Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What if digital libraries and digitization programs had to submit data mgmt plans with funding requests?

Dr. William Michener spoke today at the iSchool on "Building a virtual data center for the biological, ecological and environmental sciences."  While that topic doesn't sound much like digitization, one comment he made connected with me.  Michener noted that the National Science Foundation is asking researchers to submit data management plans with their funding requests.  The NSF does not want research data to be lost, yet if often is.

When digitization programs ask for funding, what if they had to submit a plan for how they are going to manage their data? What if they needed to demonstrate upfront that they have thought about the long-term viability of all of their digital files, including metadata?  While that might seem like a tough hurdle for many programs, would it help to ensure that programs were not orphaned after their completion?

1 comment:

Ben said...

The main reason this is not realistic is simply because most/many digitization programs do not have in-unit technical resources or infrastructure. If the program relies on IT resources within the organizational unit, that might make it more feasible, but how many (at least at the academic level) rely on university IT departments? A survey from 2006 found that more than half of academic archives rely on university IT, yet IT departments and professionals often do not understand digital preservation in the same way cultural institutions do, and may be reluctant to change the way they manage their infrastructure if it does not meet our preservation criteria.