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What's New - Issue 52, February 2013

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In this issue:

  • What's On - Forthcoming events from February 2013 onwards
  • What's New - New reports and initiatives since the last issue
  • What's What - The 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Marieke Guy, DCC
  • One World - Evidence in The Atlas of Digital Damages, Barbara Sierman, KB
  • 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.

Video Games and Learning Symposium
28 February 2013
Game-based learning – ranging from the deployment of bespoke educational games in schools to the use of commercial off-the shelf (COTS) titles to support learning – is an area of increasing interest for educators, researchers, games developers and policy makers, who see the potential of video game technology to motivate and educate learners of all ages. We are delighted to welcome three excellent speakers, each of whom will give their unique perspective on the broad topic of game-based learning, and related issues. The symposium will finish with an opportunity to discuss the themes and ideas raised in the speaker sessions.

Research data matters in the visual arts
6 March 2013
Research data is seen as a valuable resource and, with appropriate curation and management, it has much to offer learning, teaching, research, knowledge transfer and consultancy activities in the visual arts. Funded by the second JISC Managing Research Data programme (October 2011 - March 2013) and led by the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS), the KAPTUR project will run a one day workshop to improve understanding of the nature of visual arts research data.

Digital Preservation Training Programme
6-8 March 2013
The Digital Preservation Training Programme (DPTP) is designed for all those working in institutional information management who are grappling with fundamental issues of digital preservation. It provides the skills and knowledge necessary for institutions to combine organisational and technological perspectives, and devise an appropriate response to the challenges that digital preservation needs present. DPTP is operated and organised by the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC), with contributions from leading experts in the field.

SPRUCE Hackathon Leeds: Unified Characterisation
11th-12th March 2013
This is a developer only event that will focus on bringing together and enhancing existing tools for characterising and assessing digital collections. It’s a chance to get involved in some exciting open source projects and work with top techies from the field. In previous events, our practitioners have identified a need for better characterisation tools so this event will be an opportunity to advance an array of solutions to meet those use cases. We’ll have developers from all the big characterisation tool projects in the DP field joining us, so this is a great chance to advance your knowledge and also contribute to some essential development work.

Digital Preservation with Portable Documents: a workshop to introduce and discuss the PDF/A version
13 March 2013
The latest iteration of the PDF/A standard – version 3 – was published in October 2012. This new version allows the embedding of arbitrary files which means that PDF/A3 files can be used as a wrapper and file system for digital objects. This extends the use case for PDF/A – meaning that it now has the potential to become a way of arranging, describing and encapsulating archives. However it also creates the conditions for new types of dependencies, threatening the self-contained character of the original specification.

At this DPC briefing, leaders in the PDF Association will present the PDF/A3 standard with a period of question and answer so that DPC members can better understand how it could be used in their work. An extended discussion will follow in which the potential of the standard will be evaluated by leading practitioners.

Research Data Alliance: Launch and First Plenary
18 - 20 March 2013
Open Access Research Data without Barriers As “big data” emerges as an international priority, the Research Data Alliance (RDA) is a newly formed organization whose goal is to accelerate data-driven innovation world-wide through research data sharing and exchange.

SKO UK event "The power of social media to support knowledge sharing"
19th March 2013
In most organizations there is a desire to develop more effective knowledge sharing and a culture of collaboration, but little recognition of what this means in terms of staff development and overcoming barriers to change. The enormous growth of social media tools and social/professional networks over the past few years has created new opportunities and new challenges for people and organizations that want to embrace this dynamic world of social interaction and fluid knowledge flows. However, it is not widely recognized that collaboration and knowledge sharing are skills and practices that rarely get taught. At the next ISKO UK afternoon meeting "The power of social media to support knowledge sharing", the first session explores social media tools and social networks, and their context for peer engagement and knowledge sharing, and the Internet as an evolving ecology.

Getting Started in Digital Preservation
10 April 2013 (Glasgow), 13 May 2013 (London), 6 June 2013 (Aberystwyth)
This day long introduction assumes no prior knowledge except a willingness to engage with digital preservation. Through a series of presentations, case studies and exercises, participants will learn how to apply techniques of assessment, risk management and planning to help secure their digital collections.

