Impact Survey for the European Bioinformatics Institute


Earlier this week we launched a new impact survey for the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). This survey will revisit and building on our impact work with EMBL-EBI five years ago.

For over 25 years, EMBL-EBI has been a portal to the world’s biological data, working to serve the ever-growing, wonderfully diverse life science community. If open data from EMBL-EBI have ever saved you 15 minutes⏱️, this is your chance to return the favour. Please fill in EMBL-EBI’s impact survey to help estimate the value of their resources. Closes 31 March.

Introducing the Digital Preservation Handbook webinar 08/06/2016 (14:00 15:00 GMT)

I will be giving a DPC member webinar on Weds 8th June 2-3pm GMT on the new Digital Preservation Handbook. Looking forward to demonstrating the new functionality and explaining how we got there!

For further details see the DPC events page for the webinar.

TNA Webinar on 27 March: Cloud Storage and Digital Preservation Case Studies

How can cloud storage help address growing digital preservation challenges? A webinar will take place from 13.00-14.00 GMT on Friday 27 March to discuss the five case studies that accompany The National Archives’ cloud storage and digital preservation guidance compiled by Charles Beagrie Ltd.

The webinar is an opportunity to learn more about  experience with digital preservation, the Cloud, and digital storage at the Archives and Records Council Wales Digital Preservation Working Group, Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, Dorset History Centre, and Tate Gallery, that are the subjects of the case studies and to put your questions to the staff involved.

Please register for the event in advance, as numbers will be limited. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join the webinar.

If you would like to submit questions for the webinar in advance, please email them to Neil Beagrie at neil@beagrie.com.

This is the 2nd webinar of two on the topic of Cloud Storage and Digital Preservation organised by the TNA. The first webinar from 27 May 2014 on The National Archives’ cloud storage and digital preservation guidance provides an introduction to the topic and key issues. This is available for re-play on the TNA website  and is the precursor to the 2nd webinar in the series.

20 Years in Digital Preservation: presentations on the Digital Preservation Coalition June 2004 (UK)

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) Slide Set 2004 available now on Slideshare is the third of 12 conference presentations I have selected to mark 20 years in Digital Preservation. The remainder will be published at monthly intervals over 2015.

The DPC was founded during 2001-2002 commencing with a summit in January 2001, and culminating with its formal incorporation as a not-for-profit company with 7 members and a public launch at the House of Commons in February 2002. It has since grown to more than fifty members. Ably steered since by a succession of staff and board members, it has exceeded the hopes of its founding members and is very worthy of inclusion in this top 12. This slide set is a nice visual snapshot of the DPC at a key time in its development.

The slide set consists of four presentations dating from June 2004 (but with origins in earlier versions from January 2001) that have been combined here: the History of the DPC, Rationale for the DPC, Structure of the DPC, and Programme of Activities. They formed a set of DPC member resources (in the then DPC colours and Powerpoint template) dating from June 2004. However their origins are much earlier than that –elements date from the key first Digital Preservation Summit for the DPC in January 2001 with subsequent updates. There is a background briefing and a report of proceedings of that summit available on the DPC Website.

20 Years in Digital Preservation: 1998 presentation to the Society of Archivists annual conference, Sheffield UK

Preserving Digital Collections: current methods and research available now on Slideshare is the first of 12 conference presentations I have selected to mark 20 years in Digital Preservation. The remainder will be published at monthly intervals over 2015.

This is the earliest surviving presentation in my personal archive but it made the cut for selection because as far as I am aware, it presented the first advocacy of a lifecycle approach to digital preservation (as published in A Strategic Framework for Creating and Preserving Digital Resources).  As such it was an important influence and framework for Tony Hendley’s 1998 publication Comparison of Methods & Costs of Digital Preservation (and subsequent approaches to digital preservation lifecycle costs by the LIFE and KRDS projects) as well as later life-cycle approaches such as the DCC Curation Lifecyle Model.

An important component of the strategic framework was pre-emptive action prior to ingest – as reflected in the work on the digital collections policy and the “Guides to Good Practice” for data creators of the then recently established (but now ceased at least as an umbrella organisation) Arts and Humanities Data Service.

The presentation largely reflects the main sections of A Strategic Framework for Creating and Preserving Digital Resources study authored by myself (then responsible for Collection and Standards Development at the AHDS) and Dan Greenstein (then Director at AHDS). The study was part of a programme of digital preservation studies funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee, following a workshop on the Long-term Preservation of Electronic Materials held at Warwick in November 1995.

Salisbury one of top ten cities in the world to visit in 2015

Civic pride this morning as Lonely Planet voted Salisbury one of the top ten cities in the world to visit in 2015.

It is a good place for Charles Beagrie Ltd to be based too!

New Book on Research Data Management available for pre-order

Purdue University Press is about to release a new book titled Research Data Management: Practical Strategies for Information Professionals, edited by Joyce Ray.

