Monday, November 24, 2014

Curation Costs Exchange: Supporting Smarter Investments in Digital Curation

Curation Costs Exchange: Supporting Smarter Investments in Digital Curation. Sarah Middleton. Educause Review Online. November 10, 2014.

Tools to manage and estimate costs have not been integrated into other digital curation processes or tools. To determine why that is so a consortium of 13 European cost modeling specialists launched the Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation (4C) project.

4C seeks to help organizations better understand the costs and benefits of digital curation and preservation, and to help users draw together existing and useful resources so they can both make their own assessment of existing models and develop their own cost modeling exercises. The Curation Costs Exchange (CCEx), a platform for the exchange and comparison of digital curation costs and cost information, is a key 4C project deliverable developed to support these goals.

The Cost Comparison Tool enables the exchange of sensitive data and gives users the opportunity to identify greater efficiencies, better practices, and valuable information exchanges among peers. There is also the Understand Your Costs toolkit. The Economic Sustainability Reference model highlights key digital curation concepts, relationships, and decision points in a complex problem space, helping users benchmark and compare their own local models.

Are libraries sustainable in a world of free, networked, digital information?

Are libraries sustainable in a world of free, networked, digital information? Lluís Anglada. El profesional de la información. 7 November 2014. [PDF]

Interesting article looking at libraries through the stages of modernization, automation and digitization, and at a formula for evaluating the importance of libraries to society. The article concludes that "if the current generation of librarians does not introduce radical changes in the role of libraries, their future is seriously threatened."

The formula proposed is the sustainability is equal to the value divided by the cost, and the value is the use minus the dysfunctions and modified by the perceptions of the library
"S= (U - D + 2P) / C".

Libraries are changing because of technology and needs, but there is a danger that people will perceive them as unable to provide the information that users demand. If this continues, those funding the libraries will provide less support. The perceptions must change in order for libraries to be sustainable.
Some thoughts from the article:
  • Libraries are changing from being a space to store, locate and use books to places where people interact and socialize. This should transform the perception that citizens have of their libraries, seeing them as places to ‘change lives by giving people the tools they need to succeed’.
  • Libraries depend on public funding, and their future depends on the perception or mental image of libraries held by administrators and policy makers who allocate budgets  
  • Libraries used to show statistical data on resources; they must now show their value to those who support them financially 
  • The emergence of new roles for libraries does not mean that all library services have evolved over time. In the new environment, some traditional strengths of libraries are weakening.
  • Library catalogues and automated systems were innovative in the ’80s, but have been stuck in outmoded practices. Users have adapted quickly to the ‘googlization’ of information and do not understand why they should have to look in different places to get a unique solution to an information need. 
  • Two key elements for future library sustainability: perception and adaptation to a new paradigm
  • The perception of libraries remains increasingly attached to the printed book, from 69% of Americans in 2005, to 75% in 2010.
  • Libraries may end up being seen as useful only to preserve the past (i.e. the printed book), and consequently of little use to handle digital information.
  • The library has been steadily declining in importance in university budgets.
  • People sustain libraries because of a positive perception and a feeling that the libraries are important. We believe that society still needs the functions performed by libraries and librarians, but the feeling alone does not make them immediately sustainable. 
  • We must soon establish a new stereotype of ‘library’ in people’s minds, one that is not based on the physicality of the buildings or books, but focuses on the role of support and assistance in the difficult process of using information and transforming it into knowledge. 
  • The creation of perceptions of a library and librarian that are associated with assistance regarding information is a contribution that has not yet been made. 
  • This is the challenge and responsibility for young librarians: to create a new perception of our profession. We must establish a new stereotype of ‘library’ in peoples’ minds, one that
    is not based on the physicality of the buildings and books, but on the role of support and assistance in the difficult process of using information and transforming it into knowledge.

BYU professor leads the way in digitizing Victorian era literature.

BYU professor leads the way in digitizing Victorian era literature. Aaron Butler, Jaren Wilkey. BYU News Release. November 20, 2014.
The Victorian Short Fiction Project is a research venture to get students more involved in exploring the Victorian  literature in BYU's special collections library. The project wiki has nearly 200 transcribed stories in an online repository, viewed more than 150,000 times.
  • “I wanted [the students] to experience the sense of discovery that comes from archival research and to sample literature beyond their anthology,”
  • “The purpose of the project is the students. We are training the next generation of digital humanists — people who are trained in the humanities but see the potential of digital technology. The students’ electronic texts reach far beyond the classroom and will reside in a public space after the semester ends. One of the most important legacies we can pass on to our students is an understanding and appreciation of the strengths of both material and electronic texts. They will need to be stewards of both.”

