When Steve Hitchcock says that "sustainability must precede preservation for institutional repositories," what does he mean?
Not to put words in Steve's mouth (Steve has plenty of words, all well-chosen), but here's my one-sentence take on it:
A service is sustainable as long as it has a constituency both willing to fight to keep it going and able to make that fight count.
This is, I grant you, a somewhat cynical assessment; I welcome less cynical ones in the comments. The corollaries for nascent data-curation efforts I leave to readers.
The tidbits folder is out of control, so this linklist may be a bit epic. My apologies! There's a lot of great discussion in this area of late.
- Data repositories: the next new wave Steve Hitchcock is sensible, as usual. The answer to "are repositories changing?" is "they already changed," if one asks Carole Palmer. What's lagging, still, is institutional recognition and approval of those changes. See also ERIS's initial thoughts about repositories for researchers.
- Free the humanities data! says Adam Crymble. Ainsworth and Meredith describe e-Science for Medievalists, but do take a look even if you're not one: a tool developed for medievalists turned out useful in other fields, including rather far-flung entomology!
- Jeni Tennison's Establishing trust by describing provenance explains an answer to a question I've often heard from potential data end-users: "How do I know I can trust this?" Mark well, data providers: if you don't clearly show your work, no one can trust what you give them, and what they can't trust, they won't reuse. Or cite.
- Scientists leading the Web 2.0 charge? Not so much. Nice to see this hitting the mainstream press.
- Eric Drexler explains how data-driven science may change how science is done. John Wilbanks explains why science isn't software, and why "open source" may not make sense as a metaphor for data sharing. (I suspect that usage is a lost battle, John.)
- Tool of the week: Scratchpads. The article, aside from describing a great-looking tool, is extraordinarily insightful about the sociocultural challenges of data sharing in the natural sciences.
- A call to shine light on dark data, including publication of negative results. One researcher's "failed" experiment may be another's goldmine. Besides, who needs or wants to replicate something that doesn't work out of ignorance? See also Why machine-readable data should matter to you (and follow the link therein, too).
- If you haven't seen this already from me or Christina, check out Nature asking what's wrong with chemistry that it won't share data. See also the longer report, if you are so inclined.
- Neil Saunders, showing data-mining in action! See also the vigorous and valuable discussion on FriendFeed. (I am no little amused that the latest comment is "Normalization ... aaargh! Most definitely not a solved problem." Indeed.)
Whew. I think that brings things back under control. Happy Wednesday browsing!