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OCUL Digital Curation Summit 2015

October 19, 2015
fall colours in dundas

Fall colours in Dundas

The 2015 OCUL Digital Curation Summit was held in the Lewis & Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship at McMaster University Library. The organizers did a great job pulling together a diverse array of topics and updates. Below are notes from some of the talks; the afternoon consisted of back-to-back introductions to Islandora and Archivematica. I chose not to take notes during those but rather to pay attention and pick up the details.

I am not going to tell you where to stick it!
Richard Godsmark, McMaster U

Provided a tour of data storage, noting that it’s a relatively recent development that we have had portable data. Dates to the 1980s and data cassettes. With the emergence of floppies, things go a bit further: Iomega Zip, optical disks, USB sticks, and the profusion of memory cards, e.g.- SD, compact flash, etc.

Now we live in an era of cloud storage services: Dropbox, Box, OwnCloud, Drive, etc. Many varieties, different function and services.

One of his concluding thoughts was that it’s less important where you put data than how you protect it. Also raised the very interesting point that how we assess data or information when we come across it is very tied to our time and notions. As we know in libraries, what seems useless or trivial may not be in the future. Of course, the challenge inherent in this is that the quantity of information and data created today is simply overwhelming.

“This looks far better than I was expecting”: A tale of access and discoverability
Joanne Patterson, Western U

Told us the story of an album in their collections. Scrapbook of various items: photos, menus, postcards, etc. Images had been taken of the pages and she found the jpg images on a server. It had been digitized with a compact digital camera.

The album (created by Louis Achille Delaquerrière) was a gift, and the donor’s expectation was that it would be presented online. Delaquerrière collected items related to his life and times, including items related to the Great War.

What could she do with these images? Digital Commons doesn’t facilitate batch upload of images. Used Flickr to host the images and points to it from their DC-based institutional repository. It works, it’s being used, and it satisfied the donor.

Part of the reason she shared this work was to ask if others had suggestions for how to do this kind of work quickly. Also curious about whether others have policies or processes that address this kind of work.

Scholars Portal Dataverse
Leanne Trimble, Scholars Portal

Introduced Scholars Portal Dataverse, noting that different institutions use it differently. She pointed out that it’s a bit of a free-for-all, where libraries and even individual researchers can create their own Dataverse, but that’s not necessarily that bad.

Did a live demonstration of uploading a dataset. Following that, she noted that there is work going on currently to integrate Archivematica and Dataverse, with a targeted completion date of March 2016. The goals are to further the CARL Portage project (piece of research data preservation infrastructure) and to facilitate the long-term digital preservation of research data within OCUL. The module will become part of the Archivematica open source package.

Another goal they have is to further the internationalization of Dataverse so that a French-language interface can be offered.

Open Source Sustainability in Digital Curation/Preservation Software
Nick Ruest, York U

Nick asserts that contributing to open source communities is a core part of digital preservation work. We must do it. That said, open source is hard work, and it takes a community to do well and right.

Communities require governance. Talked about this notion using the Islandora and Fedora communities as examples. The other major issue is money. Who funds it, who sustains it? Islandora is supported and governed by the Islandora Foundation, while Fedora has Duraspace. Good examples of grounded governance, which he outlined in fair detail.

Another key component of sustainability is having a succession plan for committers. Both of these communities use the Apache-originated committers’ rights and responsibilities. These outline what one can and must do with regard to the code base, naturally. Part of the responsibilities list is guiding and mentoring new committers.


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