies
   To establish criteria for the selection and processing of content
   To develop a directory of existing content and identify potential requirements for other material.

7.1 Subject scope

A change to the objectives for content identification and compilation was in subject scope. The project
proposal indicated that Lifesign would focus on developing a comprehensive set of resources for a
particular aspect of the life sciences. This was because they thought that the „scatter gun approach‟ of
previous projects had hindered widespread uptake of the materials. The minutes highlight that a decision
was made for the focus to be on laboratory techniques for 1st year undergraduates but that it was
subsequently decided to „loosen the subject boundaries of material from laboratory techniques to the
broadly defined life sciences‟. The Materials Delivery Evaluation Report adds that the decision was
made when „it became clear that too few academics were using Lifesign resources‟. This was echoed by
the respondents with one saying:

I think the original view was for a tight topic…It became clear at a fairly early stage that we wouldn‟t get
enough academics on board if we just restricted it to that area…I suppose I would say we didn‟t open the
area up earlier enough and some of us identified the problems of marketing and getting academics on
board earlier than others.

The respondent added that the project was designed for the change and had anticipated that it may be
necessary to broaden the subject area.

7.2 Needs analysis and content selection strategy

A needs analysis cycle was developed by the Lifesign project as the criteria for selecting and processing
content. This cycle successfully developed a directory of potential resources, generated expressions of
interest from academics and identified subject areas where content should be acquired.

Nevertheless, there were difficulties, for example, one respondent indicated that the project plan did not
„get to grips‟ with the process of needs analysis and that this needed to be picked up at the start of the
project. The Report on Deliverables to the Project Board in 2001 highlighted that the content acquisition
strategy was put in place because the potential existing content that had been identified was not deemed to
be comprehensive and sufficiently related to academic need. It also stated that a process was
implemented to prioritise videos that could lead to case studies to avoid the risk of content identification
delaying other work packages. Further issues in developing a content strategy are discussed under the
following section on a critical mass.

The expressions of interest and the objective to identify academic staff to participate in evaluation studies
is discussed under work package nine, pedagogic evaluation.

7.3 Critical mass of content

The major issue in this area has been in relation to the development of a „critical mass‟ of content. The
Materials Delivery Evaluation Report highlights that there has been an „extensive debate‟ about the
content development and this was also mentioned by several of the project staff. The debate concerned
whether it was better to build up a critical mass of content, regardless of whether it matched identified
user needs or to acquire content in direct response to identified user needs. The Materials Delivery
Evaluation Report describes these different approaches as the Needs Analysis Approach and the Content
Delivery Approach. The evaluators were concerned that the content delivery approach would not
facilitate the potential of formal evaluations, whilst other project staff felt it was important to build up a
significant corpus of materials to attract users. A mixture of the two approaches was used and the report
concedes that the latter approach is validated to some extent by the fact that this content was used, but
adds that it did not lead to any formal evaluation.


                                                           114
The issue of a critical mass was mentioned by several respondents, with the majority in favour of
focusing on building up the collection generally:

It‟s only when there‟s a critical mass of material that academics bother to go and use it.

It‟s like a kind of chicken and egg situation. Trying to hook people in, you‟ve got to whet their appetite.

I think we, maybe not very explicitly, I suppose we tended to say we need a critical mass of material in the
absence of the strong interest and we probably favoured, and it was probably the right decision, to get the
material there…until you‟ve got a critical mass of material then people don‟t really have a view.

For me this is all about content because without quality content it‟s nothing.




                                                          115
8. Work Package 7: Content Production
   To compile a collection of existing and new materials in digital format at a range of compression
    rates suitable for distribution via specified MANs and across the academic sector
   To provide a range of support materials to encourage good practice and standards for moving image
    production
   To provide materials in an offline format.

8.1 Materials in offline format

The objective to „provide materials in an offline format‟ has not been achieved. The project proposal
states that, „materials would also be made available in an offline form on CD ROM/DVD for situations
where network access was limited‟. There is no mention in the documentation about this objective,
fulfilment of it or decisions to change it, however, when discussing expressions of interest, one
interviewee mentioned a request for the material on CD ROM and said that this was “not the purpose of
the project”.

8.2 Collection of existing resources

Lifesign has achieved its objective of compiling a significant collection of existing resources and project
staff were generally pleased with the quality and quantity of resources that had been acquired. The
acquisition of several series from the BBC, including The Private Life of Plants and The Human Body
was seen as a major success. Many respondents cited the content development as one of the main
successes of the project. Comments to this effect included:

I don‟t think we‟re there yet but…there are academic staff who have seen an improvement in the range of
content we have made available. It goes with the terrain that we haven‟t got as much as ideally you would
have but…I think yes we have done a reasonable job.

I think it has on the whole done very well…it‟s quality material, it‟s widely available, very relevant to life
sciences.

There is a lot of content there now, the developers would like to have done more, or have had more
earlier on, but it‟s there now.

For me this all about content because without quality content it‟s nothing really so from that point of view
I‟m…highly impressed and satisfied with the outputs.

Without a doubt, the shining example from my point of view is the array of videos that are available
online, I think that‟s been very successful.

However, the Materials Delivery Evaluation Report indicates that acquiring the footage has been a
difficult task and a comment from one of the respondents highlights the initial difficulties:

I was actually quite worried after the first six months…we were chipping away trying to persuade people
to give us material and nothing was happening. I was thinking it was all going to go pear-shaped…then
all of a sudden things started to slowly click into place.

The difficulty in acquiring materials is discussed further under work package eight, which addresses the
rights clearance process.

There seems to be a slight difference of opinion on the amount of material available to the project. One
respondent indicated that there was too much „stuff‟ all over the place and that it had to be narrowed
down, whilst another expressed disappointment that there was not as bigger bank of suitable material as
had been thought.




