Retirement from Consultancy

After 20 years of consulting via Charles Beagrie Ltd, Neil and Daphne retired at the end of March 2022. All of you will know that working in digital preservation and research data management is as much about the great people as the digits and data – we feel truly privileged to have worked with so many talented and dedicated professionals either as clients, associates and partners, or colleagues. Thank you all for making our careers interesting and fun as well as work.

You may know that we have been working part-time for a few years as we transitioned to retirement. Neil is looking forward to having even more time for archaeology, C20th architecture + art and design, cycling (Belgium with friends in September) and walking (Skye in April), beer, and his other interests. He will retain some professional interest in digital preservation and research data management as a Commissioner for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) and also maintain his active involvement with the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Daphne will be sharing some of these activities, and also focusing on Art (image credits!). Finally, at the risk of sounding like disgraced politicians, we are also looking forward to spending more time with our family!

The Charles Beagrie website will remain available for the foreseeable future although it will not be updated once one or two publications are added over the year. The site is archived by the Internet Archive and the UK Web Archive and re-directs will be put in place should the site be taken down or re-purposed at a later date.

Research Data Management in the University of Oxford

During last year it was a pleasure for us to work with colleagues at Research Consulting and the University on a review of research data management (RDM) services across the University of Oxford.

A case study of that review has now been published as an open-access article by Insights the journal of UKSG.

The case study outlines the review of RDM services carried out at the University of Oxford in partnership with university staff between November 2019 and November 2020. It aims to describe and discuss the processes in undertaking a university-wide review of services supporting RDM and developing a future road map for them, with a strong emphasis on the design processes, methodological approaches and infographics used. The future road map developed is a live document, which the consulting team handed over to the University at the end of the consultation process. It provides a suggested RDM action plan for the University that will continue to evolve and be iterated in the light of additional internal costings, available resources and reprioritization in the budget cycle for each academic year.

It is hoped that the contents of this case study will be useful to other research-intensive universities with an interest in developing and planning RDM services to support their researchers.

New Report on the Value and Impact of Open Data

We are delighted to say that our latest report is now publicly available and free to download from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). “Data-driven discovery: the value and impact of EMBL-EBI managed data resources” covers 44 open data resources in the life sciences managed by EMBL-EBI.

It is the largest assessment of its type and the work is the culmination of some 10 years of studies by Neil Beagrie and John Houghton assessing the value and impact of open research data. More than 4,900 researchers participated in the study survey, making it one of the largest recent surveys covering open data and open research.

The latest impact assessment was done in 2020-21 and provides a successive snapshot in time after a similar report for EMBL-EBI in 2015-6.

The key takeaway messages of the new report are:

  • Significant increase in users (more than double) and their intensity of use since 2015-16;
  • Major increases across all measures of value and impact since 2015-16;
  • We found that EMBL-EBI managed data resources present exceptional value for money in terms of the value returned and impact compared to the costs of running them.

You can access the full press release on the study, the Executive Summary, or the Full Report from EMBL-EBI here

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.


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