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Events attended by the project team

Registration now open for the International Digital Curation Conference 2013

Posted by Marieke Guy on 19th September 2012

Registration is now open for the 8th International Digital Curation Conference 2013. The conference has the theme ‘Infrastructure,Intelligence,Innovation:driving the Data Science agenda’ and takes place from 14-16 January 2013 at the Mövenpick Hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The programme will open on Monday 14 January 2013 with the Pre-Conference Drinks reception at the NEMO Science Center in Amsterdam. The welcome address will be given by Konstas Glinos who leads the Géant & e-Infrastructures Unit of the Directorate General for Information Society and Media at the European Commission.

The main conference will start on Tuesday 15 January. Speakers will be drawn from a range of disciplines, institutions and organisations and will include:-

  • Hans Pfeiffenberger, Alfred Wegener Institute
  • Anthony Beitz, Monash eResearch Centre
  • Patricia Cruse, University of California Curation Center
  • Kaitlin Thaney, Digital Science
  • Clifford Lynch, Coalition for Networked Information
  • Herbert Van de Sompel, Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Chris Greer, National Institute of Standards and Technology

There will be an exhibition of posters and demonstrations throughout the conference, a full programme of research and practice papers and an interactive symposium which will pose the question “What is a Data Scientist?”

This is the first time that IDCC has been held in mainland Europe and the DCC are delighted to have support from two major institutions in the Netherlands – Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft).

IDCC13 is organised by the Digital Curation Centre UK, in partnership with the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) and with sponsorship from Microsoft Research.

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International Digital Curation Conference 2013: Call for Papers

Posted by Marieke Guy on 31st July 2012

The 8th International Digital Curation Conference 2013 (IDCC13) with the theme ‘Infrastructure, Intelligence, Innovation: driving the Data Science agenda’ will take place on 14-16 January 2013 at the Mövenpick Hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The call for papers is currently open and the IDCC11 Programme Committee that reflect the conference theme. The theme recognises that in recent years there has been an explosion in the amount of data available, whether from tweets to blogs, data from sensors through to “citizen science”, government data, health and genome data and social survey data. Technology allows us to treat as ‘data’ content which would not once have merited the term – recordings of speech or song, video of dance or theatre or animal behaviour – and to treat as quantitative what once could only be qualitative. There are challenges in finding data and making it findable, in the ability to use it effectively, to take and understand data, to process, to analyse and extract value from data , to visualize data and then to communicate the stories behind it.

This process is now being termed data science. It is being used across sectors to describe a wide range of data activities in the commercial, government and academic sectors dealing with information whose primary purpose is often not research-related. Activities are not discipline-specific; in fact data science is being described in some quarters as a new discipline.

The Call for Papers including a list of topics can be found at:- www.dcc.ac.uk/events/idcc13/call-papers.

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Launch Workshop for DataFlow and ViDaaS

Posted by Marieke Guy on 5th March 2012

Mark Thorley, data management co-ordinator for NERC set the tone for the day when he explained that “Data management is too important to leave to the data managers, it needs to be an important part of research“. The launch event, hald at the Saïd Business school, University of Oxford, on Friday 2nd March 2012 for two new UMF-funded infrastructure projects, was all about embedding research data management (RDM) into workflow using shared services. The UMF programme aims to help universities and colleges deliver better efficiency and value for money through the development of shared services.

Data Management at Oxford

Paul Jeffreys, director of IT, University of Oxford, gave an introduction to current data management practice at the University of Oxford. Currently activities in Oxford are varied and rarely co-ordinated. Although there is a RDM portal comprising of a research skills toolkit, RDM checklist, a University statement on research data management (based on the University of Edinburgh’s ’10 commandments’) and a training programme in place there are many people/areas they are failing to meet. One area for concern is non-funded research (i.e. people for whom their research is their life’s work). It remains very tricky to build in generic support and activities need to be flexible.

