Jisc Data Spring: Integrated RDM for Small and Specialist insitutions

Phase 1 of the Jisc research data spring programme came to an end at the start of last week with an event at Imperial College London. After pooling our ideas at an initial workshop in February, ULCC partnered with CREST, UCA, Arkivum and Leeds Trinity University for an initial 3 month period to explore integrated research data management solutions for the sort of small and specialist institutions that make up much of the CREST membership. Continue reading

Volunteers wanted! QA our planned online course


UPDATE 26/06/2015: Many thanks to all those who responded. The call for volunteers is now closed.

We are currently developing an online version of our award-winning Digital Preservation Training Programme.

We are seeking volunteers to perform some quality-assurance on the online Beginner Course content, and we have places for about 3-5 volunteers.

We’d supply you with a short written brief for how to perform this QA, and we’d like to get your honest responses to the way this teaching is delivered online, so that we can make it the best experience we possibly can.

We’re especially interested in hearing from previous students of the DPTP face-to-face course.

There are 25 Modules in all. We anticipate it shouldn’t take you more than 24 hours of effort to complete the QA and deliver your written feedback. If that sounds too daunting, even if you could just QA five Modules, that would help!

We’d like to get all feedback collected by end of July 2015.

In return, we’d be happy to acknowledge your contribution on the published Moodle later this year.

If interested, please email Ed Pinsent directly.

IRMS15 – And the winners are…


Earlier this month we attended our first ever IRMS (Information and Records Management Society) conference, our colleague Ed gave a talk and we had an exhibition stand. Seeing that we were the ‘new kids on the block’ we decided to run a little competition.

We offered delegates the chance to win 2 free places, worth £570 each, on our DPTP Beginners course and we were surprised the general level of interest from delegates.

Nearly 30 delegates participated in the raffle and earlier this week randomly pulled two business cards out of the stack.

The winners are:

  1. Kay Young, PHSO
  2. Michelle Alexander, University of Liverpool

We look forward welcoming them both on one of our future courses.

IRMS Conference 2015 – ‘Information: The New Currency’

Ed at IRMS15

Last week we attended the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) conference in Newport. We have quite a few records managers attending our DPTP courses, so we decided to go along to the conference to tell records managers more about our consultancy work and our training in digital preservation.

Ed had a paper accepted, in which he talked about the ‘dream’ of integrating digital preservation within the records management workflow. Slides from the talk were heavily requested!

We also had a stand, and had a lot of great conversations with records managers from all over the UK and beyond, about their digital preservation needs. Read more about our #IRMS15 experiences in our Storify of the event below:

We ran a competition, giving away two places on our ‘DPTP: Introduction to Digital Preservation’ two-day course. We’ll be announcing the winners soon…

Preview – IRMS conference 2015


After becoming a member of the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) earlier this year, we decided to exhibit and attend our first ever IRMS conference. This year’s event takes place at the Celtic Manor in Newport Wales and I sat down with my colleagues Stephanie Taylor and Ed Pinsent to find out what they are most looking forward to.

This will be your first IRMS conference. Are you excited? What are you looking forward to?

EP: It has been a long time since I’ve been to one of those big conferences. I have done Records Management in previous jobs, and it’s something I care about.

ST: I’m really looking forward to the conference and finding out what peoples’ pain points and issues are when it comes to digital preservation. There seems to be a growing need in the sector to handle, manage and preserve either digitised records as well as more and more born-digital records. We have seen an increasing number of records managers come to our Digital Preservation Training Programme (DPTP) courses and I’d like to get a better understanding if and how we can help. Continue reading

DPTP: Web Archiving 101 Course

Blog Image

Yesterday we ran our first ever one-day course in a specialist area of digital preservation – Web Archiving 101. We looked at all aspects of web archiving, and had a great group of people attending. Our Storify from the day gives a flavour of some of the topics we covered, and some of the wider discussions around them.

Thanks to Dr Peter Webster of Webster Research & Consultancy who shared his expert knowledge on all aspects of web archiving, including a really useful researcher/user perspective.  Thanks also to Sarah Day Thomson of the Digital Preservation Coalition who gave a really useful insight into the archiving of social media, based on the research work she is currently undertaking in this area. And of course a huge thanks to all the participants, both in the room and on Twitter, who came with lots of questions, case studies and contributions.

DPTP at the National Library of Ireland

Silence is requested!
Silence is requested! *

We will be running a version of our Digital Preservation Training Programme course ‘The Practice of Digital Preservation’,  in Dublin, at the National Library of Ireland (NLI) next week, 29th April – 1st May.  ANLTC – Academic & National Library Training Co-operative sought suggestions for courses from the CONUL Sub-Committees and our programme was recommended by the CONUL Sub Committee on Digital Services and Infrastructure.

