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Project web site

Programme area
On demand publishing

Contact details
Nicky Whitsed, Project Director,
Director of Library Services, Jennie Lee Library, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Phone: 01908 652354 Fax: 01908 653571

Hilary Nunn, Project Manager,
Jennie Lee Library, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Phone: 01908 858486 Fax: 01908 653571

Sarah Gamman, Copyright Officer,
Jennie Lee Library, Open University, Walton Hall, ll, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Phone: 01908 858473 Fax: 01908 653571

Project description

as of May 9th 1997


As with other universities, the Open University recognises the need to make texts available to students through a digitised resource. The OU is the UK's foremost university in providing electronic access to students off-campus. Currently some 25,000 students access Open University services in this way. The digitisation of materials forms part of the Open University Library's strategy for supporting student access to materials. The Open University has already piloted several collections of full-text references on CD-ROM.

In addition, the OU recognises that packs of information may be helpful to other HE providers in developing new course materials. The OU has a broad base of materials which are already available as packs. A major issue in converting these materials is that of third party rights, particularly with regard to the re-use of pictures, photographs and video clips.


The aim of Edbank is to create, maintain and run a full text database of digitised teaching materials, delivered over the WWW, which can be used to support remote students (off-campus) in teacher training. In addition the project plans to produce an evaluated mechanism for pricing access to electronic materials and for copyright management including royalty collection plus an analysis of issues concerned with supporting the remote (off-campus) student based on dial-up access.


The project draws on 10 Postgraduate Certificate in Education readers in current use by most institutions providing initial teacher training, and by teachers in over 30,000 schools involved with continuing professional education.

It also uses documents specifically written by the OU School of Education for the PGCE course. This comprises approximately 150 titles each some 20 pages in length. This is estimated to be the equivalent of at least 15 textbooks. These cover general teaching issues for primary schools and includes a reading pack plus a range of modules covering the 10 national curriculum areas. They also cover general teaching issues for secondary schools with additional material in mathematics, English, science, technology, modern foreign languages (French), history and music.

In addition, the database may hold information on videos, references cited in the OU texts, materials used for training mentors in schools, case studies showing the relationship of the theoretical readers to practice, and a set of lesson plans.

Links with other projects

Edbank links between the work of the Elib projects in the digitisation programme (contrasting particularly the DIAD and Internet Library of Early Journals) and builds on the work of the various on-demand publishing projects.

Project Leaders and Partners

The Open University is Britain's largest and most innovative university and remains the world's leading distance learning university. It has unique experience in materials development, production and dissemination for higher education. These materials are in high demand by other HE institutes. The OU has undertaken extensive research in the development of multi-media and has an advanced Knowledge Media Institute which is pioneering the development of leading-edge technologies for the distribution of learning materials. It has already pioneered the Virtual Summer School. The university is supported in its work by a sophisticated Institute of Educational Technology skilled in evaluation techniques and in research in the use of new technologies and the quality of education. The OU's experience in rights issues is supported by a team of 20 staff which includes specialists in electronic rights issues. They have already supported the PHOENIX project. In addition, the OU's library staff have been involved in rights clearances for many years.

Within the project the OU library is the lead partner for Edbank and is working together with the OU School of Education. The OU Rights Department is involved in an advisory capacity. As associated publishers of the readers, Routledge are also closely involved in the development of this work. Routledge already have an electronic publications programme. It is anticipated that additional commercial partners will be involved as additional material is identified through rights and other contacts.

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The Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
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