January 2013

Webinars on Keeping Research Data and the Challenges of Decade Level Data Access and Security

Readers of the blog may be interested in three webinars on different aspects of Keeping Research Data and the Challenges of Decade Level Data Access and Security that are being made available by Arkivum, a company  specialising in long-term archiving. Each webinar is around 30 minutes in length and particularly focussed on researchers and institutions in the UK.  I will be contributing an independent view to the second of these webinars on 4th February.

The opening webinar by Matthew Addis was on 14th January but it is being re-run at 13:00 GMT on Thursday 24 January so there is a chance for people to catch it again.  You can sign up for it at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1414848611823277056 .

I listened in to that opening Webinar and thought it did a really good job of addressing the issues in a very even-handed way. It focussed on exploring the landscape of retention and access for research data in UK higher education institutions from Funding Bodies such as MRC and ESPRC, and what the drivers are from Library, IT and Research groups for keeping research data and the challenges of decade level data security. The webinar also incorporated a short element on how Arkivum’s solutions offer a way of keeping valuable research data safe, secure and accessible over extended timescales.

The second webinar at 1pm (GMT) on 4th February involving myself and Matthew Addis will be on the topic of “Long-term data management: in-house or outsource”.

A third webinar in March will focus on the real costs of long-term archiving.

I have known Matthew for quite a few years and many readers may be aware of his work on digital preservation whilst at the University of Southampton IT Innovation Centre. He is now CTO at Arkivum.

Digital Forensics and Preservation – report now publicly available

We are pleased to announce the public release of ‘Digital Forensics and Preservation’ by Jeremy Leighton John– the latest in the popular DPC Technology Watch Report series.

‘Digital forensics is associated in many people’s minds primarily with criminal investigations’, explained the author, ‘but forensic methods have emerged as an essential source of tools and approaches for digital preservation, specifically for protecting and investigating evidence from the past.’

‘There are three basic principles in digital forensics: that the evidence is acquired without altering it; that this is demonstrably so; and that analysis is conducted in an accountable and repeatable way. Digital forensic processes, hardware and software have been designed to ensure compliance with these requirements.’

‘Forensic technologies allow archivists and curators to identify confidential content, establish a proper chain of custody, transfer data without changing it and detect forgeries and lost items. They can extract metadata and content, enable efficient indexing and searching, and facilitate the management of access.’

Cal Lee, an authority on digital forensics at the University of North Carolina welcomed the report. ‘Those who know Jeremy Leighton John’s work will not be surprised that he provides a great deal of food for thought in this report.  Jeremy has been a pioneer in the application of digital forensics to archival collections, and he has thought deeply about the implications of these activities.’

The report will be especially useful to those collecting and managing personal digital archives.  The diversity of objects and intricacy of their relationships make personal digital archives highly complex. Almost anything may appear in such an archive, from poet’s drafts, astronomer’s datasets, digital workings of mathematicians, and notes of political reformers. With their diverse content, organization and ancestry, personal digital archives are the epitome of unstructured information and serve as a test bed for refining preservation techniques more generally.

This is the fourth report in the DPC Technology Watch Series to have been commissioned with Charles Beagrie Ltd as series editors: recent titles have included Preserving Email, Preserving Digital Sound and Vision, and IPR for Digital Preservation.  Four more reports are in  development: Preservation, Trust and E-Journals; Preserving Computer Aided Design; Web Archiving; and Preservation Metadata.

The series editor has been supported by an Editorial Board drawn from DPC members and peer reviewers who have commented on the text prior to release.  The Editorial Board comprises William Kilbride (Chair), Neil Beagrie (Principal Investigator and Managing Editor for the series), Janet Delve (University of Portsmouth), Sarah Higgins (Archives and Records Association), Tim Keefe (Trinity College Dublin), Andrew McHugh (University of Glasgow), Dave Thompson (Wellcome Library).

The report is available online as a PDF file at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7207/twr12-03 .