Libraries and Archives

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

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.

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.

New project to transform the user experience of social science data in Europe

We are pleased to be working with partners in the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) on a project funded by the European Commission in the framework of its Horizon2020 programme. The CESSDA SaW “Strengthening and widening the European infrastructure for social science data archives” project. After the successful launch of CESSDA in 2013, the aim is now to achieve full European coverage, to strengthen the network and to ensure sustainability of its data for the widened network.

“The CESSDA SaW project will build strength and sustainability into the CESSDA infrastructure” comments Ivana Ilijasic Versic of CESSDA. “We will begin by building on what we have already established across the data archives within our membership. The widened CESSDA network which will result from this project should become a strong infrastructure with global best practice in-built. This will translate into a greater body of work in the social sciences, in turn providing evidence for policy making at a greater scale than today”.

The project runs for two years from August 2015 and brings together partners from across Europe.

Charles Beagrie Ltd are leading task 4.6 in the project, which focuses on developing  a funding and cost-benefit advocacy toolkit for social science data archives. The toolkit being developed will draw on a range of projects and studies looking at benefits, costs, return on investment and advocacy including inter alia 4C, Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS), and a range of economic impact studies.

Charles Beagrie Ltd is leading on the development of core documents and materials for the Toolkit with support from CESSDA SaW partners for the gathering of information and user testing. A survey is currently in progress to help shape the toolkit and a set of focus groups will further refine it. The completed toolkit will be available by June 2017.

For further information and to keep up to date with the CESSDA SaW project visit: www.cessda.net or follow CESSDA on Twitter @CESSDA_Data.

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.

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

12 slideshares for Xmas: 20 years in digital preservation

I have just posted the final instalment of a personal selection of 12 presentations drawn from events and topics over the last 20 years in digital preservation, which I hope will be of interest.

They are taken from events on four different continents including the first iPres conference and cover themes such as personal archiving, research data management, e-journals, the digital preservation lifecycle model, national and institutional strategies and collaboration, costs/benefit/economic impacts of digital preservation, the establishment of the Digital Preservation Coalition, and the development of the online Digital Preservation Handbook. I hope there will be something in there for everyone.

There are accompanying blog narratives which set the presentations into context and the powerpoint presentations themselves on Slideshare. Details and web links to them are as follows:

2014 – The Value and Impact of Research Data Infrastructure (economic impact), presentation to the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG), Karlsruhe Germany    slides     narrative

2013 – Maintaining a Vision: how mandates and strategies are changing with digital content (changes and responses), keynote presentation to Screening the Future conference, London UK slides     narrative

2010 – Keeping Research Data Safe (digital preservation costs and benefits), presentation to KB Experts Workshop on Digital Preservation Costs, The Hague Netherlands          slides     narrative

2007 – Digital Preservation: Setting the Course for a Decade of Change (evolution or revolution?), keynote presentation to the Belgian Association for Documentation (ABD-BVD), Brussels Belgium              slides     narrative

2005 – Digital Preservation and Curation Summing up + Next Steps (setting curation and research agenda for2005-2015), conclusions to Warwick II Workshop, Warwick UK             slides     narrative

2005 – Plenty of Room at the Bottom? Personal Digital Libraries and Collections, keynote presentation to European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries (ECDL), Vienna Austria   slides     narrative

2004 – eScience and Digital Preservation, presentation to Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) conference, Rhode Island USA                  slides     narrative

2004 –  The JISC Continuing Access and Digital Preservation Strategy 2002-5(covering UK Higher Education sector and partners), presentation to the JISC-CNI conference, Brighton UK slides  narrative

2004 –Digital Preservation, e-journals and e-prints, presentation at private workshop 1st iPres conference, Beijing China                 slides     narrative

2004  –  The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), Its History, Programme, Rationale ,and Structure, set of 4 linked presentations to DPC Forum, London UK              slides     narrative

2001 – Preservation Management of Digital Materials (the Digital Preservation Handbook) presentation to Digital Preservation Workshop/State Library, Melbourne Australia         slides     narrative

1998 – Preserving Digital Collections: current methods and research (digital preservation lifecycle model), presentation to the Society of Archivists annual conference, Sheffield UK             slides     narrative

This is a baker’s dozen as there is a also bonus presentation from 2015 on slideshare covering the latest work on The Digital Preservation Handbook (new edition for full release in March 2016).

The background and narrative blog for this personal selection of presentations is also available.

SlideShare: The Value and Impact of Research Data Infrastructure

This slideshare, The Value and Impact of Research Data Infrastructure, was given at the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG) meeting in September 2014 held at Karlsruhe, Germany. It is the final instalment of 12 presentations I have selected to mark 20 years in Digital Preservation. It demonstrates the value of preservation and re-use of research data.

Between 2011 and 2014, Charles Beagrie Ltd and John Houghton completed three major studies on the economic value and impact of the Archaeology Data Service, the British Atmospheric Data Centre, and the Economic and Social Research Data Service, and a synthesis of the three studies. In these studies, we developed and refined qualitative and quantitative methodologies to measure the value and impact of research data and associated services and tools.

This combination of methods has broken new ground in approaches to assessing the value and impact of major research data services and provided a strong evidence base and compelling outcomes.  In a recent review of the international state of the art as regards the relationships between large-scale science facilities and innovation performance, our work was one of 3 studies highlighted to UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills as being particularly good examples of ‘good practice’ in the measurement of economic impacts.

The presentation focuses on these studies, with the study of the Archaeology Data Service given as a detailed example. It has a UK Focus but the research and lessons are international. These studies are also three of the few quantitative studies of the value and impact of digital preservation currently available.

A fourth study on the value and impact of the EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute has since been completed by Charles Beagrie Ltd and John Houghton and should be available in 2016.

New Resources page on Charles Beagrie Website

We have produced a new resources pages on our website describing all the outputs we have produced which are publicly available and accessible on open access to students and practitioners interested in our work. Areas described include Cost/Benefit, Impact, Technology Watch, Digital Preservation Policies and Strategies. Conference presentations, and other digital preservation resources. These are linked either to outputs on our website or on the websites of clients and partners. An extract of the page is shown below.

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