Library Digitisation Unit Blog

Perkins agricultural library goes online during digitisation

May 15, 2014
by Julian Ball


The Library Digitisation Unit has started digitising the Perkins agricultural library which is being made available within hours of digitisation. The collection contains over 2000 books amounting to approximately 1.4 million pages which will take the Unit a few months to complete. The volumes are being made freely available via Internet Archive and maybe searched for using the term “perkins southampton”.

The automated workflow, Goobi was integrated into the Library Digitisation Unit in 2010 to coordinate  all of the steps associated with digitisation and processing. Goobi manages the organisation and storage of images, calls and integrates bibliographic records, stores metadata in a standard METS format and provides output resources which can be rendered by web viewers.  

Goobi is a multilingual web based application. Goobi validates METS output against a METS XSD, but the internal schema is particular to the institution and held in a non-standard Goobi metadata format. The software is written in Java and being open source provides the opportunity for development and the generation of automated scripted steps. Two plugins were commissioned by the LDU to enable the full integration of the Unit’s workflow processes:

  •  The first plugin interprets an item barcode and retrieves the bibliographic record from the Library Management Software
  • The second plugin enables jobs to be sent and data retrieved from Abbyy’s Recognition Server

 Workflow stages of Perkins agricultural library digitisation


Did you write a PhD thesis prior to 2008? If yes, we need your help

February 13, 2014
by Julian Ball



PhD theses post 2008 are available on-line which has been made possible by a change in the University regulations.   Theses prior to 2008 can also be made similarly available, but we need your help.

Although the Hartley Library holds copies of all PhD theses submitted by University graduands, the University does not have the right to publish an electronic copy. Publication  can take if the copyright holder, who is the author signs the form below.

Once the Author declaration and consent form is obtained, the Library will digitise  the thesis at no charge to the author in its entirety. An indexed searchable pdf will then be made available from the Institutional Repository with free on-line access. Currently, over 2,000 theses are available on-line from the repository and in a 12 month period 250,000 downloads were made with 200,000 abstract views.

Please take this opportunity to make your valuable research available to readers throughout the world by signing the  Supplementary author declaration and consent (e-thesis) form and returning it to us by mail. Electronic submissions of the form are not accepted by the University.



Knitting patterns are made available for teaching and research in a pilot project

December 13, 2013
by Julian Ball

Following the online interest by readers to the Library’s digital resource of out of copyright Victorian knitting manuals (2657 page views during August 2012 and September 2013) which were made available from the JISC funded project – Look here!, a pilot project was undertaken to explore the web provision of mid-20th century patterns that are in copyright.

The University Library is the holder of approximately 12,000 knitting patterns from the Richard Rutt, Montse Stanley and Jane Waller collections. A pattern cover typically carries a photograph of a model wearing the knitted garment, which provides a wealth of inspiration for research purposes from post-world war to the present day. The patterns are all boxed and arranged by collector, type of knitwear and by decade. There is a hand list to the boxes, so users may check the list and request a box and browse. No cataloguing of the individual patterns had been undertaken at the start of the pilot project.

Before digitisation of the knitting patterns or of any literary work can take place, copyright must be considered to ensure that rights exist to make a digital copy and to distribute with unlimited access. Copyright is an automatic right and arises when an individual or company creates a work. The work has to be original and exhibit a degree of labour, skill or judgement. Copyright is protected by law in the United kingdom by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 with later amendments. The author is the copyright holder through their life and by their estate for a further 70 years after their death from the end of the calendar year of the authors death. Where the work has more than one author, the copyright expires 70 years after the death of the last surviving author. Copyright may be transferred or sold by the copyright owner to another party. Where the author is anonymous or not identifiable in a published work, and the work has been made available to the public, copyright will last for 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was first made available. In a published work, the publisher also has copyright on the typographical arrangement and any content added by the publisher, for example diagrams. Typographical copyright lasts for 25 years from the end of the year in which the publication was made. Due to the complexity of copyright that potentially could exist in the knitting patterns, the publishers or its subsidiary may not be fully assured themselves that they can fully license their material for digitisation and free open access licenses will have indemnity clauses to protect all parties.

The patterns were typically written by yarn companies with no identifiable authors, thus the copyright on the text lasts for 70 years from the publication date. For patterns published post 1943, copyright will still exist and permission from the yarn companies is required for digital publication. Unfortunately, the date of publication is not generally included on the knitting patterns, thus an assessment of the publication date had to be made based on the fashion of the clothing article.

