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What's New - Issue 42, February 2012

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In this issue:

  • What's On - Forthcoming events from February 2012 onwards
  • What's New - New reports and initiatives since the last issue
  • What's What - Institutional Research Data Management services: a growing trend - Sarah Jones, DCC
  • Who's Who - Sixty second interview with Kate Jennings, Tate
  • One World - Digital Preservation in France - Louise Fauduet, Bibliothèque nationale de France
  • Your View? - Comments and views from readers

What's New is a joint publication of the DPC and DCC

What's On

The DCC have a number of events coming up that may be of interest to you. For further details on any of these, please see our DCC events listings at http://www.dcc.ac.uk/events/. You can also browse through our DCC events calendar to see a more extensive list of both DCC and external events.

Data-Intensive Computing in Biology
6th - 8th February 2012
A major theme of modern biology is the quantity and wealth of data available: the data deluge. Biologists need to be able to handle very large datasets, and to extract useful information and derive knowledge. Example applications include sequencing, metagenomics, proteomics, imaging and neuroscience. This workshop will look at the computational challenges in data-driven biology. It will bring together computer hardware and infrastructure experts with scientists involved in challenging data-driven disciplines. We will cover scientific challenges, instrumentation, computational platforms, data standards, and scaleability of current applications.

DCC East Midlands Data Management Roadshow
7-8 February 2012
The Digital Curation Centre is running regional roadshows to support HEIs with research data management. The East Midlands roadshow is being organised with the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University and will take place 7-8 February 2012 at Burleigh Court Hotel and Conference Centre. The programme includes an exciting range of speakers who will share examples of developing research data management services and infrastructure. A draft programme is available online.

Hackathon – A Practical Approach to Database Archiving
7-9 February 2012
The large and growing volume of data held in an increasing variety of relational databases presents a huge challenge to the archiving community. In this practitioner and developer hackathon we will run requirements workshops and facilitate hands-on hack-sessions to address the issues of preserving databases. We will consider SIARD as a potential archiving standard and review its implementation at the Danish National Archives as well as discussing other existing practical solutions, for example, MIXED and RODA etc. During the event there will be demonstrations of existing tools as well as opportunities to discuss alternative solutions such as emulation.

CERIF and euroCRIS meetings in Bath
9-10 February 2012
Registration is now open for the CERIF Tutorial and UK Data Surgery organised by UKOLN, euroCRIS and JISC. The day will comprise a CERIF tutorial followed by a data surgery in which it will be possible to examine the use of CERIF in real life scenarios - so please bring your CERIF queries and data modelling/mapping issues for discussion with euroCRIS CERIF experts.

RSP Workshop: How embedded and integrated is your repository?
10 February 2012
This event will present the 'Embedding Repositories: A Guide and Self-Assessment Tool' which was launched in December 2011. The embedding repositories guide and self-assessment tool has been published by the Repositories Support Project (RSP) and it aims to help institutions achieve the best value from their repositories through integration with other university systems, particularly research management systems.

Dev8D 2012
14-16 February 2012
Further / Higher Education (F/HE) in the UK is in the fortunate position to have talented and experienced developers working in its organisations, driving both service development and applied research. Because of this, developers in F/HE frequently contribute to a particularly rich source of technical innovation to the sector.

DevCSI is about helping software developers realise their full potential, by creating the conditions for them to be able to learn, network effectively, share ideas, collaborate and innovate creating a ‘community’ of developers in the learning provider sector which is greater than the sum of its parts.

CETIS Conference 2012
22-23 February 2012
This year’s conference will explore the future technological challenges and opportunities for our education system in a time of unprecedented change in UK Higher Education.

Introduction to business microdata using the Secure Data Service
2 March 2012
The programme will provide an introduction to the range of business data made available to qualified and approved researchers through the Secure Data Service. These data are collected by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and other government agencies. These data are confidential and collected under statistics legislation. Because they are highly identifiable, they can only be accessed under secure conditions. Attendees will learn how the Secure Data Service works, including details on how to apply. There will also be a surgery session to respond to user needs and questions.