                                                          116
8.3 Production of new material

An area where Lifesign has not achieved its objectives is in the production of new material. Lifesign had
planned to produce new materials as well as digitise existing ones, however, this has not happened for a
number of reasons.

The minutes of the steering group meetings indicate that the issue of new production was raised at several
meetings and videoconferences and that potential titles were circulated to be matched against expressions
of interest. The minutes for May 2002 express concern about timescales in terms of being able to evaluate
new production, whilst the bi-annual report of February 2002 states that the timescale for new production
is too tight and that the money is likely to be reallocated to acquiring more content. It also states that this
is partly due to insufficient interest from academics. This is echoed by a comment from one of the project
staff who said:

I think there were too many issues involved, one of them being the people who were going to produce the
videos were too busy…But also, we worked on the stipulation that we would only produce videos if we
thought that there was an evaluated application that would come from them and the limitation of not
having enough potential academics on board restricted that.

As well as insufficient interest from academics, project staff also attributed the lack of new production to
disagreement between project staff about the content of these new videos. Several respondents expressed
their disappointment that no new material had been produced.

One disappointment was that they did not produce any new materials, this was an area of huge debate.
This did not happen but could have done if the need had been identified at a much, much earlier stage of
the project.

It would probably be a bit of a failing…I can understand reasons why, but I think there was budget for it
and it sort of didn‟t happen, which was quite disappointing in some ways.

I‟d written various outlines for programmes about things like DNA etc…some of the others were not for it
because they were saying that there was no demand and why should we make something when there is no
actual demand…you can‟t argue with. There was a consensus of opinion and we were very much on a
limb.

Our initial aim of producing videos wasn‟t actually met at all during the project because we couldn‟t
actually decide as a group. The group couldn‟t agree on what sort of programmes should be made.

Work is now underway to produce a support video on how to use streaming media before the end of the
project, but no other new video production is planned.

8.4 User support materials

The Lifesign website states that online user support is an important deliverable for the project. The
website provides effective links to several user guides, which address the embedding of streaming video
and its use to support teaching and learning. There is also a help section under the catalogue section of
the website, but this is not very visible to users. The links to these pages are not working, meaning that
the evaluation has been unable to assess their effectiveness. The website provides email addresses and
contact numbers for people wanting more information about video streaming, but these are not promoted
as an online user support system.

This appears to be an area where Lifesign has not fully achieved its objective and a couple of respondents
indicated that the user support was insufficient. The problems may be linked to the poor use of the
website for information, as discussed under work package three. However, the project could have done
more to provide users with an effective help system, especially given the access problems that the project
has encountered. A support video on how to use streaming media is now in production.



                                                          117
9. Work Package 8: Rights Clearance
   To ensure that all moving image resources delivered by the project have been cleared through
    negotiations with rights holders.

The project plan indicates that the process of clearing material to be used in the project would be done in
collaboration with the Managing Agent and Advisory Service (MAAS), which is responsible for the
acquisition of moving pictures and sound for delivery to the UK higher and further education community.
However, an unavoidable problem in the initial stages of the Lifesign project was that JISC had not yet
appointed the managing agent. This meant that it was unclear what role they would play in the project and
how the funding for this area of the project would work.

Once the managing agent had been established, it became clear that it may not be able to licence all the
content within the timeframe of Lifesign. It also became clear that the MAAS contract was quite
restrictive and not wholly relevant to the needs of the Lifesign project. An example of this is that the
licences were being negotiated for a 10-year period, which was not needed by Lifesign as a two-year
project. The problems with the contract terms are highlighted in the minutes for July 2001, which state
that „there would be times where bilateral agreements between Lifesign and a content provider would be
more fruitful‟. As a result, Lifesign decided to establish its own licensing contract to use with video
owners and was successful in doing this with help and advice from MAAS.

Development of the rights clearance process and acquiring the rights to materials was seen as one of the
main successes by some of the respondents. The Materials Delivery Evaluation Report states that the
work on rights clearance is “clearly breaking new ground” and almost all respondents saw one of the
biggest successes as acquiring the rights to the BBC material. This was described by one respondent as a
„major coup‟. Other comments included:

The managing agent were very impressed with the rates we negotiated for BBC and for the type of
contract and highly recommended that we should go ahead and do the deal so for me, no one had ever
done anything with the BBC before I think it just sort of says to people out there in the community hey
look what can be done with these programmes.

The surprise I suppose has been the willingness of some of the rights holders to be as positive in terms of
their working with the project as they have been. It‟s a very, very positive thing…it says something
perhaps about the visibility of the project…it might be partly to do with length of time because the
managing agent is negotiating for 10 years whereas this is a relatively short time.

Despite the successes, it is clear that the rights clearance process has been a challenge at times and the
evaluation report describes the rights clearance as having been a „significant difficulty‟ and that there was
„careful and painstaking negotiation‟. An agreement with the EBS Trust in July 2001 to stream the
Shotlist biology collection is described in the report as a „significant breakthrough‟. This struggle is
recognised by one of the respondents who said:

I think the grey areas came from the fact that it wasn‟t that easy to get material licensed and the problems
we didn‟t anticipate with the contract that sort of perhaps stifled us for a while we had to take stock and
make a new direction for this to go in with getting some content.

The evaluation report also states that the project „has had to cope with far more rights clearance issues
and problems than it had anticipated‟.




                                                         118
10. Work Package 3: Network/ Equipment Development
   To establish video streaming capabilities at agreed partner sites
   To design and specify server requirements to provide robustness and reliability
   To install and upgrade servers
   To ensure all evaluation sites have appropriate software.

10.1 Access to video streams

Lifesign has exceeded its aims and objectives in terms of providing wider access to the streams than
planned. The original intention was to provide access on two Metropolitan Area Networks (SWMAN and
LENS), giving local access for up to 18 higher education institutions. However, the service is available to
all HE and FE institutions nationwide and some streams, depending on licensing rights, are available
globally. The initial decision to limit the service to two MANs was linked to concerns about bandwidth
and rights clearance, but these concerns proved to be unfounded. In this respect, Lifesign has gone far
beyond the original remit and aims and objectives of the project.

