The project report has been written in the style of an ‘article’ and will be used by JISC – together with reports from other recent JISC digitization projects – as the bases of a future publication illustrating JISC funded digitization initiatives.
The findings and recommendations in the evaluation report are summarized below.
The findings show that the project’s objectives have been successfully achieved except that the Web 2.0 implementation has been delayed and will now not happen until the summer of 2011. This has impacted upon other aspects such as user testing. The approach to running the project has provided a strong base for success and has included all partners in decision making and in the process of developing the content. The website has had a number of users, with web statistics showing repeat visits and use of a wide variety of pages. The evaluation does highlight the need for a fully thought out marketing strategy for the future to increase the user base.
Recommendations My Leicestershire History is a valuable resource and thus needs to continue to be supported through:
- Making sure Web 2.0 happens,
- Developing a strategy for sustainability which enables the continuation of digitization of data and of continuing to advertise and promote the site with the general public but also perhaps with further funding to support the education sector,
- Promoting the best practice that this project highlights,
- Maintaining contact with the local history societies that have contributed.
Other digitization projects would also benefit from using an approach similar to that trialed here, with the inclusion of partners from voluntary and professional organizations. Including all partners in the setting up, management and practical completion of the project provides a strong structure. It should be remembered that such projects take a great deal of time and require:
- Development of an inclusive management process.
- Early development of a marketing strategy.
- Early inclusion of different user groups to find out what they are interested in and later testing of the site design.
- Considering the types of IT, and associated programmes etc early on, budgeting for appropriate resources and support.
- Supporting and training those involved and using networks to find advice and further support.
- Considering sustainability and the best approaches before the end of the project.
Lastly it must be mentioned that projects such as this rely heavily on the voluntary help those in local history societies (and similar) can give and the skills and knowledge they bring with them. Their enthusiasm and time is central to success.