DCC Salford Data Management Roadshow
20 - 21 March 2012
The 9th DCC regional roadshow will take place on 20th and 21st March at the University of Salford. The event will be opened by Professor Martin Hall, Vice Chancellor of the University of Salford and Chair of the UK Open Access Implementation Group.

Archaeological Research Data Management Day at CAA2012
28 March 2012
The JISC-funded DataPool project will be delivering an archaeological research data management day as part of the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) 2012. The conference is being hosted by the Archaeological Computing Research Group in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Southampton from 26-30 March 2012.

RDMF8: Engaging with the Publishers
29-30 March 2012
The DCC’s Research Data Management Forum (RDMF) events bring together researchers, digital repository managers, staff from library, information and research organisations, data curators, data centre managers, data scientists, research funding organisations and research networks. The events are organised thematically, with a mixture of presentations and breakout and discussion sessions. RDMF8 will be hosted by the University of Southampton. The programme includes speakers from Nature, Wiley, Elsevier, Dryad, the International Union of Crystallography and Faculty of 1000.

10th International Bielefeld Conference 2012
24 - 26 April 2012
The Bielefeld Conference 2012 will provide ideas to renew structures of documents, data, services and organisations. The conference is the 10th in a very successful series of conferences organized by Bielefeld University Library at the Bielefeld Convention Center since 1992. The conferences provide an essential forum for internationally renowned and trendsetting speakers and have gained high reputation among library directors and other senior library and information managers, who wish to discuss future strategies for academic libraries.


What's New

For more information on any of the items below, please visit the DCC website at http://www.dcc.ac.uk.

New book from Facet Publishing: Managing Research Data
This new volume edited by Graham Pyror, DCC aims to introduce the broader research community to such core issues of data management as the terms of compliance with funder expectations, the context and recommended approaches to individual and institutional data management planning, the roles and responsibilities of key players in the research data lifecycle, as well as detailed reports of initiatives, strategies and organizations being deployed nationally and on a global scale.

LoC Digital Preservation Newsletter
The January 2012 Library of Congress Digital Preservation newsletter is now available.

RIN and IoP Report: Collaborative yet Independent
Following interviews and focus groups with researchers in seven contrasting research contexts this report identifies the range of contemporary challenges facing physical science researchers in a fast-evolving information landscape.


Sarah JonesWhat's What - Editorial - Institutional Research Data Management services: a growing trend

Sarah Jones, DCC

The DCC has witnessed a sharp growth in the number of Universities developing Research Data Management strategies and services. We’re seeing an increasing number of institutional data management policies, reskilling of subject/liaison librarians, and the extension of institutional repositories to collect metadata on research data – or in some cases to collect and store the data itself.

So why is Research Data Management on university agendas?
The requirements to manage and share data have strengthened in the last year. The RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy1 provide coherence across the Research Councils and clarify the responsibilities of researchers and research organisations. The EPSRC Policy Framework on Research Data2 is particularly significant in this regard, as it sets a clear timeframe for institutions to develop and implement a roadmap for Research Data Management.

The JISC Research Data Management programmes3 have also been hugely influential. Several million has been invested across the two programmes, targeting specific strands of activity, namely: the development of institutional infrastructure; data management planning; disciplinary training; and citation & data publishing. Many outputs from these programmes have gained international impact and are being reused in new contexts. The tools that were selected to be developed into shared services in particular hold much promise.4

What can we learn from early starters?
A few institutions, such as Oxford and Edinburgh have led the way in terms of institutional research data management. They have both undertaken a series of data management projects over several years. Haywood and Rice detail the initiatives at Edinburgh, demonstrating how projects to scope the needs of researchers have led to the development of services and most recently a seminal research data management policy.5 Similarly at Oxford the early projects scoped out requirements, leading on to the development of tools which are now being piloted as shared services.6

Taking stock of the current situation to identify strengths and weaknesses is the first step and various tools are available to help with this, such as DAF7, CARDIO8 and Purdue University’s Data Curation profiles9. There are likely to be many requirements that need to be addressed so a staged approach to developing services is wise. The examples from Oxford and Edinburgh reinforce this: narrowly-defined areas have been addressed in each pilot study rather than trying to solve everything at once. These examples also highlight the range of stakeholders that need to be involved and the importance of co-ordination when developing different components of a RDM service.