Introduction to DataFlow

DataFlow was introduced by David Shotton, the DataFlow PI. DataFlow is a collaborative project led by the University of Oxford. It is a two-tier data management infrastructure that allows users to manage and store research data. The project builds on a prototype developed in the JISC-funded ADMIRAL project.

The first tier, called DataStage, is a file store which can be accessed through private network drives or the web. Users can upload research data files and the service is backed up nightly. DataStage is likely to be used by single research groups and deployment can be on a local server or on an institutional or commercial cloud. There is optional integration with DropBox and other Web services.

The second tier is DataBank, which, through a web submission interface, allows users to select and package files for publication. Files are accompanied by a simple metadata and contain an RDF manifest, which is then displayed as linked open data. They are packaged using the BagIt service. Databank is a scalable data repository where data packages are published and released under a CCZero licence, though users can chose to keep data private or add an optional embargo period.

DataFlow is now at beta release v0.1. The DataFlow team are keen to build a user community and have lots of processes in place allowing users to comment on developments.

Introduction to ViDaaS

James Wilson, ViDaaS project manager introduced us to ViDaaS. Virtual Infrastructure with Database as a Service (ViDaaS) comprises of two separate elements. DaaS is a web based system that enables researchers to quickly and intuitively build an online database from scratch, or import an existing database. The virtual infrastructure (VI) is an infrastructure which enables the DaaS to function within a cloud computing environment, it is known as the ORDS service – Online research database service. It builds on ideas developed in the JISC-funded sudamih projects The ViDaaS service currently has three business models:

  • £600 per year for a standard project (25gb)
  • £2000 per year for large project (100gb)
  • Later option for public cloud for hosting

ViDaaS is officially launching this summer.

Further details on interoperability between ViDaaS are contained within the Data Management Rollout at Oxford (DaMaRO) Project.

Both services are seen as being ‘sheer curation’. This is an approach to digital curation where curation activities are quietly integrated into the normal work flow of those creating and managing data and other digital assets. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_curation#Sheer_curation

So Why Use these Services?

Many of the other speakers from the day attempted to convince us of why we should use these services. It seems that despite the efforts of many, including the DCC data curation is often seen as a ‘fringe activity’. There are negligible rewards for creating metadata and there is a noticeable skills barriers in metadata– researchers have raw data – institutions have repositories that are empty. The principle of ‘sheer curation’ – allow tools to work with you rather than against you. It is an approach to digital curation where curation activities are quietly integrated into the normal work flow of those creating and managing data and other digital assets. Both DataFlow and ViDaaS offer integration with simple workflows and immediate benefits.

Use of shared infrastructure services is supported by JISC. They offer potential cost savings, transferability and reuse of tools.

The key for getting people to use the services lies in getting buyin from users and allowing flexibility. As user Chris Holland explained “we are inherently creative people are going to do things in our own way”. There is a need to make services flexible and intuitive as no system can be all things to all researchers.

What about the Cloud?

Peter Jones, Shared Infrastructure Services Manager at Oxford University Computing service began his session introducing the Oxford cloud Infrastructure with a quote from Randy Heffner: “The trouble with creating a “cloud strategy”? You’re focusing on technology, not business benefit.” He explained how the main barriers to cloud adoption include understanding costs, reliability (network), portability (lock-in), control, performance and security. However the biggest issue was inertia and reluctance to change. He concluded that a local private cloud overcomes a number of these issues and that the most likely approach is a public private hybrid

It is becoming apparent that the cloud exposes a cost that was previously hidden. However research institutions need to stand by the data they create, therefore the costs need to be observed and paid. James Wilson, ViDaaS project manager, observed that this is how libraries work, however it is not yet recognised in the research world in which people are still trying to offload costs on to other people.

The afternoon breakout allowed more interaction and discussion around some of the highlighted issues, primarily cost, the cloud and national services.

Resources from the day are available on the DataFlow Website.

