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New project to transform the user experience of social science data in Europe

We are pleased to be working with partners in the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) on a project funded by the European Commission in the framework of its Horizon2020 programme. The CESSDA SaW “Strengthening and widening the European infrastructure for social science data archives” project. After the successful launch of CESSDA in 2013, the aim is now to achieve full European coverage, to strengthen the network and to ensure sustainability of its data for the widened network.

“The CESSDA SaW project will build strength and sustainability into the CESSDA infrastructure” comments Ivana Ilijasic Versic of CESSDA. “We will begin by building on what we have already established across the data archives within our membership. The widened CESSDA network which will result from this project should become a strong infrastructure with global best practice in-built. This will translate into a greater body of work in the social sciences, in turn providing evidence for policy making at a greater scale than today”.

The project runs for two years from August 2015 and brings together partners from across Europe.

Charles Beagrie Ltd are leading task 4.6 in the project, which focuses on developing  a funding and cost-benefit advocacy toolkit for social science data archives. The toolkit being developed will draw on a range of projects and studies looking at benefits, costs, return on investment and advocacy including inter alia 4C, Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS), and a range of economic impact studies.

Charles Beagrie Ltd is leading on the development of core documents and materials for the Toolkit with support from CESSDA SaW partners for the gathering of information and user testing. A survey is currently in progress to help shape the toolkit and a set of focus groups will further refine it. The completed toolkit will be available by June 2017.

For further information and to keep up to date with the CESSDA SaW project visit: www.cessda.net or follow CESSDA on Twitter @CESSDA_Data.

Digital Preservation Technology Watch Reports pass 171,000 Downloads

At the beginning of this month the new series of Digital Preservation Coalition Technology Watch Reports passed 171,000 downloads: substantially up from the 100,000 reported in May 2015: these are downloads by real users excluding robots etc.

The new series was launched publicly in February 2012 with Preserving Email by Chris Prom and there are now 12 titles published since that date. All have proved very popular: Digital Forensics and Preservation now heads the group with over 35,000 downloads, followed by Preserving Email with over 34,000, and Preserving Moving Picture and Sound with over 19,000.

The reports are published by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd as editors and Neil Beagrie as Principal Investigator and managing editor of the series. The series is intended as an advanced introduction to specific issues for those charged with establishing or running services for long term access.  They identify and track developments in IT, standards and tools which are critical to digital preservation activities. All are released as peer-reviewed open-access publications after a preview period of exclusive access to DPC members.

The DPC Technology Watch Report Series publications are freely available online from the DPC website at: http://www.dpconline.org/advice/technology-watch-reports

Digital Preservation Handbook Update February 2016

Originally published in 2001 as a paper edition, ‘Preservation and Management of Digital Materials: a Handbook’ was the first attempt in the UK to synthesise the diverse and burgeoning sources of advice on digital preservation.  Demand was so great that in 2002, a free online edition of the Handbook was published by the newly established Digital Preservation Coalition.

After more than a decade, in which digital preservation has been transformed, the Handbook remains among the most heavily used area of the DPC website.

Funders and organisations are collaborating on re-designing, expanding and updating the Handbook so it can continue to grow as a major open-access resource for digital preservation. The DPC and Charles Beagrie Ltd have been engaged on a major re-working of the Digital Preservation Handbook for release as a new edition over 2015/2016. The National Archives (our Gold Sponsor) working together with other stakeholders including Jisc, the British Library, and The Archives and Records Association (our Silver Sponsors), and the National Records of Scotland (our Bronze Sponsor) is supporting the Digital Preservation Coalition in updating and revamping the Handbook. Many individuals and organisations are also contributing to this work through book sprints, peer review, project and advisory boards.

The revision, guided by the user feedback and consultation (see Report on the Preparatory User Consultation on the 2nd Edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook), is modular and being undertaken over a two year period to March 2016.

We have provided updates at regular intervals to inform the community on progress with the project and with this final February update we are delighted to announce a number of key developments.

