Curation in the Cloud

7 September, 2012 | in Publications
By: Marieke Guy

JISC have released a white paper on Curation in the Cloud, which looks at the potential and practicalities of using cloud-based solutions for the curation and long-term preservation of digital materials, focusing particularly on data that originates from research or that supports research processes.

The paper is a revised version of the original draft DCC paper authored by Brian Aitken, Patrick McCann, Andrew McHugh and Kerry Miller for a 2-day workshop on Curation in the cloud. The workshop was organized by JISC in association with the Kindura Project (King's College London) and discussions from break-out groups were incorporated into the paper.

The content of the paper is comprehensive, from general definitions of standards, technologies and service models to more in-depth case study material. 

It argues that cloud computing is a viable option for many digital curation activities from infrequent, resource-intensive tasks which will benefit from the ability to rapidly provision resources, to day-to-day collaborative activities which can be facilitated by networked cloud services.

However, there are risks associated with the cloud and work still needs to be done to help institutions understand these better.

Areas of review include current cloud approaches relevant to digital curation, in particular the Eduserv Education Cloud, the University of Oxford Shared Data Centre and Kindura; UMF Cloud Case Studies:  Virtual Infrastructure with Database as a Service (VIDaaS) and DataFlow both developed by the University of Oxford, Biomedical Research Infrastructure Software Service (BRISSkit) developed by University of Leicester and the collaboratively developed Smart Research Framework (SRF). The paper concludes by identifying several characteristics of the cloud, which may be considered benefits or risks for digital curation tasks, these include data integrity, data security and legal liabilities.

To quote from the paper:

“There are various features of the cloud model which make it attractive in a range of scenarios. The ability to rapidly obtain and shed computing resources can make it suitable for infrequent, intensive tasks. However, if the task involves the transfer of large volumes of data then the cloud becomes less suitable. The use of cloud services for day-to-day work can facilitate remote working, allow users greater flexibility in the devices they use, promote collaboration and facilitate the sharing or publication of information.”

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