'What's New' Issue 53: March 2013

29 March, 2013 | in Publications
By: Magdalena Getler

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and Digital Curation Centre (DCC) are delighted to announce a new issue of our joint newsletter ‘What’s New’.

In the March issue:

WHAT'S ON: Forthcoming events from April 2013 onwards

WHO'S HIRING: Job vacancies from DPC members and associated institutions

WHAT'S NEW: New reports and initiatives since the last issue

WHAT'S WHAT: Capital, revenue and the great Post-in note crisis of 2006, William Kilbride, DPC

In 2006 Glasgow City Council's supply of post-it notes ran out two weeks before the end of the financial year. The stationery budget was frozen so the brave public servants persevered courageously through the crisis, recycling ever more aggressively scrap paper all over the city. You might call this a ‘first world problem’.

It sticks in my mind because that same month my own department had just secured a massive grant to erect a signature, new zinc-and-glass-clad building, complete with rippling, soaring roof, cavernous public spaces and exquisite possibilities for telling Glasgow the story of its industrial history. There was no shortage of money: just the wrong kind of money. In the perverse world of public funding it was briefly easier to acquire a 75million pound museum than a 75p pad of sticky paper.

In this case, the difference between stationery and architecture was the difference between revenue and capital. Capital is the one-off large injection of money that lets you build or extend a service: revenue is the predictable, repeating and modest sums that let you run the service. The latter was suddenly scarce, the former suddenly plentiful. I don't think the difference has been properly understood in digital preservation... Read more

WHO'S WHO: 60 Second Interview with Natalie Harrower, Digital Repository of Ireland

Where do you work and what's your job title?

I’m the Manager of Education and Outreach at the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI). The DRI is a consortium composed of six higher learning institutions across Ireland, and I am based at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, which is the lead institute in the consortium.

Tell us a bit about your organisation

We are building a national, trusted repository for social science and humanities data in Ireland. Our remit covers historical data as well as contemporary and born-digital data, and we have dozens of stakeholders from the library, museum, gallery, archives, media and government sectors advising us on their practices and requirements. We are also developing guidelines for best practices in digital preservation (and the DPC has our full attention here), and raising awareness with the government on the creation of national policy in the area.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

There are a huge variety of projects across the DRI, from helping to organise an international conference on big data (EDF2013, April 9-10) to running Hydra Camp for software engineers interested in using Hydra as a repository solution (Trinity College Dublin, April 8-12), to partnering with Decipher in the development of their Storyscope storytelling software, and working with the Irish place names database, Logainm, to make their database available as Linked Data. Personally, I am involved in several projects that focus on social media curation and preservation, as well as collaborating with the national public service broadcaster RTE, and I’m developing a skills training program in various aspects of digital preservation and archiving. There’s a lot of variety! Read more

FEATURED PROJECT: The DEDICATE project - Digital Preservation for Architecture, Ruggero Lancia, HATII

For at least two decades, Built Environment management, production and analysis have been heavily reliant on digital data. Reflecting the aims, scope and the policies of their producers, these assets span a wide variety of digital formats including 2D vector drawings, 3D meshes, raster images, audiovisuals, raw points clouds, GIS data-sets and Building Information Models. As a result, collections of these digital assets are spread over repositories with differences in scale, policies and functions, ranging from the documentation held by Architecture practices to the records deposited in the national legal repositories.

For the vast majority of these assets it is neither intended for ingestion in institutional repositories nor for long term retention in commercial archives, consequently the risk of data loss through lack of curation actions could affect a wide category of these records. Indeed, the smallest collections, which are also the most diffused, are unlikely to be consistently curated outside archives. Nevertheless, this data often bears information of public interest, especially for future generations, such as explicit or indirect documentation of Built Heritage.

The key curatorial issue for these collections is that their heterogeneity and complexity, as well as the prevailing role of major repositories in establishing preservation and curation policies, have resulted in the needs of smaller stakeholders being neglected by digital curation professionals. Further, the curation of CAD products, that concerns numerous data formats and typologies for which agreed curatorial procedures are still missing, are particularly problematic in this context... Read more

YOUR VIEW?: Comments and views from readers