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Alliance for Permanent Access Conference

Posted by Marieke Guy on 16th November 2011

Last week (8th – 9th November) I attended the Alliance for Permanent Access (APA) annual conference in London. The APA aims to develop a shared vision and framework for a sustainable organisational infrastructure for permanent access to scientific information.

The event was held at the British Medical Association House, a fantastic setting for an event. It was a really interesting conference which provided a chance to hear about lots of great digital preservation projects.

There were a lot of really interesting plenaries so I’ve summarised a few of my personal favourites:

Digital Preservation What Why Which When With? – Prof. Keith Jeffery, Chair of APA Executive Board.

Unfortunately the European Commissioner Nellie Kroes couldn’t made it so Keith, outgoing chair of the Alliance, gave the keynote instead. Keith reflected on the history of digital preservation starting with the legendary story of the Doomsday book and the chameleon project. Keith talked about the importance of keeping digital resources accessible, understandable and easy to find. He gave an overview of some of the value judgements that need to be made, the standards (OAIS) and best practice (looking at projects like Parse and Aparsen). Keith also emphasised the role of the APA in this area, pulling together digital preservation research.

ODE Project – Dr Salvatore Mele, CERN

Salvatore Mele introduced the Opportunities for Data Exchange (ODE) project, which is about sharing data stories. Currently there are lots of incentives for research but not for preservation and the transition from science to e-Science has resulted in a data deluge that needs serious attention! Salvatore talked about the impossible triangle of reuse, (open) access and preservation – each leans heavily on the other. ODE has considered both the carrot and stick approaches (which have some value e.g the carrot of sharing big data has incentives to research not preservation) but isn’t enough. Mele explained that if there was no stick and no carrot we may to work one by one with researchers to encourage sharing. ODE offers a way to reduce the friction in research data management through awareness raising. The ODE Project booklet Ten Tales of Drivers & Barriers in Data Sharing is definitely worth a read.

Mr Mark Dayer, Consultant Cardiologist, Taunton & Somerset NHS Trust

It was really refreshing to hear the view of an outsider. Mark Dayer is not involved in digital preservation, he is a consultant cardiologist – he operates on hearts. Mark gave an incredibly open and entertaining presentation on the state of play in the National Health Service (NHS). He began by giving some background for the non-UK residents in the audience: “The NHS is a beloved institution that no political party dare dismantle” – or at least it used to be. Unfortunately the NHS and IT has made for grim headlines in the recent past and the NHS has enormous quantities of data and an enormous number diverse systems working locally and in unconnected ways. Many people are still working with paper based systems .Not only this but the NHS needs to make £20 billion of savings. Mark explained how an increasing number of systems (120 different clinical systems in use in one area) and bad IT planning has added to the problem. Other issues such as data security add to the mix: the ‘spine’ personal records system should hold over 50 million records but only has 5 million so far.

After the disaster story Mark moved on to the small successes that have started to happen. He explained that they are starting to build data centres, use the cloud (e.g. Chelsea and Westminster hospital) and use integration engines (which give an idea of number of data standards). He talked about the systems and standards including CDA, HL-7, ICD-10 (classification system), OPCS, SNOWMED-CT and about the new N3 VPN. Mark concluded by saying that it wasn’t just about the right software, but about the right hardware too, and that you need to bring people with you, all the way

Dr Martha Anderson, Director of the NDIIPP, US Library of Congress, Networks as evolving infrastructure for digital preservation

Martha Anderson started off by showing us a picture of the biggest Web seen. She explained that the old African proverb “when spiders unite they can take down a lion” applies here. Almost a dozen spider families were involved in the creation of this Web, the population had exploded due to wet conditions. Martha applied this analogy to digital preservation networks, telling us that we need our network will evolve if the conditions are right. The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) was created to help create networks between people to undertake preservation – communities working together as bilateral and multi-lateral alliances.
Many different institutions are now involved in digital preservation and in developing alliances across communities. A good example is the blue ribbon task force which cut across sectors including the financial, scientific, aerospace and HE. Other sectors have much to offer us, for example Martha has learnt about video metadada annotation from Major League Baseball! The Data-PASS network gives a picture of what networks are doing. Martha concluded that it is all about setting up and supporting social interaction and local interaction to set up networks – finding common stories. She felt that if there was no local benefit for work then it cannot be sustained and that it cannot last past the funding. Martha observed that it is interesting that groups of institution will act in public interest but in their own interest on their own. Networks are beneficial to all.

