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What I learned about research data management

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 5 July 2017

Even having been part of the DPC for 4 years now, I still consider myself a relative newbie to the digital preservation world, and I’ll certainly never consider myself a digital preservation ‘native.’ That is to say my background is not archiving/information management/digital preservation/IT or any of the ‘usual’ routes into this weird and wonderful community.

So, I’ll openly admit I’m even more of a novice when it comes to the Research Data Management (RDM) game. I thought I knew what research data is/was (stay tuned for an imminent blog post from William Kilbride on ‘what is data anyway?’), I thought I understood why we look after it, and I thought I was beginning to understand its huge potential.

But, attending the Jisc Research Data Network (RDN) event in York last week made me realise I had a whole lot more to learn.

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DPTP Migration of file formats; understanding loss and how to manage it

Chris Loftus

Chris Loftus

Last updated on 3 July 2017

A DPC bursary enabled me to attend the above event hosted at ULCC last month. As someone from an archives background relatively new to digital preservation, Ed Pinsent’s introduction to this one day course at Senate House - which put forward the suggestion that discussion of file migration has previously been dominated by computer science and technical analysis of file format - was reassuring music to my (until recently) untechnical ears. In the context of the reading and research I had undertaken thus far, the idea of shifting the focus back to people, collections, and content was a welcome one.

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Preserve to Innovate: De-brief on Web Archiving Week 2017 in London

Sara Day Thomson

Sara Day Thomson

Last updated on 30 June 2017

 

From the 12th to the 16th June, the member institutions of IIPC and researchers from a surprising array of backgrounds gathered at the Senate House in London for Web Archiving Week – an amalgamation of the Archives Unleashed hackathon, the annual IIPC conference, and the ReSAW Conference. The week’s activities conveyed a healthy and vibrant picture of current capture and curation practices as well as the use of archived web content for research.

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Planning for a digital preservation ecosystem: small steps and culture change

Caroline Gauld

Caroline Gauld

Last updated on 2 August 2017

They say culture trumps strategy every time so when we devised our Digital Preservation Strategy at the University of Melbourne we built it with culture as the first principle. Our university is fairly large (47,000 students, 6,500 staff and over 100 research centres/institutes) so identifying and preserving valuable digital materials has to be a distributed and cooperative effort, no individual department has the resources to take on the challenge single-handed. The Library already has significant digital collections of enduring value, and also the expertise to lead the preservation strategy, but we know that across the university teams and individuals are managing vast amounts of digital research data, university records and collections locally, and most have little or no support for curation or preservation. Our primary challenge has been how to foster this culture change so that our staff and students recognize both the value of digital materials and their inherent fragility, and take actions to preserve them. 

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Sharing the Load: opportunities and options

Maureen Pennock

Maureen Pennock

Last updated on 27 July 2017

The British Library is many things to many people. We are a place of research, a place of academic endeavour. We are a place of content, a dizzying array of content to marvel the minds and stimulate the senses. We are a place of exhibitions, of outreach, and of engagement. We are a place in the bustling heart of London, a place in the quiet countryside of Yorkshire, and a place online. We are a place of experts applying their expertise, of free Wi-Fi, and of reasonable coffee. We are a place of opportunity.

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No End of History

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 15 June 2017

The DPC’s ‘big data siren’ went off again last month when no less an authority than The Economist proclaimed, ‘The World’s Most Valuable Commodity is no Longer Oil But Data’. Normally a mournful foghorn warning business away from things it cannot (or will not) understand, The Economist has been quite the advocate for the digital economy over the years. But whatever your view on the ‘big data bubble’ there is little doubt about the place data occupies in the long history of the economy: indeed Jack Goody, Michael Clanchy and others would have you believe that control over resources was the principal reason for the invention of literacy in the first place and thus indirectly of data too. You might well conclude that The Economist is sounding a millennia-old headline, ‘how can emergent forms of literacy expand new economic activities’.

DPC maintains a ‘big data siren’ because the commentariat, left or right, seem seldom to consider what data is and whether it’s sustainable. It’s a significant weakness. To the right: if we build an economy on data, are we not building on sand? To the left: can something as fragile as data really induce the end of capitalism? What happens if we place digital preservation into that narrative?

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Chicken and the Egg: Applying Digital Preservation Approaches to Social Media at DPASSH 2017

Sara Day Thomson

Sara Day Thomson

Last updated on 13 June 2017

 On the 14th June, DPASSH commences its second conference addressing the issues of digital preservation and the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities. I look forward to taking part and giving a paper on the application of some hard-earned best practice in digital preservation to social media research and heritage collections.

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JP2 and colour profile limitations: a positive conclusion and findings

Lee Hibberd

Lee Hibberd

Last updated on 5 June 2017

At the National Library of Scotland we were finding that some colour profiles in tif files were causing errors when we tried to convert them to JP2. So a couple of weeks ago I posted a question to the DPC-Discussion list asking members for their advice on JP2 files and colour profile support. 

In the end we had some great help from Johan van der Knijff, from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB) in the Netherlands, who has given me permission to use a distillation of our email exchange for the benefit of others who may run into the same problem (90% Johan – thanks Johan!) Here's a summary of our findings.

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The acceptance speech I didn't give

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 2 June 2017

Last week was an exciting one for us, and action packed, I’ve only really had time to pause and reflect on our achievements now.

For those of you who missed it, the DPC was presented with the IRMS Innovation of the Year Award for the fantastic Digital Preservation Handbook!

Turning up for the awards, I was secretly hoping we’d win one of the three – yes three – awards we’d been nominated for, but didn’t expect it at all. Over our pre-dinner glass of fizz I even asked William in jest whether he had prepared ‘a few words’ – ha ha ha! But, having settled in for a fancy dinner and an evening’s entertainment, we were in fact back on our feet straight away to accept the first award!

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Integrating Research Data management and digital preservation systems at the University of Sheffield

Chris Loftus

Chris Loftus

Last updated on 31 May 2017

Chris Loftus, Laura Peaurt, Jez Cope 

The University Library at the University of Sheffield is taking the leading role in supporting the active management and curation of research data within the institution. We have recently implemented a research data catalogue and repository, ORDA (Online Research Data, powered by Figshare for institutions). We have also begun safeguarding library collections and key administrative assets of the University using ArchiveUs, the Sheffield brand of Rosetta, a digital preservation platform from Ex Libris. We are now working with figshare and Ex Libris to integrate both services to provide seamless preservation of published research data across the research lifecycle.

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