October 2015

SlideShare: How institutional mandates and preservation strategies are changing with digital content

This slideshare, Maintaining a Vision: how mandates and strategies are changing with digital content, is one I like and is a keynote given to the 2013 Screening the Future conference in London.

It is the penultimate of 12 presentations I have selected to mark 20 years in Digital Preservation. The final one to come will be published in December 2015.

My brief  for this conference keynote was to focus on how  institutional responses to collection and preservation mandates are realized and stretched by the digital…do existing institutions just ‘go digital’ but otherwise claim ‘business as usual’ [or not]?

The Talk had an AV focus given the nature of the conference but I think the messages will be of broad interest. It was in three parts:

The Changes: covering how digital content (including AV content) has changed the nature of typical collections across sectors; how it has shifted the scale of available content; and how content has fragmented and the number of content creators proliferated.

The Responses: covering how we have seen in response the growth of cross-sectoral preservation exchange (different sectoral membership of the DPC; Technology Watch Reports; the national coalitions worldwide such as nestor, NCDD, NDSA, etc); the development of shared services and outsourcing (e.g. digital preservation services in the cloud); and in some cases a range of cross-sector mergers (particularly of national archives and national libraries).

Conclusions:

What is changing? We are seeing multi-media permeating sectoral boundaries; greater shared interests and convergence of interests across different sectors; and a massive shift in the scale and management of digital media.

The responses?  We are seeing new alliances and partnerships; digital preservation exchange across sectors; some mergers and partnerships across established boundaries; and more shared services and outsourcing.

Finally, if you want to know the answer to the question “When was the beginning of the Digital Age” posed in previous posts, the answer is here in slide 8:

 

Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS)

Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS), a workshop presentation from 2010 available now on Slideshare, is the ninth of 12 presentations I have selected to mark 20 years in Digital Preservation. The remaining two to come will be published at monthly intervals over November and December 2015.

This presentation was given as part of the KB Experts Workshop on Digital Preservation Costs, held at The Hague in the Netherlands in 2010.

Although very small in terms of budget, the KRDS projects were terrific examples of collaboration to achieve influential results and the pleasure and value of working with colleagues from many disparate fields and organisations. I’ve selected it as an example of doing great things on small budgets if you have the right people, and for its influence on subsequent work both by me (e.g. impact studies) and on the field generally. For me, in terms of personal follow-up and later projects, the costs element of KRDS has been less important than the benefits side which has led to a series of project on impact with John Houghton (more on this in the final Slideshare in December).

The KB requested a briefing document on each cost model presented at the workshop in the form of responses to their set questions. I have reproduced mine for the KRDS presentation below – it captures lots of interesting context for the slides. I have added links to the KRDS Factsheet and KRDS costs data survey to it.

THE KEEPING RESEARCH DATA SAFE MODEL

Outline:

1. General presentation of the cost model

What is the purpose of the cost model?  The KRDS model aims to support the costing of digital preservation of research datasets and assessment of the benefits of preservation. A significant proportion of its work is also focussed on identification of preservation cost data sources and methods which could support any model. It is currently primarily a set of tools and methods to construct a localised model rather than a pre-developed generic costing tool. Further information on findings from the KRDS projects is available in the KRDS Factsheet.

Who are the users? – The primary audience is research organisations in the UK but organisations in other countries and sectors can adopt parts of the model and its methodologies.

What preservation strategies does it handle? – It can accommodate any preservation strategy or service strategy (e.g. outsourcing or shared services as well as preservation in-house).

What is the target data? – Research data from the sciences, social sciences, or arts and humanities.

What time perspective does it cover? – Any time period.

2. What method is the cost model based on?

What reference is the model based on?  – The model uses OAIS with extensions and adaptations by the project team.

What financial principles is it based on? – It is modelled to adopt the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) a full economic costs (FEC) model approved by UK research funders and universities.

Which costing approach have you adopted?- We use an activity based costing approach supported by a Benefits Taxonomy for assessing benefits.

What implementation have you chosen? – N/A

3. Which challenges do you currently see in relation to cost modelling?

Special issues – General cost model challenges? –

Primarily a lack of good quality preservation cost data from a range of different types of archive and data types (see our KRDS costs data survey) which can be used to underpin and develop models.

Secondly an excessive focus on costs (rather than cost/benefits) and also sometimes a too limited focus on costs of preservation strategies rather than preservation service costs as a whole.

Occasional over-reliance on research project or start-up cost data which will not be representative of operational preservation costs.

The degree of confidence that can be placed in results from cost models. How reliable is any cost prediction for a model and how does that change over time or other variables?

4. What are the opportunities for standardisation of cost models and collaboration between projects?

Possible standardisation and alignment of cost models? – I think cost models always need to be tailored to some degree to different audiences/sectors and prospects for standardisation and alignment may be variable. Some areas e.g. digital storage costs may be more promising than others.

Collaboration? – I can see beneficial opportunities for both formal and informal partnerships between projects and organisations. There may be opportunities for European and international collaboration.

5. What are your initial comments and feedback on the draft decision tree appended below?

A decision tree could start much earlier and involve different decisions on the cost model itself e.g. scope of activities, level of detail, and sources of data.

6. Please provide a short one paragraph biography for yourself

Neil Beagrie is director of consultancy at Charles Beagrie and principal investigator for the JISC Keeping Research Data Safe project which has investigated the costs and benefits of digital preservation for research data. He is an experienced senior consultant and an internationally recognised expert with extensive experience in information management, digital preservation, and developing access to digital collections.