Interested in the details of setting up a Data Conservancy (DC) Instance? Download the Blueprint Document.
Digital research data can only be managed and preserved over time through a sustained institutional commitment. Research data curation is a multi-faceted issue, requiring technologies, organizational structures, and human knowledge and skills to come together in complementary ways.
Libraries and data centers, as institutions devoted to providing access and preservation services for information resources, are in a key position to lead research data management and curation efforts within and across institutions and disciplines. Initiating data curation services from scratch, however, can be a daunting task. Infrastructures for research data curation are still in their infancy, as are service models for digital data resources.
The Data Conservancy helps fill the need for an institutional solution to the challenges of data curation across disciplines. The technical infrastructure for the DC Instance is called the Data Conservancy software stack. The DC software stack is a digital curation system specifically developed for research data. While comparable to institutional repository systems and disciplinary data repositories in some aspects, the DC Instance has capabilities beyond what those can provide, including a data-centric architecture, discipline-agnostic data model, and a data integration framework that facilitates cross-cutting queries.
The institution that implements a Data Conservancy Instance will also need to organize and staff a data curation practice, including skilled staff for the installation, deployment, and ongoing upkeep of the Instance technology and services. Launching a DC Instance requires:
- Expertise in data management,
- A flexible service development process,
- Policies that support service agreements,
- Marketing and outreach partners, and
- A sustainable financial model.
A DC Instance might be supported by an institutional library or academic computing unit, or a partnership between multiple organizational units. The DC Instance can fit into existing infrastructures, because it leverages established standards and tools, including the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model and the Fedora Commons Repository Software, and provides Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to allow interoperability with other technical tools.
The Blueprint document provides a high-level description of the Data Conservancy Instance, which is an implementation of technical tools and organizational services for data collection, curation, management, storage, preservation, and sharing, in order to provide the means to manage, discover, and integrate data across disciplines.
Note: This document is not a technical support document and is intended to reflect an August 2012 release. Check back regularly for updates.