October 2009

Keeping Research Data Safe2 Survey exemplar added to project webpage

The completed response from the eCrystals repository at the University of Southampton to the KRDS2 Survey has been added to the project webpage.

So far around 12 organisations from the UK and internationally have responded to the Survey. The eCystals response has been added to the project webpage as an exemplar for those still considering a response and for anyone interested in the information the Survey will contain.

Further information on the KRDS2 Survey are contained in an earlier blog posting on the Survey and on the project webpage.  KRDS2 invite you to contribute to the Survey if you have research datasets and associated cost information that you feel may be of interest to the study.

We anticipate that no organisation will have complete information on costs but most will have cost information in some areas. The aim of the survey is to compile an overview of what preservation cost information is collected.

The Survey proforma is available to download as an Acrobat form (requires Adobe Reader 8+ installed) or a Word form (requires Microsoft Word installed). The Survey proforma is available as a single main questionnaire or alternatively if you have multiple cost datasets you can complete a separate organisational cover sheet and multiple collection details as required. It should take less than 30 minutes to complete and KRDS2 is seeking responses (to info@beagrie.com) by the end of October 2009.

Digital AfterLife

The implications of the emerging information society, what it means for digital preservation, and its impact on individuals have always been personal interests. These interests featured in the article “Plenty of Room at the Bottom? Personal Digital Libraries and Collections” a few years ago. One aspect that article touched on was the issues of “digital estates” and how they would be dealt with in future. At the time I speculated:

“It does not seem too far-fetched to suggest that in time we may see the emergence of “digital executors” with access to secure digital safe-deposit boxes storing passwords and access rights.”

So yesterday’s article in the Guardian newspaper¬† on Preparing for the digital after life struck a chord. The article addresses how should we deal with web users’ Facebook, PayPal and other accounts when they log off for good? Amongst other things it mentions a number of emerging services:

“After setting up an account with Legacy Locker, users can upload login details for digital assets and specify who will receive them posthumously. AssetLock offers a similar “electronic safe deposit box”, while Slightly Morbid allows members to send an email from beyond, giving them the ultimate final word. Deathswitch is an automated system that prompts users for their password on a regular basis. If it has not been received after several prompts, the system deduces the user is “dead or critically disabled” and messages are sent to pre-selected recipients.”

Fascinating stuff but I can think of several¬† people with overfull mailboxes who had better not apply for the Deathswitch service…