Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 28 September 2016

In this issue:

  • What's On - Forthcoming events from April 2012 onwards
  • What's New - New reports and initiatives since the last issue
  • What's What - Re-skilling for research - observations on an RLUK report, Graham Pryor, DCC
  • Who's Who - Sixty second interview with Ed Fay, LSE
  • One World - Digital Preservation Management Workshops at Ten Years, Nancy McGovern, MIT Libraries
  • 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 You can also browse through our DCC events calendar to see a more extensive list of both DCC and external events.

SPRUCE Digital Preservation ‘Mashup’
16-18 April
SPRUCE (Sustainable PReservation Using Community Engagement) has been funded by JISC to inspire, guide, support and enable HE, FE and cultural institutions to address digital preservation gaps; and to use the knowledge gathered from that activity to articulate a compelling business case for digital preservation. This event brings together a diverse community to discuss, test, code, plan, and share challenges related to the new types of content entrusted to libraries, archives, and museums to preserve and manage. The focus is around community, communication, and learning from one another for we definitely can't go it alone in the new landscape of digital content. The result will be practical digital preservation tools which meet your specific needs and which are likely to be useful more widely.

DCC Roadshow Northeast England
23-24 April 2012
The 10th DCC regional roadshow will take place at the Life Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne. The roadshow is being co-organised with Professor Julie Mcleod, Northumbria University School of Computing, Engineering, and Information Sciences.

ALPSP Seminar: Data publishing
24 April 2012
The digital world has vastly increased options for what we do with data. Data has emerged from dog-eared notebooks and spawned research institutes, journals, businesses, and controversy. This one day seminar will look at opportunities and challenges in data publishing from the points of view of policy makers, publishers, data generators, and consumers. It will examine everything from access and deposition policies to curation and deposition.

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.

2nd LIBER international workshop: Partnerships in curating European digital resources
7-8 May 2012
This workshop will provide an overview of the best-known collaborative initiatives: the stakeholders involved, the basic set-ups, the legal foundations, the business models – and help you analyse which alternatives are best suited for your organisation, your type of collection and your national culture. We will deal with organisational issues, legal issues, financial issues and technical issues that will influence your choices. Critical questions will be asked by experts in the field, and there will be plenty of time to ask your own questions.

DPC Planning Day 2012
18 May 2012
This meeting will focus on the 'Assurance and Practice' elements of the new DPC strategic plan. Full members invited on the evening of the 17th May, Associates and Personal members on the 18th.

Digital Preservation and Business Continuity Management
21 May 2012
This DPC Briefing Day will examine the intersection of practices associated with business continuity management and digital preservation to explore how these two communities might be more closely aligned, London.

Screening the Future Conference 2012: Play, Pause and Press Forward
21 - 23 May 2012
Screening the Future serves the global community of stakeholders who keep audiovisual content alive. This annual international conference brings together archivists, small and large archives, production companies, film makers, TV producers, service providers, vendors, funders, policymakers, and educators who are developing solutions to answer the most urgent questions facing audiovisual archives.

DigCCurr Professional Institute: Curation Practices for the Digital Object Lifecycle
May 20-25, 2012
The Institute consists of one five-day session in May 2012 and a two-day follow-up session and a day-long symposium in January 2013. Each day of the summer session will include lectures, discussion and hands-on "lab" components.

Digital Preservation Training Programme (DPTP)
28-30 May 2012
The DPTP is a modular training programme, built around themed sessions that have been developed to assist you in designing and implementing an approach to preservation that will work for your institution. Through a wide range of modules, the DPTP examines the need for policies, planning, strategies, standards and procedures in digital preservation, and teaches some of the most up-to-date methods, tools and concepts in the area.

DCC Roadshow Northern Ireland
6 - 7 June 2012
The 12th DCC regional roadshow will take place on 6th and 7th June at the McClay library, Queen's University Belfast. The roadshow is being organised in conjunction with Queen's University Belfast.

Structural Frameworks for Open Digital Research - strategy, policy & infrastructure
11-13 June, 2012
The Nordbib programme proudly announces its 2012 international conference and workshop. We hope it will be one of the pivotal events in getting the capture and re-use of research data and cultural data to the forefront of European research policy thinking as well as spawning cross-border collaborations and implementations.

