Science and Industry

Data Storage: Top Five Trends for 2012 from IBM (Data Preservation and Data Curation are up there!)

A very interesting presentation on Data Storage: IBM and Storage: Top Five Trends for 2012 from Steve Wojtowecz, vice president of storage software development at IBM on eWeek. Wojtowecz outlined five storage trends that will emerge in 2012: Data Preservation, Data Curation, Storage Analytics, Mass storage in Entertainment and Healthcare industries and Data Records Management (“Data Hoarders”). All major topics of interest to this blog with data preservation, data curation and even digital lives getting a mention. The article suggests “As storage becomes a key business driver in 2012, IBM officials said the industry will see new breakthroughs in storage research and business models coming from sectors such as entertainment and health care”. Worth a look.

More UK Government Funding for e-research HPC and Data Archiving

The UK Government announced this week, that in addition to the ring-fenced science budget, ‘earmarked’ capital funding of £145m for High Performance Computing and e-infrastructure subject to approval of the full business case being developed by the Research Councils.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:
“Significantly improving computing infrastructure is vital to driving growth and giving businesses the confidence to invest in the UK. It has the potential to significantly improve the design and manufacturing process, encouraging innovation across a whole range of sectors.
The investment will also be of enormous benefit to our world-class research base. It will enable universities to carry out highly sophisticated research and archive more data, keeping us at the very leading edge of science.”

Benefits from and Sustainability for Research Data Infrastructure

I’m pleased to announce the release today of the Report ‘Benefits from the Infrastructure Projects in the JISC Managing Research Data Programme‘ prepared by Charles Beagrie Ltd for the JISC.

JISC’s Managing Research Data programme has invested nearly £2M, in a strand of eight Research Data Management Infrastructure (RDMI) projects to provide the UK Higher Education sector with examples of good research data management.

The eight projects studied in the report have described a wide range of key benefits from investments in research data infrastructure including:

Ability to cite shared data (Admiral Project, University of Oxford):

Integrated thinking around research data management (IDMB Project, University of Southampton):

Enhanced data sharing and discovery (FISHnet Project, Freshwater Biological Association and King’s College London);

Research efficiency, rapid access to data (I2S2 Project, Universities of Bath/Cambridge/Southampton, Charles Beagrie and the Science and Technology Facilities Council);

Clear and accessible guidance (Incremental Project, Universities of Cambridge and Glasgow);

Improving data management plans, policies and institutional settings (MaDAM Project University of Manchester;

Cost Savings through Centralisation and Virtualisation (Sudamih Project, University of Oxford).

Our report provides an analysis and synthesis of all the benefits and metrics identified by the eight RDMI projects in their benefits case studies, the benefits and enhancements that accrued to existing tools and methodologies from them, and the emerging business cases (as of June 2011) for sustainability being built by the RDMI projects. A brief overview is available on the JISC webpage with the report itself.

KRDS Digital Preservation Benefits Analysis Toolkit and KRDS Updates now available

The KRDS-I2S2 Digital Preservation Benefits Analysis Project is pleased to announce the release of the KRDS Digital Preservation Benefits Analysis Toolkit. Development of the toolkit has been funded by JISC. The worksheets, guidance documentation and exemplar test cases can be downloaded from the project website.

The Toolkit consists of two tools: the KRDS Benefits Framework (Tool 1); and the Value-chain and Benefits Impact tool (Tool 2). Each tool consists of a detailed guide and worksheet(s). Both tools have drawn on partner case studies and previous work on benefits and impact for digital curation/preservation. This experience has provided a series of common examples of generic benefits that are employed in both tools for users to modify or add to as required.

The KRDS Benefits Framework (Tool 1) is the “entry-level” tool requiring Less experience and effort to implement and can be used as a stand-alone tool in many tasks. It can also be the starting point and provide input to the use of the Value-chain and Impact analysis.

The Value-chain and Benefits Impact analysis (Tool 2) is the more advanced tool in the Toolkit and requires more experience and effort to implement. It is likely to be most useful in a smaller sub-set of longer-term and intensive activities such as evaluation and strategic planning.

The combined Toolkit provides a very flexible set of tools, worksheets, and lists of examples of generic benefits and potential metrics. These are available for use in different combinations appropriate to needs and level of expertise.

Guides for the toolkit and each individual tool and case studies of completed examples of the worksheets provide documentation and support for your own implementation.

In addition we have updated the KRDS Factsheet (new version 2 July 2011) and the KRDS User Guide (new version 2 July 2011) on the KRDS web site. The benefits toolkit is also linked from there. For future reference please bookmark the KRDS web site as all the latest KRDS tools and materials and updates are/will be accessible from that access point.

Update on the KRDS Digital Curation/Preservation Benefits Toolkit

I’m busy preparing with project colleagues for the dissemination workshop for the JISC  Digital Preservation Benefits Analysis Tools project in London on Tuesday.