We’ve been working with staff there to adapt our standard 3-day course to their specific requirements, a service we provide for many organisations in the UK and beyond. We’re delighted that our course was selected and excited to be taking DPTP to Ireland. It will also be Preservation Week, and being able to share knowledge about digital preservation in  Ireland seems like a very good way to celebrate the digital aspects of preservation during that time.

This isn’t the first time that DPTP has been on tour in Ireland, though. Back in 2012, Ed Pinsent and our then colleague Patricia Sleeman ran a version of the original DPTP course in Dublin, also hosted by NLI. We’re very glad to be invited back, and are really looking forward to another Dublin version of DPTP ‘on tour’!

* Image from the  National Library of Ireland on Flickr Commons

Podcast Number 2 – Web Archiving 101

Image from the Internet Archive in Flickr Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14571196308/
Image from the Internet Archive in Flickr Commons

As previously mentioned on the blog, we will be running a new DPTP 1-day course on 12/May, ‘Web Archiving 101′.  Peter Webster, of Webster Research and Consulting,  who will be teaching on the course, joined Ed, Steph and Frank to discuss web archiving, what it is, why it’s important, and how we hope to help people engage this type of digital preservation through our forthcoming course.

Our discussion explored some of the ‘big’ reasons for archiving the web on a grand scale, including projects such as the British Library’s Web Archive and also the importance of web archiving for smaller projects, down to individual researcher level. We talked about the preservation of social media, the legal aspects of archiving content from the web and the growing importance of content on the web in all aspects of life.

As more and more information of all kinds, from blogs used as online ‘notebooks’ for researchers to company and organisational records, research data and documents of historical importance,  becomes web-based, the decision to archive at least some of that content is growing more pressing for everyone. Our course aims to equip people with the tools and knowledge to manage web archiving at whatever scale is appropriate for their own work – a theme that was central to our podcast discussion.

We hope the podcast will be a useful introduction to the subject, and we still have a few places left on the course if web archiving is something you need to know more about.

Why web archiving?

It is a great pleasure to be joining old colleagues and to work with new  at ULCC to help deliver Web Archiving 101 for the first time. But why archive the web at all ? Isn’t it all just pornography and pictures of cats?

My first answer is the reason I first became involved with web archiving, first at the Institute of Historical Research and then as part of the UK Web Archive team at the British Library. As an historian of contemporary Britain, it became clear to me that much of the activity that a historian of the 1920s or the 1980s can study in printed literature has now migrated online, but that neither libraries and archives nor scholars had begun to catch up with what was a very rapid transition in the nineties and noughties. Both professional historians and anyone else with a need to know about the recent past will be unable to understand our times without reference to the archived web.

Web archiving is also now being recognised as a key part of the institutional memory of organisations, in all sectors, both public and private. And there is also a recognition that web archiving is not easily bolted onto the existing tasks of archivists and record managers without careful thought; and that it is many ways a distinctive part of the wider field of digital preservation.

Both these reasons would be less compelling if were not for the fact that the web changes and decays at a remarkable rate – and so the web is not its own archive, as many people imagine. Recent episodes such as the removal of historic speeches from the Conservative Party website illustrate the point that content is constantly being removed from the web intentionally. Other studies point to the speed in which content not only disappears but is also amended and updated, or migrates to new locations.  (See a summary of some of these studies at Historians and Web Archives.)

Archivists, record managers, the leaders of their organisations, and scholars of every discipline need to engage with web archiving. I hope that Web Archiving 101 will help that engagement along.

DPTP: Web Archiving 101- A New Course



The Sphinx, does, of course, know the answers to all riddles, including, we assume, how to archive the web… Image from the British Library Flickr stream, no known copyright.

We are pleased to announce a new course in the Digital Preservation Training Programme – ‘Web Archiving 101′. This course is a 1-day course and will take place at Senate House on 12th May 2015. The day will be a mix of tutor-led learning, discussion and group exercises. We won’t be offering ‘hands-on’ in the sense of using tools, but the focus is very much on the practical. If you create and/or use  web-based information and resources for research and you have an interest ensuring that such web content can persist and endure in an accessible and usable preservation environment, then this event will be of interest to you.

This course grew out of our re-working of our core DPTP course last year. At that time, we decided to create two new courses, an introduction course and an intermediate course, and in doing so, we reviewed all our existing content very thoroughly. We used to run a web archiving module on the original DPTP course, but times, we felt had moved on. Web archiving had grown significantly in since the original course was designed, and we no longer had the time within a broader course to do it justice. What to do? After much heart searching, we took the module out of the 2 and 3 day courses. However, we still felt there was a strong interest in the area, and so the idea of a ‘101’ course, just focusing on web archiving, was born.

We have been very lucky to work with Peter Webster, a long-established expert in this field, in the design of this new one-day course. Peter will also be teaching on the course, along with Steph Taylor and Ed Pinsent, the regular DPTP tutors, and Sara Day Thomson, a project officer with the  DPC, who will be sharing her knowledge about and research into the issues of archiving social media.

There is more information about the course on our website, and you can now book in the ULC shop.