DPC Director's Group Meeting
28 June 2012
The Directors’ Group provides an extended and informal networking opportunity at which staff, partners, contractors or allies of full members of the Coalition are invited to describe and discuss current, forthcoming and future digital preservation projects. It allows staff, colleagues and supporters - who might not normally attend Board meetings - to contribute to the Coalition’s work plan for the coming year. It encourages the development of bilateral and multi-lateral relationships among members; helps disseminate good practice; and ensures that the work of the coalition remains tied to the changing needs of the workforce.Full members are invited to nominate up to three delegates. Delegates can be drawn from any department, project, partnership or constituent of the Board Member’s institution so long as they are able to contribute to and benefit from an open discussion on digital preservation and cognate issues. Delegates will be expected to present a brief and discursive summary of current and future work.

Robust Linked Data
29 June 2012
DPC briefing day on the challenges of ensuring linked data is robust, Cambridge. Details to follow.

Policies and Practices in Access to Digital Archives: Towards a New Research and Policy Agenda
2-6 July 2012
This course is intended to serve as a bridge between archivists, curators, researchers, legal experts and policymakers whose work deals with digital records, cultural heritage collections and/or open data. Launching an itinerary to reform the political and statutory landscape by uniting the efforts of key stakeholders is one of the broad purposes of the course.

The 7th International Conference on Open Repositories (OR2012)
9 - 13 July 2012
EDINA, the University of Edinburgh's Information Services and the Digital Curation Centre are delighted to announce that the University of Edinburgh will be hosting the Seventh International Conference on Open Repositories (OR2012) from 9-13 July, 2012. The theme and title of the 2012 conference at Edinburgh – Open Services for Open Content: Local In for Global Out – reflects the current move towards open content, ‘augmented content’, distributed systems and data delivery infrastructures.


What's New

For more information on any of the items below, please visit the DCC website at

JISC/UMF DataFlow Research Data Management Project Software Release
The JISC/University Modernisation Fund sponsored DataFlow Project at the University of Oxford have completed a beta software release and are looking for test users. For more information about the JISC/UMF Shared Services and the Cloud Programme see:

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

KEEP Project Training Materials now available for download
The overall aim of the KEEP (Keeping Emulation Environments Portable) project is to facilitate universal access to our cultural heritage by developing flexible tools for accessing and storing a wide range of digital objects. Copies of all the presentation slides used in their recent series of international workshops are now online and available for download from their website.

KEEP Project Emulation Framework 2.0
The European project KEEP released its final version of the Emulation Framework (EF). The software allows you to access old computer files and programs using emulation without the need to go through difficult installations and configurations. The software is open source (Apache v2 license) and free to be used by any organisation or individual.

Memorandum of Understanding between DRF, RSP and UKCoRR
In January 2012, The Repositories Support Project (RSP), UK met with the Digital Repository Federation (DRF) in Japan to share information and experience about the support that we both provide to institutional repositories in our respective countries, in particular the training events we run. As a result we have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining how we can continue our relationship for mutual benefit. This is a three way agreement which also includes the United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR). All the partners are very enthusiastic about the opportunities this holds.

Text mining promises huge economic and research benefit, but copyright law and other barriers are limiting its use, says JISC report
A new JISC report shows that text mining - a complex and innovative method of searching and analysing data - has huge potential benefits for the UK economy and knowledge base, but its use is being held back by copyright law and other barriers.

Adoption of CERIF in Higher Education Institutions in the UK: A Landscape Study
The study documents the extent of adoption and engagement with CERIF in UK Higher Education institutions (HEIs) in late 2011/early 2012.

Keepers Registry
The National Science Library, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NSLC) has joined other leading archiving organisations in the Keepers Registry, the international facility which records who is looking after the world's e-journal content.

Presentations from the JISC Managing Research Data Programme workshop on Data Management Planning
Presentations from the JISC Managing Research Data Programme workshop on data management planning - held on Friday 23 March - are now available. This page provides links to presentations given by projects tasked to explore the challenges of designing and implementing data management plans for research projects or for departments in specific disciplines, and to customise and implement the DCC's DMPonline tool for specific uses.

UK university consortium gets £3.7m for HPC innovation centre
The universities of Southampton, Bristol, Oxford and University College London have joined forces with the e-Science Centre at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, to form a new Centre of Innovation for the application of High Performance Computing.The consortium of universities will share computing resources including hardware, software applications, support services and skills to encourage wider use of HPC in both academia and industry. It has been awarded a total of £3.7 million by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for the creation and operation of the centre.

Ahead of the CurV
DigCurV is a project funded by the European Commission’s Leonardo da Vinci programme to establish a curriculum framework for vocational training in digital curation. Issue 2 of the DigCurV newsletter is now available.


pryorWhat's What - Editorial - Re-skilling for research - observations on an RLUK report

Graham Pryor, Associate Director, DCC

The Preface to this new RLUK report[1] opens by declaring how it “is clear that as the nature of research within our institutions changes, so must the role of the library in supporting research”. I don’t believe there are many who would challenge this argument, since it has already been said many times over when considering the view from the other side of the researcher/librarian fence, most recently in the December 2011 RIN report on information practices in the physical sciences[2], which claims with urgency that the “need for librarians to reinvent their roles as partners in the scientific and research process is acute”.