10.2 Technology

In terms of technological development, the Lifesign project has successfully developed the network and
the servers needed to stream the videos as well as the tools to assign the URLs for access through VLEs
and other applications. The minutes for May 2002 note that the migration to five servers instead of
dependency on one dedicated server had increased capacity and reliability and resulted in a more robust
service.

The majority of project staff saw the technological achievements as one of the main successes of the
Lifesign project, with one highlighting that it had been two years ahead of anybody else involved in
streaming in education. The most recent success is the development of a virtual editing tool, which
enables users to choose the segment of a stream that they want to use and get a URL for this. Again, this
is a significant technical breakthrough in streaming media.

Other respondents added that Lifesign had succeeded in demonstrating that the technology is mature and
can be used in teaching and learning and that it had met its objective of expanding and developing the
technology. Another positive comment was:

We‟ve done a great deal with not a lot of money from the point of view of servers, from the point of view
of the computer interface…successes for me are actually seeing it there, watching it work and looking at
the quality.

10.3 Access problems

However, perhaps as is to be expected, the project has also experienced some technical problems. These
have not necessarily been with the servers, which have been quite stable, as indicated in the Materials
Delivery Evaluation Report. The major problems have been linked to the need to control access to some
streams to comply with licensing restrictions.

A decision was made to base the restrictions on IP addresses, meaning that only computers with IP
addresses registered to higher education institutions could access the streams. However, this was a
problem for students wanting to access the streams off-campus, a likely scenario for many students in the
life sciences. A solution was to use a remote dial-up facility, however, this is not ideal as not all
computers have this facility, meaning that access was effectively restricted.

The implementation of this authorisation and authentication process also meant that changes were made
to the URLs for streams, affecting access to them through the VLEs such as Blackboard. These access
problems were a major barrier to the evaluation process and the effects of these access problems will be
discussed in more detail under work package nine.


                                                        119
Many respondents saw the access problems as one of the least successful areas of the project. Several
indicated that the project had opted for the wrong access restriction system and that a passworded system
would have been better. One comment was:

I would say probably if we were to go down this road again, we might have looked at a different sort of
access system, a more Athens-based…IP numbers are restrictive in their nature and also difficult to
maintain accurately.

The Materials Delivery Evaluation Report is very critical of the technical side of the project and
particularly the access problems. It indicates that insufficient attention was given to the impact that
changes would have on users and states that, „technical issues encountered need to be better considered,
aligned and integrated specifically with evaluation and user needs in mind‟, adding that, „This needed to
happen from the very start of the project i.e. much earlier than it inevitably did‟. This issue of not fully
considering the needs of the evaluation and the users is linked to the problems of the service being in a
developmental stage. This is discussed in more detail later in the report.

Respondents acknowledged that there had been some technology problems and one said that it had taken
the technical partner‟s time to understand what was required. A few respondents also indicated that the
problems had not been helped by a lack of understanding of the technical problems and complexities by
all project staff. One respondent suggested that there were perceived problems about things such as
bandwidth and whether the technology side was achievable, which were unfounded. The technical
partners also acknowledged that they could have communicated some of the technical problems better.
However, one respondent said that although there had been debates, the issues had been resolved and had
led to a greater understanding on both sides, saying, “lessons have been learnt all round”.

10.4 Website development

The problem in the project plan of the website not being fully considered and resourced has already been
briefly mentioned in the section on financial management. The website is barely mentioned in the work
packages, except as being one of the 13 deliverables. This was a major flaw in the planning of the
project. The lack of a web development strategy was described by one respondent as a „big mistake‟ and
another respondent added:

the website really developed in a sort of ad hoc way rather than a planned way, if you read the project
plan, there isn‟t mention of the purpose of the website.

Because it had not been fully considered, the website had to go through several early development phases,
which caused disruption to early users of the service and the evaluators.

As well as not being planned properly, one respondent indicated that there was some initial confusion
over which institution would host the website. The minutes of the first Lifesign meeting in July 2000
indicate that the website will be the responsibility of the lead institution, however, the minutes of October
2000 state that the project website will be hosted and administered by the University of Portsmouth and
would incorporate access to the streaming servers as well as information about the project. Responsibility
for the creation of project information was assigned to Glamorgan who would have the ability to upload
documentation remotely, although in reality this was not achieved.

Despite these initial problems, the website has been successfully developed in providing access to the
video streams. However, it has been less successful in its objective to provide information and
documentation about the project. The focus has been on the video streams and this has been to the
detriment of the provision of information about the project.

The information available on the website about the Lifesign project is limited and is not up to date. An
example of this is the minutes for the steering group meetings, with the most recent being from October
2001. A couple of respondents indicated that it was essential for the focus to be on the streams, but also
acknowledged that the website should have done more in terms of being a deposit for project



                                                          120
documentation. This is recognised in the Materials Delivery Evaluation Report, which states that, „it
certainly could have been improved to become a better promotional resource‟.

A problem, linked to the lack of information, was that the website was hosted by Portsmouth, meaning
that it could only be modified by the host site, with the intention to give Glamorgan editorial capability
not being achieved. This may have led to delays in information being updated and one respondent said
that there had been a „logjam‟ in getting information onto the site and expressed frustration that they had
wanted to put more things on the website but had been unable to.

Respondents recognised the need for the website to be improved and made more dynamic, with one
saying that it was „not as good as it should be‟. Another acknowledged the importance of improving the
informational side of the website in terms of the legacy of the Lifesign project. This was addressed in a
steering group meeting in July 2002 with the minutes stating that there was a general agreement on the
need to reorganise and expand the website to raise the profile of the project documentation and
deliverables. Website development is one of the areas, which has been allocated funds from the budget
surplus.




