SCIE opinion - 20 December 2012

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Photograph of Dave Anderson

SCIE goes digital only

From Dave Anderson, SCIE's Head of Digital Production

It was businessman James E. Burke who said: "The coming of the printing press must have seemed as if it would turn the world upside down in the way it spread and, above all, democratised knowledge." Burke may have been shocked, therefore, to find out that from Monday 2 April 2013, SCIE will no longer print any of our resources. This isn't a decision we're taking lightly; printed materials were our bedrock production tool when we first started up almost twelve years ago.

We've had to take a long, hard look at how much business printing costs are, compared to how many people are now reading our materials online. We have to weigh up all of the factors, including whether printing is environmentally friendly. It's not just the printing itself; it's also issues such as transporting the material from place-to-place.

Positive side to going digital

However, a move to purely digital production isn't just because of printing costs. Our online products are more accessible than ever; they're interactive. This hasn't been something that's come along overnight; back in 2009 we launched Social Care TV and the Dementia Gateway as two new, innovative ways of getting our message across about how people's lives can be improved when they use care and support services.

But a more recent example is when the Government published its Care and Support White Paper last summer; we responded quickly by showing, via a clickable resource, how SCIE's work is relevant to all of the sections of the upcoming legislation. For those that need it, they can adapt these resources to their own needs, for instance by increasing the font size. We will continue to produce rigorously researched, good practice guidance in a variety of formats, and they will all be available on our website. In a changing world, many people view our products using modern technology, so we are also looking at developing new ways of accessing our work, such as tablet devices like Ipads, mobiles and eReaders. 

Case in point – Personalisation rough guide

Many of our products have been popular in printed form. We've sent out or given out 100,000 of our Personalisation rough guides. So, our response is to make the online version really useful for care staff, who work to improve people's lives in care and support settings. You can personalise your guide by directing it to find content relevant to your role and subject areas you are interested in. For best results, sign in as a SCIE user. If not signed up already, you can do here. Using the rough guide site, when signed in, means that you can bookmark your pages and get the most out of the personalisation tool. You can bookmark any section and return to it later. The blue menu panel at the bottom of the screen means you can personalise your personalisation guide.

Up until the end of March, you'll still be able to order print publications on our online ordering system. You will still be able to download pdf files for free. Please contact us if you would like to order copies as they will not be available after this date; you can email Please also use this email address to let us know what you think of this latest development.

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