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Archiving, Preservation, Curation

Defining the nature of data archives, their functions and their operation

RIN Consultation paper on stewardship of research data

The RIN (Research Information Network) has recently published a draft consultation paper - Stewardship of digital research data: a framework of principles and guidelines (April 2007) and are seeking feedback from practitioners.

The draft discusses the shared framework of principles and guidelines required for key stakeholders (researchers, research institutions, funding bodies, libraries, data managers, learned societies and publishers) in order to maximise the potential benefits of digital research data and to help ensure that ‘ideas and knowledge derived from publicly-funded research should be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation, and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly and effectively as practicable.’

In addition to a collaborative approach the paper highlights the need to make explicit the roles and responsibilities of the key players in the research and research communications processes whilst remaining sensitive to: the needs of the researcher; the context in which the research is conducted; the requirements of different kinds of research data (words, numbers, pictures, sound); how the data were generated (purpose and process) and by whom.

RIN believes there are 5 principles reflecting the research data lifecycle which should be adopted by universities, colleges, research institutions and funding bodies, namely:

Roles and responsibilities – collaborative codes of practice

Standards and quality assurance – creation and collection in accordance with international standards

Access, usage and credit – easy to find and easy to use

Benefits and cost effectiveness – efficient data management and access

Preservation and sustainability – accessibility for current and future generations

To read the full draft paper visit: http://www.rin.ac.uk/data-principles. Please send any comments to Stephane Goldstein (Stephane.goldstein@rin.ac.uk) by 29 June 2007.

- Stuart Macdonald

European Data Portal (CESSDA)

The Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) redesigned web site is now online at http://www.cessda.org. In addition to the new layout, the site has several new features including the CESSDA Data Portal which allows easy access to the catalogues of member organisations. Other pages provide a central news forum about CESSDA activities, links to official documents, contact details and other relevant information. more...

Myron Gutmann discusses Data-PASS at Library of Congress

Preserving At-Risk Digital Social Science Data: The Data-PASS Project

This is a webcast of a presentation given on January 26, 2007 by Myron Gutmann at the Library of Congress on the Data-PASS (Data Preservation Alliance for the Social Sciences) project . (Running Time: 60 minutes)

Myron P. Gutmann, professor of history and director of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan and the principal investigator of the Data-PASS partnership with the Library's National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (www.digitalpreservation.gov), gives a briefing on how the project is acquiring and preserving at-risk digital opinion polls, voting records, large-scale surveys and other social science research data.

- jim jacobs

Academic libraries and data

Shawn Nicholson pointed out on the IASSIST list:

 

"As a follow on to the talk we heard in Ann Arbor, this set of PowerPoint presentations might be of interest: http://www.arl.org/info/events/ncr "

 

NSF Workshop on New Collaborative Relationships: The Role of Academic Libraries in the Digital Data Universe

What to do about data in old formats?

Recently I posted a message to the IASSIST mailing list about a study in in the ICPSR Publication Related Archive that had a data file in an old (SST) statistical software format. I had no tools to convert or even read that file and was looking for a solution to get the data. I solved that problem through the kindness of the software producer who converted the file for me.

This brought to mind a new question:

Is there something IASSIST or ICPSR can or should be doing to share solutions for saving or converting data in old, no-longer-common formats?

I'm thinking that some very small project might be a useful start: something like a registry of data libraries that still have "older" software and that would be willing to help data libraries that need to read or convert old datasets.

But there might be other opportunities as well: e.g.,

  • incorporating information about older formats and utilities for using them in ICPSR metadata;
  • formal communications with other groups that are interested in digital preservation (e.g., PRONOM for tools like JHOVE and Droid) http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/aboutapps/pronom/tools.htm;
  • archiving old software
  • procedures at ICPSR for accepting deposit of converted datasets.

I'm not sure if others are interested in this general problem or if there is an IASSIST committee that might investigate it or propose solutions.

I'm posting this message to the IASSIST list and the blog and invite your comments and ideas...

- jim jacobs

Open Data Surfaces at the ALA Annual Meeting

On May 11, 2006, the following announcement was made about an upcoming forum at the American Library Association annual meeting that will address issues related to Open Data.

During the past several years, Open Data has become a field of urgent interest to researchers, scholars, and librarians. With the amount of scientific data doubling every year, issues surrounding the access, use, and curation of data sets are increasing in importance. The data-rich, researcher-driven environment that is evolving poses new challenges and provides new opportunities in the sharing, review, and publication of research results. Ensuring open access to the data behind the literature will play a key role in seeing that the scholarly communication system evolves in a way that supports the needs of scholars and the academic enterprise as a whole.

As Open Data moves to the forefront of scholarly communication, librarians, administrators, and researchers will be responsible for considering new access policies for data and data curation issues. This SPARC-ACRL forum will introduce Open Data as an emerging focus, explore the challenges of managing the data deluge, and aid participants in crafting their own digital data preservation and curation policies.

