'A RAID map case study of high energy X-ray characterisation of microstructure' by Edith Halvorsson, University of Glasgow


This project highlights research data preservation needs in the material sciences. It presents a case study involving a large-scale experiment that detail crystal structures in metal for quality assessment of products, such as jet engines where metal parts may be in operation for several years. Poor data management practices in this area can have critical impact on human safety. The study uses life-cycle mapping to trace multiple datasets as they are refined and amended by researchers working on them. The challenges of retaining a data trace in quickly developing scientific fields is highlighted, and the need for software preservation is demonstrated.

'Personal Archives Pre and Post Cloud Computing' by Roland Quintaine, University of Aberystwyth

This master’s dissertation aimed to identify any changes in practice in the creation and storage of personal archives by artists and musicians since the advent of cloud computing. The study analysed personal collections donated to an archive service before the inception of cloud computing and interviewed the creators of similar collections who use cloud services in their workflow. Analysis of the findings indicated a high level of distrust in cloud services so that personal custody is the continuing paradigm. The literature review indicated that the archive services have not yet engaged with issues of custody for material born online.

'The Transferability of Trusted Digital Repository Standards to an East African' context by Anthea Seles, University College London

The inspiration for this thesis came from Anthea Seles’s experience as co-author of an electronic records preservation training module, produced in 2009 for the International Records Management Trust (IRMT). Anthea Seles’s doctoral thesis, which she studied for in the Department of Information Studies at UCL, under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth Shepherd and Dr Rob Miller, explored the subject of digital preservation, specifically Trusted Digital Repositories (TDR), and considered the applicability of the TDR concept and practices to an Eastern African archival context. Governments in developing nations create significant amounts of digital information as a result of widespread ICT implementation. However, national archives tasked with preserving these vital digital records faced severe operational limitations: perhaps the challenges with digital preservation are not just infrastructural but might also relate to the nature of TDR standards. This thesis found that TDR standards have little relevance both in developed-world case study digital repositories and in the East African national archives context, thus challenging the notion held by many that standards have been generalised to such an extent that they are transferable to any context.

'The Scalability and Realism of Digital Preservation Guidelines' by Niamh Ní Charra, University College Dublin

This thesis examines digital preservation literature to assess whether it is fit for purpose, and whether its quality is a factor in why digital preservation implementation remains a challenge. Two main questions were posed to a sample of practicing archivists in relation to this literature; is digital preservation scalable and are the guidelines realistic. This was examined in particular in relation to smaller archives with limited resources. While the first question was answered in the affirmative, with some minor issues on the ground, the second question had very mixed results. 

'Preservation Practices of New Media Artists: Challenges, Strategies, and Attitudes in the Personal Management of Artworks' by Colin Post, University of North Carolina

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This was a study of how new media artists conceive of the preservation of their artworks, what preservation concerns arise in the process of creation, and how preservation challenges manifest in the ongoing maintenance of an artwork. A deeper understanding of how to preserve new media artworks will make it easier for a wider range of institutions to collect and maintain new media works in their holdings—or to develop alternative strategies for collecting and documenting significant new media artwork that do not necessarily involve the custodial transfer of an object (or set of objects) from artist to institution. Despite a diversity of creative practices, this study suggests that new media artists face a shared set of challenges in the long-term custody of their artwork, and have cultivated a variety of strategies and attitudes to address these challenges. The paper presents a framework of categories and themes to better understand these challenges, strategies, and attitudes, and to also point towards fruitful avenues for further research. Primary among these, this framework illustrates that the preservation and custody of new media artworks constitutes a particular kind of information behavior, with unique information needs and methods for filling these needs.

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