UK Government views, Nigel Hickson, Head EU and International ICT Policy DCMS

Nigel Hickson was there to talk about the government’s responsibility for the digital infrastructure which includes the take up of broadband and copyright issues. Nigel began by singing the praises of the Riding the Wave report that was released 2010 by the high level expert group on research data, the Knowledge Exchange. He talked about the importance of having a framework and a holistic approach. For many broadband is an economic driver, mobile data continues to be a disruptive element (doubling every year) and all this spells game change for the public sector. The problem is that mobile data is increasing; the solution is having an ‘auction’ to increase capacity. The current UK approach is that the market should lead and that competition is vital. Britain’s superfast broadband strategy has 530 million to spend by 2015 and potential for an extra 300 million before 2017. Projects require price match from the private sector. The government also wants things to be digital by default, with the option of doing them offline if necessary. Other key priorities are a rights management infrastructure and the proposal on orphan works.

Nigel also outlined the European digital agenda where broadband is again a critical element. The key European targets are for basic broadband by 2013 for 100% citizens. By 2020 50% of households should have subscription of 100Mbits ps or above.

The Report A Surfboard for Riding the Wave builds on the 2010 report and presents an overview of the present situation with regard to research data in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and offers broad outlines for a possible action programme for the four countries in realising the envisaged collaborative data infrastructure.

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DCC and the Sussex Roadshow

Posted by Marieke Guy on 26th September 2011

I’ve recently been appointed as an Institutional Support Officer for the Digital Curation Centre. In this role I will be raising awareness and building capacity for institutional research data by liaising with libraries, IT services, research support staff and others.

My first step in getting myself up to speed will be attending the DCC Roadshow to be held in Brighton from the 4th – 6th October 2011 at the University of Sussex Conference Centre. I attended one day of one of the earlier roadshows held in Bath and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I am very much looking forward to it.

The roadshow consists of three days of training in research data management. Day one is an introductory day aimed at researchers, data curators, staff from library etc. It provides an introduction to the DCC and the role of the DCC in supporting research data management. Day two is a more interactive day aimed at senior managers, research PVCs/Directors, directors of Information Services etc. and looks at strategy/policy implementation. Day three is a proper hands-on day and consists of the Digital Curation 101 – How to manage research data: tips and tools workshop.

Attendees are welcome to dip in an out of the workshops and don’t have to attend the full three days. There are still places available and I’m sure it will a very useful couple of days. Might see you there!

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The Future of the Past of the Web

Posted by Marieke Guy on 15th September 2011

Have you ever lost valuable information which was hosted on your Web site? Do you have a record of how your Web site has developed since its launch over 15 years ago?

If these questions are of interest to you you may wish to attend an event on “The Future of the Past of the Web”. JISC are running a workshop on “The Future of the Past of the Web” which will take place in the British Library on 7 October 2011 from 10.30-16.30. Places arefree but will need to be booked before 1200 on Friday 30th September 2011. Further information is available from the JISC Web site.

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DPC Hackathon

Posted by Marieke Guy on 12th September 2011

The Open Planets Foundation and the Digital Preservation Coalition are inviting people to a hackathon at the DPC offices in York 27th-29th September.

The ‘hackathon” is designed to bridge the gap between collections owners and developers in the development of practical tools for preservation. It will provide a forum for practical problem solving. It will help collection owners to articulate their requirements in ways that developers can address; and will help developers respond more precisely to the needs of a community hungry for solutions.

