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This is our update for KAPTUR for February with one month of the project left to run!
WP1: Project Management
- The project team had meetings on 31st January and 28th February in order to both report and monitor progress of outstanding tasks.
- The Project Manager has begun final reporting procedures for JISC.
WP3: Technical Infrastructure
- The Technical Manager has completed a case study on the technical aspects of the project which will be presented at the KAPTUR conference on 6th March.
- The Project Officers have uploaded visual arts research data to the EPrints pilot repository.
- The Technical Manager has resolved issues with the CKAN pilot repository and will be completing development work on this soon.
- The fourth and final RDM policy was approved by The Glasgow School of Art’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee on 13th February.
- The four policies will be made available through DCC in due course and will also be linked to from the KAPTUR Outputs page.
- This work package is now closed.
WP5: Training and Support
- The Glasgow School of Art training workshop took place on 31st January with the assistance of Laura Molloy, JISCMRD Evidence Gatherer. The presentations are available here: http://www.slideshare.net/kaptur_mrd/tag/gsardmtraining
- The fourth and final training workshop took place on 22nd February at Goldsmiths, University of London with assistance from Kerry Miller of the Digital Curation Centre. The presentations are available here: http://www.slideshare.net/kaptur_mrd/tag/goldrdmtraining
- The first draft of the KAPTUR toolkits has been completed using Xerte Online Toolkits. They will be completed by the close of the project and made available both online and through JORUM for use and re-use.
WP6: Evaluation and Sustainability
- The four case studies from the Project Officers as well as the additional fifth case study from the Technical Manager have been completed and are being edited for online publication.
- A template for the KAPTUR Business, Financial and Sustainability Plans was circulated to the Project Officers for use in their institutions.
- The Glasgow School of Art have already completed a good draft of their Business Plan using the template.
- The Project Manager is awaiting feedback from the final workshop, the conference, and another short survey before completing the Benefits’ reporting.
- The Project Director attended the Reskilling for RDM workshop at University of the West of England on 29th January
- The Technical Manager attended the CKAN workshop in London on 18th February – a blog post is available: https://kaptur.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/ckan4rdm-workshop/
- The Technical Manager also attended the Research Data Management Storage Requirements Workshop in London on 25th February: http://rdm-storage.eventbrite.co.uk/ This was hosted by JISC, DCC and JANET.
- On Monday 4th March, Lynda Agili, Head of Research Office, and Andrew Gray, the KAPTUR Project Officer, both from Goldsmiths, University of London will present at an ARMA event.
- The KAPTUR end-of-project conference will take place on Wednesday 6th March. It is fully booked: http://kapturmrd.eventbrite.co.uk/
With thanks to Carlos Silva, KAPTUR Technical Manager, for the following blog post.
On 18th February I attended a workshop led by the JISC funded Orbital project, to gather information about the open source software CKAN and how it could be used to support research data management in the academic sector.
The workshop started with a presentation from Mark Wainwright (community co-ordinator for the Open Knowledge Foundation) on the latest release of CKAN, its origins and potential in the academic community.
One of the big advantages with using CKAN is that the ‘core’ system is surrounded by APIs allowing it to be flexible enough to accommodate different user and institutional needs. This means that the core software can be updated without affecting the APIs or having to adapt external code to fit with the core software.
Another important feature that looks promising is the ability of CKAN to not only harvest other CKAN databases, but also to search other types of repositories such as EPrints and DSpace. The mechanism developed covers different repository sources not only EPrints and DSpace, but also Geospatial Servers, Web catalogues and other HTML index pages.
In terms of sustainability, CKAN has been developed over the last 6 years, so it is relatively mature now with an extensive and very streamlined workflow process to add features, fix bugs and enhance the core services. The latest version 2.0 (recently released as Beta) promises to be an exciting release with more visually enhanced tools, improved groups feature, customisable metadata and a rich search experience based on their Apache Solr search.
The workshop continued with a presentation from the data.bris project at the University of Bristol. It is amazing to note that each Principle Investigator can apply for up to 5TB of storage for free and backed up securely for 20 years!
Academics receive a mapped network drive which they can access and use to deposit content, however this requires additional features to manage research data. Therefore, the data.bris project was interested in CKAN due to its flexibility, data access (ability to have private datasets), organisation schema, ability to share with external researchers and the CKAN search engine.
In the future, the University of Bristol is considering two instances of CKAN, one for a public read-only catalogue of research data publications and another for controlled access (which would include teaching and other types of data).
The third presentation was from Orbital; Project Manager Joss Winn provided a virtual tour of the latest tools developed by the project. They have connected CKAN between different instances: to their EPrints repository and also to different departmental databases, such as an awards management system.
The Orbital set up allows their researchers to have different types of data located in a central place, this includes the policies, profiles, publications and analytics information from specific outputs, making the most of the CKAN software.