How is the DCC helping institutions with RDM?
The DCC has been funded by the HEFCE under the Universities Modernisation Fund (UMF) to assist universities to develop research data management strategies and services.10 Between summer 2011 and spring 2013, we are engaging with eighteen participating HEIs that represent a broad range of institution types, disciplinary emphasis and geographical spread. The aim is to increase capability and develop a transferable model for other institutions’ RDM programmes.

The DCC regional roadshows and Research Data Management Forum also support universities with data management. The roadshows present best practice from the region through case studies and bring people together to develop a regional network of data management expertise. Day 2 of the roadshow is more practical in nature: participants work through the first steps to scope out needs and develop a data management strategy.

The number of UK universities engaging in research data management initiatives is impressive. It is a new venture for many, but the range of activity at present gives lots of opportunities to learn lessons from others. By taking the lead and breaking new ground, UK universities are establishing themselves as a model for other nations on how to support Research Data Management.

[1] http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/research/Pages/DataPolicy.aspx
[2] http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/about/standards/researchdata/Pages/default.aspx
[3] http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/di_researchmanagement/managingresearchdata.aspx
[4] See strand Aiii at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/umf.aspx
[5] http://www.ijdc.net/index.php/ijdc/article/view/194
[6] http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/odit/projects/datamanagement
[7] http://www.data-audit.eu
[8] http://cardio.dcc.ac.uk
[9] http://www4.lib.purdue.edu/dcp
[10] http://www.dcc.ac.uk/community/institutional-engagements


Kate JenningsWho's Who: Sixty Second Interview with Kate Jennings, Time-based Media Conservator, Tate

Where do you work and what's your job title?
I work in the conservation department at Tate, my title is Time-based Media Conservator.

Tell us a bit about your organisation
Tate holds the National Collection of British art from 1500, and international modern and contemporary art from 1900. Tate's collection embraces all media from painting, drawing, sculpture and prints, to photography, video and film, installation and performance. It is displayed at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives and through loans to temporary national and international exhibitions. When the Tate Gallery opened in 1897, its collection consisted of the 65 works gifted by Henry Tate to the Nation. Today the collection consists of approximately 66,000 works of art by over 3,000 artists.

What projects are you working on at the moment?
Time-based media conservation is responsible for art in the collection which is dependent on electronic technology for display and has duration as a dimension. This includes video, film, and software-based artworks. Up until relatively recently when a video work was acquired artists would supply their master format to Tate on tape, for example Digital Betacam and Mini DV. However, over the last two years we have noticed a big shift from tape to file and artworks are now generally supplied to us on external hard drives. We are now adjusting our conservation practice to reflect this shift. We are currently improving our facilities in order to carry out more technical work in-house, and in tandem are experimenting with MXF and particularly its metadata recording abilities to capture the technical information we gather from artists at acquisition. We are working to blend this with our existing time-based media documentation system which was originally designed around physical video tape and motion picture film.

How did you end up in digital preservation?
I started as a traditional conservator (art restorer) specialising in works of art on paper and photographs. I then worked as a freelance photograph conservator for Pip Laurenson, then Head of Time-based media conservation at Tate, to assist with a project to provide cold storage for 16mm film-based artworks. During this time I became interested in the wider work going on in the department.

