I was happy to have the opportunity to attend the most recent CurateGear 2014 (hosted by the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill). Held for the third year, this one-day event offers the opportunity to hear from a variety of technical gurus and to also participate in demos of various products. The majority of participants discussed digital tools of great interest for not only digital collections, but archives and electronic records as well.
I was most interested to hear Reagan Moore, who talked about iRODS, (integrated Rule Oriented Data System), which is an open source data grid to be used for organizing and managing large collections of data. Basically, when collections are submitted, the user can set up default rules and procedures which allow you to do any number of things, including validation, creating audit trails, and even extract metadata–and the system is interoperable with both Fedora and DSpace! This system is currently being used by many in the research community, such as the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) and NASA’s Center for Computational Sciences.
This was only 1 of 5 sessions I attended, and I appreciated the opportunity to just hear updates and additional information about a variety of programs which have great potential, such as the MetaArchive and ArchivesSpace. Chelcie and Rebecca will also be submitting their comments, so they will provide more information about some of the other sessions. At the end of the day, Dr. Cal Lee gave concluding remarks and he noted the increasing number of intersections between all these programs. When he asked the audience for comments and recommendations for the future, I suggested having some kind of assessment of these tools for decision-makers, such as what do they all do? How do they interact? How much do they cost? How much expertise do they need to operate? Basically, it all comes down to choice, but there is a great need for education before making these important decisions that can impact your program or library for years to come.