This event will interest:

  • Collection owners and managers who can bring along samples of their problematic digital collections. You will be asked to give a short talk to provide an overview of the content and the known or potential issues to the group.
  • Developers / technical experts who want to gain hands-on experience of applying digital preservation techniques to digital collections. You will be asked to give a short talk about your technical experience and interests.

DPC and OPF members are invited to attend free-of-charge, non-members are also welcome at the cost of 200GBP. For more details, including registration see the DPC Web site.

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Videos from the ICE Forum

Posted by Marieke Guy on 19th August 2011

Some vox pop videos created at the JISC International Curation Education (ICE) Forum are now available:

Stuart MacDonald from EDINA refers to selection and appraisal.

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Natalie Walters from the Wellcome Library talks about the need to listen to researchers/users.

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Mike Furlough from Penn State University is concerned about building capacity in the libraries to work with researchers.

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Bill Veillette from the North Eastern Conservation Centre talks about how to provide effective training.

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Closing the Digital Curation Gap

Posted by Marieke Guy on 6th July 2011

Last week on the day before the ICE Forum (28th June 2011) I attended the Closing the Digital Curation Gap Meeting.

CDCG is an International Collaboration to Integrate Best Practice, Research & Development, and Training in Digital Curation. It has been running since October 2009 and was scheduled to finish in September this year but has just been given an extension (till September 2012). A comprehensive overview of the project is given on the Digital Curation Exchange Web site.

The Closing the Digital Curation Gap (CDCG) collaboration is designed to serve as a locus of interaction between those doing leading edge digital curation research, development, teaching, and training in academic and practitioner communities those with a professional interest in applying viable innovations within particular organizational contexts; IMLS; JISC; the DCC, charged with disseminating such innovation and best practices; and the SCA, charged to build a common information environment where users of publicly funded e-Content can realize best value by reducing the barriers that inhibit access, use and re-use of online content.

I have come along to the project at a fairly late stage but hope I can still be of use and possibly offer a new perspective (that of not being an expert!).

The June meeting was held at the JISC offices in London and was a joint meeting of the US and UK partners. The UK was represented by members from JISC, UKOLN, ULCC, HATII, the BL and the DPC, the US had people from the Bishoff Group, Penn State University Libraries, Purdue University Libraries, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Toronto. [Thanks to Sharon McMeeking from the DPC for sharing her notes to help jig my memory].

The aims of the meeting were to discuss the outputs of the project so far and to set objectives for the continuation of the work in 2011/12. The main work so far has been staging a number of focus groups, work on decision trees and work on best practice guides. The digital curation exchange web site is the key resource that has been created. Much of the meeting involved discussion of the digital curation exchange: we were encouraged to pass on constructive critism, suggestions on process and ideas for future resources.

They have quite a lot to work on before the next meeting – good luck to them!

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JISC International Curation Education (ICE) Forum

Posted by Marieke Guy on 1st July 2011

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to attend the JISC International Curation Education (ICE) Forum which was held on Wednesday 29 June 2011 at the Roberts Building, University College London. The aim of the day was to provide an international meeting place for educators, trainers, students and practitioners of digital curation to discuss, evaluate, swap knowledge, and potentially improve practice around course design, production of advice and guidance materials and creation and use of textbooks and scholarly material. It proved to be a very informative and interactive day and I think most attendees felt like real progress was made.
Neil Grindley, programme manager at JISC kicked off by asking us to bear a few key questions in mind:

  • What forms of digital curation education are needed?
  • What approaches are being used?
  • What skills and knowledge do people need?
  • How can we most effectively share practice and resources?

Helen Tibbo – Educating the curator

Helen Tibbo from UNC Chapel Hill began setting the scene by providing an overview of what is happening at UNC and further afield in the US. She introduced a number of important projects and programmes including Educating Stewards of Public Information in the 21st Century (ESOPI-21), Closing the Digital Curation Gap, DigCCurr I, II (pronounced dij-seeker)
and various Certificates in Digital Curation.