 

Publication Schedule

The 2nd edition of the Handbook had a partial “soft launch” in October 2015 and approximately 2/3rds is online and publicity accessible at http://www.dpconline.org/advice/preservationhandbook

This partial release will be further enhanced by additional functionality when a new platform for the website focused on ‘responsive design’ is brought on stream by the DPC in 2016. This will provide an updated design and improved user experience on mobile and tablet devices, compared to the current site templates that are optimised for viewing on a desktop screen. We will also add the facility to generate PDFs. In the interim some functionality and content will remain “works in progress” but the community have gained early access to a significant new resource.

The remaining 14 sections to complete the Handbook have now been written, edited and are in peer review (see Handbook contents page for coming soon sections). We are aiming to complete this work and revise content for publication by the end of March 2016. The Handbook is now live so we will need to close and update section by section for these 14 remaining updates, hopefully in the final week of March and/or early April 2016. Watch this space for future announcements!

NRS joins funding group

The Digital Preservation Coalition was delighted to announce this month that The National Records of Scotland (NRS) had come on board as a ‘Bronze Sponsor’ for the eagerly anticipated second edition of the ‘Digital Preservation Handbook’. As of February 2016, with the addition of the NRS we have raised 93% of estimated funding required for the Handbook revision. We have prioritised content creation, scaled back some events, and adjusted budgets to ensure completion within a very tight funding profile.

Slideshare from Handbook Workshop at DCDC15

A workshop on the Digital Preservation Handbook was run at the DCDC15 conference in early October. Powerpoint slides from the Handbook presentation are now available on Slideshare. They provide a detailed overview of the new edition Handbook and work in progress. To date, there have been over 2,000 views of the slides.

European Bioinformatics Institute economic impact slideshare

A short set of 4 powerpoint slides summarising the findings on the economic impact of the European Bioinformatics Institute with extensive accompanying slides notes, all CC-BY licensed, have been placed on Slideshare.

The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL- EBI), located on the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, UK, manages public life-science data on a very large scale, making a rich resource of information freely available to the global life science community. EMBL-EBI is one of a handful of organisations in the world involved in global efforts to exchange information, set standards, develop new methods, and curate complex genome information.

We published a full report this week with the results of a quantitative and qualitative study of the Institute, examining the value and impact of its work. Our focus is the economic impact and can be seen as complementary to traditional academic measures, such as citation counts.

The summary slides show the quantitative economic approaches used included: estimates of access and use value, contingent valuation using stated preference techniques, an activity-costing approach to estimating the efficiency impacts of EMBL-EBI data and services, and a macro-economic approach that seeks to explore the impacts of EMBL-EBI use on returns to investment in research. These approaches allowed us to develop a picture, beginning with estimates of minimum direct values for the EMBL-EBI’s user community and moving progressively toward approaches that measure wider social and economic value.

New Technology Watch report: Preserving Social Media

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and Charles Beagrie Ltd, with the UK Data Service, release the latest in their series of Technology Watch Reports today.

Preserving Social Media  by Sara Day Thomson of the DPC, provides guidance for researchers wanting to access social media for research purposes, the institutions who support them, and all organisations with a need to preserve social media data.

The report describes the landscape of archiving social media, identifying the challenges associated with this task, and just some of the strategies which might be adopted in attempting to provide long-term access to such voluminous and unwieldy content.

This newest addition to the Technology Watch Series was commissioned by the UK Data Service with sponsorship from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of their Big Data Network Support initiative.

‘The current ownership framework around social media data is very restrictive-mostly because of platform terms of service and developer agreements as well as the exclusive access of commercial data resellers,’ explains author Sara Day Thomson. ‘However, a number of strategies and case studies provide useful and legal avenues for ensuring long-term access to this valuable content.’

The report lays out a number of approaches to the preservation of social media data-a valuable resource currently at relatively high risk of disappearance if not actively addressed. For both small and large scale needs, this report applies methods to curate and archive user-generated content captured through platforms APIs. Many of these methods derive from the work of a handful of organisations at the forefront of this new field. Though the report addresses a number of significant challenges, it focuses on new developments and growing motivation across disciples to ensure that future generations have access to social media created today.

The preservation of social media has a wide appeal and this report is likely to be of interest not only to DPC members, but many organisations throughout the digital preservation community who face the challenge of keeping user generated content through social media accessible in the future.

