Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Higher Education Digitisation Service (HEDS)

The Higher Education Digitisation Service (HEDS) in England provides consultancy and production services for digitization and digital resource development and management. The group was begun in 1996 and began a Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) service in 1998. HEDS is run by the University of Hertfordshire.

HEDS has an interesting business model. It provides advice, consulting, and production services. Some of its services are free while others are fee-based. According to the group's 2002 annual report:
In the year ended July 31, 2002 HEDS delivered approximately 370,000 digitised pages of textual material, 4,700 images and over 77 million characters re-keyed. In addition, HEDS staff delivered 120 Person Days of paid consultancy.
HEDS has done a excellent job of preserving papers and presentations that its staff have presented. They are available on the Resources page. It looks like many of the items are from 1998 - 2002.

From the web site, I can't tell what HEDS is doing now. From one of its projects, I can see that the group is still active, but the HEDS web site seems to contain only older content. It had a goal of becoming self-funding in 2003. (If anyone knows, please leave a comment...thanks!)

One project that HEDS worked on is "The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London 1674 to 1834." This is described as:

A fully searchable online edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court.
The details available on how this project was done and who was involved is quite nice. Of course, not as much detail as you would like, but much more than most projects.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Jill,

I used to run the operational and consultancy aspects of HEDS and when I left it in 2003, to establish a consultancy and research operation (KDCS) at King's College London, HEDS was fully self financing (more than that it was making a healthy surplus) and no longer recieves JISC funding.

HEDS continues to exist and provides very good services. Unfortunately their plans to update the website have been hampered by the sheer volume of work they are doing!

I have continued the habit of maintaining a resource for posting significant papers and presentations by KDCS - see http://www.kdcs.kcl.ac.uk/content/publications.htm


Simon Tanner
King's Digital Consultancy Services
King's College London