On Friday I attended a workshop on “Digital Impacts: How to Measure and Understand the Usage and Impact of Digital Content” which was hosted by the Oxford Internet Institute. The event was organised to mark the launch of a report on “Splashes and Ripples: Synthesizing the Evidence on the Impacts of Digital Resources” . The abstract for the report describes how:

This report is an effort to begin to synthesize the evidence available under the JISC digitisation and eContent programmes to better understand the patterns of usage of digitised collections in research and teaching, in the UK and beyond. JISC has invested heavily in eContent and digitisation, funding dozens of projects of varying size since 2004. However, until recently, the value of these efforts has been mostly either taken as given, or asserted via anecdote. By drawing on evidence of the various impacts of twelve digitised resources, we can begin to build a base of evidence that moves beyond anecdotal evidence to a more empirically-based understanding on a variety of impacts that have been measured by qualitative and quantitative methods.

At the event a full room with about 100 participants heard Dr. Eric Meyer and his colleague Dr. Kathryn Eccles summarise the main finding of the report and introduce the Toolkit for the Impact of Digitised Scholarly Resources (TIDSR), with summaries of the case studies being provided by contributors to the report.

As described recently I also spoke at this event and gave a talk on Evidence, Impact, Value: Metrics for Understanding Personal and Institutional Use of the Social Web. In the introduction I explained how my talk would discuss the role of Social Media in enhancing access to not only digital content but also physical resources (such as the workshop itself) and intangible objects (such as the ideas presented at such events).  I explained how I had proposed a Twitter hashtag for the event (“#oiiimpacts11” was chosen) and created a TwapperKeeper archive for tweets related to the event. I then showed the Summarizr statistics which can be used to provide evidence of how Twitter is being used at the event.  Despite the relatively small numbers using Twitter (which does not appear to be widely used by those working in digital humanities) it was interesting to note that there were 23 tweets which provided links to a blog post which announced the launch of the report and a further 14 tweets (split between two URLs)  which linked directly to the report.  In addition the statistics for the bit.ly URL to the report shows that at the time of writing there have been 79 accesses to the report via the bit.ly link with  62 access taking place on the day the report was launched.  We can also see the comments made in the tweets which enables us to see the initial announcement (made by the oiioxford Twitter account) and how subsequent tweets commented on the report:

  • oiioxford:    Digital Impacts Report released today http://bit.ly/jHFesq being discussed at #oiiimpacts11 right now
  • The_archive:  Interesting report on mpacts of digital #archives RT @oiioxford: Digital Impacts Report released today http://bit.ly/jHFesq #oiiimpacts11
  • hannerl:   RT @The_archive: Interesting report on mpacts of digital #archives RT @oiioxford: Digital Impacts Report released today http://bit.ly/jHFesq #oiiimpacts11
  • archivesnext:   Read me: RT @ammeveleigh Digital Impacts Report released today http://bit.ly/jHFesq at #oiiimpacts11 #archives

The workshop, and the report, focussed on best practices for synthesing evidence of the impact of digital resources.  It strikes me that there is also a need to share best practices on ways of gathering evidence of the impact  of events and reports. Perhaps part of the process for organising such events should be in planning how social media can be used to both enhance impact and measure the impact. Twitter hashtags and use of bit.ly links may be useful tools to use – and in addition perhaps, as I suggested recently, making use of Slideshare for speakers slides might also be useful. Indeed looking at the slides used by Ewan McIntosh in his talk on “Unleashing The Tribe: small passionate communities” at UKOLN’s IWMW 2008 event I find that  there have been 25,941 views of the slides and other slideshows used at the event having been viewed by between 2,00 and 21,000 times. Perhaps  there is an opportunity for further examples to be provided in the Analytics section of the
Toolkit for the Impact of Digitised Scholarly Resources (TIDSR)