Professor Michael Seadle – Why do we need people who can do digital curation

Michael Seadle presenting

Professor Michael Seadle, Humboldt University, Berlin, provided the most contentious talk of the day. He asked us to consider why we need people who can do digital curation, asking for answers more constructive than “so Library and Information Service professionals have something to do in the future.;-)

He sees digital curation as a split between 1) traditional librarianship and digital humanities (Metadata, selection etc. and 2) Basic computer science (system building). He explained that we currently treat the time-element of curation as a computing problem, in a similar way that we assume that reading in 2111 will be the same as in 2011.

Michael explained that we know that we perceive information differently at different time periods; this is part of the message of Marc Bloch and Michel Foucault. He feels that the goal of digital curation migration is to make sure that future readers and users can not only open content from that past, but that they can understand its meaning. A number of examples were given: Oliver Twist was originally in serial form then the publisher had to migrate the book culturally to maintain comprehension, Bach has been parodied by PDQ Bach and is regularly adapted to new instruments.

We should recognise that this is a form of digital cultural migration, and digital cultural migration is more complex than recognising format migration. Some of the trigger factors include

  • Places, names & events that are time-bound
  • Language changes
  • Changes in social mores and tastes
  • Changes in causal perceptions

In attempt to find potential solutions Michael looked at software processing which can recognise text strings and can give clues to context. As we need to make statistical judgements the more clues we have the better. The three solutions we are looking at are:

  • Machine based (today) – easy – links for names, links to explanation of language changes
  • Human based – hard – flagging social mores and tastes that could change, causal perceptions
  • Machine based (tomorrow) – harder – machine intelligence that recognises trigger events

So what training implications does this have? We need to look at ethnographic training (recognising circumstances that are triggers), standard computer science training, AI training (robotics – understanding of perceptions) and LIS training. Michael concluded that the problem is solvable in small quantities (e.g. updating books with contextual notes), on a larger scale problem is solvable by designing software that recognises and addresses the problem.

Michael’s talk was very interesting but did get quite a few people hot under the collar. The Q&A section had people point out the dissonance between what Michael had said and what archivists do. Some asked is this not the work of cultural researchers? Is it out of scope? Is it scalable? Others pointed out that the OAIS model has a commitment to preserving bits but also understanding it over time and the issues around justintime vs prophylatic processing. There were mentions of linked data as a potential way to provide the linkage and of crowd sourcing. Others offered more practical approaches such as packaging materials: adding in an index, a legend, keeping resources together. The main questions left on everyone’s lips at the end of the session was where is it worth putting in the effort? And what does all this mean for professional identity?

Alan Bell – Knowing what we don’t know: Using a devoted teaching model to deliver professional education

After a much needed coffee break Alan Bell from the University of Dundee (who had raised many of the scalability issues in the previous session) took a look at whether our masters degree programmes provide the skills/knowledge that students require.

Alan explained that to answer this questions others need to be considered,for example how well prepared are our educators to teach what students need? Alan then gave a whirlwind tour of the skills needed (including researching and investigative skills) and how our current programmes support this.

Steve Hitchcock, Institutional Digital Repositories: What role do they have in curation

Steve Hitchcock from the JISC Keepit project scared us all by pointing out what a huge amount of data there is out there. He then gave an overview of the repository layer which includes institutional repositories (research papers, preprints, postprints) and more. Keepit have worked with 4 different repositories- ecrystals (science data), University of the Arts London (arts data), EdShare, University of Southampton (teaching data), NECTAR, University of Northampton (research data). Steve pointed us to DRIVER aggregate of repositories and the Data Asset Framework , which they have used on their test bed repositories.

He sees there as being a middle route for repositories in their role in preservation. Repositories will not quickly become preservation repositories and repository managers are not archivists, but they both have a role in preservation. Steve concluded by saying that when it comes to repositories and digital curation we need to avoid creating a sense of urgency as it paralyses people. Instead we need to create a sense of capability.

The JISC Keepit project findings have recently been released.