                                                         121
11. Work Packages 4 & 5: Metadata: Research &                  Cataloguing Resources

Work Package 4 objectives:

   To review standards and practices of resource description
   To report on appropriate metadata structures and content for moving image resources and related
    material
   To advise on and receive information about metadata issues with appropriate national services.

Work Package 5 objectives:

   To create the structure and content of metadata for all Lifesign project materials
   To identify user needs and behaviour in searching for moving image resources in a teaching and
    learning context
   To identify and assign suitable indexing terms to assist resource discovery and retrieval.

The project documentation indicates that a lot of work has gone into researching the issue of metadata and
exploring the most appropriate and effective systems and standards for the Lifesign project.

Following the extensive research, Lifesign has also achieved the objective of creating the metadata, with
all of the videos catalogued on paper. However, this has not been integrated into the catalogue on the
project website or any software as originally planned. The issue of software development will be
addressed under work package six.

The unexpectedly sophisticated development of the website and an initial need to get some basic metadata
on the website meant that some basic metadata was inputted by the technical team. However, this has not
yet been updated with the standards-based metadata, meaning that there are no standards or consistency to
it. One respondent acknowledged that there were different understandings of what was meant by
metadata, depending on the background of the project staff and this is highlighted by a comment from one
of the technical team who said:

I think if I‟d known what I know today, we would have done the metadata in a different format, making it
more searchable…but I think with what we had we did pretty good.

Like the website, the metadata database has been held on an institutional network at Portsmouth. This has
been a problem in that the cataloguing team has been unable to access this and modifications have had to
be passed on to Portsmouth.

Several of the respondents were disappointed that the metadata that was produced has not been used in a
meaningful way, with one respondent stating that it was frustrating that it was ready to go but had not
been used. Another said that they wished there had been more interaction on this issue between
Portsmouth and Glamorgan once a basic cataloguing system was developed at Portsmouth.

All respondents acknowledge the need for the metadata to be integrated and this is highlighted in the
minutes of a videoconference in July 2002, with a further action being „integration of some standards-
based metadata into the Lifesign database‟. It is unclear whether this action has taken place.

The objective to „identify user needs and behaviour in searching for moving image resources in a teaching
and learning context‟ has not been achieved by Lifesign. The minutes for a meeting in August 2001
highlight the intention to develop metadata with a variety of levels of description and mix of standards for
this purpose, but the minutes for a videoconference in February 2002 state that the objective of evaluating
search and retrieval with users is at risk of non-delivery.




                                                         122
12. Work Package 6: Metadata: Software Development
   To develop software that enables the full integration of multimedia resources in library catalogues
    and hybrid library systems.

Work package six has been a problem area for the Lifesign project, and could be considered as the main
area where it has not achieved what it set out to do. Lifesign originally envisaged video streams being
accessed through library OPACs, with software being developed to integrate the metadata records for the
streams into the catalogues. The minutes for the meeting in October 2000 describe the ideal as „seamless
identification of and access to related material in any format‟.

There have been some serious delays in this work package and the minutes of a meeting in February 2002
indicated that it was at significant risk, whilst minutes for a meeting in May 2002 highlight a decision to
modify an existing software development instead of creating new software. The work package was
redrafted to reflect tighter timescales and revised deliverables and the minutes for a meeting in October
2002 state that a revised milestone is:

to develop a prototype database structure based on metadata standards. The aim will be to integrate this
into a more general catalogue search interface.

Respondents attributed the difficulties with software development to a range of reasons. The software
partner was undergoing a period of changes and refocusing, which meant that Lifesign was not a priority.
One respondent also indicated that the software development may have been over-ambitious adding:

It was a fairly smallish part of the project…as time went on it became clear that their involvement was
not going to be as intensive as we all thought.

The difficulty of focusing on Lifesign was also acknowledged by the software partner, but they added that
they had not been pushed hard by the Lifesign project until recently. This is acknowledged by one of the
respondents who said that the need to get a software solution became less pressing because of the
successful development of the website as an access point to the streams. This meant the role became more
theoretical and:

looking at some of the technical issues in a more theoretical way in terms of metadata rather than being
the need to have something that users could actually use.

Project staff recognised that Lifesign has not achieved what it would have liked in this area, for example:

That was a bit slow getting off the ground to start with…my own view is that it hasn‟t progressed as much
as I would have hoped, because from the evaluation point of view…the uptake of this resource could be
introduced if there were mechanisms in place, in other words, searchable facilities on library catalogues
for them to access the material straightaway.

We haven‟t achieved as much as perhaps we could have done.

In hindsight, the main drawback was probably things like…and getting the software for the metadata.


Despite the problems and delays, the work with Talis is ongoing and a revised schedule of development
work has been agreed. This will involve the customisation of resource management software to provide a
metadata editing tool, incorporating appropriate Dublin Core and IMS elements assigned to video streams
and video segments. The outcomes will be a report on the technical issues, as well as the potential to
interoperate with other catalogues and repositories.




                                                         123
13. Work Package 9: Pedagogic Evaluation

   To evaluate the pedagogical effectiveness of streamed video within a number of taught units in the
    life sciences
   To assess the impact of streamed video on current curriculum delivery within participating
    institutions on two MANs
   Contribute to the wider debate on the use of streaming video to support learning and teaching in UK
    life sciences.

Lifesign has achieved its objectives in terms of producing case studies of evaluated application of
streaming media in teaching and learning. It has also produced the Materials Delivery Evaluation Report
and the Pedagogic Evaluation Report is on schedule to be completed in March. However, the evaluation
aspect of the Lifesign project has encountered several problems and barriers. Project staff‟s opinions vary
on how successful the evaluation has been.

