Starting the Open Content Curator Internship!

Hello! I am Mayu, one of two Open Content Curator Interns working for the OER Service at the University of Edinburgh this summer. As an intern, I will be helping enable Geosciences outreach resources created by students to be published and used as OERs by checking all licensing and attribution. Also, I will be managing our OER Service’s social media to disseminate what we have and creating my original OER! My first week has passed very quickly – loads to read and learn about copyright legislation and the vast coverage of work ISG does, which I didn’t realise in normal student life – and it’s been incredibly fun! The work environment is very friendly, and it’s amazing that I now know the meaning of a small grey box with letters such as ‘CC’ or ‘BY’, that you find everywhere on various websites.

As this is my first blog post, I will introduce myself a bit, but at the same time, I will introduce a few of many posts on this website that you can go to and enjoy their OERs and some images from the University’s collections that I’ve found and enjoyed over the last few days of working.


Lithograph of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Arthur's Seat

Lithograph of the Palace of Holyroodhouse by T. Picken after J. D. Harding, 1847-54, CC BY 3.0, the University of Edinburgh.

The first post I have chosen is Creating Edinburgh: The Interdisciplinary City! The contents were created for an undergraduate course that allowed students to create their own OERs responding to our city, Edinburgh. It is one of the things that Lorna recommended me to look at during my first week, and I was intrigued by how many different perspectives you can take to think about an urban space!

As an Architectural History and Heritage student, I love walking around Edinburgh, finding interesting buildings and thinking what they tell us about the past. (I am the kind of person who stops every ten seconds on a street while travelling to observe, admire and take photos of buildings. You might never want to go on a holiday with me – or you might enjoy it!) I love history in any form, but especially thinking about history through something that exists in front of us, such as architecture, artwork, and urban forms! The Old Town, the New Town, and the 20th-century mass housing… they tell stories of people’s lives, social structure and culture of the past, and studying them has enriched my everyday life as there’s a lot I can think about while I’m wandering around.

And also, that is why I applied for this internship; education is a vital way that can enrich your everyday life, help you find your passion and achieve your goals, and it really needs to be open to everyone! I am excited for the coming weeks to be a part of a team to contribute to bring fun and quality educational resources to more people. Meanwhile, enjoy the content and explore the city (virtually or on foot)!


Pencil sketch of the Barren Island in Sir Charles Lyell's notebook

Sketch of Barren Island, MS Notes VII, p124, Sir Charles Lyell, 1860-61, CC BY 3.0, the University of Edinburgh.

My second choice is Volcanic Eruptions: an interdisciplinary approach! There are various reasons for this choice. One of them is because right now, I’m almost looking at a huge volcanic rock, Castle Rock, in front of me! Our office Argyle House is located very close to the rock, and I’ve been enjoying the view while working at my desk, making coffee at a kitchen and having lunch in a common room.

Also, this is a great example of the kind of work I will be doing over the summer, as this is from the Geoscience Outreach and Engagement course in the past. By the end of my internship period, there will be more content on Geosciences that you can download! I am really excited about this because I am very interested in Geosciences. I like collecting stones and minerals since I can’t remember, and probably I would’ve chosen a Geology degree if I had not chosen the current one! So, while working for new OERs, I can also return to my other favourite subject.

Finally, I chose the OER here because it has something to do with where I’m from. I am from Japan, where there are loads of active volcanos due to its geological location, and there are many challenges related to that – such as dealing with frequent earthquakes and, indeed, volcanic eruptions. But locating on geologically active areas can sometimes bring benefits, and the abundance of hot springs, or onsen, is my favourite thing about the country.


A reproduction of a medallion on vellum with gold illumination by Phoebe Anna Traquair

Song School St. Mary, f.4r, Phoebe Anna Traquair, 1897, CC BY 3.0, the University of Edinburgh.

The last entry is Phoebe Anna Traquair’s Medallions, one of the treasures of the Centre for Research Collections. I have thoroughly enjoyed the content made available by the CRCs, as I love any kind of old books and artefacts. As you can see in the article, this beautifully illuminated piece was created by Traquair, one of the first professional female artists who worked here in Edinburgh, and she is especially known until today for her mural works and association with a movement called the Celtic Revival. I chose this piece as it’s relevant to another interest of mine – as much as I love architecture, I also love art and its history. I am particularly obsessed with (to say it modestly) the late-nineteenth century, or “fin-de-siècle” European art. So, not surprisingly, I was very excited when I found out that Scotland, especially Edinburgh, also had its own art and cultural movement around the same period! Also, I had an interest in the Celtic languages, triggered from reading the Lord of the Rings during middle school far away back in Japan, as I learned that the Welsh language was one of the inspirations for the author, J.R.R.Tolkien, to create languages appearing in the story. So, I found the whole cultural movement very interesting. While working on the internship part-time over the summer, I am also researching the movement as a summer-SLICC (Student-Led, Individually-Created Course). And this can potentially feed into creating my own OER for the internship!

Another great thing about learning about copyrights is knowing where to find things that I can use with confidence. I like various kinds of creative activities, and one of them I’ve tried in recent years is digital collage. But I was unsure which images I could use online, so I limited myself largely to my own photos. But now that I know about Creative Commons and Public Domain, I have wider resources to use! In this case, the scan of Song School St Mary is licensed as CC BY-NC-SA, which means if I ever wanted to create a collage work using this material, I could because I can remix, transform and build upon the material and redistribute it as long as I share the new content under the same license terms.


The cover image: Lithograph of the Palace of Holyroodhouse by T. Picken after J. D. Harding, 1847-54, CC BY 3.0, the University of Edinburgh,