Is a copyrighted pdf report really a toolkit?

The Young Foundation does brilliant work, and there’s lots to interest in their latest The End of Regeneration? Small Estates toolkit. It’s highly relevant when the Conservatives are promoting their Big Society volunteering and social enterprise approach to tackle some of the issues identified here … so let’s share good ideas and action plans based on in-depth research on three estates. It’s a practical scenario against which to test Tory and other policy proposals, and develop real howtos.
BUT – the “toolkit” is just a downloadable pdf with standard copyright, which means it is difficult to link and quote, and cannot be reworked. Not the most useful tool in the box. Another case of communication policy blocking the application of good work for social innovation. Or have I missed something?


  • Mandeep
    April 30, 2010 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Hi David,

    I’ll try and clarify. I am also happy to help if you want to use the toolkit in a particular way.

    The document is aimed at agencies who are interested in the approach we used on the three small estates involved in the project.

    The ‘toolkit’ refers to the step-by-step articulation of the model we have developed, with pointers as to what we found worked and would reccomend for others wanting to follow a similar approach.

    I appreciate it may be difficult for online commentators to link and quote (if that’s a correct interpretation of the issue? I am a little confused!)But it’s aimed at community workers, neighbourhood management teams, housing bodies, local authorities etc… who can just go to our website and download / distribute it for free, easily.

    Those that choose to use the toolkit can rework our model in which ever way they see fit, according to local context. But I am not sure why anyone would want to rework the actual document – it’s mostly a statment of our experiences during this project. Again I may have got the wrong end of the stick on this one!

    Happy to clarify further, or stand corrected if I myself have missed something!



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  • April 30, 2010 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mandeep – thanks for a speedy reply. My frustration is mainly because this is such a useful piece of work that I felt it should be as accessible and usable as possible.
    I understand that many of those for whom the toolkit is intended will just do as you say – download and read.
    However, if the kit were on web pages – or even had a good summary on a page – it would be possible to reference the material more easily. It is difficult to copy from a pdf to a blog … and when you do you can’t take people through a link directly to further content. They have to get the pdf, download etc … by which time they may have given up. So you lose potential kit users. It isn’t possible for people to add value by commenting on their experience, for others to see.
    Because the report/kit is copyrighted, and in an inflexible format, it isn’t possible for people to customise and republish.
    The essence of the report recommends small, quick, responsive and I think they format should reflect that.
    Having said all that, for for such interesting work.

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