Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Blue Ribbon Task Force Report: Preserving Our Digital Knowledge Base Must be a Public Priority

03.03.2010
Dollars Won’t Do It Alone: Deluge of Digital Data Needs Economically Sustainable Plans

Addressing one of the most urgent societal challenges of the Information Age – ensuring that valued digital information will be accessible not just today, but in the future – requires solutions that are at least as much economic and social as technical, according to a new report by a Blue Ribbon Task Force.

The Final Report from the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access, called “Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long-term Access to Digital Information”, is the result of a two-year effort focusing on the critical economic challenges of preserving an ever-increasing amount of information in a world gone digital.

The full report is available online
at http://brtf.sdsc.edu/biblio/BRTF_Final_Report.pdf
“The Data Deluge is here. Ensuring that our most valuable information is available both today and tomorrow is not just a matter of finding sufficient funds,” said Fran Berman, vice president for research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and co-chair of the Task Force. “It’s about creating a “data economy” in which those who care, those who will pay, and those who preserve are working in coordination.”

The challenge in preserving valuable digital information – consisting of text, video, images, music, sensor data, etc. generated throughout all areas of our society – is real and growing at an exponential pace. A recent study by the International Data Corporation (IDC) found that a total of 3,892,179,868,480,350,000,000 (that’s roughly 3.9 trillion times a trillion) new digital information bits were created in 2008. In the future, the digital universe is expected to double in size every 18 months, according to the IDC report.

While much has been written on the digital preservation issue as a technical challenge, the Blue Ribbon Task Force report focuses on the economic aspect; i.e. how stewards of valuable, digitally-based information can pay for preservation over the longer term. The report provides general principles and actions to support long-term economic sustainability; context-specific recommendations tailored to specific scenarios analyzed in the report; and an agenda for priority actions and next steps, organized according to the type of decision maker best suited to carry that action forward. Moreover, the report is intended to serve as a foundation for further study in this critical area.

In addition to releasing its report, the Task Force earlier this month announced plans for a one-day symposium to provide a forum for discussion on economically sustainable digital preservation practices. The symposium, to be held April 1 in Washington D.C., will include a spectrum of national leaders from the Executive Office of the President of the United States, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian Museum, Nature Magazine, Google, and other organizations for whom digital information is fundamental for success.

Value, Incentives, and Roles & Responsibilities
The report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force focuses on four distinct scenarios, each having ever-increasing amounts of preservation-worthy digital assets in which there is a public interest in long-term preservation: scholarly discourse , research data, commercially-owned cultural content (such as digital movies and music), and collectively-produced Web content (such as blogs).

“Valuable digital information spans the spectrum from official e-documents to some YouTube videos. No one economic model will cost-effectively support them all, but all require cost-effective economic models,” said Berman, who was director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, before joining Rensselaer last year.

The report categorizes the economics of digital preservation into three “necessary conditions” closely aligned with the needs of stakeholders: recognizing the value of data and selecting materials for longer-term preservation; providing incentives for decision makers to preserve data directly or provide preservation services for others; and articulating the roles and responsibilities among those involved in the preservation process. The report further aligns those conditions with the basic economic principle of supply and demand, and warns that without well-articulated demand for access to preserved digital assets, there will be no supply of preservation services.

“Addressing the issues of value, incentives, and roles and responsibilities helps us understand who benefits from long-term access to digital materials, who should be responsible for preservation, and who should pay for it,” said Brian Lavoie, research scientist at OCLC and Task Force co-chair. “Neglecting to account for any of these conditions significantly reduces the prospects of achieving sustainable digital preservation activities over the long run.”

Task Force Recommendations
The Blue Ribbon panel report cites several specific recommendations for decision makers and stakeholders to consider as they seek economically sustainable preservation practices for digital information. While the report covers these recommendations in detail, below is a summary listing key areas of priority for near-term action:

Organizational Action

develop public-private partnerships, similar to ones formed by the Library of Congress
ensure that organizations have access to skilled personnel, from domain experts to legal and business specialists
create and sustain secure chains of stewardship between organizations over the long term
achieve economies of scale and scope wherever possible
Technical Action
build capacity to support stewardship in all areas
lower the costs of preservation overall
determine the optimal level of technical curation needed to create a flexible strategy for all types of digital material

Public Policy Action

modify copyright laws to enable digital preservation
create incentives and requirements for private entities to preserve on behalf of the public (financial incentives, handoff requirements)
sponsor public-private partnerships
clarify rights issues associated with Web-based materials
Education and Public Outreach Action
promote education and training for 21st century digital preservation (domain-specific skills, curatorial best practices, core competencies in relevant science, technology, engineering, and mathematics knowledge)
raise awareness of the urgency to take timely preservation actions

The report concluded that sustainable preservation strategies are not built all at once, nor are they static.

“The environment in which digital preservation takes place can be very dynamic,” said OCLC’s Brian Lavoie. “Priorities change, policies change, stakeholders change. A key element of a robust sustainability strategy is to anticipate the effect of these changes and take steps to minimize the risk that long-term preservation goals will be impacted by short-term disruptions in resources, incentives, and other economic factors. If we can do this, we will have gone a long way toward ensuring that society’s valuable digital content does indeed survive.”

About the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access
The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access was launched in late 2007 by the National Science Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in partnership with the Library of Congress, the Joint Information Systems Committee of the United Kingdom, the Council on Library and Information Resources, and the National Archives and Records Administration. The Task Force was commissioned to explore the economic sustainability challenge of digital preservation and access. An Interim report discussing the economic context for preservation, Sustaining the Digital Investment: Issues and Challenges of Economically Sustainable Digital Preservation, is available at the Task Force website, http://brtf.sdsc.edu . Please visit the website for more information about the Task Force and its upcoming symposium, called A National Conversation on the Economic Sustainability of Digital Information, to take place April 1, 2010 in Washington D.C. A similar symposium will be held in the United Kingdom on May 6, 2010, at the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre, in London. Space is limited so early registration is advised.

More information is available at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/preservation/BRTFUKSymposium.aspx.

Media Contact:
Jan Zverina, BRTF-SDPA Communications, (858) 534-5111 or jzverina@sdsc.edu

Jan Zverina | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sdsc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>