The Guardian ran two articles on sharing data in its Technology section of 20th March 2008.
One was the economic benefits of freeing up data (e.g. map data) The long-term economic benefits outweigh the income gained from licencing the data.
Another was on the public concerns for the sharing of personal data. Recent data loss fiascos have made the public wary about giving their electronic details.
The two issues are actually not in direct competition with each other, but they could easily become confused. Advocates of freeing up data need to be very wary of how their arguments are perceived within the broader public domain
From Astrid Verheusen, National Library of the Netherlands
The Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands, has published a report on possible alternative file formats for storing master images from mass digitisation projects. Uncompressed TIFFs, the KB’s preferred format so far, take up far too much storage capacity to be a viable storage strategy for the long term. The report is available from the KB website.
At the Koninklijke Bibliotheek mass digitisation projects are taking off. In the next four years millions of high resolution RGB master image files will be produced and will have to be (permanently) archived. However, if all projected 40 million images are to be stored as uncompressed TIFFs, the KB will need some 650 TB of storage capacity by 2011. This is quite a capacity challenge, and thus the need arose to develop a new strategy for storage of images.
The project considered whether it would be possible to distinguish between master image files which must be stored for all ‘eternity’ (because the originals decay rapidly and/or digitisation costs are so high that repeating the digitisation process is not a viable solution) and objects which are stored for access. The distinction would allow for a more pragmatic and economic storage policy, whereby projected usage would determine the storage strategy.
The draft of the report was reviewed by a group of selected specialists on digitisation, digital preservation and image science. Their feedback was in incorporated in the final version of the report which is available at: http://www.kb.nl/hrd/dd/dd_links_en_publicaties/links_en_publicaties_intro.html
**CALL FOR PAPERS AND PERFORMANCES**DRHA 2008: ‘New Communities of Knowledge and Practice’University of Cambridge, September 14-17Visit the website at www.rsd.cam.ac.uk/drha08/ for more information and a link to the proposals website.The deadline for submissions will be 30 April 2008.The DRHA (Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts) conference is held annually at various academic venues throughout the UK. The conference theme this year is to promote discussion around new collaborative environments, collective knowledge and redefining disciplinary boundaries. The conference, hosted by the University of Cambridge with its fantastic choice of conference venues will take place from Sunday 14th September to Wednesday 17th SeptemberThe aim of the conference is to:* Establish a site for mutually creative exchanges of knowledge.* Promote discussion around new collaborative environments andcollective knowledge.* Encourage and celebrate the connections and tensions within theliminal spaces that exist between the Arts and Humanities.* Redefine disciplinary boundaries.* Create a forum for debate around notions of the ‘solitary’ andthe collaborative across the Arts and Humanities.* Explore the impact of the Arts and Humanities on ICT: design andnarrative structures and visa versa.There will be a variety of sessions concerned with the above but also with a particular emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration and theorising around practice. There will also be various installations and performances focussing on the same theme.Keynote talks will be given by our plenary speakers who we are pleased to announce are Sher Doruff, Research Fellow (Art, Research and Theory Lectoraat) and Mentor at the Amsterdam School for the Arts, Alan Liu, Professor of English, University of California Santa Barbara and Sally Jane Norman, Director of the Culture Lab, Newcastle University.In addition to this, there will be various round table discussions together with a panel relating to ‘Second Life’ and a special forum ‘Engaging research and performance through pervasive and locative arts projects’ led by Steve Benford, Professor of Collaborative Computing, University of Nottingham. Also planned is the opportunity for a more immediate and informal presentation of work in our ‘Quickfire’ style events. Whether papers, performance or other, all proposals should reflect the critical engagement at the heart of DRHA.Cambridge’s venues range from the traditional to the contemporary all situated within walking distance of central departments, museums and galleries. The conference will be based around Cambridge University’s Sedgwick Site, particularly the West Road concert hall, where delegates will have use of a wide range of facilities including a recital room and a ‘black box’ performance space, to cater for this year’s parallel programming and performances.Sue BroadhurstDRHA Programme Chair
Since the end of core funding for the UK’S Arts and Humanities Data Service, its constituent services have had do a bit more thinking about the costs of disseminating and preserving digital data.
The Archaeology Data Service has recently published a revised charging policy, which puts figures against the various tasks in undertakes on behalf of its user community – liasing with those with digital data, undertaking ingest procedures, creating dissemination mechanisms and undertaking long-term storage and migration of digital objects.
Sensibly, the service is now charging future depositors a one-off cost at the point of ingest; asking researchers who work on fixed term projects to pay annual costs for storage is just not feasible
As one would expect the costs raise with the complexity and the size of the digital data created. More staff time and more storage is required for a complex GIS-based deposit. The cost of disseminating a database can be up to £10,000 ($20,000), while storage is charged at £0.30 per megabyte.
Drawing on their figures here is a small, very hypothetical case study – a project wishing to deposit 2000 tiff images (6000MB in total) and disseminate 2000 derived jpeg images (500MB in total) would have to pay 6 days of staff time for management (around £2000), perhaps around £3000 for image costs and £1950 in storage costs (6,500 MB * £0.30).
This would make a total of £6,950.
If the entire project funding had been around £200,000k, the dissemination and preservation costs would only be 3.5% of the total funds. Not bad going at all.