What concerns me most about the RLUK report is that it seems to have been based on the returns from surveys of predominantly library staff. Notwithstanding there is input from RCUK and the ESRC’s Researcher Development Section, as well as reference to the RIN’s earlier studies of researcher practices and preferences, my feeling is that it would have lent greater credence to the conclusions were there to have been some more direct gathering of contemporary researcher opinion.

Librarians have successfully reinvented themselves again and again across the centuries to meet cultural and technological change. Their demise was predicted not so long ago in 1979, when the then Director of Aslib warned in his Doomsday Scenario that the traditional information professional risked having vanished by the year 2000. Well, instead, these highly sustainable professionals transformed themselves into digital and systems librarians, they learned how to teach information literacy to students of the digital age and they became the stalwarts of institutional repositories.

But what is perhaps different now - and the RLUK report does not really address this shift with any substance - is that technology has enabled data to become the prevalent material and currency of research. Data, not information, not publications, is rapidly becoming the accepted deliverable of research.

On the cusp of the e-Science revolution, just six years ago, Hey and Hey saw in this emergence of the power of data an opportunity for libraries to place themselves “centre stage in the development of the next generation research infrastructure”. But their key message was that “to organize, curate and preserve this data will require collaboration between scientists and librarians”[3]. The RLUK report does admit that services to support the management and curation of data are for the most part in their infancy, although it finds examples of subject librarians providing advice and referral to researchers, but it is really this sense of a collaboration that is missing from its over-riding message.

Yet from the DCC’s perspective we are daily aware, through our programme of institutional engagements[4], how important is the inclusion of library expertise to those working parties and steering groups bent on designing the institutional strategies and infrastructure necessary to meet operational and regulatory requirements. We are already engaging with mixed collaborations of senior researchers, IT support and librarians working in parity to address the data management challenge.

The RLUK report admirably concludes by remarking that “Building on existing competencies may only be part of the picture”. It describes a shift that “can be seen which takes Subject Librarians into a world beyond information discovery and management, collection development and information literacy training, to one in which they play a much greater part in the research process and in particular in the management, curation and preservation of research data”. But they need much more quickly than is implied here to be a conspicuous part of that picture themselves, to redefine themselves in its context, not just develop their roles a little further from their comfort zone. To this end, RLUK will be holding a one-day event in London for UK HEI library staff on April 16th to try to progress - as a community - the research library agenda with regard to research data management.

The field is still wide open and there is a space to occupy. Either that or the Doomsday Scenario may yet just catch up.


avatar_2-762_fractalbroccoliWho's Who: Sixty Second Interview with Ed Fay, Digital Library Manager, London School of Economics

Where do you work and what's your job title?
I work in the Library at the London School of Economics, which is also known as the British Library of Political and Economic Science. My job title is Digital Library Manager.

Tell us a bit about your organisation
We’re an academic research library and also a designated national research library. So we serve our academic and student community at LSE but also have responsibilities to the wider social science research community and the general public.

What projects are you working on at the moment?
Our major project is the development of LSE Digital Library which is really a programme of smaller projects working on policy, skills, working practices and infrastructure to support the collection, preservation and dissemination of digital materials added to Library collections for which we have the preservation responsibility. We recently launched our public interface and we are working at the moment on accessioning/ingest workflows for various born-digital collections, including digital archives and digital ephemera.

Other projects we are working on include DICE (Digital Communications Enhancement) which is developing training materials to raise awareness of digital preservation in our training providers and researcher community; PhoneBooth which is repurposing the digitised Booth maps for delivery to mobile devices; and we are also partners in SPRUCE (Sustainable Preservation Using Community Engagement) which is building the business case for digital preservation in UK HE institutions.

We also have various bits and pieces of digitisation going on – we recently finished Beatrice Webb’s diaries and will soon be launching George Bernard Shaw’s photographic collection.

How did you end up in digital preservation?
Purely by accident – I was temping in the library at the University of Southampton after taking degrees in philosophy (and failing to avoid any clichés by doing so!) and ended up working on repository and digitisation projects. From there it was a move to LSE which was about digitisation initially but became about digital preservation and digital libraries more generally. I’ve always had an interest in computing and found that my journeyman knowledge set me up to work at the intersection of technology and ‘traditional’ information practice – I can talk enough tech to scare the techies but also talk in terms of digital risk, opportunity and impact on the other side of the fence. It’s a niche, but one that will expand in coming years as the importance of digital preservation gains prominence.

