October workshops: Introducing experts to key PERICLES concepts
Last month PERICLES ran two workshops with practitioners and experts in the fields of digital preservation and science data. The full-day events were organised at two different locations, London (15 October) and Brussels (29 October) to introduce specific topics that are key elements within PERICLES research and development.
The first workshop entitled 'Model-driven approach to preservation management' was focussed on the concept of modelling as an abstraction of the main concepts and relationships that characterise a digital ecosystem and a useful method to enable the simulation and predictions of changes (e.g. technical, semantic, policy change etc.) that can affect long-term digital preservation of digital content. A selected number of participants were invited to join the workshop based on their expertise and extensive experience in the field of archiving. Amongst them were experts in the fields of preservation research, technological development and management from institutions such as the British Library, Digital Curation Centre (DCC), Tate, BBC, Basel Media Library, Open Preservation Foundation (OPF), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Ludwig Museum Hungary.
During the day PERICLES partners presented key modelling components including:
- Linked Resource Model (LRM) a general-purpose modelling language that enables the description of evolving digital ecosystems;
- Domain ontologies, used to describe properties of model elements in the specific Art and Media use cases;
- Ecosystem models, describing fundamental ecosystem components (e.g. user, policy, technical service and their relationships or ‘dependencies’) that can support change management.
Alongside presentations that can be found here, PERICLES partners involved participants in an interactive session using a modelling card game to help them model a scenario of their choosing without have to write code or use modelling software.
Each card represented an ontology entity and was used to create relations between entities.
We benefitted of the presence of these experts to conduct a second face-to-face session in the form of a focus group evaluation. The objective of the evaluation was to get feedback on progress with respect to the model-driven aspects of the project work, also in terms of relevance of the approach for preservation. The results of the focus group session will form the basis of a respective deliverable due end January 2016.
'Promoting the re-use of science data'
The second workshop organised by PERICLES took place on the 29 October in Brussels at the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, a Belgian federal scientific research institute which currently includes project partner B.USOC among its supporting services.
The full day event brought together some experts from the science community including researchers, project managers and scientists from leading institutions such as the Science and Technology Facility Council (STFC), Environment Climate Data Sweden (ECDS), Biotechnology Space Support Center (BIOTESC), CERN, DANS, EURIX and University of Oslo.
The day started with a quick introduction to common data preservation and re-use problems in the science domain, which participants were invited to reflect upon and contribute to by sharing their own experiences. This was followed by a presentation of the Space Science case study which focuses on space science data originating from the ESA and International Space Station, for example from experiments that monitor the sun's spectral variability to understand its effects on climate (SOLAR). The process chain from data capture to re-use by other scientific communities is quite complex and requires even greater attention when it comes to managing change to ensure long-term preservation.
PERICLES partners David De Weerdt and Rani Pinchuk from Space Applications went on explaining the importance of modelling and populating the Space Science study with machine readable and processable information in order to allow dependency monitoring and data risk analysis as well as facilitating automation. They also introduced PERICLES work done in the area of preservation management including domain ontology and significant information environment. An example was provided with the PERICLES Extraction tool (PET), an open source modular framework that extracts environment information when creating/using digital information. The tool is generic, and can be adapted for various scenarios, as it provides a plug-in structure for the integration of use case specific extraction algorithms.
Alongside PET the importance of packaging data was also introduced together with the framework for Information Encapsulation techniques (PeriCAT) which has been developed by project partner University of Göttingen will be released on GitHub at the end of November. See https://github.com/pericles-project/PeriCAT
Fig. PERICLES Content Aggregation tool (PeriCAT).
The second part of the workshop was focused on appraisal, policy derivation and quality assurance. Simon Waddington of King’s College London illustrated two different types of appraisal (technical and content-based) and the classification of main ecosystem entity types according to risk profile. He also described how content-based appraisal can be decomposed into the evaluation of individual appraisal criteria, which can then be combined and visualised to enable a user to make appraisal decisions.
Fig. Appraisal process
Partner Fabio Corubolo of University of Liverpool introduced quality assurance that can be used to manage change by validating the correct application of policies in the ecosystem, detecting potential conflicts and constraining the ecosystem evolution. He also explained Policy derivation which consists on adding dependencies to the ecosystem model by mapping high level polices to lower level policies and other ecosystem entities.
The presentations were followed by an interaction session were attendees were invited to choose a scenario and identify dependencies as well as important factors in the appraisal process for ensuring long-term access and re-use of digital data.
At the end of the workshop participants were asked to act as evaluators on the topics presented and discussed in the workshops. The ensuing focus group evaluation will also feed into Deliverable D2.3.4 due end January 2016.
 The "Digital Ecosystem" is a concept with the purpose for analysing and modelling the ability of infrastructure to maintain the usefulness of digital objects. A digital ecosystem consists of all the entities and relations influencing or necessary for a successful use at a later point in time.