Gordon McKenna – Cultural Heritage Digital Collections

Gordon McKenna from Europeana, the Collections Trus and Culture Grid took a look at cultural heritage digital collections. He introduced us to Digital Curator Vocational Education Europe, a project funded by the European to establish a curriculum framework for vocational training in digital curation. DigCurV received Quite a lot of airtime during the forum.

Simon Hodson – Pespectives on Curation Education for Research Data

Simon Hodson from JISC began by looking at some definitions of research data. He used definitions from a selection of sources (projects, institutions and other). For example the definition from the Sudamih project sees it as “not just structured information on computers but the whole range of materials that researchers must assemble and analyse in order to produce their research outputs”. Quite a lot of work has gone in to clarifying meaning in this area.

Simon’s opinion that this was all very nice the bigger question was how do we to we persuade researchers to give a damn? His answer was; by raising awareness, by developing an understanding of appropriate sharing and by developing information management skills.

He asked us to consider if research data curation is now seen as a part of good research practice? It may well be, but researchers want to do research. Simon highlighted some good practice in the form of the Incremental project which offered guidance and awareness raising He also pointed to some DCC resources – How to appraise and select research data by Angus Whyte and 5 new projects producing training materials Research data management training materials (RDMTrain).

Simon felt that the challenges in this area were not just making training accessible and relevant but continually providing useful disasters and discipline examples.

The brief panel session was useful but I could sense that there was a feeling in the room that once again the digital preservation and curation community were in the ‘echo chamber’ and the ‘education’ component was being forgotten. More work to be done after lunch.

Joy Davidson, What areas can we best collaborate on and what are we doing now

Joy Davidson set the mood for the afternoon by ditching her original title:The benefits of collaboration: delivering more effective teaching and training through cooperation and replacing it with something more forward looking. She explained that so far there had been good levels of collaboration but that there were still some people who just weren’t sitting round the table. These were people from different research backgrounds, industry, national bodies, people who were taking the courses. Joy then shared a few recommendations from a recent trip to the National Approaches to Digital Preservation (Tallinn) and the previous days Closing the Digital Curation Gap meeting (which I’d also attended).

Firstly we need more metrics and benchmarks. We can then can then compare and contrast courses and what employers want out of these courses. This seems to tie in nicely with the recent HE white paper.

We also need to develop data management plans. One way to do this is by getting professional bodies and industry involved in endorsing data management. Joy pointed us again to the DigCurV project, APARSEN and TIMBUS . There is also a need for more use of tools for testing such Planets.

Joy showed a list of current courses available from DPE, DPOE, DCC, Jorum, Vitae DB, this, she said was good, but not good enough. Joy speculated that the DPOE pyramid and the categorisation of executive, managerial, practical courses might be useful here.

Other practical ways forward include getting people to recognise their needs and helping people to get more practical/hands-on experience. Options like internships and professional exchanges were offered as another way to educate and build skills: “it’s not all about classrooms.” Joy also mentioned current work at Purdue on data CURATOR profiles they ask who is becoming a data curator?

Kate Fernie, DigCurv Project – emerging survey results

Kate Fernie gave a fuller introduction to the DigCurV project funded under EC’s Leonardo da Vinci programme. She explained digital preservation was now important for cultural heritage institutions all over the world. There were 82,000 related staff over Europe and DigCurV was primarily a networking project. One of their current activities was a survey about the training opportunities available.

Kate explained that DigCurV had already identified a few online courses available, which was quite impressive. However although there was lots of literature online there was very little training or educational material.

ICE Forum Networking (the ‘ICE-a-FoN’)

The next session was a networking session for delegate. The ICE-a-FoN (a name Neil Grindley was very proud of) was an opportunity for delegates to engage in a semi-structured networking session. 3 zones in the coffee area designated as ‘curriculum’, ‘training’ and ‘resources’ featured posters and other relevant information and delegates were encouraged to submit forms saying what they’d learnt – the prize was a Kindle! The session was really useful, a great idea.