To gain copyright clearance for the pattern text, company logos and imagery, the yarn companies were approached. Typically broad terms of usage were discussed, followed by a license which outlined the specific uses and any indemnities. For the University collection, it was agreed that online provision of the knitting pattern cover was of primary importance for research and teaching purposes and the pattern instructions secondary. Thus this option was provided to publishers during the negotiation phase. To ensure that a license fully covers the requirements of all parties and is robust to handle digitisation of the resource and publication with free web access, it was drawn up by the University legal team. The process of gaining signed licenses took many months and can necessitate the copyright holder consulting a solicitor to fully interpret the License. A number of companies declined to enter into any discussions on our proposed usage of the patterns. Many publishing houses have their own license outlining the terms of their allowed usage. Their terms did not necessarily match our usage or legal requirements and a negotiation of terms was entered into.

The License must fully reference the knitting pattern to ensure that there can be no uncertainty by any future readers. Although a number of publishers did print a pattern identification number on the publication, these can be duplicated, the publishers name can be difficult to determine from the pattern or there may be no number. To avoid any ambiguity, the University of Southampton has taken the approach to issue one license per knitting pattern and to match the license with the pattern, a unique four digit number was ascribed and printed onto each pattern which was referenced in the License. A photocopy of the pattern front cover was also attached to the license for clarity. The photocopy provided the publisher with a ready reference to the pattern for which a license was being requested.

The pilot project was also used to determine the cataloguing criteria for the knitting pattern collection. A cataloguing target of 20 minutes per pattern was set to generate a MARC record, which was achieved. An example record is provided below for a man’s sweater published by Sirdar at a cost of 7d.


In the pilot project of 1000 knitting patterns from the University menswear collection, 79 publishers companies were identified. A number of these companies are no longer in existence, whilst others have been ‘bought out’. The Companies House Register provided a useful source to determine if a company is still in existence or when it ceased to trade. The Register also provided the name(s) of the Directors and the date when accounts were last submitted. If the company was no longer in existence, some detective work was needed to find the current rights holders. If the company was bought out, then the Companies House Register can provide some clues, for example by tracking Director names. When a business is bought out, the copyright of the material being sought may also have been bought by the new company. However, the sale may not have been explicit regarding the asset of copyright materials and doubts can arise. If a company is dissolved, their assets become the estate of the Treasury Solicitor’s Department, except those in Cornwall and Lancashire which become the assets of the Prince of Wales.

During the 8 month pilot project, signed licenses for 202 knitting patterns were obtained from 5 companies that included: Sandisons in Sheltland, Mary Maxim in Michigan, USA, Donegal Yarns based in Ireland and Sirdar from Wakefield. These licenses have enabled the pattern cover or the knitting instructions to be digitised and made available with free open access to the world community from the University of Southampton Library website. During the 12 months of August 2012 to September 2013, 1628 page views were made of the knitting pattern collection.

Further patterns from the collection have been catalogued and negotiations are ongoing with the yarn companies.

Building comprehensive resources by contributing to digital collections

September 19, 2013
by Matt Phillips

One of the useful characteristics of digital resources is that they are not tied to a library or shelf location and can be made available to the world. Fragile or valuable resources need only be digitised once and access to digital copies can reduce wear to the physical object. Researchers don’t have to physically go to the resources they need for their research when they can be accessed online. It also means that institutions across the world can independently pool parts of collections into larger collections. This last point is particularly interesting because it gets to the heart of what libraries and universities are about: building bodies of knowledge. Read the rest of this entry →

Menswear knitting patterns

May 16, 2013
by Julian Ball

Man’s sleeveless cardigan(196])

A selection of menswear knitting patterns and their full bibliographic records are available as digital images from the Richard Rutt Collection.

Depending on copyright, the patterns can be viewed in their entirety or as the covers only.

The patterns were digitised as tiff images in colour at 300 dpi using the i2s book scanners.

The University of Southampton Libraries Digital Collections website provides access to the resources digitised by the Unit.

West Indian slavery collection

May 15, 2013
by Julian Ball


The English in the West Indies or The bow of Ulysses (1888)
Proude, James Anthony

The argument that the colonial slaves are better off than the British peasantry:
answered from the Royal Jamaica Gazette of June 21, 1823 (1824)
Clarkson, Thomas












The West Indian Slavery collection (1800-1855) from the Oates collection has been made available at the Internet Archive. They are freely available as searchable PDFs to the world community under the Commons License BY NC ND.  The collection may be located by typing “oates southampton” into the search box.

The collection consists of 65 items with a total page count of 11,000. The collection had been rebound in a coordinated style, but to enable digitisation the binding was removed from a number of items. The pages were scanned in colour at 300 dpi tiff images using  i2s book scanners.