Happy New Year, all.
As we in Hull start the New Year and move into the final phases of our short History DMP project we are turning our attention firmly towards its two intended major outcomes: a document that will allow academics to plan for suitable management of their data, and enhanced technological support for making the data available to others should that be appropriate.
Our Project Proposal and the subsequent Plan indicated that we would base our document on the well-known DCC ‘Checklist for a Data Management Plan’, and we shall. However, it has become clear to us (if we hadn’t realised it already) that in its basic form it is unsuited to use by the average academic. We intend to use the DCC checklist as the basis for a document that is more directly relevant to (in this case) history research and which not only poses questions but also offers some answers – perhaps in the sense of ‘tick boxes’ and the like but also by pointing users to people locally who might offer answers or advice and services. The aim is to make our document obviously relevant and useful rather than an unnecessary chore that has to be dealt with.
Technological support will take two forms. Most obviously we want to ensure that research data stored in the University’s digital repository has appropriate metadata (in the librarian/IT sense, facilitating search and discovery as well as allowing appropriate citation etc) and that it is in at least one format suited to preservation. This last may mean converting (say) an Excel spreadsheet into a csv or tab-delimited file as we ingest it and storing both copies. Naturally, we will also store metadata in the academic sense – documentation about the datasets. The second form of technological support that we want to investigate is linked data. We are going to take one of our existing datasets and see what we can usefully do with it. This will allow us to evaluate both the effort involved in such exposure and the possible benefits of doing so.
It’s going to be a busy few months!