DCC

A little more on very long term time series

I wrote earlier about a visit to Rothamsted Research, to talk with them about some of their very long term time series of agricultural research data (since 1843... digitised since 1991). Asking around, the prevailing wisdom seems to be to break the time series data when the nature of the data changes. Keep those time series, un-touched. Then build your overall time-series by a set of transformations on the original datasets, where the actual transformations are well-documented.

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The National Archives and Microsoft join forces...

On 4 July, The National Archives and Microsoft announced a Memorandum of Understanding "ensuring preservation of the nation´s digital records from the past, present and into the future".

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Open Data... Open Season?

Peter Murray Rust is an enthusiastic advocate of Open Data (the discussion runs right through his blog, this link is just to one of his articles that is close to the subject). I understand him to want to make science data openly accessible for scientific access and re-use. It sounds a pretty good thing! Are there significant downsides?

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Very long term data

Rothamsted Research is an agricultural research organisation based near Harpenden in England. There are many interesting features of this organisation (only a few of which I know), including its “classical experiments". One of these, started in 1843, must surely be one of the longest-running experiments with resulting time-series data anywhere.

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Open Access everyone? Or not?

I occasionally look at the OpenDOAR service, which list information about repositories, and check out those which claim to include data (the term they use is datasets, although it is possible that “other” might also be applicable!).

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UKDA 40th Birthday: back to basics?

There are not many digital data management organisations that can claim 40 years of continuous service. This week the UK Data Archive (UKDA, which holds mainly social science datasets) celebrates 40 years since its founding in 1967, with a party yesterday in the House of Commons followed by a small workshop in the UKDA’s fancy new quarters at the University of Essex.

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Representation Information: what is it and why is it important?

Representation Information is a key and often misunderstood concept. To understand it, we need to look at some definitions. First of all, OAIS (CCSDS 2002) defines data thus:“Data: A reinterpretable representation of information in a formalized manner suitable for communication, interpretation, or processing.”Second, we have Information:

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Authenticity across migrations

I discovered a few days ago that I have 4 digital objects that are (I believe, but am not certain) in some strong senses “the same” (in their information content), but which are also completely different (in their bits). These objects are the result of a chain of “exports” and “imports”, and “save as…” operations, prompted partly by a change of technology (from a Windows PC running Mind Manager to a Macintosh running NovaMind), and partly from a need to make the content of the object more accessible to colleagues who do not use either software package.

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OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data

Drafts of the OECD’s Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research data from Public Funding (OECD, 2007) have been available for some time, and the final Recommendation was approved in December 2006. I have only recently had the chance to read the report that details and explains this recommendation. This is a very important document, which could have a major effect on our scientific information systems.The arguments they put forward in support of the Recommendation are powerful:

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Building expertise in digital curation and preservation

It’s curious when something new has been around for 30 years or so. However, that’s the paradoxical case with digital curation. The term itself is relatively new, and there is still (as usual) confusion as to what exactly it means. But taking the simple definition (maintaining and adding value to a trusted body of digital information over the life-cycle of scholarly and scientific materials, for current and future use), it is clear that some disciplines have had organisations doing this for many years.

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