‘Preserving Social Media’ is the latest in the series of popular DPC Technology Watch Reports which support the Digital Preservation Coalition’s objectives and provide advice on how to manage high-value and vulnerable digital resources beyond the limits of technological obsolescence.

New report: The Value and Impact of the European Bioinformatics Institute

We are pleased to announce a new report: The Value and Impact of the European Bioinformatics Institute.

In 2015, Charles Beagrie Ltd  was commissioned by the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), to study and analyse its economic and social impact.

The EMBL- EBI, located on the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, near Cambridge in the UK, manages public life science data on a very large scale, making a rich resource of genome information freely available to the global life science community.

The full report published today presents the results of the quantitative and qualitative study of the Institute, examining the value and impact of its work. The report highlights key findings, including that EMBL-EBI data and services made commercial and academic R&D significantly more efficient. This benefit to users and their funders is estimated, at a minimum, to be worth £1 billion per annum worldwide – equivalent to more than 20 times the direct operational cost of EMBL-EBI.

A press release with further information is available on the EMBL-EBI website at http://www.ebi.ac.uk/about/news/press-releases/value-and-impact-of-the-european-bioinformatics-institute

The Full Report is available online in printable format at http://www.beagrie.com/EBI-impact-report.pdf

A short Executive Summary version of the report is available online in printable format at http://www.beagrie.com/EBI-impact-summary.pdf

Personal Digital Archiving DPC Technology Watch Report now publicly available

The Digital Preservation Coalition, Gabriela Redwine and Charles Beagrie Ltd are delighted to announce the public release of the latest DPC Technology Watch Report ‘Personal Digital Archiving’, written by Gabriela Redwine, Digital Archivist at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.

This free peer-reviewed report is aimed at individuals who are concerned about how best to manage and preserve their own personal digital archives, as well as professionals who advise people on how to select and best preserve such digital content.

‘The term personal digital archiving refers to how individuals manage or keep track of their digital files, where they store them, and how these files are described and organised’, explained Gabriela Redwine. ‘People keep personal archives for many different reasons and the ubiquity of personal computing devices and the ease with which files can be duplicated often means that the same digital files can exist in multiple locations simultaneously.’

The report provides an overview of the key issues related to personal digital archiving, arguing for the importance and urgency of preserving personal files, while also acknowledging the difficulty of managing digital files that include a combination of digitised and born-digital materials. There is a short introduction to the role of cultural heritage organisations, in the history of personal digital archiving, as well as current initiatives, which sets the stage for resources and recommendations for individuals who want to be proactive about saving their own digital materials.

‘Our Technology Watch Reports are available open access as a distinctive contribution to the dissemination of good practice in digital preservation, but are framed directly around the needs of our members who help suggest topics and help us turn ideas into sustained and significant advice that addresses their requirements, explained William Kilbride of the DPC.

Neil Beagrie, managing editor of the Technology Watch Report series on behalf of the DPC added, “Personal archiving is where digital preservation most directly affects non-specialists as well as curators. This title in the Technology Watch Report series is likely to be of interest not only to DPC members and the digital preservation community but also to a wider public internationally.’

Personal Digital Archiving’ is published by the DPC in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd. Neil Beagrie, Director of Consultancy at Charles Beagrie Ltd, was commissioned to act as principal investigator for, and managing editor of, this Series in 2011. He has been further supported by an Editorial Board drawn from DPC members and peer reviewers who comment on text prior to release: William Kilbride (Chair), Janet Delve (University of Portsmouth), Marc Fresko (Inforesight), Sarah Higgins (University of Aberystwyth), Tim Keefe (Trinity College Dublin), and Dave Thompson (Wellcome Library).

12 slideshares for Xmas: 20 years in digital preservation

I have just posted the final instalment of a personal selection of 12 presentations drawn from events and topics over the last 20 years in digital preservation, which I hope will be of interest.

They are taken from events on four different continents including the first iPres conference and cover themes such as personal archiving, research data management, e-journals, the digital preservation lifecycle model, national and institutional strategies and collaboration, costs/benefit/economic impacts of digital preservation, the establishment of the Digital Preservation Coalition, and the development of the online Digital Preservation Handbook. I hope there will be something in there for everyone.