13.1 Academics’ involvement in evaluations

A major barrier to the evaluation process has been the difficulty in getting academics to agree to
participate in an evaluation case study. Although, there was a reasonable number of expressions of
interest that were followed up, only a limited number led to case studies, with the majority of academics
wanting to use the resources independently. This meant that there were fewer case studies than would
ideally have been liked.

All respondents acknowledged that the evaluation was affected by the difficulty in engaging academics,
with academic staff being naturally resistant and seeing it as a critical assessment of their teaching skills.
One respondent said:

I know that it gets used a lot but actually getting it assessed…is a different thing…actually getting them
on board…people sort of go a bit cold at that stage there are a number of reasons why that hasn‟t been
particularly easy, although there have been some successes.

Respondents also added that this was not a reflection on the success of the Lifesign project, but an issue
for the wider academic community. One said:

There is a defence mechanism at work here and this would apply to any aspect of educational research.

Another added that this problem had been anticipated by the project and said:

I think we‟d anticipated how difficult it would be to get academics to let us be involved in their
evaluation. We already had that experience. What I hadn‟t anticipated would be the lack of awareness of
that issue in the context of that group.

Once academics were on board, the case studies were still a difficult and frustrating process at times as
the academics required a lot of chasing. Again, this was anticipated as a natural part of the evaluation
process. One respondent said:

It is one of the stresses and strains involved in dealing with academics…they do often require a lot of
chasing and it can get very frustrating.

A couple of respondents acknowledged that it may have been possible to get more case studies if
academics were engaged as partners in the project, and one said they would consider this if they were to
do the project again. However, another added that they did not think that this would have been possible in
the circumstances that the project was operating in.




                                                           124
13.2 Ethics clearance

Another barrier to the evaluation process has been the issue of ethics and the need to check with
universities‟ ethics committees that there were no ethical concerns about the materials or the way they
were going to be used. This meant that it was not possible to fully test the success of one teaching method
against another as this was seen to be experimenting with students‟ learning. Although members of the
Lifesign project were aware of the issues, their implication and the extent to which they influenced the
project were not fully anticipated. The issues are also not yet fully recognised by much of the educational
research community. However, it was seen as an important learning process for the project and one
respondent said:

[It] had really raised the profile of this for me enormously and I‟m now very conscious of it in relation to
really any information gathering exercise that‟s involving using students as a research subject… But it
has been part of the process of each application. I think we‟ve found solutions.

13.3 Access problems

As has already been mentioned, the major barrier for the evaluators was access problems in relation to the
IP address system and implementation of this. The minutes of several steering group meetings indicate
the effects of this on the evaluation, whilst the problems are fully discussed in the Materials Delivery
Evaluation Report. Evaluators felt that the access difficulties undermined their reputation and the rapport
with the academics that was necessary for the case studies to be successful. It also affected the
confidence that academics had in the service. The evaluation report states:

Where Lifesign resources and services did not match the expectations of the academic, this confidence
rapidly diminished.

This is echoed in a formally minuted statement in the steering group meeting of May 2002, which states
that:
lack of confidence and loss of reputation will be difficult to rectify within the timescale of Lifesign.

Other project staff have also recognised the impact of access problems on the use and evaluation of
Lifesign‟s resources and comments included:

These students were part-timers and all practising nurses…they want to use it at home, but they can‟t
that‟s a big problem.

Certainly here it has thwarted the number of evaluations we could do, because from our point of view, the
value of the materials is if it can be accessed wherever…so from that point of view there‟s been a strong
tension…it has to be that the stuff is available from anywhere so that‟s been a real big problem.

13.4 Tension between development and delivery

The tension between the technical and evaluation aspects of the project has already been mentioned under
work package one and a factor in this was the difficulty of trying to evaluate a service that is still under
development. Because Lifesign was developing a service from scratch, but also trying to evaluate its use
at the same time, the evaluators were having to evaluate something that was constantly changing and not
a stable service. This led to the access problems which have already been mentioned. The evaluators
argued that they needed almost complete stability of the resources to conduct an effective evaluation, but
at the same time there was also a need to acquire resources and develop the website.

Project staff recognised this problem of development versus delivery and added that it was an
unavoidable problem for this kind of project work. One respondent described this as the „usual bridging
between the technical and learning side‟, whilst other comments included:




                                                         125
These are not compatible…that is the main tension that comes through again and again and I think that is
just part of the learning of the project and we can‟t overcome it.

There‟s been a fundamental tension throughout about trying to separate out having a prototype system
and a production but we all acknowledge that whilst this is the ideal world, the project never had the
funding in the first place to set out to do that.

Tension between this kind of development project that is learning lessons at the leading edge of
technology and education access issues are part and parcel of that. Tension between that and it being a
service delivery project have always been there.

The project management admitted that it could perhaps have been stronger and dealt with the tensions
better, but also added that:

We can‟t actually win, because whichever way you go, you‟re not going to be pleasing the other person.

They also added that they had expected the tension and one respondent said:

We did this deliberately…this whole area is something that goes across a number of different sectors if
it‟s going to work properly…it‟s about trying to bring together these different perspectives in a positive
way and we have been partly successful in doing that.

However, the evaluators feel that the project has become too technology-driven, despite the original focus
being on the need to evaluate the use of networked moving images in the life sciences. One respondent
described the IP address restriction scheme as a:

technology-driven solution…that did not take into account the needs of the users.

Whilst another added:

Personally, I think that the evaluation theme should have been more involved in all our decision making
than it actually turned out to be.

Despite the tension, the Materials Delivery Evaluation Report and the minutes of the steering group
meetings indicate that the project has worked consistently to achieve a separation between development
and delivery services and solutions to the problems. Many of the project staff also said that the debates
were a sign of a healthy project and had led to increased understanding on all sides.

13.5 Timescale of evaluation

Another issue in terms of the evaluation is whether there has been enough time in the project to be able to
develop the services and fully evaluate their impact. One respondent suggested that the project would
need to last another two years for the evaluation to be successful, whilst another added that some of the
impacts of the service will only be fully clear in five years time. Another respondent emphasises this
point, saying:

I think you really have to think in terms of the long haul for these things in order that they become the
norm…I‟d be saying we needed a continuation project, which allows for this monitoring over the longer
period.

