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Public Release of New PDF/A Technology Watch Report

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and Charles Beagrie Ltd have released Preservation with PDF/A by Betsy Fanning, the latest in their series of Technology Watch Reports to the public. This is now the 14th Technology Watch Report produced over the last 5 years by Charles Beagrie Ltd and the DPC. It provides a comprehensive review of the PDF/A standard and its use.

An update to the original Technology Watch Report, Preserving the Data Explosion: Using PDF published in 2008, the report begins with a history of the PDF/A standard and its development, before moving on to an examination of conformance levels, validation methods and considerations to be made when choosing to use PDF/A for long-term preservation.

“Conformance to the standard is not a simple ‘yes/no’ binary state, in part because there are now four variants of PDF/A,” explains author Betsy Fanning. “One question that is often asked is: ’When should I use PDF/A, and which version should I use?’ This report attempts to answer that question and to provide some guidance about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with each.”

Preservation with PDF/A examines each of the four variants and lays out the conditions under which it might be beneficial to use PDF/A-3 rather than PDF/A-1, and vice versa, before presenting a range of practical considerations to make the most effective use of the file format.

Neil Beagrie, managing editor of the Technology Watch Report series on behalf of the DPC, added “the choice of file format is a component of a wider technical and organizational infrastructure which comprises a comprehensive digital preservation solution. This report will make interesting reading for anyone putting together their digital preservation strategy.”

Note the new style cover design!

Read ‘Preservation with PDF/A’ now

15th anniversary for Charles Beagrie Ltd

Today is the 15th anniversary of the founding of Charles Beagrie Ltd by myself and Daphne. Our thanks to our associates, partners, and clients for making the last 15 years enjoyable and productive ones stretching across many different disciplines and sectors!

Digital Preservation Handbook wins IRMS Innovation of the Year Award

 

The Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) has recognised the re-imagined and revised 2nd edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook as its Innovation of the Year.

Speaking after the Awards ceremony, IRMS Chair Scott Sammons praised the Handbook, saying “This fantastic resource has had such positive feedback from our members. It takes the traditional idea of an information handbook and repackages it to offer essentially useful information in a way that is simple, easy to understand and easy to act upon. It ticks all the boxes.”

The 2nd edition of Digital Preservation Handbook provides an authoritative and practical guide to the complex topic of digital preservation. The Digital Preservation Coalition has hosted and maintained the Digital Preservation Handbook since 2002. Supported by a group of external funders, the new edition of the handbook was developed by an expert community of international authors, under the editorship of Neil Beagrie of Charles Beagrie Ltd, in a series of innovative ‘booksprints,’ ensuring it spoke to as wide an audience as possible whilst retaining a deep understanding of the topics covered.

Neil noted “The online DP Handbook first went live in May 2002. This award is a wonderful way to recognise the ambition and vision of the DPC in instigating this revision, the innovation and effort involved in the Handbook’s re-design and re-launch last year, and the Handbook’s longstanding contribution to the profession and digital preservation practice. Thanks to all who made the second edition so successful: William and staff at the DPC, the funding sponsors, contributors (content, booksprints, peer review, and advisory board), Daphne at Charles Beagrie Ltd for design, layout and proof-reading, and Digital Bewaring for wonderful images.”

Not so much a handbook now, a new responsive website provides free-of-charge open access to case studies, videos and peer-reviewed online content which captures the state of the art in managing data for the long-term. It includes interactive functions, allowing readers to add comments and suggest examples and updates, while a completely new section called ‘Getting Started in Digital Preservation’ supports the DPC’s programme of introductory workshops.

Member of the editorial board for the DPC, Sharon McMeekin says “this is the award the matters most to us. It is a resource created by the digital preservation community for the digital preservation community. We couldn’t be more thrilled that it has been recognised as the great resource it is by the IRMS and its members.”

The 2nd edition of the Handbook was developed and delivered by a research consortium of the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and Charles Beagrie Ltd. The DPC helps members to deliver resilient long-term access to digital content and services, helping them to derive enduring value from digital collections. The Coalition also raises awareness of the attendant strategic, cultural and technological challenges and supports members through advocacy, workforce development, capacity-building and partnership.

The Cost-Benefit Advocacy Toolkit: useful tools for research data and digital preservation

We are pleased to announce that the Cost-Benefit Advocacy Toolkit has been published by Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) and is available for you to use.

The Toolkit will be of interest to a wide audience in research data management and digital preservation.

It was developed within the CESSDA SaW project, which aims to strengthen and widen the CESSDA network.

You can access the Toolkit and download any components from here.
The Toolkit is comprised of:

  • A User Guide;
  • Three Factsheets (Benefits, Costs, and Return on Investment);
  • Four Case Studies from Social Science Data Archives (ADP in Slovenia, FSD in Finland, LiDA in Lithuania, and UKDS in the UK);
  • Two Worksheets (the Archive Development Canvas, and the Benefits Summary for a Data Archive);
  • A Deliverable Report describing how the toolkit was developed.

In addition, the Toolkit describes and links to a number of pre-existing external tools and relevant studies.

The major use for the Toolkit will be supporting funding and business cases but elements are likely to be relevant in advocacy to other groups or in supporting broader operational tasks.

Some feedback on the draft Toolkit from attendees at our International Digital Curation Conference 2017 workshop earlier this year included:

“This was one of the most relevant and important workshops I have ever attended in my 14 years of professional experience in this library profession. Since I am interacting with senior stakeholders (e.g. assistant vice-presidents, Deans, Chairs, & associate Deans etc.), cost-benefit and ROI are very important to the development of research data services.”

“The worksheets are really useful, and very relevant to be used at an institutional level.”

“Highly relevant and good content.”

The CESSDA SaW Project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the agreement No.674939.

The development of the Toolkit was led by Charles Beagrie Ltd, with support from the Slovenian Social Science Data Archive (ADP), the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD), the Lithuanian Social Science Data Archive (LiDA), the University of Tartu in Estonia (UTARTU), and the UK Data Service (UKDS).

You can find out more about CESSDA SaW here.

IDCC Conference Workshop Feb 2017

Demonstrating the Value and Impact of Research Data Services

Monday pm 20th February 2017

Workshop organisers: Neil Beagrie (Charles Beagrie Ltd) and Mike Priddy (DANS) and the Consortium of European Social Science Archives (CESSDA).

Description: At this half-day workshop attendees, will learn from Neil Beagrie and Mike Priddy about how to apply the Cost-Benefit Advocacy Toolkit, the Capability Development Model, and the Archive Development Canvas (a variant of the Business Model Canvas) developed by the CESSDA Strengthening and Widening Project (CESSDA-SaW). Although the CESSDA-SaW project work focuses on the social sciences, core elements are multi-disciplinary and relevant to a wide range of organisations at IDCC involved in development, funding, and advocacy for research data infrastructures and open access for data.

The workshop is free to attend but places are limited so early booking is advised.

CESSDA-SaW is a project funded by the Horizon 2020 programme. Its principal objective is to develop the maturity of data archive services that are aspiring to be, or are a part of the CESSDA community of social science data archives in a coherent and deliberate way towards the vision of a comprehensive, distributed and integrated social science data research infrastructure, facilitating access to social science data resources for researchers regardless of the location of either researcher or data. As part of the project, we have been developing the Cost-Benefit Advocacy Toolkit, the Capability Development Model, and the Archive Development Canvas to assist data archive services across Europe.

The broad outline for the workshop will be as follows:

  • Brief introduction to the CESSDA-SaW project
  • Presentation and discussion of the Cost-Benefit Advocacy Toolkit
  • Presentation and discussion of the Capability Development Model
  • Panel presentation and discussion – Bringing it together: The Archive Development Canvas
  • Breakout groups with hands-on opportunities to use and discuss the tools we have presented

The expected learning outcomes from the workshop are that all attendees will:

  • Understand the purpose of CESSDA-SaW, the Toolkit, Capability Development Model, and the Archive Development Canvas;
  • Understand what is specific to social science, to different funding regimes, or maturity of services;
  • Know the main findings from the desk research on the Toolkit and key lessons learnt;
  • Understand economic approaches such as Return on Investment, other key arguments for Value, how it has been calculated, and why the counter-factual and “cost of inaction” are important;
  • Understand how to use the Capability Development Model to undertake a self-assessment
  • Know what outputs will be available from CESSDA-SaW and how they might use them.

To register for the workshop see http://www.dcc.ac.uk/events/idcc17/workshops

If you are too late to book, I will maintain a short reserve list. Please contact me if you wish to be added to the list. Should anyone drop out and a place become available it will be offered to the reserves.

2016 SMPTE Archival Technology Medal Award winner announced

Congratulations to Daniel Teruggi who will receive the 2016 SMPTE Archival Technology Medal Award for his leadership of the Presto European Commission Research and Innovation Projects and his contributions to the preservation of the world’s audiovisual cultural heritage. The Presto projects have involved hundreds of scientists and researchers from dozens of academic and commercial organisations in the investigations of archival technology for audio-visual heritage collections and the development of new tools and technologies for archival preservation and access.

