2013 11-27 sustainable-history_slides

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Published on February 14, 2014

Author: drjwbaker

Source: slideshare.net

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Slides from invited talk at 'Sustainable history: ensuring today's digital history survives' event, Institute of Historical Research, 28 November 2013.

Preserving research data for the future Dr James Baker, Digital Curator @j_w_baker james.baker@bl.uk

Some admin… You are free to: – Copy, share, adapt, or re-mix – Photograph, film, or broadcast – Blog, live-blog, or post video of; this presentation provided that: – You attribute the work to its author and respect the rights and licences associated with its components – You distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one Text attribution Greg Wilson, Two Solitudes, SPLASH 2013 (29 October 2013) http://www.slideshare.net/gvwilson/splash-2013 www.bl.uk This work is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionShareAlike 3.0 Unported License unless stated otherwise. 2

‘the fragility of evidence in the digital era’ ‘[the digital] archive is considerably more fragile than one would like’ ‘The simultaneous fragility and promiscuity of digital data’ Roy Rosenzweig, Scarcity or Abundance? Preserving the Past in a Digital Era, The American Historical Review 108:3 (2003), 736, 737, 739. www.bl.uk 3

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Preservation and use ‘The core guiding principle is simple: Someone unfamiliar with your project should be able to look at your computer files and understand in detail what you did and why […] Most commonly, however, that “someone” is you. A few months from now, you may not remember what you were up to when you created a particular set of files, or you may not remember what conclusions you drew. You will either have to then spend time reconstructing your previous experiments or lose whatever insights you gained from those experiments.’ William Stafford Noble (2009) A Quick Guide to Organizing Computational Biology Projects. PLoS Comput Biol 5(7): e1000424. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000424 www.bl.uk 5

‘What is often said of military strategy seems to apply to digital preservation: "the greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan." We have never preserved everything; we need to start preserving something.’ Roy Rosenzweig, Scarcity or Abundance? Preserving the Past in a Digital Era, The American Historical Review 108:3 (2003), 754. www.bl.uk 6

What demands the closest attention? and, how do we plan for the future - the unknown future of digital space, digital dissemination, and digital information? Heather Froehlich (heatherfro). “and, how do we plan for the future - the unknown future of digital space, digital dissemination, and digital information?” 4 November 2013, 5:15 a.m. Tweet. www.bl.uk 7

Documentation Victory is mine: while ago I worked out some Clever Stuff (tm) in Excel. And I MADE NOTES ON IT. And those notes ENABLED ME TO DO IT AGAIN. Katie Birkwood (girlinthe). “Victory is mine: while ago I worked out some Clever Stuff (tm) in Excel. And I MADE NOTES ON IT. And those notes ENABLED ME TO DO IT AGAIN.” 7 October 2013, 3:46 a.m. Tweet. www.bl.uk 8

Documentation Good documentation must: – Include ‘the archive references for the originals!’ – Explain the [source or] ‘dataset (and its limitations) accurately’. – Be ‘clear about what it represents (eg full transcriptions, partial transcriptions, just summaries, changes, iterations)’. – Be written ‘in a structured data format to make it machinereadable […] Plain text files (.txt) are preferable to Word docs’. Sharon Howard, ‘Unclean, unclean! What historians can do about sharing our messy research data’, Early Modern Notes (18 May 2013) www.bl.uk 9

Documentation "Word is not a digital preservation standard" understatement of the day #SearchSolutions2013 Helen Lippell (octodude). “"Word is not a digital preservation standard" understatement of the day #SearchSolutions2013” 27 November 2013, 12:36 a.m. Tweet. www.bl.uk 10

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Extensible, scalable, reusable Notes on digital books.docx NO! 2013-11-18_MS_books_documentation.txt YES! www.bl.uk 12

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(Extensible, scalable, reusable) root Admin Attic BL Notes Research Teaching rootBLTalks www.bl.uk Structure rootBL Admin Attic Data Events Projects Research Talks Teaching 2013-11_Sustainable_History 2013-11_Liverpool_John_Moores 2013-05_Going_Digital 14

(Extensible, scalable, reusable) Naming 2013-08-11_History_Journal_Articles.tsv 2013-08-11_History_Journal_Articles.txt www.bl.uk 15

(Extensible, scalable, reusable) Naming 2013-08-11_History_Journal_Articles_africa.tsv 2013-08-11_History_Journal_Articles_america.tsv 2013-09-11_History_Journal_Articles_art.tsv 2013-09-11_History_Journal_Articles_britain.tsv 2013_History_Journal_Articles.txt copy *.tsv newfile.tsv copy 2013-08*.tsv newfile.tsv copy 2013-0*-11_History_Journal_Articles_a*.tsv newfile.tsv www.bl.uk 16

(Extensible, scalable, reusable) Naming DATE_ARTIST_TITLE.FORMAT 1804-02-10_Gillray_TheKingofBrobdignagandGulliver.png 1653_Rembrandt_TheThreeCrosses.png www.bl.uk 17

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(Extensible, scalable, reusable) Version Controllite 1653_Rembrandt_TheThreeCrosses.png 1653_Rembrandt_TheThreeCrosses_edited.png 2013-08-11_History_Journal_Articles_africa.tsv 2013-11-18_History_Journal_Articles_africa_3column.tsv 2013-11-18_Sustainable_History_talk.docx 2013-11-18a_Sustainable_History_talk.docx … 2013-11-19_Sustainable_History_talk.docx www.bl.uk 19

(Extensible, scalable, reusable) 1. We integrate curatorial assessments of our digital collection content into preservation decisions, so that technical activities support curatorial requirements for the collections preserve metadata about our digital collections, so that we may understand and preserve the collections over time 2. We 3. We preserve the provenance of our digital collection content, so that we understand and can demonstrate its authenticity over time 4. We record any modifications to digital collection content (e.g. preservation action, normalisation) during the lifecycle, so that we can understand and demonstrate its integrity over time Review We preserve original files in our long term repository, alongside any other required representations of the content, so that we 7. maintain the original artefacts acquired or deposited into our care as a ground truth representation of the content for future, currently unknown, preservation and access scenarios 8. We maintain Preservation Master copies of collection content in our long term repository, so that the format-based risks of preservation over time are minimised We maintain preservation plans 9. and implement for our digital collections, so that preservation actions are reliable and based on a holistic understanding of the collections and their context apply and document our 10. We implement comprehensive end-to-end application of metadata standards, so workflows, so that we may consistently manage and that future generations can understand preserve our digital collections across the entire lifecycle 11. We regularly monitor our digital collection content for our collections 5. We consistently 6. We maintain file-level integrity of our digital collections, so that we can protect against loss and damage Maureen Pennock, 'The Twelve Principles of Digital Preservation (and a cartridge in a repository…)', British Library Collection Care blog (3 September 2013) www.bl.uk emergent preservation risks, so that we may mitigate against them 12. We integrate quality assurance checks into the lifecycle where appropriate, so that the authenticity and integrity of the content is maintained 20

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Thank you! James Baker @j_w_baker james.baker@bl.uk www.bl.uk 22

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