This discussion is arising out of the scholarly publishing movement known as SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.) Their coalition consists of more than 300 academic and research libraries and likely include the libraries of many of our IASSIST members. The European members of this movement have a separate website at SPARC Europe.

IASSIST members should become involved in these discussions. Many of the Open Data issues are familiar turf for our members.

Contributed by Chuck Humphrey

New report on Eurostat and statistical integration

Title: Administering information: Eurostat and statistical integration

 

The chapter examines developments and changes in the organization of numerical information in the EU, in particular the role of Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Commission. How and to what extent can we observe the emergence of a pan-European informational system?

 

Full Text (PDF, 31 pages, 157.2 KB) http://www.arena.uio.no/publications/working-papers2005/papers/wp05_27.pdfTitle: Administering information: Eurostat and statistical integration

  more...

Assessment of UKDA and The National Archive (UK) Compliance with OAIS and METS Standards

Interesting report applying the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) model and the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) to the UK Data Archive; a very useful convergence of preservation strategies and articulation of what the model means for data and disciplinary focused digital repositories/archives.Email from the Digital Preservation Department at the UK National Archives:

 

In conjunction with the UK Data Archive, The National Archives have released a report comparing their preservation practices to the leading internationally recognised standard for digital archives. This provides a model for other organisations to test the compliance of their own systems.

 

Using the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model the two organisations were able to compare their preservation practices within a common framework: an opportunity that was particularly timely because, in January 2005, the UKDA was appointed as a legal place of deposit for National Archive documents.

 

The OAIS reference model (ISO 14721) is the major international standard addressing the structure and operations of digital archive facilities. The Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) is a schema for encoding descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata regarding objects within a digital library.

 

The assessment was carried out by the UKDA, The National Archives and the Estonian Business Archive, with a funding award from the Joint Information Systems Committee - under its Institutional Digital Preservation and Asset Management Programme.

 

Full story: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/stories/79.htm

 

The report is available here: http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/news/publications.asp

 

Paper copies are available from the National Archives and from the UK Data Archive.

 

Contact: digital-archive@nationalarchives.gov.uk
or publicity@esds.ac.uk

 

For further information on Digital Preservation at the National Archives, please see: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/preservation/digital.htm

 

Press Enquiries: Contact Stuart Brennan in The National Archives Press Office on 0208 8392 5277 or stuart.brennan@nationalarchives.gov.uk

 

Contributed by Ann Green

ICPSR to Participate in Project to Certify Digital Archives

ICPSR will be taking part in the RLG-NARA Digital Repository Certification project to identify the criteria repositories must meet for reliably storing, migrating, and providing access to digital collections.ICPSR has been selected to serve as a "test subject" in the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) project to develop an audit checklist for certification of trusted digital repositories. Funded by the Mellon Foundation, this project builds on the work of a Task Force consisting of members from the Research Libraries Group (RLG) and the U.S. National Archives and Research Administration (NARA). The Task Force is charged with developing criteria to identify digital repositories capable of reliably storing, migrating, and providing longterm access to digital collections.

RLG has released a draft of the "Audit Checklist for the Certification of Trusted Digital Repositories," which is available at http://www.rlg.org/en/page.php?Page_ID=20769. This represents the fifth generation of the RLG-NARA group’s work and provides best, current practice and thought about the organizational and technical infrastructure required for a digital repository to be considered trustworthy and capable of certification.

Leveraging the RLG-NARA audit tool, the CRL project will test audit criteria and metrics with three test subjects, including:

  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
  • Koninklijke Bibliotheek National Library of the Netherlands, which maintains the digital archive for Elsevier Science Direct Journals
  • Portico, an archive for electronic journals incubated within Ithaka Harbors, Inc.

Stanford's LOCKSS system will also participate in this effort, which runs through October 2006.

Comments on the draft are welcomed and are due before mid-January 2006 to Robin Dale, the RLG-NARA Task Force Co-chair and project manager: Robin.Dale@rlg.org (+1-650-691-2238).

Contributed by Ann Green

Report on Access to Scientific Research Data

The final report of the Canadian National Consultation on Access to Scientific Research Data has just been released containing eighteen recommendations to improve open access to research data in Canada. While some of these recommendations are unique to the Canadian context, others share a close relationship with the recommendations of the International Council for Science report, Scientific Data and Information.Supported by the National Research Council of Canada, a task force was established in June 2004 to provide advice about improving access to scientific research data. more...

  • IASSIST Quarterly

    Publications Special issue: A pioneer data librarian
    Welcome to the special volume of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ (37):1-4, 2013). This special issue started as exchange of ideas between Libbie Stephenson and Margaret Adams to collect

    more...

  • Resources

    Resources

    A space for IASSIST members to share professional resources useful to them in their daily work. Also the IASSIST Jobs Repository for an archive of data-related position descriptions. more...

  • community

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    Find out what IASSISTers are doing in the field and explore other avenues of presentation, communication and discussion via social networking and related online social spaces. more...