Part 5 of the book  “What to Measure? Toward Metrics for Research Data Management” is co-authored by Neil Beagrie, John Houghton, Angus Whyte, and Laura Molloy and draws on work completed for the Jisc Research Data Management Programme, Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS), and recent economic impact and value studies of three UK research data centres.

More detailed information on the table of contents, how to order the full volume (available as either a printed book or an e-book), and a wide range of very positive reviews, are available from the Purdue University Website.


Public Release of New ‘Preserving Computer Aided Design (CAD)’ DPC Technology Watch Report

Charles Beagrie Ltd and The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) are delighted to announce the public release of  the latest in the series of topical Technology Watch Reports, Preserving Computer-Aided Design (CAD). Written by Alex Ball, and published electronically, this report provides a comprehensive overview of the development of CAD technologies, the threat caused by its own innovative application and its vendors’ drive to add ever more features which can render valuable and strategically vital information unusable.

A specialist in digital curation at the Digital Curation Centre and UKOLN at the University of Bath, Alex writes ‘CAD is an area of constant innovation…, resulting in CAD systems that are ephemeral and largely incompatible with each other.’ The report examines the key standards, techniques and technologies developed in an attempt to slow the seemingly inevitable obsolescence associated with native CAD formats.

Having outlined some of the critical issues surrounding CAD preservation, as well as some of the potential solutions, Alex reminds us that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to the problem. He urges anyone with an interest in the long term viability of CAD data to ‘consider an advocacy programme which raises awareness of the importance of standard formats and high quality format migration,’ with a view to providing greater interoperability and better support for CAD users.

Dr Ray Moore of the Archaeological Data Service (ADS) explains that ‘within archaeological practice CAD continues to play an important role, and this report provides useful background information that augments the recently updated Guides to Good Practice produced by ADS and Digital Antiquity.’ He elaborates, stating that ‘the report proves a useful starting point for those wishing to understand and develop preservation strategies and compliments subject specific guidelines.’

UK Principal Technical Expert in long term preservation for the aerospace sector, Sean Barker goes further, calling the report ‘compulsory reading for anyone with CAD data that they expect to last more than ten years.’

The report is primarily aimed at those responsible for managing repositories with CAD content, but will also appeal to creators of CAD content who want to make their models more amenable to preservation.

The report is published by the DPC in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd  and with Neil Beagrie as Principal Investigator and managing editor of the series.

Read Alex Ball’s report ‘Preserving Computer-Aided Design (CAD)’ by downloading from the DPC website now: http://dx.doi.org/10.7207/twr13-02

Assessing the Economic Impact of Digital Preservation and Data Curation

We are pleased to announce that the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK has published the report of the Economic Impact Evaluation of the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) to coincide with the launch of the new UK Data Service that succeeds it.

The ESDS has its origins in the UK Data Archive established over 40 years ago and this one of the longest standing research data archives and proponents of digital preservation in the World. The impact evaluation therefore may be of interest to the digital preservation and data curation communities beyond the social sciences and economics, particularly as quantitative as well as qualitative evidence of impact in our fields is still relatively rare.

The Economic Impact Evaluation of the Economic and Social Data Service report (PDF file) was produced by Charles Beagrie Ltd and the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) Victoria University and was authored by Neil Beagrie, John Houghton, Anna Palaiologk and Peter Williams. It combines approaches for qualitative and quantitative assessment of impact drawing on methodologies from Keeping Research Data Safe and more generally from economics and the social sciences.

An extract from the ESRC/ESDS press release of 24 July announcing the UK Data Service is as follows:

Continuing access to the most valuable collection of social and economic data in the UK has been secured with a £17 million investment over five years for the UK Data Service. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the new service is structured to support researchers in academia, business, third sector and all levels of government.

The new service, starting on 1 October 2012, will integrate the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), the Census Programme, the Secure Data Service and other elements of the data service infrastructure currently provided by the ESRC, including the UK Data Archive.

The integration follows an economic evaluation of ESDS, which reveals that for every pound currently invested in data and infrastructure, the service returns £5.40 in net economic value to users and other stakeholders.

The UK Data Service will provide a unified point of access to the extensive range of high quality economic and social data, including valuable census data. It is designed to provide seamless access and support to meet the current and future research demands of both academic and non-academic users, and to help them maximise the impact of their work.

“The UK Data Service represents a significant step forward in our strategy,” says ESRC’s Chief Executive, Professor Paul Boyle. “As data are the lifeblood of research, our aim is to consolidate resources in a way that expands both the reach and impact of these vital investments. It will become a cornerstone for UK research; the place to go for high quality data and support.”

“Between our services we have an impressive collection of rich research data,” says Dr Matthew Woollard, director of the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) and the UK Data Archive. “We are dedicated to the reuse, sharing and archiving of data because we know the effect it can have on the wider society. Together, we look forward to becoming the UK Data Service so we can continue to build on these excellent data and services to generate even more impact.”

The full press release can be accessed here.

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

For all those who couldn’t be there – Happy [Pagan] New Year!

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