As part of Erik’s and my Summer Technology Exploration grant (where we are exploring data sets) we are attending CurateCamp, an “Unconference” on data curation being held at Stanford University. This is my first Unconference experience, where there are no preplanned sessions and participants’ current interests drive the program. The picture above shows how the two days are scheduled. Participants introduce themselves and state their (in this case) data curation interests. Then they pitch their ideas for a session and sign up for a slot. All the group (about 100 here) listen to the ideas and form a consensus on proceeding. This portion took the first half of today!
The areas of interest were quite an assortment: standards, workflow, faculty outreach, born digital video, digital forensics, third party tools to help libraries, versioning, provenance….and that’s just some of the things people want to talk about.
This afternoon, there were three concurrent sessions. I opted to attend the session on how to deal with born digital video since that is something we are facing. Some schools are already coping with trying to archive videos ranging from student projects to documentary films. Several schools are much more experienced than we are, but it soon became clear that nobody really has all the answers on running a born digital video presentation program. There are a multitude of complexities from codecs to transfer rates to long term storage costs.
The second session I went to was a discussion where people shared their ideas about doing faculty outreach. The consensus was that we have to demonstrate to faculty why it is to their benefit to work with us on preserving their data. Whether it is to save them time, to be in compliance with funding requirements, or to create a sustainable workflow that will transition from one graduate assistant to the next, they have to believe there is something that will help them. Some faculty have stated surprise that the library has any interest in being involved with preserving their data.
The final session was a discussion about the gaps that exist in curation service models. It became apparent that nobody in that session felt that their library was able to independently meet the needs of their overall institution’s data curation needs. It is really a responsibility that goes beyond the resources available to most libraries.
Tomorrow promises to be a continuation of these types of discussions. Stay tuned!