Back in the main lecture room Heather Bowden, UNC Chapel Hill, gave a quick summary of conversations overheard and opinions elicited during the ICE-a-FoN. The most memorable was the way to remember the difference between education and training: You’d like your children to get sex education but not necessarily sex training…

Cal Lee, What do you care about if you care about digital curation?

After the excitement of the ICE-a-Fon Cal Lee from UNC Chapel Hill brought us back down to earth by considering what you care about if you care about digital curation. He explained that new professionals must care about traces and values and that there is a need to inspire those who are going to learn about digital curation.

Lightning Talks

Possibly the most enjoyable part of the day (though it was a great day generally) was the lightning talks. Anyone who had a burning desire to talk about anything related to digital curation and education and education was given just 3 minutes. The talks were:

Symfonie in data by verbeeldingskr8

  • Neil Beagrie – Neil introduced the JISC Digital Preservation Benefits Analysis Tools project.
  • Marina Noordegraaf – Marina used her illustration Symfonie in data (see above) to state the importance of just starting and not waiting until we think we know everything.
  • Beth Yakel – Beth asked us how do we evaluate student learning? She explained that this involved learning to change expectations as well as the importance of evaluating student learning styles and preferences.
  • Patricia Sleaman – Patricia talked the DPTP’s work with those from third world countries including Iraq. She quoted Margaret Hedstrom: “Outside institutions may have some short-term funding, which they’ll use to produce valuable resources that don’t stay in the country of origin. There is no plan for sustainability. In the long run this will create a skewed record of culture, where the culture from developed countries will be well preserved and the culture from the underdeveloped countries may be lost.
  • Scott Brandt – Scott introduced the Duration Curation Profiles toolkit.
  • Angela Dappert – Angela showed us the TIMBUS project – and introduced the new DPC staff.
  • Sharon McMeekin – Sharon, another new DPC staff member, carried on with other DPC plans including APARSEN.
  • Mike Furlough – Mike talked about the ARL eScience institute: ensuring that Research Libraries not disconnected from scientists.
  • Greg Jansen – Greg showed the Curator’s Workbench from UNC.
  • William Kilbride – William reminded us that DPC gives grants to enable members to attend training courses. He also pointed out the 5 new DPC study areas: Preserving email, preserving sound and vision, digital forensics, IPR, trust regarding ejournals.
  • Heather Bowden – Heather gave a quick demo of the Digital Curation Exchange.
  • Kevin Ashley – Kevin pointed out some of the mornings concerns that we were failing to recognise that we have had many conversations already and that there have already been lessons. He pointed out the Swan skills report and the Donnelly/Pryor article.
  • Sheila Corrall – Sheila questioned professional silos and suggested that professional bodies could join and discuss overlaps.

Seamus Ross, Educating and Validating the Capabilities of Emerging Digital Management Professionals

The closing plenary was given by Seamus Ross from the University of Toronto. Seamus looked at what is needed in a data curator. He asked if we need data curators who are subject specialist or data curators who are technologists? His argument was that it was harder to train someone to be a scientist and so there was a real need to educate producers, managers and users of digital content. He explained that as well as digital curation training, we need to educate data creators to make preservable and curatable data. A digital curation profession must think like a humanist scholar, behave like an engineer, have the ethical standards and have deep subject knowledge

Like others during the day, Seamus emphasised the importance of case studies. He also called for an international profession association for digital preservation and for accreditation and certification of programmes. He concluded that digital curators need to be passionate about preservation, though a delegate suggested that it was more important that you be passionate about what you are preserving.


I really enjoyed the forum and felt that real progress was made during the day. The atmosphere was light but still focused and constructive, the digital curation community are a great bunch. My only suggestion/ slight criticism is that it would have been good to get people along who are actually taking the courses discussed during the day. The cost of the course (£25 for students) and possibly its timing (during the student holiday period) may have been factors here. Maybe something to bear in mind for next time?

There is a TwapperKeeper archive and a Summarizr site for the #iceforum hash tag.

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