MSU Digital Curation Planning

December 11, 2009

University Relations Signs on as Pilot Unit for Digital Curation Guidelines

Filed under: Analysis & Recommendataions — admin @ 6:00 pm

In January 2010, the MSU Digital Curation Planning Team (DCPT) will begin an in-depth analysis of the digital photographs and digital video held by University Relations. It is expected that curation guidelines resulting from this analysis will be applicable to digital assets held by other units on campus.

As the public relations arm of Michigan State, University Relations creates and maintains digital photographic and video records that document the history of the university. The records of historical value properly belong in the custody of the Archives, many other files have no historical value but remain of short-term use to University Relations, and many others have no current value and should be disposed of to free up server space.

The digital photos and video will be inventoried and appraised, permanent archival records identified, retention schedules for temporary files created, and selection guidelines recommended for new records as they are created. Metadata structures and file naming conventions will also be examined, with recommendations for improvements made if necessary. In addition, DCPT will work with Academic Technology Services (ATS) to develop storage, transfer, and access solutions for the files accessioned by the Archives and kept in temporary storage at University Relations.

December 8, 2009

Digital Curation Planning Survey Results

Filed under: Survey — admin @ 7:06 pm

The baseline data questionnaire administered recently by the MSU Digital Curation Planning Project team yielded 90 responses: 23 from academic departments, 31 from administrative services units, 9 from research centers, and 27 from technology services units.

Represented academic departments covered a wide range of fields, from agricultural economics, nursing, and veterinary medicine to math and science education, physics and astronomy, telecommunications, business, athletics, and the arts. Likewise, administrative units ranged from the Controllers Office, Inventory/Capital Asset Management, the Office of Planning and Budget, the Office of the President/Board of Trustees, and the MSU Libraries to Broadcasting Services, University Relations, and Virtual University Design and Technology (vuDAT), among others. The research centers included the Cyclotron, the Julian Samora Research Institute, and MATRIX. In contrast, all of the technology services responses came from 6 units: Academic Technology Services (ATS), Administrative Information Services (AIS), Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Technology Services, Enterprise Business Systems Projects (EBSP); Enterprise Information Stewardship (EIS); and Health Information Technology.

The types of digital content making up the largest proportion of a given unit’s content varied considerably. Digital and scanned photos and images, word processing documents, and research data sets topped several of the academic departments’ lists, while administrative units reported large proportions of paper imaging documents, word processing and spreadsheet documents, and databases. Research data, audio/video, word processing documents, and programming code predominated at the research centers. As might be expected, technology services units noted that most of their digital content consisted of code, databases, and web pages.

File formats comprising the largest proportion of a given unit’s digital content were similarly varied. Among the academic departments surveyed, PDFs, SPSS and SAS statistical formats, TIFFs, JPEGs, MySQL, and Camtasia video formats were all noted. Various database formats, TIFFs, text, MS Office formats, as well as audio and video formats, predominated at the administrative units. The research centers reported sizeable concentrations of video formats, php code, MS Word, and SAS, and the technology services units carry large proportions of text and programming code formats.

In terms of storage, nearly all of the units store digital content on hard drives, and most also use some combination of different types of removable media as well as network storage; one unit even reported storing data on cassette tapes. Seventeen units plan to increase online storage capacity in the near future, most from 1-10 TB, with some planning expansion of up to 50 TB.

Several units have implemented or plan to implement content management system (CMS) and/or digital repository software. CMS solutions noted include Sharepoint, Filemaker, Subversion, Alfresco, Trac, Adobe Version Cue, Mura CMS, Drupal, Portfolio Server 9, Madison Digital Image Database (MDID), IRIS, Cascade CMS, Document Viewer, DotNetNuke, Intrafinity, an internal wiki-based system, as well as other in-house-developed software. Physical Plant uses the Facilities Administration Management Information System (FAMIS). In some cases, the CMS doubled as a unit’s digital repository. Other digital repository solutions in use included KORA, ResourceSpace, the Concurrent Versions System (CVS) and Git version control software, carefully organized web and file servers, and some “homegrown” solutions.

Many of the respondents provided additional comments stating great interest and enthusiasm in the digital curation planning project’s goal of establishing naming conventions and other digital curation standards. One administrative unit noted, “This is a timely survey, because our unit is at a point where we HAVE [sic] to choose which data to delete off our servers, as we are accumulating more than we can afford to store.  We need university guidelines and related archival resources.” Another asked for guidelines on how to handle archive-worthy files at the time of creation, rather than storing everything up front and subjecting the unit to an arduous appraisal process later. Interest in guidance on choosing a digital asset management system was also expressed.

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