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Digital Preservation File Format Policies of ARL Member Libraries: An Analysis

Digital Preservation File Format Policies of ARL Member Libraries: An Analysis. Kyle Rimkus et al. D-Lib Magazine. March/April 2014.

Repository managers often create a smaller set of formats to simplify management; the formats vary by institutions. Many institutions have a migration strategy to migrate digital objects from the great multiplicity of formats used to create digital materials to a smaller, more manageable number of standard formats that can still encode the complexity of structure and form of the original.

Open file formats are generally preferred to closed, proprietary formats because the way they encode content is transparent. On the other hand, adoption of a proprietary file format by a broad community of content creators, disseminators and users, is often considered a reliable indicator of that format's longevity. Additional qualities such as complexity, the presence of digital rights management controls, and external dependencies are also seen as relevant factors to consider when assessing file formats for preservation. There is, however, no fail-safe formula for file format policy decisions. Here are some of the formats that are most mentioned in preservation policies:

The five most commonly occurring file formats in all policies:
  1. Tagged Image File Format (extension TIFF, or TIF) (115),
  2. Waveform Audio File Format (WAV) (80), 
  3. Portable Document Format (PDF) (74), 
  4. JPEG (JPG, JPEG) (70), and 
  5. Plain text document (TXT, ASC) (69). 
The five most frequently occurring file formats given High Confidence in all policies:
  1. Tagged Image File Format (TIFF, TIF) (88), 
  2. Plain text document (TXT, ASC) (52), 
  3. Portable Document Format (PDF) (49), 
  4. Waveform Audio File Format (WAV) (47), and 
  5. Extensible Markup Language (XML) (47). 
 The five most frequently occurring file formats given Medium Confidence in all policies:
  1. Quicktime (MOV, QT) (47), 
  2. Microsoft Excel (XLS) (39), 
  3. Microsoft Word (DOC) (38), 
  4. Microsoft Powerpoint (PPT) (38), and 
  5. RealAudio (RAM, RA, RM) (35).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Five steps to decide what data to keep

Five steps to decide what data to keep. Angus Whyte. Digital Curation Centre. 31 October 2014.
This guide aims to help UK Higher Education Institutions aid their researchers in making informed choices about what research data to keep.

It will be relevant to researchers making decisions on a project-by-project basis, or formulating departmental guidelines. It assumes that decisions on particular datasets will normally be made by researchers with advice from the appropriate staff (e.g. academic liaison librarians) and taking into account any institutional policy on Research Data Management (RDM) and guidance available within their own domain.

Step 1. Identify purposes that the data could fulfill
Step 2. Identify data that must be kept
Step 3. Identify data that should be kept
Step 4. Weigh up the costs
Step 5. Complete the data appraisal
The final step is to weigh the value of the data and any costs still to be incurred, "considering the long-terms aims, the qualities you identified, the time and money already invested in it and the risks of being unable to prepare any ‘must keep’ data for preservation."

  • t be kept
  • Step 3. Identify data that should be kept
  • Step 4. Weigh up the costs
  • Step 5. Complete the data appraisal
  • - See more at:
    Angus Whyte, Published: 31 October 2014
    Angus Whyte, Published: 31 October 2014
    Angus Whyte, Published: 31 October 2014
    Angus Whyte, Published: 31 October

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    Guidelines for the creation of an institutional policy on digital preservation.