What are the challenges of digital preservation for an organisation such as yours?
The work that we do in Time-based media conservation is just one aspect of digital preservation which is going on within Tate. The library and archive have significant digitisation projects and are acquiring digital media, plus the photography department generates a huge range of digital imagery documenting the collection, and then there are the many other digital assets generated by a large organisation. Tate has a central Digital Asset Steering Group, led by our Digital Asset Manager, which co-ordinates these efforts across the organisation and oversees the development of policy, and acts as a conduit for shared practice and learning.

What sort of partnerships would you like to develop?
As I work in a fairly esoteric area of digital preservation where we are a small team, meeting other people who overlap with our work such as large libraries and archives is really important to keep abreast of research. The DPC is an excellent conduit for this.

If we could invent one tool or service that would help you, what would it be?
I have two artworks that require condition checking which involves me watching them from start to finish. They have a duration of more than twenty hours, so a tool that could replace the effectiveness of the human eye would be useful!

And if you could give people one piece of advice about digital preservation ....?
Regarding the preservation of digital works of art, it is critical that when receiving or acquiring such a work of art that you gather as much technical information from the artist as possible, watch it all the way through and clone it.

If you could save for perpetuity just one digital file, what would it be?
“Video Quartet” by Christian Marclay.

Finally, where can we contact you or find out about your work?
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Louise Fauduet One World: Digital Preservation in France

Louise Fauduet, Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

As we enter 2012, there is good hope that this will be another year of steady growth for digital preservation advocacy and solutions in France. For many years now, practitioners across the country have tried to sustain a sense of community while general awareness still had to spread, and national policies were emerging. They can meet and exchange news and best practices in such venues as the quarterly meetings of a national interest group, PIN (http://pin.association-aristote.fr/).

The digital preservation landscape has settled and grown around three main types of actors. Memory institutions have pioneered the development of large digital repositories. The National Center for Space Studies (CNES) was one of the first to do so, in the wake of the CCSDS actions that led to the OAIS model. The French National Library (BnF, http://www.bnf.fr/en/professionals/preservation_spar/s.preservation_SPAR_presentation.html) and the National Center for IT in Higher Eduction (CINES,http://www.cines.fr/spip.php?rubrique219) have followed suit, with an increasing focus on mutualization of resources. CINES already operates the national platform for archiving digital PhD theses, and hosts the digitized collections of many universities. The BnF has initially aimed at ingesting into its repository the large amount of collections it digitizes each year, from its own holdings or for its partners (they are partly accessible in its digital library at http://gallica.bnf.fr/); this year, it will start preserving its Web archives. But it has also developed the capacity to do third-party archiving, and is seeing its first customers coming from the ranks of other memory institutions. Also the National Audiovisual Institute (INA, http://www.ina-sup.com/en) preserves a digital copy of French radio and television programs, and archives Web content about radio and television operators as well.

Governmental bodies, especially those with long-term archiving responsibilities such as the national or territorial archives, or entities dealing with the burden of judicial proof, are also catching up with digital preservation. They have to do so according to laws passed in the 2000s pushing for paperless administration. These efforts have given rise to standards such as the Standard for Data Exchange in Archiving (SEDA), regulating transfer, modification and suppression of records, down to XML schemas for implementation of the standard.

Lastly, more and more solutions are being developed to serve the needs of the private sector. Traditional archiving firms have been expanding their skills to match the digital needs of their customers, such as the software editor Naoned whose products now handle paper and digital records concurrently. Conversely, some IT consulting firms, big or small, have added digital archiving to their resumes, such as ATOS, which put the experience it acquired developing BnF’s repository to use in creating its preservation business. The recently privatized Postal Service has itself also started offering digital archiving business services. These firms are also involved in joint activities of standardization with public partners that have established the national standard for archiving records, which has made its way to international adoption at ISO (ISO 14641-1), and are working on defining the characteristics of a digital safe for their customers, who are often particularly concerned with authenticity of their records. Efforts for the certification of repositories are also underway.

More and more working repositories are being put into place, and digital preservation is also increasingly entering the syllabi of several training courses. This should be a good time for engaging more in the national and international preservation communities and sharing our experience.