The Power of Imaginary Users: Designated Communities in the OAIS Reference Model
This paper explores the Designated Community term within the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model. Information practitioners, particularly those who work with varied populations and popular materials such as public- or state-sponsored libraries and museums, complain that this term is counter to their professional, ethical, and legal mandates to serve many types of user. Using interview data from digital preservation practitioners and scholars as well as interview data from OAIS authors, the author examines the meaning and history behind this term and what it prescribes for professional digital preservation practice. This work juxtaposes contentions of digital preservation practitioners with explanations provided by the authors of OAIS about the Designated Community term. The findings in this paper support the author’s contention that alternative digital preservation models and metrics are necessary within cultural heritage institutions, like libraries and museums, to meet the professional standards of practice in those areas and to ensure the inclusion of broad populations within the user bases of digital repositories.
Data Curation Profiling of Biocollections
In the contexts of the data deluge and open data, scientists studying biodiversity benefit from online access to global datasets of existing vouchered biological and paleontological collections. Using biocollections collected over time across the world allows for the advancement of scientific knowledge concerning evolution in process as well as species poleward migrations, an indicator of climate change. This study’s purpose was to validate and expand the Data Curation Profiles (DCP) to digital biocollections and inform a DCP framework for worldwide biota. Ten biocollection producers, curating various types of specimens affiliated with the project building the United States’ national biodiversity infrastructure, were interviewed using the DCP questionnaire. Results indicate there is extreme diversity in the curation of biocollections and additional DCP questions should be added to reflect the complicated approaches to biological data curation. Although discipline specific metadata creation tools, standards, and practices enable long-term sustainability of the U.S. digitization effort, some scientists would benefit from further clarification and guidance on the information needs of consumers beyond designated communities of expert users, and the long-term preservation of biocollections.
Software Citation, Reuse and Metadata Considerations: An Exploratory Study Examining LAMMPS
Scientific software is as important to scientific studies as raw data. Yet, attention to this genre of research data is limited in studies on data reuse, citation, and metadata standards. This paper presents results from an exploratory study that examined how scientific software’s reuse information is presented in the current citation practice and natural language descriptions in research papers. We selected LAMMPS, popular simulation software used in material science, for this study. Both descriptive metadata elements and the types of reuse are examined from a sample of 400 research papers. The results indicate that both descriptive metadata elements and reuse types about LAMMPS are presented in incomplete and inconsistent ways, and this interferes with the values of scientific software, as a type of research data. Our findings necessitate future studies on the metadata standards to facilitate the identification of information related with scientific software reuse.