The Toolkit is nearing its final version and we are adding case studies and worked examples ready for online release at the end of this month.

For those looking for an early taster (and not attending the workshop), here is a quick preview:

The Toolkit consists of two tools: the KRDS Benefits Framework (now in public version 3); and the Value-chain and Benefits Impact tool (now in public version 2). Each tool consists of a more detailed guide and worksheet(s). Both tools have drawn on partner case studies and previous work on benefits and impact for digital curation/preservation. This experience has provided a series of common examples of generic benefits that are employed in both tools for users to modify or add to as required.

It is designed for use by a wide audience including funders, researchers and project staff, and personnel in university central services, data archives and repositories.

I think the project has moved the usability of the KRDS Benefits Framework and the Value-chain and Impact tool on immensely from their early research project roots. Hopefully both existing and new users will find the new Toolkit a big improvement and valuable in their day to day work.

We will announce its release when finalised at the end of July via various email lists and this blog.


DPC and Charles Beagrie Limited to collaborate on new Technology Watch Series

The Digital Preservation Coalition and Charles Beagrie Limited are delighted to announce a collaboration to produce 5 new DPC Technology Watch Reports. The collaboration follows a DPC call for proposals issued in December last year and selection of Charles Beagrie Limited as the preferred bidder.

The collaboration will produce a series of 5 Technology Watch Reports over the next 12 months under the general supervision of an editorial board and Neil Beagrie as principal investigator and commissioning editor. The 5 proposed reports and their authors are as follows:

  • Preserving Email, Chris Prom
  • Preserving Moving Picture and Sound, Richard Wright
  • Intellectual Property Rights for Preservation, Andrew Charlesworth
  • Digital Forensics and Preservation, Jeremy Leighton John
  • Trust in Post Cancellation Access Services, Neil Beagrie

The DPC is establishing an editorial board for the series. It will be chaired by William Kilbride, Executive Director of the DPC.

The collaboration represents an exciting new development for the DPC and Charles Beagrie Ltd and the opportunity is being taken to re-vamp the design and layout of the new series. Content outlines for individual reports will be shared with DPC members and shaped by their needs and requirements. DPC members will have a period of privileged advance access to each report prior to wider public release.

The DPC Technology Watch Report series was established in 2002 and has been one of the Coalition’s most enduring contributions to the wider digital preservation community.  They exist to provide authoritative support and foresight to those engaged with digital preservation or having to tackle digital preservation problems for the first time. These publications support members work forces, they identify disseminate and discuss best practices and they lower the barriers to participation in digital preservation.

‘Each ‘Technology Watch Report’ analyses a particular topic in digital preservation, evaluating workable solutions, and investigating new tools and techniques appropriate for different contexts,’ explained William Kilbride of the DPC.  ‘The reports are written by leaders-in-the-field and are peer-reviewed prior to publication.  The intended audience is worldwide, especially in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada.’

‘We expect that these reports will have a wide readership,’ explained Neil Beagrie, the commissioning editor.  ‘The audience includes members and non-members of the coalition; staff of commercial and public agencies; repository managers, librarians and archivists charged with managing electronic resources; senior staff and executives of intellectual property organizations in the private and public sectors; those who teach and train information scientists; as well as policy advisors requiring an advanced introduction to specific issues and researchers developing DP solutions.’

Further publicity on each report in the series will be released over the course of the next 12 months to DPC members and the wider community.  The draft outline of contents for the first report – Preserving Email – has already been compiled and will be distributed shortly.


The Benefits of Research Data Management

Projects from the JISC Managing Research Data Programme were involved in a Parallel Session at the annual JISC Conference on Tuesday this week.

Entitled ‘The benefits of more effective research data management in UK Universities’, the session explained how projects have been developing ‘Benefits Case Studies’  with support from Charles Beagrie Ltd to provide evidence of the positive effects of improvements which they have engineered.  The case studies provide significant indications of improved research efficiency through more effective research data management.  The case studies will be synthesised in a report by Neil Beagrie due for release in May.

Presentations from the parallel session are available online at:

They are best perused in the following order:

Simon Hodson, JISCMRD, Introduction
Neil Beagrie, Cost-Benefits and Business Cases Support Role
Manjula Patel and Neil Beagrie, I2S2 Project, UKOLN, University of Bath
June Finch, MaDAM Project, University of Manchester
Jonathan Tedds, HALOGEN Project, University of Leicester

A Researcher-Centric Version of the KRDS Activity Model: the I2S2 Project

The Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS) project has produced a widely used KRDS Activity Model for costing digital preservation of research data. KRDS has developed from relatively small-scale incremental projects and we recognise that there were still significant areas for future work such as the recently published (Dec 2010) KRDS User Guide. The KRDS2 final report published earlier last year outlined a number of key recommendations for future development including:

  • “Examine further development of the pre-archive phase of the KRDS2 activity model and produce versions of the model from a researcher’s perspective.”