The demonstration included mention of the software created to enable deposit of data from CKAN to their EPrints repository – something which we have been anticipating for the last few months and is an exciting development for the sector. Orbital have released the code through Github which in theory should work with CKAN version 1.7. The functionality enables CKAN to submit the metadata to EPrints using the SWORD2 protocol but not the actual files themselves – instead a link is added to EPrints which links back to the files deposited in CKAN.
The Orbital team are proposing a two year roadmap to their senior management team to take responsibility and carry this project forward and embed it further into the University of Lincoln’s infrastructure.
During the group discussion session, workshop participants suggested a comprehensive list of about 80 tools, features, amendments and requests that we would like to see as part of a new version of CKAN (a Google Docs spreadsheet is available: http://lncn.eu/mxz2). Again in groups we did a GAP analysis for the specific items requested and a CKAN expert was available to answer any questions.
As an academic community we found that there were lots of similar challenges which should be easier to address collaboratively.
From the visual arts community perspective although CKAN can’t currently address all the requirements from our user requirements list (PDF) there is scope for further development and this is continuing in the right direction.
With thanks to Robin Burgess, KAPTUR Project Officer for The Glasgow School of Art for this blog post.
At the KAPTUR Research Data Management workshop held at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA), in response to the question
“What information should be kept?”
the analogy of baking a cake was given i.e. the end product (research output/s) being the cake and the “research data” being the ingredients – but you wouldn’t necessarily want to keep the dirty mixing bowl as you have now got the finished cake?
The group discussion dwelt upon the value of research and the information being collected. It was felt that research data needs to be determined and managed by the individual researcher; that they should ultimately have the control over their information.
The group went on to discuss specific research types and issues were raised in relation to whether the information was being seen as primary or secondary data; how it would be selected for data curation; and finally the distinction between the data and the actual research output.
Defining visual arts research data
Another theme from the day was defining visual arts research data. Laura Molloy offered Leigh Garrett’s working definition for discussion in her presentation (see the bottom of this blog post: What is visual arts research data? revisited).
During the workshop research data was discussed using examples. This raised a lot of questions, debate and conflict in relation to the interpretation of research data including:
- there was little consensus on a definition for research data as it would depend which discipline and department you were working for;
- research data should be a ‘thing’ rather than a ‘thought';
- the process of research is essential and therefore should be recorded and documented as part of the research lifecycle as research data;
- the effects of research and the evidence of research were seen as being important within the definition of research data;
- the importance of expression and reflection were also discussed.
With thanks to Emma Hancox, Assistant Archivist, University of the Arts London for this blog post.
From Tuesday 15th to Wednesday 16th January I attended the 8th International Digital Curation Centre Conference in Amsterdam entitled ‘Infrastructure, Intelligence, Innovation: driving the Data Science agenda.’ The conference was an invaluable opportunity to learn from the research data management experience of professionals from a range of different countries and backgrounds. Here I will draw on highlights of most relevance to the KAPTUR project, however an overview of the full conference including presentation slides is available on the Digital Curation Centre website as are videos of some of the talks.
Day One: Tuesday 15th January
‘Growing an Institution’s Research Data Management Capability through Strategic Investments in Infrastructure’, Anthony Beitz, Monash eResearch Centre.
The key message I took from this talk was Antony’s call to ‘adopt, adapt and develop’, in essence look at solutions that already exist and develop them. Anthony advocated going out into the research community to see what solutions researchers already use within their communities as they tend to be more loyal to their research community than their institution. He also emphasised that a lot of the work has already been done for us; we can use Facebook for marketing, Twitter for customer service and we can adapt a range of open source software to meet our needs.
‘Building Services, Building Communities, Supporting Data Intensive Research’ Patricia Cruse, Director, University of California Curation Centre.
Patricia Cruse emphasised the importance of researcher engagement as early as possible in the digital curation lifecycle. She gave two very useful pieces of advice; ‘start small’ with a simple solution that can be built upwards when more complex problems are met and employ flexible solutions that can be adapted to diverse situations. UCC has a number of tools to assist researchers such as UC3Merritt (for the management, archiving and sharing of digital content) and the Web Archiving Service which allows researchers to capture, analyse and archive websites used in the course of their research. More information is available on the UCC website.
The minute madness session gave poster demonstrators one minute to encourage delegates to view them and vote for them! Many posters represented projects of interest to KAPTUR and I enjoyed wandering around and exploring the display later in the afternoon. Posters of interest included ‘Creating an Online Training Module on Research Data Management for the University of Bath’ (training in research data management is something that KAPTUR project partners will certainly need to consider in the future) and the poster for IMEJI an open source software tool from Germany providing free storage, sharing and metadata creation for audiovisual content which I can see being of use in a visual arts research data context.
Day Two: Wednesday 16th January
‘Institutional Research Data Management’
On the second day I chose from a programme of parallel sessions. In the morning I learnt about the journeys professionals from the Universities of Bath, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Oxford had been on to create, implement and improve research data management capabilities in their institutions. Amongst much useful information I learnt that The University of Edinburgh has created MANTRA, an online learning module available under an open license so it can be rebranded and used by others. Thomas Parsons from the University of Nottingham commented that researchers typically store their data in five places. This emphasised to me the need for research data management training and the value of training modules such as MANTRA. From surveying researchers James Wilson from the University of Oxford found that types of data he had expected to be in a minority, were actually used more frequently than expected. I wondered whether we could also expect this with visual arts research data.