13.6 Case studies

The project staff have mixed opinions about how successful the case studies have been. Some
respondents indicated that the evaluation had not met its expectations, with one respondent saying that the
case studies had not been based on the best uses of the streaming. This was echoed by another member of
project staff who said:



                                                         126
We‟ve got a couple of case studies where it‟s been incorporated successfully. But they would be the
exception, it would be fair to say, rather than the general case.

However, others said that it had done well in getting evaluated applications of the use of streaming video
in natural settings and one respondent said:

I think the major benefit has been evaluated applications where we‟ve actually managed to encourage
staff to use the tools in a way that is evaluatable, so we‟ve got some very serious data.

13.7 Impact and usage

Impact and usage of the Lifesign video streams has been difficult to assess. There have been 44 recorded
expressions of interest in the Lifesign project, but as already mentioned, the majority of these have not led
to evaluations, meaning that their usage of the streams is difficult to assess. The usage logs from the
website should indicate how widely used the site has been, but these were not available internally to
project partners in time for them to work with them. The Materials Delivery Evaluation Report highlights
that the service has been used and appreciated as far away as Fiji and the URLs for Lifesign streams have
been given to students in lectures or on handouts. However, it is difficult to assess this impact without
the involvement and co-operation of academic staff.

Many respondents believe that the independent use of the Lifesign facilities has been very high, with
students likely to be directed there by their lecturers, or even finding the resource themselves. However,
others believe that the impact cannot be assessed accurately without at least the data from the usage logs.




                                                         127
14. Work Package 10: Dissemination

   To raise awareness of streamed video and Lifesign amongst key stakeholders
   To establish links with enthusiastic „champions‟ of the use of networked video in teaching and
    learning
   To monitor changing practice in the wider community
   To assist users in making informed choices about embedding moving image resources in life sciences
    curricula
   Contribute to the wider debate on the use of streaming video to support learning and teaching in the
    UK‟s life sciences.

The discussion under work package three has already highlighted that the website could have done more
as a promotional tool for the project. However, dissemination has also included leaflets, journal articles
and conference presentations.

The Lifesign project has been quite successful in terms of dissemination with an extensive bibliography
of journal articles and conference presentations. Several respondents saw dissemination as a strength of
the project, with one indicating that the publications had helped the project to get out to conferences and
forge links with other projects. Another said they were pleased with the dissemination of the case studies
and added:

In terms of academic output, instances where academic staff and others can actually go to the literature
and see what was done, how well was it done…there‟s a really solid output there.

Another interviewee added that there was still some dissemination to do on the cataloguing side of the
project and that this had been delayed by the loss of the project officer, adding, „she‟s left and we have to
concentrate on other things‟. However, others were less pleased with the dissemination and one
respondent suggested that Lifesign had missed targets in terms of publicity and cited it as one of the areas
where the project had „fallen down‟.

Despite the mixed opinions, the Lifesign project has achieved the objectives of work package 10. It has
been effective in raising the profile of streaming video and the project itself and has disseminated findings
to the wider academic community.




                                                          128
15. Future
All project staff highlighted that the Lifesign project has done some groundbreaking work, but they also
recognised that streaming video and its use in learning and teaching is a relatively new area with lots of
potential for further research and development.

Respondents did see the project as being sustainable, with one respondent saying that it would benefit
from more time to develop. Others added that it would need to evolve and not just remain in its present
form, with suggestions including a wider range of topics, more evaluation of its pedagogic effectiveness
and further development of the editing tools. They acknowledged that this would be dependent on
funding, but stated the importance of continuing to make the website and, where possible, the streams,
available as a showcase for the project and a model of good practice.

Staff were unsure whether the Lifesign project would continue and also recognised the potential for
different aspects to be explored and developed independently. Possible integration with newly
developing JISC services such as JORUM+ and Education Media Online were also mentioned.




                                                         129
16. Conclusions
The evaluation, based on the self-critical awareness by the Lifesign project, draws the following
conclusions, listed under some broad headings.

16.1 Project management

Project staff were generally pleased with the way that the project had been managed. The bi-annual
reports to JISC and the regular steering group meetings have worked effectively as project review
mechanisms.

The financial management of the project has also been good and, again, the interim reports and meetings
have been effective mechanisms for reporting and making decisions on the finances. To the extent that
the evaluation can ascertain, Lifesign is providing value for money and has been cost-effective in its use
of the allocated budget. Savings have been made on things such as staffing and the use of video
conferencing and a surplus in the budget has been put to effective use to cover unexpected events.

Lifesign has experienced some of the staffing difficulties that are usual in project work, such as loss of
staff and the part-time nature of the work, and these have contributed to a slight delay in the start of the
project, an extended finish date for the project and some subsequent slippage. The part-time nature of the
work for the majority of project staff has only been a minor problem for the project and is common to
most project work.

16.2 Partnership working

Overall, the partnership approach has worked well and communication between staff has been good. All
staff were generally satisfied with the types and level of communication and there have been no problems
related to it being a multi-site project.

The major problem in the partnership approach taken has been tensions between the evaluation and
technical aspects. There has not always been a common understanding about the priorities and purposes
of the project and this is due to their different expertise and focus on different areas of the project. The
significant differences between these two strands of the project has been a constant issue throughout the
project and has not been helped by the work package approach, which may have encouraged task
isolation instead of further integration. However, the difficulty was anticipated, has been managed
relatively well and has had a minimal impact on overall outcomes and deliverables.

16.3 Content Development

The Lifesign project has succeeded in identifying and acquiring a significant collection of videos relevant
to the life sciences, although there was an initial need to widen the subject scope of the project to the
broad life sciences.