What are the challenges of digital preservation for an organisation such as yours?
The biggest challenge when we were getting started was to make a convincing argument of the necessity of resourcing digital preservation as more than a tangential activity – that this was essential to the continuing distinction of our collections in the digital future.

As we continue to make that case and begin the process of developing our working practices the challenges now are about change management – how to upskill our workforce and embed emerging working practices across the library and not just in a specialist team.

Solving the technical problems follows from there and we are well underway with bringing pieces together to form our solution from the best open-source tools which are available.

What sort of partnerships would you like to develop?
LSE isn’t working at the scale where we have whole teams of people to throw at digital preservation research and so partnerships are essential to our success. In terms of tool development we are dependent on the international research community and the open source solutions that become available – we are keen to been involved in conversations about requirements and institutional perspectives on the nature and scale of the challenges faced.

In terms of working partnerships we are keen to explore sharing best practice and knowledge around implementing solutions with other people working at a similar scale – whether that is the repository community, the digital archives community or other HE institutions with similar collections and requirements. At the very least we are looking to share experience and in the best cases I’d hope to see shared requirements leading to shared practices and solutions, even if only in a specific area of work.

If we could invent one tool or service that would help you, what would it be?
I’m working a lot on skills development at the moment and services to support change management, such as modular training courses or materials, would be helpful. I’m thinking here about targeting practitioners rather than experts – people who will have a role in being hands-on with preservation solutions but don’t necessarily need to be technically minded or know OAIS off by heart – at the moment a lot of training seems to be all-or-nothing. As for tools – we already have a lot of tools. For me it’s about abstracting some of the complexity and fragmentation by making workflows and interfaces that are intuitive for non-specialists.

And if you could give people one piece of advice about digital preservation ....?
Get started with whatever level of activity you can right now – waiting will compound the potential problems and it’s easier to accrue momentum once you are underway and can demonstrate benefits.

If you could save for perpetuity just one digital file, what would it be?
Hmm, tough - one digital file isn't much in the scale of things, even in personal terms let alone cultural heritage terms. Personally I'd have to choose from my music collection (and trust friends and family to keep photographs!) and keep a live recording of the Dead Can Dance reunion tour of 2005.

Finally, where can we contact you or find out about your work?
I tweet about work-related issues as @digitalfay and my email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The public interface to our digital library is available at and we publish policy and collections-related documents at


mcgovernOne World: Digital Preservation Management Workshops at Ten Years

Nancy McGovern, Head of Curation and Preservation Services, MIT Libraries

Planning is underway to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the Digital Preservation Management (DPM) workshops in 2013. Cornell University Library launched the DPM workshops in 2003 and hosted the workshops until 2006, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) have hosted the workshops since 2007, and MIT Libraries will host the workshops from summer 2012 onward. The online tutorial ( that also launched in 2003 serves as both an introduction to digital preservation and a prerequisite for the workshop. The tutorial is currently available in three languages (English, French, and Italian) and more language versions may be added in the future.

More than 1,000 participants have attended more than 40 instances of the DPM workshops since 2003. Workshop participants representing more than 300 organizations – including libraries, archives, museums, and other organizations - in more than 35 countries have attended. In addition to offering the workshop in multiple locations in most regions of the United States, the workshop has been offered at least once in five countries: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Germany. The digital preservation matrix model (including three legs of a sustainable program and five stages of development[i]) and other core concepts of the DPM workshops have been adapted for use by the Digital Preservation Training Programme (DPTP), the DigCCurr Institute, and digital collections training modules in South Africa, as well as informing the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) basic training modules developed for the Library of Congress.

To mark a decade of delivering workshops, we will be conducting an outcomes survey of participants, pushing out updates and enhancements of the tutorial, developing a Web space to log into for access to workshop materials, issuing a white paper on applications and implications of the digital preservation matrix model, and hopefully hosting a working meeting to review progress in training and practice over the ten years and to look ahead to the future of the workshop and related training in the next decade. Proceedings and essays would accompany the working meeting as well as examples of organizational practice that reflect the matrix model.

[i] Anne R. Kenney and Nancy Y. McGovern, "The Five Organizational Stages of Digital Preservation," in Digital Libraries: A Vision for the Twenty-first Century, a festschrift to honor Wendy Lougee, 2003. Available from the University of Michigan Scholarly Monograph Series website:;idno=bbv9812.00....


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