‘Arts and Humanities Research Data’
In the afternoon there was a chance to hear about Arts and Humanities Research Data and an overview of KAPTUR was given by Carlos Silva from the University of the Creative Arts. Following this Marieke Guy gave a presentation entitled ‘Pinning it Down: towards a practical definition of ‘Research Data’ for Creative Arts Institutions.’ This talk discussed work done by the DCC in collaboration with UAL to explore the nature of visual arts research data. Marieke reflected on the fact that whilst there is much consensus on research data in the sciences, this is lacking in the visual arts. Research has suggested that arts researchers do not tend to find the term ‘research data’ useful and find ideas such as ‘documenting the research process’ more useful. She suggested that a definition would be useful, but adopting a scientific vocabulary for the arts can be problematic.
The talks about Arts and Humanities Research Data were the last I was able to attend before I left the conference and ending on this note proved useful for reflecting on the conference in terms of the KAPTUR project. What I felt I took away from IDCC 2013 was that there is much that can be gained from projects at other universities and also a range of existing tools that can be developed and adapted to make life easier. In the visual arts environment, however, we need to continue to think about how research data can be defined since it doesn’t necessarily fit into the same categories as data at other Universities I heard from at IDCC. We also need to tailor solutions to our own unique context.
This blog post charts the KAPTUR journey in the search for an answer to the question What is visual arts research data?
From the original JISC bid (July 2011):
Research data in the arts mirrors the complexity of the outputs, taking many forms including logbooks, journals, workbooks, sample libraries and sketchbooks.
Examples of visual arts research data on the KAPTUR website (October 2011): http://www.vads.ac.uk/kaptur/ The images include a fabric manipulation sample, different pages from sketchbooks, glaze sample pot, and a photographic contact sheet. These examples, as well as different examples, have been used throughout the project on posters and handouts.
The KAPTUR Environmental Assessment report (March 2012) (based upon a literature review, 24 interviews with visual arts researchers, and collaborative data analysis across four institutions) included the following statement in its concluding remarks:
There appears to be little consensus in the visual arts on what research data is and what it consists of. Variously described by the interviewees as tangible, intangible, digital, and physical; this confirms the view of the project team that visual arts research data is heterogeneous and infinite, complex and complicated.
This was followed up with a peer-reviewed journal article for the Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2012) conference and a definition of What is visual arts research data? referencing the University of Edinburgh (April 2012):
Research data can be described as data which arises out of, and evidences, research. This can be classified as observational e.g. sensor data; experimental; simulation; derived or compiled data e.g. databases, 3D models; or reference or canonical e.g. a collection of smaller datasets gathered together (University of Edinburgh 2011a). Examples of visual arts research data may include sketchbooks, log books, sets of images, video recordings, trials, prototypes, ceramic glaze recipes, found objects, and correspondence.
This was disseminated to the Steering Group, project team, and via SlideShare (April 2012)
A further attempt was made to define What is visual arts research data? at a peer-reviewed presentation made to the Digital Humanities Congress, University of Sheffield, 8th September.
Marieke Guy, through her work with the DCC and Institutional Engagement at University of the Arts London, gave a presentation on defining visual arts research data at the Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research Data workshop, 14th September 2012. From debate with speakers and the audience at the workshop, Leigh Garrett wrote the following statement for discussion (September 2012):
Anything which is used or created to generate new knowledge and interpretations. Anything maybe objective or subjective; physical or emotional; persistent or ephemeral; personal or public; explicit or tacit; and is consciously or unconsciously referenced by the researcher at some point during the course of their research. Research data may or may not led to a research output, which regardless of method of presentation, is a planned public statement of new knowledge or interpretation.
Leigh’s statement was on the KAPTUR poster for the JISCMRD programme meeting (October 2012), available via SlideShare:
At the January Steering Group meeting the question What is visual arts research data? was again debated, although there was only one small amendment suggested to Leigh’s statement.
Finally we seem to be closer to resolving this; discussion continued last week at the University for the Creative Arts RDM training workshop. The UCA Project Officer, Anne Spalding, designed an exercise which encouraged debate from staff from the Research Office, IT, and Library & Student Services departments around the question What is visual arts research data? This has resulted in an amended definition (January 2013) written by Leigh. Discussion and feedback are still welcome:
Evidence which is used or created to generate new knowledge and interpretations. ‘Evidence’ may be intersubjective or subjective; physical or emotional; persistent or ephemeral; personal or public; explicit or tacit; and is consciously or unconsciously referenced by the researcher at some point during the course of their research. As part of the research process, research data maybe collated in a structured way to create a dataset to substantiate a particular interpretation, analysis or argument. A dataset may or may not lead to a research output, which regardless of method of presentation, is a planned public statement of new knowledge or interpretation.