This suggested work has now been addressed by one of the outputs from the Infrastructure for Integration in Structural Sciences (I2S2) Project funded under the Research Data Management Infrastructure strand of the JISC’s Managing Research Data Programme.

I2S2 has been using KRDS as a basis for costing and benefits analysis. One of the outputs has been an “Idealised Scientific Research Data Lifecycle Model”, which seeks to extend and adapt from a “researcher perspective”, the Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS) Activity Model, providing a model which reflects “research data management” or the digital preservation lifecycle in its broadest interpretation. It adapts KRDS from an archive-centric to a researcher-centric view by:

  • Defining and emphasising more of the activities in the research (KRDS “Pre-Archive” ) phase where research data is created;
  • Adding a “Publication” set of activities;
  • Concatenating the KRDS “Archive” phase activities in the centre of the model for simplification and presentational purposes;
  • Adding some specific local research administration activities;
  • In addition for the purposes of the project, it adds some selective detail of information flows and information objects between the activities.

This is the current version (Dec 2010) of the I2S2 Idealised Model.

Note this is an idealised model and several activities such as peer review or conduct experiment may have multiple instances or repetitions. “Documentation, Metadata, and Storage” may also  be undertaken as researcher activities independent of the archive in other instances and in the KRDS activity model. It also represents a project view as of December 2010 and may be subject to further changes.

PPT version of the I2S2 model incorporating relevant notes is available on the I2S2 project website.

The I2S2 project aims to understand and identify the requirements for a data-driven research infrastructure in the Structural Sciences.  The work is focused on the exemplar domain of Chemistry, but with a view towards inter-disciplinary application. Current work inter alia includes developing a set of tools and approaches to identify and provide indicators and metrics for the benefits arising from I2S2. This will extend work and the tools available for implementing the KRDS Benefits Taxonomy.

The partners in I2S2 are UKOLN (University of Bath), the Digital Curation Centre, University of Southampton, University of Cambridge, Science & Technology Facilities Council, and Charles Beagrie Ltd.

New User Guide Released for Keeping Research Data Safe

I am pleased to announce the release of a new User Guide from the Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS) project on the costs and benefits of digital preservation of research data. This is the second and final work of synthesis from the project. The User Guide is available for download as a PDF from here.

The KRDS User Guide has been developed to support easier assimilation of the combined work of the KRDS1 and KRDS2 projects by those wishing to implement the tools or key findings.

KRDS is a cost framework that can be used to develop and apply local cost models for research data management and long-term preservation. In addition, it includes a Benefits Taxonomy and discussion of benefits which provides a valuable starting point and framework for assessing the impact and benefits of research data management and preservation activities. Finally, KRDS has been a significant research project establishing many key “rules of thumb” for digital preservation costs and approaches to sustaining digital research data. Even those who do not wish to or cannot allocate the resources to develop local models based on KRDS are likely to benefit from its key findings and exemplars, covered in later sections of the Guide.

The Use Guide consists of 39 A4 pages with 15 illustrations (many created specifically for this Guide) and covers the following major areas:

The KRDS Costs Framework;

A Brief “How To” Guide For Life-Cycle Cost Analysis;

KRDS Benefits Analysis;

KRDS Case Studies, Costs Survey, and Factsheet;

Future Development of KRDS.

We hope the User Guide will be of value to the digital preservation and research data communities. In addition to the User Guide we have created the new KRDS webpage which provides a single point of access for the key outputs of both the KRDS1 and KRDS2 projects (including the two recent works of synthesis the KRDS User Guide and the KRDS Factsheet).

The Keeping Research Data Safe studies have been conducted by a partnership of the following institutions: Charles Beagrie Ltd, OCLC Research, the UK Data Archive, the Archaeology Data Service, the University of London Computer Centre, and the universities of Cambridge, King’s College London, Oxford and Southampton. The creation of the Guide has been funded by the JISC Managing Research Data Programme.

We welcome feedback from users of the Guide which will help enhance and update future editions.

DryadUK – supplementary data and e-journals

Charles Beagrie Limited are pleased to be partners in the DryadUK project which launched earlier this month. DryadUK is a JISC-funded project being run from the British Library and Oxford University, with assistance from NESCent, the Digital Curation Centre (DCC), ourselves, and the Research Information Network (RIN).

The project is assisting the further development of Dryad in the following ways:

Expanding Dryad

  • By establishing a UK mirror site
  • By expanding the service to include new publishers, journals and disciplines

Increasing Dryad sustainability

  • By developing a sustainable business plan
  • By establishing a framework for evaluating Dryad data usage

Adding value

  • Exploring ways to improve metadata standards for deposition, citation and annotation
  • Adding usage of DataCite dois.

For further information see the DryadUK webpages.

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