Praxis

The Book of Trogool

Category archives for Praxis

The dreaded backfile

One of the problems practically every nascent data-curation effort will have to deal with is what serials librarians call the backfile, though the rest of us use the blunter word backlog. There’s a lot of digital data (let’s not even think about the analog for now) from old projects hanging around institutions. My institution. Your…

Good user experience is not optional

Sometimes it’s worthwhile to let my “toblog” folder on del.icio.us marinate a bit. Posts I recently ran across on two different blogs illuminate the same point so well that they deserve their own post here! Off the Map offers Huffman’s Three Principles for Data Sharing, which are really principles for data-collection and -display applications: Create…

DIY LOCKSS?

When I was but grasshopper-knee tall, my father the anthropologist took me to his university’s library to help him locate and photocopy articles in his area of study for his files. He had two or three file cabinets full of such copies. (He may still.) I have similar file cabinets, two of them: my del.icio.us…

Migration versus emulation

Just a quickie post today? In answer to my post about intertwingularity, commenter Andy Arenson suggested that the way to rescue an Excel spreadsheet whose functions or other behaviors depended on a particular version of Excel was to keep that specific version of Excel runnable indefinitely. This is called “emulation,” and it assuredly has its…

The problem of “expert location”

A common problem adduced in e-research (not just e-research, but it does come up quite a bit here) is expertise location, both local and global. You need a statistician. Or (ahem) a metadata or digital-preservation expert. Or a researcher in an allied area. Or a researcher in a completely different area. Or a copyright expert…

The dangers of intertwingularity

When I was but a young digital preservationist, I was presented with an archival problem I couldn’t solve. This should not sound unusual. It happens a lot, for all sorts of reasons. If I can keep a few people from falling into traps that make digital preservationists throw up their hands in despair, I’m happy.…

Let Them Eat Disk

Many people, first confronted with the idea of data curation, think it’s a storage problem. A commonly-expressed notion is “give them enough disk and they’ll be fine.” Terabyte drives are cheap. Put one on the desk of every researcher, network it, and the problem evaporates, right? Right? Let me just ask a few questions about…

The classical librarian

Five years ago (really? goodness, it hardly seems possible) I gave a preconference session at the Extreme Markup Languages conference (which is now Balisage) entitled “Classification, Cataloguing, and Categorization Systems: Past, Present, and Future.” I have learned to write better talk titles since then. However. The talk was actually a runthrough of library standards and…

I see a lot of metadata out there in the wild woolly world of repositories. Seriously, a lot. Thesis metadata, article metadata, learning-object metadata, image metadata, metadata about research data, lots of metadata. And a lot of it is horrible. I’m sorry, it just is?and amateur metadata is, on the whole, worse than most. I…

Community and archival

FriendFeed, now due to be absorbed into the Borg the Facebook empire, allowed me to lurk on the fringes of the scientific community Cameron Neylon mentions in his post on the takeover. Insert all the usual clichés here: it was enormously valuable, I learned a lot, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.…