DCC event: Research Grant Funding and RDM infrastructure
25th April 2013
The DCC is routinely asked to advise on methods and approaches to investing in infrastructure for research data management. One particular recurring topic concerns the use of research grant funds in the development of institutional infrastructure for research data management. For example, is such expenditure restricted to within individual funded projects; how much infrastructure funding should be included in grant proposals; and can research grants fund human infrastructure as well as equipment and facilities?

SPRUCE Digital Preservation Mashup
30 April - 2 May 2013
SPRUCE Mashups provide the perfect environment to work closely with your peers and solve concrete digital preservation challenges. Practitioners will (bring along and) contribute their digital data and their requirements, and will have the chance get their challenges solved, while building a business case to help them get the resources they need to preserve their data. Developers will have the chance to work closely with practitioners and solve their digital challenges while working alongside some of the top technical experts in the digital preservation field. Whether you're a digital preservation expert or a novice, there's something for everyone at our world renowned digital preservation mashups.

Framing the digital curation curriculum
6-7 May 2013
The aim of the DigCurV (Digital Curator Vocational Education Europe) project is to address the availability of vocational training for digital curators in the library, archive, museum and cultural heritage sectors by developing a framework for the Curriculum needed to develop new skills that are essential for the long-term management of digital collections. The objective of the conference is to promote discussion and consensus building amongst stakeholders about the main criteria and requirements necessary to develop training courses for professionals in digital curation in the cultural heritage sector.

What's New

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

New DCC Resource: Disciplinary Metadata
The issue of disciplinary metadata standards - what they are, who's using them, how to use them - has been gaining attention in the RDM community. To support this, the DCC has created a Disciplinary Metadata page for those who need help figuring out what standards might address their own needs. Rather than archival metadata standards, the resource focuses on descriptive standards that aid in data re-use; this is the information a repository manager might give a researcher curious about what his or her discipline has decided should be the minimum information kept alongside their data sets. The initial focus has been on metadata standards for tab-delimited data.

Leadership Programme: Digital Preservation Training Programme March 2013
The DPC is offering three scholarships so that DPC members and associates can attend the 'Digital Preservation Training Programme' with ULCC in London at the School of Oriental and African Studies on 6th-8th March 2013.

DPC Technology Watch Report: Digital Forensics and Preservation
Digital forensics is associated in many people’s minds primarily with the investigation of crime. However, it has also emerged in recent years as a promising source of tools and approaches for facilitating digital preservation and curation, specifically for protecting and investigating evidence from the past. This report provides a broad overview of digital forensics with pointers to resources and tools that may benefit the preservation of digital cultural heritage. More specifically, the report focuses on the application of digital forensics to the curation of personal digital archives.

LoC Digital Preservation Newsletter
The January 2013 Library of Congress Digital Preservation Newsletter is now available. New report released: Born Digital: Guidance for Donors, Dealers, and Archival Repositories http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/mcpress/borndigital/ In 2011, an international group of ten archivists and special collections curators gathered for the first of a series of conversations about how born-digital materials are acquired and transferred to archival repositories. The resulting report, Born Digital: Guidance for Donors, Dealers, and Archival Repositories, offers recommendations to help ensure the physical and intellectual well being of digital media and files during different stages of the acquisition process.

NISO and NFAIS Publish Recommended Practices for Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and the National Federation for Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) have published a new Recommended Practice on Online Supplemental Journal Article Materials (NISO RP-15-2013). Supplemental materials are increasingly being added to journal articles, but until now there has been no recognized set of practices to guide in the selection, delivery, discovery, and preservation of these materials. To address this gap, NISO and NFAIS jointly sponsored an initiative to establish best practices that would provide guidance to publishers and authors for management of supplemental materials and would address related problems for librarians, abstracting and indexing services, and repository administrators. The Supplemental Materials project involved two teams working in tandem: one to address business practices and one to focus on technical issues. This new publication is the combined outcome of the two groups’ work.

TIMBUS Training Videos Available
Videos from the Training Day on Digital Preservation of Business Processes that took place on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 are now available on YouTube. This course is relevant if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions:

  • Are you integrating your digital preservation activities with business continuity and enterprise risk management approaches?
  • Do you need to preserve more than data?
  • Do you hold preserved information about computing environments, dependencies, policies, even process descriptions that are needed to understand your repository contents?

Version one of RDM for information professionals now available
The JISC funded project RDMRose, a collaboration between the university libraries of Leeds, Sheffield and York, and the Sheffield iSchool has been developing learning materials about Research Data Management tailored for information professionals as an Open Educational Resource (OER).The learning materials have been designed for use as self-supported CPD as well as in taught class room sessions.Version one of the RDMRose learning materials are now available.