Strategies and processes were developed to identify potential material, however, a major issue has been
over development of a critical mass of content, and whether the project should favour a needs analysis
delivery approach or a content delivery approach. Although Lifesign successfully used a combination of
the two methods, this issue was perhaps not addressed early enough in the project or fully resolved.

Lifesign did not fulfil its objective to produce new materials to cover gaps in coverage due to insufficient
interest from academics, limited time and disagreement between project staff.

16.4 Rights clearance

Rights clearance has been a successful element of the project. The establishment of an independent
contract and the acquisition of quality materials such as those from the BBC were groundbreaking. It has
been a challenge for the project and difficult at times, but Lifesign has effectively raised and addressed


                                                          130
many of the issues and the project‟s work should inform further developments in the use of streaming
media in education.

16.5 Technology

The Lifesign project has successfully developed the technology needed to access and stream the videos
via the internet. The technology work has been groundbreaking, with the project doing baseline work that
no one else was doing at the time. This has moved the streaming video field forward significantly. The
move from delivery over two MANs to nationwide availability was also a significant development.

However, the IP address access system developed to comply with licensing restrictions for some streams
has been a major problem. Difficulties in accessing the videos off-campus and changes to URLs indicate
that a password-based access system may have been more suitable. The Lifesign project has highlighted
the issues linked to having to limit access to streams, but some of these issues remain unresolved and
have not been addressed fully.

These technical problems were also a major barrier to the evaluation and highlight the difficulty the
project has faced with evaluating a service that is still under development. The need for separation
between a service under development and the service being provided to users was not fully resolved, but
Lifesign was continually working towards this. However, at times, not enough consideration was given
to the users and the effects of the technology on the evaluation process. This again reflects the inherent
tension between the evaluation and technical aspects.

16.6 Website

Overall, the development of the website has been successful and exceeded the anticipated role, despite
insufficient planning in the early stages of the project. It has developed effectively in providing access to
the video streams, but this has been to the detriment of providing information about the project. Lifesign
has recognised the need to update and improve the information about the project and this work is
currently underway.

Despite the need for more information, the website has successfully provided a focus point for the project
and has enabled potential users to explore the possibilities of streaming video.

16.7 Cataloguing and software development

The evaluation concludes that this is the area where Lifesign has been least successful in meeting its aims
and objectives. The project fully met its commitments to research the issue of metadata standards and
developing the metadata for the acquired video streams. However, this metadata has not been put to
effective further use, although work with Talis is ongoing.

The objective to develop a software tool to integrate the metadata into library OPACs has not been
fulfilled for a variety of reasons and the objective was reformulated to reflect the delays. The project has
recognised the importance of integrating the metadata into the website catalogue, but no actions have yet
been taken.

Lifesign has successfully raised and addressed the issues involved in developing the metadata for the
streams, but has not progressed in putting this metadata to effective use in either the website catalogue or
a software tool. Further work is still needed in this area and the work with Talis is ongoing.

16.8 Evaluation

An aspect of the project which has not developed as far as had been hoped is the evaluated case studies.
There have been less evaluated applications than had been anticipated. However, the difficulty in getting
academics to participate in the evaluation is not necessarily a reflection of the success of the Lifesign
project, but an issue for the wider academic community. The success of the case studies was also affected
by the access problems. The case studies that were completed were generally considered to be of value,


                                                          131
although the evaluation would have benefited from a longer timescale as the real impact of this product
will not be clear for a few more years.

16.9 Take-up/Impact of service

The full impact and usage of the Lifesign resources has been difficult to ascertain. The case studies
indicate that academic staff and students have been impressed with the service and the potential of
streaming video in teaching and learning. However, the usage logs from the website were not available to
the project partners in time for them to work with them and therefore conclusions cannot be drawn on
independent use of and interest in the resources.

The Lifesign project has been promoted with leaflets and conference presentations and its findings have
been successfully disseminated to the wider academic community with a good range of journal articles.

16.10    Standards and interoperability

The Lifesign project has followed the standards and guidelines provided by JISC for 5/99 projects and has
made a conscious effort to use metadata and streaming standards which would facilitate potential
interoperability or integration with other projects as part of a national resource, as envisaged by JISC.
Rapid technological advancements and initial uncertainty over the standards that would be used by JISC
mean that Lifesign‟s standards may now have been superseded. This is recognised by JISC, which plans
to spend money on updating projects‟ metadata to ensure interoperability.

16.11 General comments

The Lifesign project was an ambitious project, but it has been successful in achieving the majority of its
aims and objectives. It has moved the field forward significantly and has done some groundbreaking
work, which is transferable and of benefit to the wider academic community. It has raised and addressed
many of the issues, challenges and potential benefits of the use of streaming video in learning and
teaching. Lifesign has also successfully raised the profile of streaming video from a position of relative
ignorance in 2000 when very few people were aware of the technology and even fewer were using it in
teaching and learning, building up a core of users and interest that was not there before.




                                                        132
17. Recommendations
The following outlines the recommendations arising from the external evaluation. These are presented
under the following categories:

   Recommendations regardless of future funding

   Recommendations if further funding is granted

   Recommendations to link with JISC initiatives

It should be noted that an exit strategy has been submitted to JISC by Lifesign, which includes a
continuation bid to use the project underspend to maintain and further develop some aspects of the
project. The following recommendations were made by the external evaluators before seeing the exit
strategy, but they are in general agreement, with the overarching recommendation from the external
evaluation being that further funding be sought from JISC to continue the Lifesign work.
17.1 Recommendations regardless of future funding

   The learning outcomes of the project (such as those to be documented in the pedagogic evaluation
    report and the final project report) should be shared as widely as possible within the academic
    community. There are a number of areas in which the work of Lifesign has made a contribution to
    the knowledge base concerning the use of streaming video in teaching and learning. These
    transferable lessons, including benefits and challenges, should be disseminated widely and include:

    o   technology and access
    o   metadata
    o   evaluation

   JISC should consider how best to ensure that other academic institutions draw on this work. For
    example the newly formed JISC Marketing and Awareness unit might be the vehicle to do this.

