TrustDR cluster summary

From DigiRepWiki


The TrustDR project is mainly concerned with exploring the legal, organisational, cultural and technical aspects of operating an institutional digital repository of learning objects. The legal dimensions of e-learning particularly those affecting the sharing and reuse of learning materials in the form of learning objects are currently conceived of as presenting serious obstacles to future development, so this project is very timely.

The real challenge is how the education sector can take advantage of the new digital media and technologies without having to pay a huge cost in terms of administration, legal fees and insurance? In this, the issue of trust is central. How can the education sector conduct its business within this environment in such a way that the various creators, publishers and consumers of intellectual property retain their trust? A social or economic system that has low levels of trust tends to have much higher running costs. In a low-trust system, expensive lawyers, contracts and insurance are used as a substitute for behavioural constraint. So, if trust reduces transaction costs in an economy how can we build and maintain it in the context of digital repositories? Some of the main barriers to the success of such repositories are not technical but legal and cultural.

The the project will be interested in looking at the cultural issues that need to be addressed in developing DRM (Digital Rights Management) systems. It will be concerned at how to arrive at an agreed legal expression of rights in the form of licences (especially those developed by the ‘Creative Commons’, and user agreements from various groups of stakeholders, and whether there are any common patterns that can be identified and possibly transferred for use elsewhere. The project will also be looking at how these expressions of rights can be included in rights metadata using a Digital Rights Expression Language (DREL).

We are working on a pretty broad front and are seeking to deliver materials to users at different levels in institutions that seek 'explain and persuade' about the benefits of adopting a simple licensing regime and incorporating it into policy and and DRM systems. We have come up with a simple framework built on previous work by project Romeo and the DRM report for JISC by Intrallect.

On the way we are having to deal with some interesting isues - like where is the value (if any) in e-learning materials?