Jisc Collections and Open Access Key to collaborate on UK Gold OA article payments pilot
Jisc Collections, the UK academic community's shared service for content licensing and administration, has entered into an agreement with Open Access Key (OAK), the online payment platform for open access publishing, to run a 12 month pilot project, Jisc APC, to test its role in managing and processing Gold OA article payment charges made by its member institutions.

iPRES-2013 - Call for Contributions
iPRES, the major international conference on digital preservation, will be held at the Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal, from 2-6 September 2013. The conference invites original contributions addressing a wide range digital preservation challenges. Contributions are now being sought.

How librarians can help widen access to research – live chat round-up
With open access changing the ways research is disseminated, how can libraries make the most of resources and what support do they need? The results of this chat session are now available.

ResourceSync specification for synchronization of web resources
The draft ResourceSync specification is now available. Feedback to this version of the specification is solicited and can be shared by March 15th 2013 on the ResourceSync Google Group. The ResourceSync specification describes a synchronization framework for the web that consists of various capabilities that allow third party systems to remain synchronized with a server's evolving resources. The capabilities may be combined in a modular manner to meet local or community requirements. The specification also describes how a server can advertise the synchronization capabilities it supports and how third party systems can discover this information.

Presentations from the 8th International Digital Curation Conference now available
The DCC’s 8th International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC13) was held in Amsterdam from January 14-17, 2013. The presentations from the conference are now available.

DPC Technology Watch Reports Praised
Neil Beagrie, of Charles Beagries Ltd and Series Editor of the DPC's Technology Watch Reports, blogs about the praise received by this series of peer-reviewed and freely accessible reports.

Marieke GuyWhat's What - The 8th International Digital Curation Conference

Marieke Guy, Institutional Support Officer, Digital Curation Centre

Is it too late to say that I hope you had a good Christmas holiday and wish you a happy 2013? The new year has already kicked off with a big bang for the DCC with our annual international conference. This year the 8th International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC13) was held at the Mövenpick Hotel, Amsterdam, with a beautiful snowy backdrop and temperatures to match!

The conference is aimed at both people who create, manage and use data and at those who teach about curation processes. There was something for everyone and I recommend you take a look at the plethora of online resources that are now available including slides, videos and papers. [http://www.dcc.ac.uk/events/idcc13]

One of the biggest buzzes of the conference was during a fascinating talk by Herbert van de Sompel on ‘the Web as infrastructure for scholarly research and communication’ [http://www.slideshare.net/hvdsomp/the-web-as-infrastructure-for-scholarly-research-and-communication]. Herbert treated us to a history lesson from the evolution of OAI-PMH to OAI-ORE and beyond. He concluded that Web archives are part of the core infrastructure for research and offered the results of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Memento project as a tool to support activities [http://mementoweb.org]. Using a URI the Memento framework leverages existing capabilities and protocols of the web and applies them to allow users to see a version of a resource as it existed at some date in the past. Memento won the DPC's Digital Preservation award back in 2010 [http://www.dpconline.org/newsroom/not-so-new/655-memento-project-wins-digital-preservation-award-2010] but appeared to be new to many of the audience. There was Twitter talk of Memento “solving all digital preservation problems”. However, no matter how great a toolkit Memento is it can only work with archival copies that exist, and for many resources there are no archived versions. Encouraging those involved in the creation of Web sites to create archived copies is something I’ve been interested in since I worked on the JISC Preservation of Web Resources (PoWR) project back in 2008 [http://jiscpowr.jiscinvolve.org/wp/]. It’s been a slow process.

So what will 2013 bring? Will it bring answers to some of the challenges that those trying to preserve large amounts of digital content face? Some of the biggest challenges (I heard discussed over beers at IDCC13) are economic and storage related.As part of his work looking for an economic model of long-term storage David Rosenthal has been examining the options. He put it bluntly in a recent blog post:

“Unlike paper, bits are very vulnerable to interruptions in the money supply. To survive, or in the current jargon to "be sustainable", a digital collection needs an assured stream of funds for the long term. Very few have it.” [http://blog.dshr.org/2012/12/talk-at-fall-2012-cni.html]

The Blue Ribbon Task Force reported back that this was the case over two years ago and few answers have surfaced. Some believe cloud storage to be the solution but Rosenthal questions the underlying assumption by many advocating cloud storage that storage costs will continue to drop exponentially. His work has found that:

"10 years from now, storing all the accumulated data would cost over 20 times as much as it does this year. If storage is 5% of your IT budget this year, in 10 years it will be more than 100% of your budget.”