   JISC should review the findings and experiences of the Lifesign project and consider what place the
    use of video streaming in teaching and learning might play in its overall strategy.

   The availability of the Lifesign user support materials, including the video on how to use video
    streaming should be promoted to academic institutions.

   Work should be undertaken to develop and update the content provided on the website about the aims
    and objectives of the project and its findings as one way of providing legacy information.

   The streams which are licensed to Lifesign beyond March 2003 should remain available through the
    website, until the licences expire. Streams that have been provided at no cost should remain
    available.

17.2 Recommendations: if further funding is granted

   Clearly the streaming of moving pictures and sound is a relatively new technology and one which is
    changing rapidly. There is therefore much potential for further research and development in this area.
    Case studies indicate that the video streams provided by the Lifesign project were of value to
    academic staff and students. The evaluation recommends that the project seeks further funding to
    continue work in this area. This may involve setting up Lifesign as a service.

   Details of a future bid for funding should consider the extent to which the following are taken into
    account:




                                                         133
Project management

   Any further development of the Lifesign project would benefit from a comprehensive review of the
    purpose and priorities of the service as well as a review and restatement of each partner‟s role,
    expectations and involvement with the project. This will be vital in alleviating some of the potential
    tensions. The structure of work packages should be reconsidered to facilitate more sharing and
    understanding between different partners.

Content development

   Further work should be undertaken to devise a procurement strategy for materials to facilitate
    identification and acquisition of further materials. This will involve more clarification on the criteria
    for selection and the extent to which a needs analysis approach or content delivery approach is
    adopted

   The project should seek to extend the current licences. The possibility of further co-ordination with
    the managing agent and the transferral from an independent short-term Lifesign licence to a MAAS
    10-year licence should be explored.

   The subject scope of Lifesign should be re-examined. There is potential for further expansion in the
    life sciences or expansion into related subject areas in the broader sciences.

   New materials should be produced to meet expressions of interest and identified gaps in coverage.

Cataloguing

   Development of a software tool and integration into library OPACs is essential to reach a wider
    audience. Work on this aspect should be completed

   Integration of the standards-based metadata into the website and further development of the catalogue
    and search facility provided on the website is needed.

Technology

   Future work should include further development of tools such as the virtual editing tool to enable
    academics to customise video streams to suit their needs

   Work is needed to explore the most appropriate system of restricting access to streams. This may
    involve consideration of using a password system instead of restriction by IP address.

   Separation between the service being delivered to users and the service under development is
    essential in preventing further problems with access to the streams

   More comprehensive online and offline user support is needed

Evaluation

   Further evaluation of the use of video streaming in teaching and learning should be undertaken.
    There is clearly a need for more research into user behaviour. Means of increasing the cooperation
    and involvement of academic staff in this process should be developed. This might include seconding
    individual staff to the project or partnering academic departments to ensure comprehensively
    evaluated applications of the use of video streams in teaching and learning.




                                                          134
   Evaluation should be conducted over a longer period in order to ascertain more fully the issues
    involved in streaming video in teaching and learning over the long term and the evolving use of the
    video streams.

   Further evaluation work should take into account the development of new technologies such as the
    development of a tool to edit the video streams

Promotion and dissemination

   Awareness of future research and developments should be raised. Other means of promotion should
    be explored, such as closer links with university libraries and media services, and links from
    university library OPACs and websites. This may help to promote the service directly to students and
    benefit their independent and self-selective learning.

   Promoting use of the service and transferable lessons learned should be shared with FE institutions to
    follow JISC‟s widening remit.

17.3 Recommendations to link with JISC initiatives

       Project documentation and materials should be made available for repository in JORUM+, which
        is providing a Provisional Collecting Repository for learning materials from the 5/99 projects,
        with the aim of establishing a basis for a JISC Learning Materials Repository.

       Lifesign should also explore the possibilities of co-ordination or integration with MAAS and the
        development of the Education Media Online service.




                                                        135
        18. Appendix 1
Lifesign Project Evaluation

Interview questions

1.    Why did you first become involved in the Lifesign project?
      Did you have any initial reservations about getting involved in the project?

2.    What is your role/the role of your organisation in the Lifesign project?
      Has your role changed during the course of the project? If so, how?

3.    Do you think that the roles of all the partners are clearly defined? If not, please explain why

4.    How much/what type of contact do you have with the other partners? (Is this adequate in your
      opinion?)

5.    Has Lifesign drawn on the experiences of or co-ordinated with similar projects? (e.g. Click and Go
      Video, Handing on Tradition in an Electronic Age and TRILT)

6.    To what extent do you think the project has met its aims and objectives to date?
      Did the work of the project remain consistent with the DNER vision?

7.    Have the aims and objectives changed during the course of the project? Are you satisfied with the
      outputs to date?

8.    What have been the main benefits/impact of the project for academic staff and students?
      Within partner regions (MANs)
      Within wider academic community

9.    Have you encountered any problems and how have these been addressed or might be addressed?

10.   Do you consider that the project has provided value for money?
      Has it kept within budget? Does it, or could it provide economic benefits to the UK academic
      community?

11.   What have been the most successful aspects of the project?
      What factors helped to account for the success in each case?

12.   How has the success of the project been measured?
      Have you had any feedback from staff, students, partners?


13.   What have been the least successful aspects of the project?
      What factors helped to account for the lack of success in each case?

14.   How do you see the Lifesign project developing in the future? Are there
      issues around sustainability?

15.   How do you see the wider academic community best being able to take advantage of the
      achievements of the Lifesign project?

16.   Do you intend to continue to be involved in the Lifesign project? Why (not)?




                                                         136

								
To top