Monday, July 16, 2007

Data Curation Report

Liz Lyon, of UKOLN and DCC, has produced an excellent report titled "Dealing with Data". It is a very applied look at the issues around data curation and preservation and examines at "the roles, rights, responsibilities and relationships of institutions, data centres and other key stakeholders who work with data." While it is UK-oriented, most of its recommendations can be applied to other regions.

It includes 35 recommendations in eight categories:
  1. Co-ordination and Strategy
  2. Policy and Planning
  3. Practice
  4. Technical Integration and Interoperability
  5. Legal and Ethical Issues
  6. Sustainability
  7. Advocacy
  8. Training and Skills
Many of the recommendations resonate with many of the recommendations of the National Consultation on Access to Research Data (NCASRD) here in Canada that I and others helped organize in 2005.

Some recommendations of particular interest:
  • REC 2. Research funding organisations should jointly develop a co-ordinated Data Curation and Preservation Strategy to address critical data issues over the longer term.
  • REC 6. Each research funding organisation should openly publish, implement and enforce, a Data Management, Preservation and Sharing Policy.
  • REC 9. Each funded research project, should submit a structured Data Management Plan for peer-review as an integral part of the application for funding.
  • REC 10. Each higher education institution should implement an institutional Data Management, Preservation and Sharing Policy, which recommends data deposit in an appropriate open access data repository and/or data centre where these exist.
  • REC 19. All relevant stakeholders should commission a study to evaluate the re-purposing of data-sets, to identify the significant properties which facilitate re-use, and to develop and promote good practice guidelines and effective quality assurance mechanisms.
  • REC 20. JISC should initiate a survey to gather user requirements from practising researchers to inform the development of value-added tools and services to interpret, transform and re-use data held in archives and repositories.
  • REC 26. JISC should fund repository technical development projects which build on OAI-ORE work and create robust, bi-directional interdisciplinary links between data objects and derived resources.
  • REC 27. JISC should fund technical development projects seeking to enhance data discovery services, which operate across the entire data and information environment.
  • REC 30. The JISC should work in partnership with the research funding bodies and jointly commission a cost-benefit study of data curation and preservation infrastructure.

Related links:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Microsoft Open XML efforts good? - British Library. Update

Microsoft Open XML efforts good? - British Library.

For more problems with the OOXML "open" standard: see Slashdot's Microsoft's OOXML Formulas Could Be Dangerous and the original article by Rob Weir, The Formula for Failure.

And perhaps of more significance, some real questions from FSF Europe to national standards bodies, perhaps lessons learned (or those which should be learned) from the OOXML standardization fiasco: Six Questions to national standardization bodies:
  1. Application Independence?
  2. Supporting pre-existing Open Standards?
  3. Backward compatibility for all vendors?
  4. Proprietary extensions?
  5. Dual Standards?
  6. Legally safe?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Microsoft Open XML efforts good? - British Library

It seems that - in a BBC article ("Warning of Data Ticking Time Bomb", discovered at the ACM TechNews for this week)- Adam Farquhar, head of e-architecture at the British Library, has made a rather disappointing comment on Microsoft and the Open XML format:
Microsoft has taken tremendous strides forward in addressing this problem. There has been a sea change in attitude.

Sigh. This is very sad. The original press release from the U.K. National Archives is here: The National Archives and Microsoft join forces to preserve the UK´s digital heritage.

The Wikipedia article on Open XML shows why this is such a disappointing comment.