Whether you are an advocate for cloud storage or not the same applies. Storage is not going to become any cheaper, we cannot keep everything, choices will need to be made. As Rosenthal explains:

“Even if we believe keeping stuff is really cheap, its still too expensive. The bad news is that deciding what to keep and what to throw away isn't free either. Ignoring the problem incurs the costs of keeping the data; dealing with the problem incurs the costs of deciding what to throw away. We may be in the bad situation of being unable to afford either to keep or to throw away the data we generate. Perhaps we should think more carefully before generating it in the first place. Of course, thought of that kind isn't free either…”

Isn’t life complicated! Maybe a late new year's resolution could be for us to think more about what we need to start keeping and what we need to stop keeping. Time to brush the cobwebs off your selection policy and revisit the DPC decision tree [http://www.dpconline.org/advice/preservationhandbook/decision-tree] and DCC appraisal and selection briefing paper [http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/briefing-papers/introduction-curation/appraisal-and-selection]. Happy New Year!


Barbara SiermanOne World - Evidence in The Atlas of Digital Damages

Barbara Sierman, Digital Preservation Manager, Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands)

A few months ago I started www.atlasofdigitaldamages.info with the intention of collecting evidence about “digital damages”. Why?

After years of “raising awareness”, the digital preservationists are fully convinced of the need to treat digital collections in a responsible manner. There are manuals, articles, trainings, websites, blogs, audit standards and conferences where knowledge is spread and experiences are exchanged. Issues are discussed and solutions shared.

But there is a world outside the professionals in digital preservation, not fully aware of the ins and outs of digital preservation and curation. People that could have an important say about the funding of digital preservation. We, the digital preservationists, need to convince them of the need and benefits of keeping the digital collections accessible. Arguments will help to support their decisions, but evidence will be even better.

I realized that we often hear the same stories about damaged collections, with the Domesday Book on place number 1. When you look into these cases in more detail, these are stories with a rather happy ending: the collection seemed to be lost, but with (sometimes major) effort, the bits were rescued. So in essence they were not lost, although it cost a lot of money to regain them. In these stories obsolescence of hardware is frequently the cause of the loss. I’m not aware of a story that relates to the number 1 reason for lost data in IT: human errors. Isn’t that weird?

Another interesting point is that the “damage” often happened years ago. When digital preservation was a fairly new concept. Did we stop talking of digital “damages”, after we took digital preservation seriously? Are we afraid of telling things that went wrong?

It’s very human not to talk about failures, and to be enthusiastic about the achievements. But in this case I think the digital preservation community would benefit from more openness. Knowing that (parts of) collections did go lost, were damaged or are no longer accessible and knowing the circumstances, will help identifying risks and will give input and evidence to risk assessment exercises in organizations . Knowing the risk is one step towards avoiding the risk. Your colleagues don’t need to make the same mistakes.

It also gives an opportunity to “shop” in other disciplines (take for example the interesting DPC report on Digital Forensics and Preservation by Jeremy Leighton John) and use their solutions or collaborate in finding solutions. Knowledge of failures can help research projects to focus better on risks that occur frequently, thus saving costs for a many preservation organizations. It can also assist smaller organizations to be better prepared, when they start preserving digital material, with limited staff and means.

Preservation in the analogue world has a far longer tradition then preservation of digital material. There exists horrific images of books in deterioration, where colours are fading, ink is leaking through the pages and papers becomes brittle , see for example http://www.metamorfoze.nl/sites/metamorfoze/files/bestanden/schadeatlas%202010%20engels%20met%20omslag.pdf. This is convincing evidence that something horrible is happening and that action and money is needed!

I believe the digital preservation community needs a similar overview . The Atlas of Digital Damages is a place to collect your stories and examples (anonymously if preferred) and a showcase of what can happen. With an explanation why it happened and how to avoid it, preferably. With references to other places of information. To teach, to learn and to convince. Interested? Want to contribute? Have a look at www.atlasofdigitaldamages.info or email your story to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .