March 2008

Google Maps interface added to Charles Beagrie Website

We have just added a Google Maps “mash-up” to the Charles Beagrie website.

The Google Maps API has been used to give a world map display of our current and past clients and business partners and associates from lists in the site’s content management system. You can zoom in to parts of the map to see more congested zones such as the UK where not all map points will be visible on the world display.

There is a larger-scale version of the map display on the consultancy pages at and a small-scale version on the home page.

The aim is to give an effective visual summary of the geographical spread of our work and our business associates and partners. We hope you feel it is a useful addition to the site.

Please take a look and give us your feedback.

Digital Preservation Cost Models

I blogged back in January on the JISC Research Data Preservation Costs study and promised an update at the end of March. Well the draft final report titled ‘Keeping Research Data Safe: A Cost Model and Guidance for UK Universities’ is now with JISC and being peer-reviewed.

Its been a significant effort and I think it should be a major contribution to thinking on digital preservation cost models and costs in general: hopefully the final report will be out later this Spring. In short we have produced:

’¢ A cost framework consisting of:

o A list of key cost variables divided into economic adjustments (inflation/deflation, depreciation, and costs of capital), and service adjustments (volume and number of deposits, user services, etc);

o An activity model divided into pre-archive, archive, and support services;

o A resources template including major cost categories in TRAC ( a methodology for Full Economic Costing used by UK universities); and divided into the major phases from our activity model and by duration of activity.

Typically the activity model will help identify resources required or expended, the economic adjustments help spread and maintain these over time, and the service adjustments help identify and adjust resources to specific requirements. The resources template provides a framework to draw these elements together so that they can be implemented in a TRAC-based cost model. Normally the cost model will implement these as a spreadsheet, populated with data and adjustments agreed by the institution.

The three parts of the cost framework can be used in this way to develop and apply local cost models. The exact application may depend on the purpose of the costing which might include: identifying current costs; identifying former or future costs; or comparing costs across different collections and institutions which have used different variables. These are progressively more difficult. The model may also be used to develop a charging policy or appropriate archiving costs to be charged to projects.

In addition to the cost framework there are:

’¢ A series of case studies from Cambridge University, Kings College London, Southampton University, and the Archaeology Data Service at York University, illustrating different aspects of costs for research data within HEIs;

’¢ A cost spreadsheet based on the study developed by the Centre for e-Research Kings College London for its own forward planning and provided as a confidential supplement to its case study in the report;

’¢ Recommendations for future work and use/adaptation of software costing tools to assist implementation.

Watch this space (well blog) for a future announcement of the final report and url for the download.

first Library of Congress Digital Preservation Newsletter released

The first issue of the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Newsletter is now available.

In this issue you will find:
’¢ News about new digital preservation partnerships
’¢ Recent reports and presentations
’¢ Digital preservation tips for a general audience
’¢ An announcement about the new Director at the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.

Check for weekly updates or sign up for the RSS feed at (be sure to select ‘Digital Preservation.’ ).

UK Budget: Pricing Public Sector Information report

Buried deep in the small print of the UK Government budget statement today was the following interesting item:

“The Office of Fair Tradings (OFT) market study into the commercial use of public information highlighted important issues around access to public sector information for commercial or other re-use. The Government commissioned Cambridge University to analyse the pricing of this information. This analysis is published alongside Budget 2008. The Government will look closely at public sector information held by trading funds to distinguish more clearly what is required by Government for public tasks and ensure that this information next Spending Review the Government will ensure that information collected for public
purposes is priced so that the need for access is balanced with ensuring that customers pay a fair contribution to the cost of collecting this information in the long term. These issues will be considered in conjunction with the assessment of trading funds.”

This report with the rather catchy title “Models of Public Sector Information Provision via Trading Funds” by Prof David Newbery, Prof Lionel Bently, and Rufus Pollock from Cambridge University was published today and can be downloaded at

For those interested in the context there has been a long-running debate over pricing of data from some government agencies. The Guardian hosts a “Free Our Data” campaign blog which has a commentary on the Cambridge report and associated issues.

New ALA Library Technology Report: The Preservation of Digital Materials

The ALA has published a recent issue in its Library Technology Reports: The Preservation of Digital Materials by Priscilla Caplan, Assistant Director for Digital Library Services at the Florida Center for Library Automation.

As the series name suggests the focus is primarily digital preservation in libraries but a section on special topics also gives very brief overviews of records and archives, web-harvesting, databases, new media art, and personal collections, which may also be of interest to other audiences.

It is a brief, well-written report covering over 33 pages What is Digital Preservation, Preservation Practices, Foundations and Standards, Support for Digital Formats, Preservation Programs and Initiatives, Repository Applications, and Special Topics. It ends with a comprehensive index.

Individual copies cost $42 or are included in annual subscriptions to Library Technology Reports. For further details see ALA Publications.

Portico agreement with the National Library of the Netherlands

A recent announcement by Portico and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands (the KB), notes that they have reached an agreement for an off-line copy of the Portico e-journal archive, to be held for safekeeping by the KB.

Placing a Portico-owned copy of the archive, in a secure access- and climate-controlled facility operated by the KB is one component of the replication strategy Portico is implementing to ensure the safety and security of its e-journal archive.

The announcement is of interest on several levels. It demonstrates in a very practical way the commitment by Portico and the KB to the concept of a “Safe Places Network”; and also implementation by Portico of the concept of replication of core electronic materials for international scholarship needing to have an international element – something one can also see in the archiving policies of Elsevier and the Internet Archive.