Newsline from EDINA
December 2004: Volume 9, Issue 4

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Launch of the Digital Curation Centre

by Robin Rice

DCC launchDigital preservation and e-Science experts from around the UK and beyond gathered at the National e-Science Centre in Edinburgh on
5 November to celebrate the launch of the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) – a new centre of expertise in data curation and digital preservation funded by JISC and the e-Science Core Programme.

The high-profile event featured speeches from Principals O’Shea and Russell of Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities; Professor Tony Hey, Director of the UK e-Science Core Programme; and a special unveiling of a plaque by Lord Stewart Sutherland of Houndwood, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The DCC, which began its setup phase in March, 2004, is made up of a partnership of four institutions – Edinburgh, Glasgow, UKOLN at Bath, and CCLRC – the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils, at Daresbury and Rutherford Appleton Laboratories. Each partner brings particular expertise and experience to the collaboration, as described on the DCC web site,

Following the official ceremony, a champagne reception was served for the guests, who had the opportunity to view computer demonstrations of new tools, posters about the DCC and related organisations, and an exhibit of obsolete computer storage media.
The guests reassembled to hear a series of talks collectively entitled ‘Setting out the Agenda for the Digital Curation Centre,’ by Peter Burnhill, Director (Phase One); Liz Lyon, Associate Director (Outreach & Community Support); Seamus Ross, Associate Director (Services Definition & Delivery); David Giaretta, Associate Director (Development); and Peter Buneman, Research Director. An informal afternoon panel discussion gave the audience a chance to respond to the DCC’s agenda and offer new ideas for services, development, and research.

The DCC outreach and services programme includes a helpdesk and advisory service, a set of online briefing papers, fact sheets, a curation manual and online tutorial, training and workshop events, an annual conference, and an e-journal, The International Journal of Digital Curation. The research and development programme includes a study of annotation of data in different disciplines, time-dependent citation of dynamic databases, a Representation Information Repository to help curators future-proof their digital repositories, testbeds and evaluation of tools; research into automated metadata extraction, and longer term goals such as an audit and certification service for trusted digital repositories.

The DCC is keen to engage with its user communities in UK Higher and Further Education, research councils and data centres, and with industry and individuals abroad. The Associates Network has been set up to begin that process and allow peer to peer communication for those responsible for digital curation within their organisations. We invite all who are interested in any of the relevant topics to join the network and participate in a discussion forum hosted on the DCC web site.

Pictured: Peter Burnhill (DCC Director, Phase 1), Timothy O'Shea (Principal, University of Edinburgh), Lord Stewart Sutherland, Sir Muir Russell (Principal, University of Glasgow). Photo credit: Douglas Robertson Photography