The SMPTE Archival Technology Medal Award will be presented to Daniel on Monday 24th October at the SMPTE 2016 Honors & Awards Ceremony in Hollywood.

For the full list of 2016 SMPTE honors and awards recipients see the SMPTE press release.

Presentation on the Value and Impact of Social Science Data Archives and the CESSDA SaW Toolkit

A set of 38 slides now on slideshare used for the Focus Group Cost-Benefit Funding Advocacy Program (Task 4.6) session at the CESSDA Saw Workshop in The Hague 16/17 June 2016.

This was an interactive focus group repeated over two parallel sessions.  It was aimed at European social science data archive staff with responsibility for bidding for funding or promotion and advocacy of the archive to key stakeholders.  The presentation covers some of the key ideas on how the CESSDA Saw funding advocacy toolkit will be structured, its components, and key facts and approaches it will include.

We expect the cost-benefit funding advocacy toolkit under development to support the negotiation with ministries and funding organisations across Europe.

The results of the toolkit user requirements survey with responses from 24 European social science archives were presented and discussed, together with suggested approaches and content for the toolkit. 22 people attended the two sessions overall, representing a mix of countries at different stages on the development path for social science archives (none, new/emerging, mature). There was strong interest and support for the emerging toolkit together with open discussion of how it can be applied in the specific political and administrative context of different European countries.

The slide set presented here is an extended version including a number of hidden background/ reference slides not used in the presentation. The focus group is one of a series guiding further development of the toolkit and its adoption being given to either: (a) social science data archive staff or (b) their key stakeholders (senior management in their universities, research councils and academies, funding ministries, national statistics offices, research users and depositors).

CESSDA is the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives. The CESSDA SaW project “Strengthening and widening the European infrastructure for social science data archives” is funded by the European Commission as part of its Horizon2020 programme.

Official launch of Digital Preservation Handbook 2nd Edition

It was terrific to see so many DPC colleagues and Handbook contributors at the official launch of the 2nd edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook in York last night.

All new functionality and content is now live and ready for you to use.

Really pleased to see it has been  so well received – some early feedback so far:

“Fantastic to see 2nd ed of the #dpc #digitalpreservation handbook released – a great practical resource reborn: http://handbook.dpconline.org “ Adrian Brown UK Parliamentary Archives [twitter]

“Overall the improvements to the Handbook make it, in my opinion, one of the more useful and flexible tools for identifying, understanding and getting to grips with practical approaches to the varying challenges of digital preservation. It uses approachable language, clear terminology and provides useful links to case studies and further reading which will be of benefit to students and practitioners alike.” Stefanie Davidson West Yorkshire Archive Service [peer review]

Take a look yourself, bookmark the Handbook and dip in to the resources and use them as work requires. It has an open licence and all images are creative commons by attribution so active re-use is encouraged.

Thanks to all the funding sponsors, contributors (content, booksprints, peer review, and advisory), and Digital Bewaring for wonderful images.

Preserving Transactional Data Report now publicly available

Charles Beagrie Ltd, the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), and the UK Data Service are delighted to announce the public release of the latest DPC Technology Watch Report ‘Preserving Transactional Data’ by the DPC’s Sara Day Thomson. This report is peer-reviewed and available on open access. It tackles the requirements for preserving transactional data and the accompanying challenges facing companies and institutions that aim to re-use these data for analysis or research, presenting the issues and strategies which emphasize preservation practices that facilitate re-use and reproducibility.

This newest addition to the popular 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 scale and velocity of data is pushing current methods and tools for preserving databases to their limits.’ explains author Sara Day Thomson. ‘These data – from government data to environmental data – possess significant characteristics that require much wider approaches to preservation.’

The report identifies a number of these approaches which consider an emergence of new uses for archived forms of these data. Through a range of use cases – examples of transactional data – the report describes the characteristics and difficulties of these ‘big’ data for long-term access.

Neil Beagrie, managing editor of the Technology Watch Report series on behalf of the DPC, added that the paper ‘looks at overarching trends to demonstrate potential solutions for maintaining these data in a secure environment based on end user needs and regulatory frameworks. It should be of huge interest to DPC members, and particularly those working within the business community under regulatory constraints.’

Download ‘Preserving Transactional Data’ now at http://dx.doi.org/10.7207/twr16-02

Introducing the Digital Preservation Handbook webinar 08/06/2016 (14:00 15:00 GMT)

I will be giving a DPC member webinar on Weds 8th June 2-3pm GMT on the new Digital Preservation Handbook. Looking forward to demonstrating the new functionality and explaining how we got there!

For further details see the DPC events page for the webinar.

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