February 2016

Digital Preservation Handbook Update February 2016

Originally published in 2001 as a paper edition, ‘Preservation and Management of Digital Materials: a Handbook’ was the first attempt in the UK to synthesise the diverse and burgeoning sources of advice on digital preservation.  Demand was so great that in 2002, a free online edition of the Handbook was published by the newly established Digital Preservation Coalition.

After more than a decade, in which digital preservation has been transformed, the Handbook remains among the most heavily used area of the DPC website.

Funders and organisations are collaborating on re-designing, expanding and updating the Handbook so it can continue to grow as a major open-access resource for digital preservation. The DPC and Charles Beagrie Ltd have been engaged on a major re-working of the Digital Preservation Handbook for release as a new edition over 2015/2016. The National Archives (our Gold Sponsor) working together with other stakeholders including Jisc, the British Library, and The Archives and Records Association (our Silver Sponsors), and the National Records of Scotland (our Bronze Sponsor) is supporting the Digital Preservation Coalition in updating and revamping the Handbook. Many individuals and organisations are also contributing to this work through book sprints, peer review, project and advisory boards.

The revision, guided by the user feedback and consultation (see Report on the Preparatory User Consultation on the 2nd Edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook), is modular and being undertaken over a two year period to March 2016.

We have provided updates at regular intervals to inform the community on progress with the project and with this final February update we are delighted to announce a number of key developments.


Publication Schedule

The 2nd edition of the Handbook had a partial “soft launch” in October 2015 and approximately 2/3rds is online and publicity accessible at http://www.dpconline.org/advice/preservationhandbook

This partial release will be further enhanced by additional functionality when a new platform for the website focused on ‘responsive design’ is brought on stream by the DPC in 2016. This will provide an updated design and improved user experience on mobile and tablet devices, compared to the current site templates that are optimised for viewing on a desktop screen. We will also add the facility to generate PDFs. In the interim some functionality and content will remain “works in progress” but the community have gained early access to a significant new resource.

The remaining 14 sections to complete the Handbook have now been written, edited and are in peer review (see Handbook contents page for coming soon sections). We are aiming to complete this work and revise content for publication by the end of March 2016. The Handbook is now live so we will need to close and update section by section for these 14 remaining updates, hopefully in the final week of March and/or early April 2016. Watch this space for future announcements!

NRS joins funding group

The Digital Preservation Coalition was delighted to announce this month that The National Records of Scotland (NRS) had come on board as a ‘Bronze Sponsor’ for the eagerly anticipated second edition of the ‘Digital Preservation Handbook’. As of February 2016, with the addition of the NRS we have raised 93% of estimated funding required for the Handbook revision. We have prioritised content creation, scaled back some events, and adjusted budgets to ensure completion within a very tight funding profile.

Slideshare from Handbook Workshop at DCDC15

A workshop on the Digital Preservation Handbook was run at the DCDC15 conference in early October. Powerpoint slides from the Handbook presentation are now available on Slideshare. They provide a detailed overview of the new edition Handbook and work in progress. To date, there have been over 2,000 views of the slides.

European Bioinformatics Institute economic impact slideshare

A short set of 4 powerpoint slides summarising the findings on the economic impact of the European Bioinformatics Institute with extensive accompanying slides notes, all CC-BY licensed, have been placed on Slideshare.

The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL- EBI), located on the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, UK, manages public life-science data on a very large scale, making a rich resource of information freely available to the global life science community. EMBL-EBI is one of a handful of organisations in the world involved in global efforts to exchange information, set standards, develop new methods, and curate complex genome information.

We published a full report this week with the results of a quantitative and qualitative study of the Institute, examining the value and impact of its work. Our focus is the economic impact and can be seen as complementary to traditional academic measures, such as citation counts.

The summary slides show the quantitative economic approaches used included: estimates of access and use value, contingent valuation using stated preference techniques, an activity-costing approach to estimating the efficiency impacts of EMBL-EBI data and services, and a macro-economic approach that seeks to explore the impacts of EMBL-EBI use on returns to investment in research. These approaches allowed us to develop a picture, beginning with estimates of minimum direct values for the EMBL-EBI’s user community and moving progressively toward approaches that measure wider social and economic value.

New Technology Watch report: Preserving Social Media

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and Charles Beagrie Ltd, with the UK Data Service, release the latest in their series of Technology Watch Reports today.

Preserving Social Media  by Sara Day Thomson of the DPC, provides guidance for researchers wanting to access social media for research purposes, the institutions who support them, and all organisations with a need to preserve social media data.

The report describes the landscape of archiving social media, identifying the challenges associated with this task, and just some of the strategies which might be adopted in attempting to provide long-term access to such voluminous and unwieldy content.

This newest addition to the 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 current ownership framework around social media data is very restrictive-mostly because of platform terms of service and developer agreements as well as the exclusive access of commercial data resellers,’ explains author Sara Day Thomson. ‘However, a number of strategies and case studies provide useful and legal avenues for ensuring long-term access to this valuable content.’

The report lays out a number of approaches to the preservation of social media data-a valuable resource currently at relatively high risk of disappearance if not actively addressed. For both small and large scale needs, this report applies methods to curate and archive user-generated content captured through platforms APIs. Many of these methods derive from the work of a handful of organisations at the forefront of this new field. Though the report addresses a number of significant challenges, it focuses on new developments and growing motivation across disciples to ensure that future generations have access to social media created today.

The preservation of social media has a wide appeal and this report is likely to be of interest not only to DPC members, but many organisations throughout the digital preservation community who face the challenge of keeping user generated content through social media accessible in the future.

‘Preserving Social Media’ is the latest in the series of popular DPC Technology Watch Reports which support the Digital Preservation Coalition’s objectives and provide advice on how to manage high-value and vulnerable digital resources beyond the limits of technological obsolescence.

New report: The Value and Impact of the European Bioinformatics Institute

We are pleased to announce a new report: The Value and Impact of the European Bioinformatics Institute.

In 2015, Charles Beagrie Ltd  was commissioned by the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), to study and analyse its economic and social impact.

The EMBL- EBI, located on the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, near Cambridge in the UK, manages public life science data on a very large scale, making a rich resource of genome information freely available to the global life science community.

The full report published today presents the results of the quantitative and qualitative study of the Institute, examining the value and impact of its work. The report highlights key findings, including that EMBL-EBI data and services made commercial and academic R&D significantly more efficient. This benefit to users and their funders is estimated, at a minimum, to be worth £1 billion per annum worldwide – equivalent to more than 20 times the direct operational cost of EMBL-EBI.

A press release with further information is available on the EMBL-EBI website at http://www.ebi.ac.uk/about/news/press-releases/value-and-impact-of-the-european-bioinformatics-institute

The Full Report is available online in printable format at http://www.beagrie.com/EBI-impact-report.pdf

A short Executive Summary version of the report is available online in printable format at http://www.beagrie.com/EBI-impact-summary.pdf