    Guidelines for the creation of an institutional policy on digital preservation. Nestor. November 2014. [PDF].
    nestor (Network of Expertise in long-term STORage and accessibility of digital resources in Germany) has just translated its guidelines on institutional preservation policies into English. The guideline provides digital archives with assistance in creating their own institutional policy on digital preservation. It address the questions:
    1. What is the purpose of a policy?
    2. What must a policy cover?
    3. How is a policy produced?
    It also addresses policies in cooperative long term preservation and gives a generic example of a institutional policy. Some items of note:
    • the publication of institutional preservation policies has emerged as a good way to increase transparency. A policy document helps an institution to understand the challenges and to commit to a task.
    • It sets out lastingly effective basic strategic and organisational elements of a digital archive and helps to increase confidence overall. In this way policies help to preserve the digital information of yesterday and today in a reliable manner and to safeguard it for tomorrow’s users.
    • Digital preservation is not an end in itself; it is always aimed at a "designated community".
    • A digital archive needs a systematically developed and generally complex technical infrastructure.
    • The construction of the technical infrastructure is thus dependent on the overall strategic and tactical planning of the institution as a whole, which ought to remain stable and as independent as possible from the rapid technological changes in the digital world.
    • The establishment of preservation policies can, under both scenarios, make a significant contribution to clarity in relation to the areas for joint action, differences, opportunities and risks that can be created.
    This is an excellent resource on writing digital preservation policies.

    POWRR Tool Grid

    POWRR Tool Grid. COPTR Consortium. November 2014.
         The Digital POWRR Project has produced version 2 of the Digital POWRR Tools Grid. The Grid, which helps practitioners find software tools to solve their digital preservation challenges, provides information about almost 400 digital preservation tools.The Tools Grid can also be found on a new domain for community owned digital preservation resources: Digipres Commons.

    Digipres Commons highlights useful collaborative preservation resources from around the web as well as hosting these other collaborative services:
    • The COPTR tools registry
    • The Digital Preservation Question and Answer site
    • The File Formats aggregation service
    The main topics of tools, subdivided by material or format, are:
    •  Access, Use and Reuse 
    •  Create or Receive (Acquire) 
    •  Cross-Lifecycle Functions 
    •  Dispose 
    •  Ingest 
    •  Preservation Action 
    •  Preservation Planning 
    •  Store 

    Seagate preps for 30TB laser-assisted hard drives

    Seagate preps for 30TB laser-assisted hard drives. Lucas Mearian. Computerworld.
    Seagate Technology is boosting investments in laser-assisted hard disk drive which it projects could  theoretically increase disk capacity to 30TB by 2016 - 2020.

    Wednesday, November 05, 2014

    Maturity levels & Preservation Policies

    Maturity levels & Preservation Policies.
    Report of a presentation given at the iPRES 2014 conference in Melbourne on the SCAPE Preservation Policies. The presentation explained the SCAPE Preservation Policy Model and also  summarized / analysed the findings of 40 actual preservation policies. Organisations often overstretch themselves in formulating preservation policies that are not in line with their maturity (based on the Maturity Model.)

    Sunday, November 02, 2014

    ARMA 2014: The Convergence of Records Management and Digital Preservation

    ARMA 2014: The Convergence of Records Management and Digital Preservation. Howard Loos, Chris Erickson. October 2014. [PDF]
    Presentation on records management and digital preservation given at the ARMA 2014 conference.
    • Records Management mission: To assist departments in fulfilling their responsibility to identify and manage records and information in accordance with legal, regulatory, and operational requirements
    • RIM Life Cycle to DP Life Cycle
    • Challenges and successful approaches
    • Storing records permanently with M-Discs
    • Introduction to Digital Preservation, challenges, format sustainability, media obsolescence, metadata, organizational challenges,
    • Life of digital media
    • Best practices and processes
    • OAIS model
    • Rosetta Digital Preservation System
    • Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach & Education (DPOE) Network

    Why Netflix sends 'Orange is the New Black' to the Library of Congress on videotape

    Why Netflix sends 'Orange is the New Black' to the Library of Congress on videotape. And why the library hopes that's going to change. Adi Robertson. The Verge. October 29, 2014.
    After companies shut down and collectors lose interest, the Library of Congress is supposed to keep our cultural history intact. But digital media has turned our understanding of preservation on its head.
    Artists regularly register their work with the US Copyright Office and as part of the process, they send a copy, in some cases a physical copy to the registrars which is then stored by the Library of Congress. The physical copies aren’t the final storage method, just a way to get the file to the library, which then uploads them to its database. Delivering digital files on potentially lower-quality tapes and discs instead of transmitting them directly is an awkward stopgap. A pilot program is in process to allow studios to transfer files directly to the Library of Congress and the US Copyright Office.