There are accompanying blog narratives which set the presentations into context and the powerpoint presentations themselves on Slideshare. Details and web links to them are as follows:

2014 – The Value and Impact of Research Data Infrastructure (economic impact), presentation to the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG), Karlsruhe Germany    slides     narrative

2013 – Maintaining a Vision: how mandates and strategies are changing with digital content (changes and responses), keynote presentation to Screening the Future conference, London UK slides     narrative

2010 – Keeping Research Data Safe (digital preservation costs and benefits), presentation to KB Experts Workshop on Digital Preservation Costs, The Hague Netherlands          slides     narrative

2007 – Digital Preservation: Setting the Course for a Decade of Change (evolution or revolution?), keynote presentation to the Belgian Association for Documentation (ABD-BVD), Brussels Belgium              slides     narrative

2005 – Digital Preservation and Curation Summing up + Next Steps (setting curation and research agenda for2005-2015), conclusions to Warwick II Workshop, Warwick UK             slides     narrative

2005 – Plenty of Room at the Bottom? Personal Digital Libraries and Collections, keynote presentation to European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries (ECDL), Vienna Austria   slides     narrative

2004 – eScience and Digital Preservation, presentation to Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) conference, Rhode Island USA                  slides     narrative

2004 -  The JISC Continuing Access and Digital Preservation Strategy 2002-5(covering UK Higher Education sector and partners), presentation to the JISC-CNI conference, Brighton UK slides  narrative

2004 -Digital Preservation, e-journals and e-prints, presentation at private workshop 1st iPres conference, Beijing China                 slides     narrative

2004  -  The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), Its History, Programme, Rationale ,and Structure, set of 4 linked presentations to DPC Forum, London UK              slides     narrative

2001 – Preservation Management of Digital Materials (the Digital Preservation Handbook) presentation to Digital Preservation Workshop/State Library, Melbourne Australia         slides     narrative

1998 – Preserving Digital Collections: current methods and research (digital preservation lifecycle model), presentation to the Society of Archivists annual conference, Sheffield UK             slides     narrative

This is a baker’s dozen as there is a also bonus presentation from 2015 on slideshare covering the latest work on The Digital Preservation Handbook (new edition for full release in March 2016).

The background and narrative blog for this personal selection of presentations is also available.

SlideShare: The Value and Impact of Research Data Infrastructure

This slideshare, The Value and Impact of Research Data Infrastructure, was given at the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG) meeting in September 2014 held at Karlsruhe, Germany. It is the final instalment of 12 presentations I have selected to mark 20 years in Digital Preservation. It demonstrates the value of preservation and re-use of research data.

Between 2011 and 2014, Charles Beagrie Ltd and John Houghton completed three major studies on the economic value and impact of the Archaeology Data Service, the British Atmospheric Data Centre, and the Economic and Social Research Data Service, and a synthesis of the three studies. In these studies, we developed and refined qualitative and quantitative methodologies to measure the value and impact of research data and associated services and tools.

This combination of methods has broken new ground in approaches to assessing the value and impact of major research data services and provided a strong evidence base and compelling outcomes.  In a recent review of the international state of the art as regards the relationships between large-scale science facilities and innovation performance, our work was one of 3 studies highlighted to UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills as being particularly good examples of ‘good practice’ in the measurement of economic impacts.

The presentation focuses on these studies, with the study of the Archaeology Data Service given as a detailed example. It has a UK Focus but the research and lessons are international. These studies are also three of the few quantitative studies of the value and impact of digital preservation currently available.

A fourth study on the value and impact of the EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute has since been completed by Charles Beagrie Ltd and John Houghton and should be available in 2016.

New Resources page on Charles Beagrie Website

We have produced a new resources pages on our website describing all the outputs we have produced which are publicly available and accessible on open access to students and practitioners interested in our work. Areas described include Cost/Benefit, Impact, Technology Watch, Digital Preservation Policies and Strategies. Conference presentations, and other digital preservation resources. These are linked either to outputs on our website or on the websites of clients and partners. An extract of the page is shown below.

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